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Christmas 1883

Harold D. Corbusier arrived at Fort Mackinac as a 9-year old boy in 1882. His father, Dr. William H. Corbusier was the post surgeon, and the family lived on the west side of the fort. Harold began keeping a diary in early 1883, which provides an illuminating look at the life of a kid in the 19th century.

Fort Mackinac soldiers in front of Fort Mackinac, circa 1890.

With Christmas just past, we thought it would be fun to share some of Harold’s thoughts as Christmas 1883 approached. This is excerpted from A Boy at Fort Mackinac: The Diary of Harold Dunbar Corbusier, edited by Phil Porter, published by Mackinac State Historic Parks. Only select portions of the diary that pertain to Christmas or the holidays are included here.

As Porter mentions in his editor’s preface, “the diary is presented as Harold left it, complete with the spelling and grammatical errors expected of a ten-year old boy.”

November 29th
Today is Thanksgiving day. We boys went skating on the pond. Mama and papa went to church.

December 4th
We have been sliding down hill in front of our school house. It has been a pleasant day.

December 12th
Willie (Harold’s brother) is better to day. We went down to the pond. but it was all slush not fit to skate. Phil and I went down to Mrs. trusket’s to learn a song for Christmas. And we went on the 10
th for the first time.

December 17th
There is ice in the straits to day. It blew in from lake Michigan. It is the first time it has been on this year.

December 19th
They began to dress the Church to day. There is more ice in the straits to day.

December 20th
It snowed last night and has been snowing all day very hard. Every body is getting ready for Christmas.

December 25th
We had a Christmas tree this mornig. Willie was delited with it, I received the “Theatre Royal.” a knife, the Calendar of American History and several other little preasants.

Ice sailing on the Straits of Mackinac.

The Corbusier family remained at Fort Mackinac into 1884, and came back for the summer of 1892. More information on Fort Mackinac can be found by clicking here and information on A Boy at Fort Mackinac: The Diary of Harold Dunbar Corbusier can be found by clicking here.