Knox Family Remembers Christmas of Yesteryear

1906, John Knox and his wife, GraceFrom Central Oregonian 1963

In the year 1906, John Knox and his wife, Grace, a bride of two months, planned to eat Christmas dinner at the home of one of John’s sisters. Twenty or more people including members of the Knox family and two or three old bachelors who would otherwise have a very lonely day, were expected to gather around the festive board.

Six long miles of winding mountain road separated the two homes, and of course in 1906 paved highways and automobiles were few and far between in Crook County.

The trip over was fine, John hitched two horses in their one seated buggy and they easily traversed the six miles of frozen road.

Everybody had a wonderful time. The table fairly groaned under its load of delicious farm foods prepared by skillful cooks. The dinner began with oysters, John’s specialty. To serve so large a crowd it was necessary for John to make it in a sterilized wash boiler.

Darkness came early and some of the guests, including John and Grace, decided to return home the next day. During the night the temperature rose and the ground thawed.

The trip home was quite different from the trip over. About a mile of the road led through a red adobe formation. The buggy wheels sunk deeper and deeper and gathered more and more mud.

“The wheels appeared to be about 18″ wide,” said Grace (now an octogenarian) reminiscently. The horses pulled so hard that the double tree was bowed. John was afraid it might break and so he go out and walked to lighten the load while I drove. His feet were soon as mud encrusted as the buggy wheels, and his good suit was smeared with mud clear to his waist. His feet looked so funny that I sort of laughed.

“I don’t see anything so darn funny about it,” remarked John as he slogged along through the mud.

The red adobe was finally negotiated and they reached home with the double tree still intact.

Grace’s Christmas gift to the members of the Knox clan that year were fruit cake and home made candy. For over fifty years they looked to Grace each Yuletide for a treat of these two delicious foods. Nor were they ever disappointed.


Note: John and Grace Knox lived near Conant Basin and his sister lived on Newsome creek north of Maury Mountain.