Looking Back


by Diane Rockall

December brings the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the final day of the year. It is a time of preparation, extra baking, getting together with family and friends, shopping for and wrapping gifts, Holiday greeting cards, and perhaps more than all else, memories of the past.

Not surprisingly a survey of newspapers for years gone by showed primary attention paid to holiday sales in local stores. Also highlighted regularly were announcements of special Church services and programs. In 1947 the Brief Sun carried announcements from Stockbridge First Presbyterian, Stockbridge Methodist, Stockbridge Baptist, Gregory Baptist, and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.

Columns for local communities were also another common occurrence in 1947. Stockbridge, Gregory, Munith, Unadilla, and Plainfield all had weekly columns highlighting events in their communities. Unfortunately, the size of the paper and the typeface make reading them all but impossible on microfiche.

Local stores not only provided advertisements for their Christmas special merchandise, but also displayed holiday greetings to readers and customers alike.

In 1942 America was one year into War War 11, officially entered December 8, 1941, one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By 1942, 18 and 19 year olds were being asked to register for the draft. The Brief Sun was providing a weekly column for and about servicemen.

In addition to holiday greetings from businesses the Brief Sun featured a card of its own on the front page of the newspaper.

In 1962 Elementary Schools in the community collected clothing for World Clothing Week according to the December 8th’s paper. On the 22d, it included a full page of Christmas activities for the area. The post office reminded citizens of the postal rate increase for greeting cards.

In 1967 the Stockbridge Lions were selling Christmas trees, The High School concert was on December 10. Supporters of the Gregory School held a Christmas bazaar. In the issue of the 13th several Stockbridge residents reported the theft of outdoor lights by vandals. This generally discouraged residents from using outdoor lighting. Three bands played in the Yule concert. The paper of the 27th reported six Council members had filed for reelection. It also mentioned the postal rate hike to 6 cents for first class and 10 cents for airmail.

Before Stockbridge existed, Abby Dutcher was born on December 19, 1835 possibly becoming the first child born to European settlers in White Oak Township. She later married Civil War veteran George Willson and then Elias Clark. Clark built and operated a flour mill on the Southwest corner of Center and Elizabeth. Abby had a bakery and restaurant on that site as well.

We all have our own special memories of favorite foods, special events, family get togethers and so much more. On a personal note December has always been my favorite month of the year. It is the month of my birth and coincidently the month that I met my husband. As a young child I always believed the Christmas holiday started on my birthday because my mother forbade any pre-Christmas activity before my birthday, so I wouldn’t be short-changed. We usually went to pick up our tree on my birthday and then began holiday decorating, baking and gift wrapping afterward.

Diane Rockall

Diane is a member of the Board of Directors of the Stockbridge Community News, she currently writes the above column and posts  the  weekly Police Blotter and also publishes death notices and obituaries on the website when in information is made known to the Stockbridge Community News, She and her husband moved to Stockbridge early in 1997 after just under 14 years in Northville.  Diane is originally from Detroit where she lived until 1980.

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