Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas in Confluence

See also April 09, '06 Oil Creek Christmas 1938

In 1910 this Sears Roebuck Catalog would have been in every home in Confluence, as with any place in rural America.

Oil Creek had been settled for nearly 100 years by this time and, about 20 years earlier, enough of a community had gathered at the confluence of the forks of Oil Creek that the community gave itself the name of Confluence. Our town's name had been officially changed to Orlando in 1907 for commercial reasons1, but it would be another five years or so before "Confluence" would fade from common usage.

In 1910 Confluence was both an established community a growing boom town with railroad construction continuing. William Howard Taft was President. Our oldsters were the Civil War vets and our children would grow up to fight in the War To End All Wars.

Confluence had several congregations that hristmas in 1910. Mt. Zion Methodist Protestant (attributed jointly to brothers Alexander Skinner and Alfred Posey) and the Evangelical United Brethern congregations were both established and growing. Methodist church records indicate both congregations would probably have been too large to meet in homes. Still, the white frame buildings we know of had not been built yet. See the May '07
entries Camp Meetings & the U. B. Church and The History of Orlando's United Brethern Church.

Mission 1930 of the Re-organized Latter Day Saints that had been started by William Otto Skinner, son of Alexander & Phoebe (Conrad) Skinner, but the church building a couple miles west of downtown Orlando near Posey Run, was probably not built yet.

St. Michael's Roman Catholic, under the care of Fr. Thomas Quirk was newly moved from the Griffin farm on Flesher Run to the new building in the Rusmisell & Fury Addition on the hill. Its bells may have been the only ones chiming out in celebration that Christmas.

A couple miles east of downtown was Clover Fork Methodist Protestant in the still busy community of Blake on Clover Fork.

The Sears Roebuck catalog was part of the household economy and ecology in a variety of ways. One graphic example of this is that long after Christmas you would have found what was left of this catalog in most of the outhouses of Confluence.

Click on the photo of sheep on Clover Fork to enlarge the scene. The photo is current, taken on Kilmarnock Farm, but I doubt sheep looked much different in 1910.

Above is the 2nd building of the St. Michael parish, the one that sat on the hill just across Oil Creek Road from where the brick church would be built.

1. It has been suggested that the name was changed to "Orlando" because "Confluence" was being confused with Confluence, PA

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