A Day in the Life of Jens Dahle: 25 December 1864

What were Jens and James Eberhart experiencing on Christmas Day 1864 in Salisbury Prison 1150 years ago?

129 day—

Christmas celebration 1860Up Early & had a good wash. Got my bugging done & cleaned up the best I could. A bright day. Oh if I was only home the good things I should of have to day. Nothing would be too good for thme to give  to me–but alas it cannot be so. Nothing to Eat to day. This a hard Christmas for us. But we must keep up our spirits. God have Mercy on us A Men. Done some trading of buttons & a gold pen. Got a molases pie & 5 Sweet potatoes. So fared pretty well after all. G Quinn died to day–of Co. “G” 191.” — James Eberhart

It is not known what sort of celebration that James is yearning for. the etching on the left shows a wealthy family around the Christmas tree. [2] We can only imagine that Jens yearned for the traditions of his home– the Norwegian celebration light, meat, beer and a Christmas tree.

So this is my Christmas “card” to all of my blog followers–Have a very Happy Holiday.  Do one thing today that reflects back on the traditions of your ancestors and remember that some individuals sacrificed everything so we could have the comfort of our families around us at this magical time.

Happy Hunting!


[1] Florence C. McLaughlin, editor, “Diary of Salisbury Prison by James Eberhart,” The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, July 1973.

[2] “The Christmas Tree,” Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1850 and republished in 1860.