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Christmas with the Cumings

The Omaha Evening Bee, December 24, 1906, included a short reminiscence of several holiday celebrations in territorial Nebraska."

"Margaret Cuming, widow of Thomas B. Cuming, who was acting governor of the territory of Nebraska [1854-55, 1857-58], Monday morning glanced back over the last fifty years to Christmas day of 1854 in the little village of Omaha. Though the flight of years has dimmed the recollection of that Yuletide season, Mrs. Cuming had some remembrance of that particular date, which was her first Christmas in Omaha.

"'There was nothing particularly noteworthy about our observance of Christmas Day in Omaha in 1854,' Mrs. Cuming said. 'As I now recall it, we had no place of public worship here then. We were just a small settlement and visited back and forth during the day. In the evening there was a dance at the Douglas house and I attended it.'"

Several years later, on Christmas Day Mrs. Cuming lived in a cottage at the southeast corner of Eighteenth and Dodge streets, where she said the family enjoyed a feast of turkey and partridges. "Mrs. Cuming has a better recollection of New Year's Day following that Christmas day. That New Year's day was firmly fixed in her mind through the association of three dozen eggs for which Governor Cuming paid $1 each, and with which she made Virginia egg nog, Mrs. Cuming being a Virginian.

"On New Year's morning, Mrs. Murphy, Mrs. Cuming's mother, called and suggested the egg nog. Mr. Cuming took a walk down the village road and met a man from Council Bluffs with a basket of eggs. The best dicker Governor Cuming could make was $36 for three dozen. Later on commenting on the quality of the egg nog to Mrs. Murphy, the acting governor said the eggs were extra fine. Mrs. Murphy said she thought they seemed to be just every-day eggs. Then the governor quoted the price."

(November 1998)



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