The following information is from the pen of the late James Dunn and was published in the Tooele Transcript of December 26, 1903

“When the children of Tooele awoke on Christmas morning in 1849, not a toy was in all the land, not even a stick of candy or an apple was found in any of the cabins, but the children and their parents were happy for all that; for they were glad they still had a little to eat, and the prospects before them in their new home was beginning to grow brighter every day. If there were no dolls or toys for the children, the Fathers and Mothers could not forget Christmas and before the day was over, they had a real jolly time.

In the evening, they all met at the cabin of John Rowberry. That was the house they held all their meetings in and there they had a good old fashioned dance to wind up the day. It was the merriest crowd that ever met in a Christmas gathering, for they were all young men and women and as full of fun and frolic as it were possible for young married people to be. Some of them were good dancers and a few were good singers and they could get an interesting party whenever they took a notion for this kind of amusement.

Now let us see who was at this Christmas party that was held in Tooele in 1849. There was John Rowberry, wife and five children; Cyrus Tolman, wife and two children; Judson Tolman, wife and one child; Josias Call, wife and one child; Captain Wright, wife and one boy; Samuel Mecham and wife; Mr. Bravett, Wife and five children; Benjamin Tolman and Robert Skelton. So, you see there were enough parents and children to fill John Rowberry’s house for a good Christmas shake down. The great drawback was music. Not a musical instrument of any kind was owned in the valley, but John Rowberry was a good whistler and he whistled the tunes while the merry pioneers danced to the music. We cannot tell you who called the numbers that evening.  We wish we could as that would make the record complete.  But it was probably “SY” (Cyrus) Tolman himself who both whistled and called tunes, for he is said to have been a genius in that line. The dancers had a good time till just before midnight, when the dancing broke up and that was the end of the first Christmas party that was held in the city or county.”

Visit FamilySearch to learn more about Cyrus, Judson, and Benjamin Tolman and other ancestors.  Also visit the Thomas Tolman Family Organization to find out how you can get more involved in family history.

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