Christmas is come, hang on the pot,
Let spits turn round, and ovens be hot;
Beef, pork, and poultry, now provide
To feast thy neighbors at this tide;
Then wash all down with good wine and beer,
And so with mirth conclude the Year.
– Virginia Almanac (Royle), 1765
The holidays were celebrated with great warmth and fellowship in 17th and 18th century Virginia. Even in the early days of Jamestowne, Captain John Smith wrote that he kept “Christmas amongst the Salvages: where wee were never more merrie, nor fedde on more plentie of good oysters, fish, flesh, wild fowle, and good bread, nor better fires in England.”
As the colony grew and prospered, the period between Christmas and Twelfth Night became a time of extended visits between friends, with sumptuous feasts, balls, horse racing and gaming in the English tradition. Hospitality reigned, and gifts were often bestowed on servants and children. Indeed, to our Virginia ancestors, the spirit of giving was part of the season.
This year, the Old Brick House Foundation unveiled a new historic marker at the Old Brick (Kennon) House, created interpretive signage and continued planning for an ADA‐compliant addition and the preservation of its gravestones. Next year promises to be even more exciting, but your help is urgently needed to maintain and restore our beloved ancestral home.