VICKSBURG FACTS: ‘Tis the season to be shopping

Published 8:00 am Friday, December 23, 2022

Did you know that Vicksburg was once the place to be for all Christmas shopping?

Christmas, as we know it today, was slowly making its way down South during the 1850s. After the Civil War, Southerners embraced the joys and wonder that came with the holiday season. As mentioned in “Christmas in 19th Century America” by History Today, the celebration of family was what made Christmas so special in the South, especially for soldiers and those who lost someone in the war. 

By the late 1800s, Christmas celebrations were in full swing in the Southern states.

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Major cities like Vicksburg reaped the many benefits the holiday season brought for businesses. People from the surrounding area would travel to Vicksburg and collect what was needed for Christmas Day.

As stated in The Daily Commerical Herald’s Dec. 25, 1892 article, “The night trains had brought in a multitude of shoppers from points north and south of the city, and during the morning the A. & V. train arrived with 11 car loads more.” 

Every Christmas season, trains and boats full of people would come to Vicksburg to prepare for the holiday festivities. One article from The Daily Commerical Herald’s Dec. 24, 1889, edition stated, “The train arriving from Memphis Sunday evening had standing-room-only after leaving Rolling Fork,” and “The delayed train from Shreveport arriving Sunday night had 600 passengers and added nearly 100 more here on its way east.”

It was reported in the Dec. 24, 1888, edition of The Vicksburg Evening Post that “Every steamer and train is now bringing crowds of customers to Vicksburg. The ferryboat Alice is doing tremendous business between this city and Delta. The Carneal Goldman came in yesterday with 200 deckers and the Pargould also had a big deck-load who got off here. Taken altogether, Christmas business is turning out much better than was expected.” 

Needless to say, the city of Vicksburg was booming in business for the holiday season. The Daily Commerical Herald on Dec. 25, 1892, reported that “As a sample of the rushing business done in Vicksburg yesterday, it may be stated that Lee Richardson & Co. sold 23 cooking stoves and 13 fine china dinner sets.”

Many businesses in Vicksburg were happy with the results of the Christmas shopping. Another example from an article in the Dec. 25, 1889, edition of The Daily Commerical Herald read, “There is one firm in Vicksburg that is perfectly satisfied with its Christmas trade; that of Wright Bros. One of its members says their Monday business was better than that of any three days of any holiday season he ever saw and the business of the season was never equaled. This firm brought on none but the finest china and glassware and sold it out almost entirely.”