White Brick School Finniwig Studios KebIrish Gazette Ariadne Threads Guild

Volume 5, Issue 4

November 1, 2002


Click on title

or scroll down

for articles

German Christmas

William Irish 1737

Colonial Families

Family Favorites - Ham'n Cheese Roll-ups

Photo Questions

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Recipes

Christmas & Holiday Ides - Crafts

William Irish


William Irish was born November 19, 1737 in Rhode Island to Jesse Irish and Mary Allebee. The family moved to Dutchess County, New York about 1740.

On October 15, 1761 he married Dolly (maiden name unknown). Since he was a Quaker and “married out of meeting”, he was disowned by the Quakers.

They went to Danby, Vermont in 1768; to Canada in 1777 and then back in February 1782 to Milton, Vermont, where he together with Leonard Owen, Amos Mansfield, Absolm Taylor and Thomas Dewey were soon joined by Gideon Hoxie, Zebediah Dewey, Enoch and Elisha Ashley and others. In 1786, the first Town meeting was held in their home.

On November 30, 1784, he sold 40 acres to Jesse and Mary Irish. On June 13, 1786 he sold 40 acres to Michael Vail.

William and Dolly were reported to have had many children. Some are listed here.

Mary, born 1763.

Gideon, born 1764 in Dutchess County, New York. Married to Phebe White.

Jesse Irish II, born between 1770 and 1780, died Jan. 24, 1824. Married to Abigail.

Smyton, born 1775 in lower Canada, died March 10, 1843. Married to Thankful Reynolds.

John W. born June 8, 1776 in Danby, Vermont, died November 11, 1849 in Colchester, Vermont. Married Phoebe Reynolds on January 20, 1803. Married to Lydia Reynolds on March 13, 1813.

Michael, born 1779, died 1831. Married to Olive Ellis.

William, born 1781 in Milton, Vermont, died before 1865 in Pierrepont, New York. Married to Bethia.

Susanna, born Sept. 30, 1784 in St. Albans, Vermont. Married to Noel Conger.

Isaac, born 1789. Married to Cynthia.

Another child was Dolly, birth date unknown.

William died in Milton, Vermont. The date is unknown.

(Return to page top)

German Christmas

According to legend, on Christmas Eve in Germany rivers turn to wine, animals speak to each other, tree blossoms bear fruit, mountains open up to reveal precious gems, and church bells can be heard ringing from the bottom of the sea. Of course, only the pure in heart can witness this Christmas magic. All others must content themselves with traditional German celebrating, of which there is plenty.

Celebrating begins on the first Sunday of Advent (the fourth before Christmas). An Advent wreath, with four candles, is set out. Each Sunday another candle is lit and Christmas carols sung. Children count the days until Christmas using an Advent calendar. They open one window each day and find a Christmas picture inside.

Christmas preparations begin on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day. People often set aside special evenings for baking spiced cakes and cookies, and making gifts and decorations. Little dolls of fruit are traditional Christmas toys. Children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, their shoe is filled with twigs.

December 21st is St. Thomas Day. Whoever wakes up late or arrives late to work on that day is issued the title “Thomas Donkey.” They are given a cardboard donkey and are the subject of numerous jokes throughout the day. But this gentle abuse ends deliciously with round, iced currant buns.

Children leave letters on their windowsills for Christkind (Christ child), a winged figure dressed in white robes

and a golden crown. Sometimes the letters are decorated with glue and sprinkled with sugar to make them sparkle.

In Germany the traditional visitor is the Christkindl who is the Christ Child’s messenger. She is a beautiful fair-haired girl with a shining crown of candles who visits each house with a basket of presents.

There is also a Christmas Eve figure called Weihnachtsmann or Christmas Man. He looks like Santa Claus and also brings gifts.

The custom of trimming and lighting a Christmas tree had its origin in pre-Christian Germany, the tree symbolizing the Garden of Eden. It was called the “Paradise Baum,” or tree of Paradise. Gradually, the custom of decorating the tree with cookies, fruit and eventually candles evolved.

The Germans make beautiful gingerbread houses and cookies. The German Christmas tree pastry, Christbaumgeback, is a white dough that can be molded into shapes and baked for tree decorations.

In some homes a room is locked up before Christmas. On Christmas Eve the children go to bed but are woken up at midnight by their parents and taken down to the locked room. The door is opened and they see the tree all lit up, with piles of parcels on little tables.

In other homes, prior to the evening feast is the presentation of the tree. The tree is decorated and presents are placed under the tree. Close to the bright display are laid brilliantly decorated plates for each family member, loaded with fruits, nuts, marzipan, chocolate and biscuits. When all is ready a bell is rung as a signal for the children to enter the Christmas fantasy room. Carols are sung, sometimes sparklers are lit, the Christmas story is read and gifts are opened.

“Dickbauch” means “fat stomach” and is a name given to the Christmas Eve because of the tradition that those who do not eat well on Christmas Eve will be haunted by demons during the night. So the opportunity is given to enjoy dishes such as suckling pig, white sausage, macaroni salad, and many regional dishes.

Christmas Day brings with it a banquet of plump roast goose, “Christstollen” (long loaves of bread bursting with nuts, raisins, citron and dried fruit), “Lebkuchen” (spice bars), marzipan, and “Dresden Stollen” (a moist, heavy bread filled with fruit).

The day after Christmas Day—der Zweite Weihnachtstag, known as Boxing Day in Britain—is also a holiday in Germany.

The Christmas celebration does not end until Epiphany or Heilige Drei Könige (the “Wise Men,” “Three Kings,” the Magi), on January 6. On the eve of January 6 the initials of the Three Kings—C+M+B (Caspar/Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar)- plus the year are inscribed in chalk over doorways to protect house and home. Although historically the three letters are supposed to come from the Latin phrase for “Christ bless this house” - “Christus mansionem benedicat”. January 6 is considered the arrival of the three “kings of the orient” in Bethlehem—and the end of the “twelve days of Christmas” between Christmas and January 6.


(farmer’s/peasant’s saying):

“If Christmas is bright and clear, one hopes for an abundant year.

If the crow is standing in clover at Christmas, she’ll be sitting in snow at Easter.”


(Top of article)

(Return to page top)

Colonial Families

Family development among transplanted European people was arrested, or at least radically skewed, by the unhealthy climate and environment of the region and the demographics of the early immigration. Endemic fevers and intestinal diseases killed young and old indiscriminately. Before 1640, European immigrants to the Chesapeake, the majority of whom were male indentured servants, had a fifty-fifty chance of dying during their first year. Long periods of indenture delayed marriage for many immigrants. A quarter of all children died before their first birthday, and half of all marriages were ended by the death of one partner before the seventh anniversary.

These circumstances populated the colonies with many orphans, half-siblings, stepchildren, and foster parents.

Historically, the family was the basic political, religious, social, and economic unit in society, and as such, was both a public and

a private institution. It educated the young, served as the first level of government, and cared for the sick, the elderly, and the disabled.

The traditional ideal of family structure that British immigrants brought to America was a patriarchy where the father figure held a position of supreme authority over his wife, children, and all other dependents living in the household. This concept of authority and dependency created an inclusive definition of the family. Every subject to the authority of the householder was considered a member—immediate relatives, dependent kin, hired help, tenants, indentured servants and apprentices.

Patriarchal authority served the dynastic aspirations of the wealthy by perpetuating the power and influence of their house and lineage. Most important was preserving intact the ownership of family lands. The customs of primogeniture (inheritance by the eldest son) and entail (legal proscription against the sale or

grant of land outside the lineage) supported the dynastic ambitions of the gentry. The right of fathers to will land to their sons when they came of age or married reinforced the patriarch’s authority. Daughters’ inheritances and marriage gifts usually took the form of livestock rather than land.

Although not all marriages were happy, divorce was not an alternative in colonial times. Couples with marital problems had only a few choices—apply to the court for a separation (seldom requested), work out their differences, put up with them, or separate without a legal agreement.

An individual could be a member of several families during his or her lifetime. One might grow up in one family, apprentice in another, work as a journeyman or maidservant in another, set up a business, get married and become head or mistress of one’s own family, and in old age become a dependent in someone else’s home.


(Top of article)

(Return to page top)

Family Favorites

Ham’n Cheese Roll-ups


1 tube (11 oz.) refrigerated French Bread dough

8 tsp. Honey mustard

1 small red apple, cored and thinly sliced

1/4 lb. Deli-sliced cooked ham, 8 slices

4 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded, about 1 cup

1/2 tsp. Caraway seeds

Preparation: Preheat oven to 375º. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. On lightly floured surface cut dough crosswise into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into 4” circle. Spread each circle with 1 tsp. Mustard; top with 2 apple slices, 1 slice ham and 1Tbs. Cheese. Fold two opposite sides of dough over filling, brushing dough lightly with water; press in center to seal. Brush dough with egg; sprinkle with seeds. Place on baking sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

(Return to page top)

Photo Questions

Amos Irish

Born November 1841 in Lawrence, Michigan to Roderick Irish and Margaret Dopp.

Married Adelia Theresa Burt in January 1868

Died in April 1924 in Keeler , Michigan


(Return to page top)

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Recipes

Glazed Pork Roast

4 lb. boneless center-cut or rib-end pork loin roast

2 Tbs. Oil, preferably olive

2 Tbs. Molasses

1-1/2 tsp. Dry garam masala

1 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Coarse-grind pepper

1/2 tsp. Garlic powder

1/4 tsp. Anise seeds

If garam masala cannot be found in the spice section, you may substitute by blending together ground coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and pepper.

Preheat oven to 450º F. If desired, tie roast with kitchen twine to hold shape and cook evenly. In small bowl combine oil, molasses, garam masala, salt, pepper, garlic powder and anise seeds; rub mixture over roast. Place meat on rack set in roasting pan; roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350º F. Roast until meat thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 160º F, about 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

Minted Carrots and Shallots

2 Tbs. Butter or margarine

3 large shallots, quartered

1 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Pepper

1-1/2 lbs. Mini peeled carrots, about 4 cups

3 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs. Thinly sliced fresh mint, about 10 leaves

 In large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in carrots. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 10-12 minutes. Uncover; stir in vinegar. Cook until liquid is thickened and carrots are tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add mint; toss.

Vegetable Risotto Casserole

3-2/3 cups chicken broth

1/3 cup white wine

2 Tbs. Butter or margarine

1 onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. Dried thyme

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. Pepper

1/8 tsp. Ground turmeric, optional

1-1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. Grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 cups fresh baby spinach, about 2 oz, from 1 (6-oz) pkg.

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

  Preheat oven to 400º F. Butter 6-cup shallow baking dish. In pot bring broth and wine to boil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and turmeric; cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add rice, stirring to coat with butter mixture. Gradually pour hot broth mixture into skillet. Transfer mixture to baking dish; stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir rice mixture. Bake, uncovered, until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Stir in spinach and peas. Let stand until spinach is wilted and peas are heated through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

(Return to page top)

Christmas & Holiday Ideas - Crafts

Quick Gifts

1. Fill a decorative bottle with layers of dried beans, lentils and peas. Put a cork in the top and a ribbon around the neck of the bottle. You have a colorful kitchen accent for the cook or decorative person.

2. Spiked with a scent, that old-fashioned home remedy castor oil becomes a luxurious bath oil. Begin by decanting castor oil into clean vintage bottles or into new ones. Add an ounce of essential oil, or blend oils for custom fragrances. Stop bottles with new corks and tag them with hand-drawn or computer-generated labels.

3. Lengths of ribbon weighted with buttons and beads mark a page with style, and you can personalize a bookmark for friends by using alphabet beads and their favorite colors. A: sew a big button at one end of a ribbon and diagonally cut the other end. B: Fold ends of ribbon into V-shapes and secure with fabric glue, making a sturdy base for a teardrop bead to be sewn to each end. C: Place two ribbons together and sew a button at one and diagonally cut the other end. D: Place a couple beads on a silk cord and knot the ends to keep the beads in place. E: For fancy wide ribbons, fold and glue each end and stitch glass beads to the top and bottom ends.

4. The classic paper clip was a marvelous invention—but handmade clips are much more enchanting. They make inexpensive, surprising little gifts, to be used as paper clips or bookmarks; try clipping one onto a homemade card. Use twenty-gauge annealed-iron wire, which bends without chipping or flaking; the best tools are wire cutters and round-nosed pliers used by jewelry makers. Design can be quite ornate, as long as they consist of at least two flat loops or shapes to slip on either side of a piece of paper. Start with some basic patterns, such as the heart or square. Each requires five inches of wire. To make the heart, begin at the midpoint and bend wire into a right angle; then curl each end around points of pliers, curving the sides into smooth arcs.

5. Make a lavender pillow. Cut two pieces of fabric to the same size. With right sides facing, sew the pieces together, leaving a 2” opening on one side, Clip the corners, and turn the fabric right side out. Fill the pillow with lavender or a mix of lavender and flax seeds, in any ratio. Stitch up the opening. These pretty cushions are charming as throw pillows or sachets; their gravelly texture and refreshing scent makes them appealing as neck rolls and eye pillows as well.

Holiday Ornaments

1. Accent a pine cone with silver glitter paint, then top it with little silk leaves and silver ribbon roses.

2. Fill a snap-together heart-shaped ornament with your favorite potpourri. Trim with metallic gimp (or ribbon) and silk roses.

3. Wrap a square of lace fabric around a plain ball ornament. Gather at top and tie tightly with string. Accent with a gold cord tied around top and add a small bow, and silk rose.

4. Remove cap from a 3” diameter ball. Beginning and ending at top of ball, glue 2 bands of gold metallic trim around ball, then 2 bands of silver metallic trim. Trim ends even with top of ball and replace cap. Glue a tassel to the center bottom of ball.

5. Wrap handle of a 2-1/2” diameter x 4” H basket with gold metallic ribbon; secure ends with glue. Glue small bows to each side of handle. Glue sprigs of pine and holly berry branches into basket.

Easy Decorations

1. Place a 2-3/4” x 8” tall candle in the center of an 8” diameter clay saucer (from a planter). Arrange a few pine springs in the saucer around the candle. Surround candle with mounds of walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and almond. This creates a beautiful centerpiece for the dining table.

2. For a lovely pinecone swag make a large bow (using 1” wide ribbon) with a loop in the back for hanging. Attach three ribbons of various lengths to the bow so they hang down in front nicely. At the ends of each ribbon, glue a pinecone. Decorate each pinecone with small flowers or sprigs of greenery.

4. Make a lamp swag for your yard light. Gather 9 stems of white pine of various lengths and wire together. Tie 3” wide ribbon into a bow and wire it to the swag positioning it to cover the bouquet wires. Wire pinecones around the bow. Decorate with berries and caspia, gluing into place. Make a wire hanger in the back to hang on your light or door.

(Return to page top)

Keb/Irish Gazette
 Nancy (Keb) Tubbs
19500 Co Rd 14
Bristol, IN 46507-9405

Send mail to chucktubbs@prodigy.net with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2003 Finniwig Studios
Last modified: 10/12/09