“So Many Social and Joyous Associations”

Thoughts on Christmas in Taunton, 1639–1856

by William F. Hanna

On Christmas Day 1856, J.W.D. Hall, editor of , published in Taunton, sat down to write a Christmas message to his subscribers. Earlier in the year, the state of Massachusetts had finally recognized Christmas, along with Washington’s Birthday and the Fourth of July, as a public holiday and the editor wanted to extend the newspaper’s best wishes to its readers. “At early dawn the ‘wish you a merry Christmas,’ leaps from the…