/O Christmas Tree! Mississippi’s first was trimmed in Vicksburg parlor

O Christmas Tree! Mississippi’s first was trimmed in Vicksburg parlor

Mahala Roach’s neighbors in Vicksburg on Depot Street wondered what was happening when they saw an evergreen, most likely a cedar tree, being brought into their home on a December day 1851. Mrs. Roach lived in the heart the city and made history in 1851 when she built the Mississippi’s first Christmas tree from scratch in her parlor. In her diary, she explained what inspired her to make the tree. She used homemade cornucopias, toys and wax candles, as well as red bows and ribbons. She also decorated it with miniature fans, candy, mini fans, and tiny baskets. Mahala Roach, the daughter Richard and Elizabeth Gildart Eggleston, was born in Woodville in 1825. She moved to Vicksburg in 1840s and married James Roach, an Irish immigrant who was involved in the banking industry. Mrs. Roach kept diaries for half a century that covered almost every aspect of her life in Vicksburg. The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill owns the extensive collection. Many of the traditions mentioned by Mrs. Roach are still in use, including gift-giving and Christmas feasts. She wrote in 1852 that she believed in Santa Claus. Christmas in 1860, which fell on a Tuesday, she wrote that it was “clear, cold.” It has been a wonderful Christmas. It is a good thing. Good weather adds so many to the joys of children, servants and servants.” The Roach children raced to their parlor Christmas morning to find that the stockings they had hung wouldn’t hold all the gifts. The dolls were doll houses, dishes, small gold rings, and money. Red-topped boots, jumping Jacks, barlow knives, and horns were the gifts for the boys. All of the children received candy and lots of fireworks. Mrs. Roach called her friends on Christmas morning, and again in afternoon to give and receive gifts. Books, a basket of apple, two bottles wine, a gold cross, and a bouquet with violets and Geraniums were some of the gifts that she received. The family enjoyed a delicious meal of oysters, sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, fish, Irish, and sweet potato, as well as three types of bread, three types of cake, custards, fruit, cheese, and nuts. After returning from her afternoon visits Mrs. Roach discovered “bright fires, a nice dinner, and thus ended my Christmas Day, which was very pleasant, thanks to my kind friends, and to Him Who has given me so many blessings,” she wrote in her diary entry. Merry Christmas to all.