R.A. Tucker, and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hodges. Rev. R.W. Lawton of Oviedo was the first pastor. He walked to Fort Christmas from Oviedo, twenty miles distant, once a month for services until the community was able to secure the price of a pony after which he rode.
In the early days, supplies were brought by water, via the St. Johns River, from what is now Sanford. later they were brought by ox team from Oviedo where they came by rail.
June 27, 1892 the Christmas Post Office was established with Mr. Samuel B. Hurlbut as the first postmaster. In 1909 it was made a money order office. Although the village is known as Fort Christmas, the Post office was established as Christmas; and there has been no change in the name throughout the years, despite some belief to the contrary. Christmas has had eight postmasters in the forty-two years of its existence. Mr. Hurlbut, the first postmaster, kept the office four years. and was succeeded by Mr. G.G. Coward, who kept it another four years. Mr. J.W. Savage was the next postmaster with ten years of service. Mr. C.L. Hatch followed next and held office for three years, then Mr. Thomas H. Hancock for one year. Mr. A.F. Tucker succeeded Mr. Hancock and was postmaster two years, after which his wife, Mrs. L.O. Tucker was succeeded by Mrs. Juanita S. Tucker, a daughter-in-law, who is the present postmaster. Christmas has had several mail carriers also. The first one was Postmaster Hurlbut's son, Van, who carried the mail on his back from Chuluota twice a week. Mr. Gabe Long, of Chuluota, acted longer than any other with sixteen years of service to his credit. It is interesting to note the evolution of travel. The first carrier took the mail on his back. Later horseback became the vogue, then a two-wheeled care, which was followed by horse and buggy, and finally the modern mode, the automobile.
Many years ago, there were several schools dotting the widely scattered community. Four of these schools are now combined into one. One of the early schools are now combined into one. One of the early school teachers was Mr. Emmett Roper, who taught in the school situated on the county line. It is recalled those pupils of Mr. Roper that a number of the girls, desiring a two weeks vacation at Christmas time, which he refused to give, tied the teacher and ducked him in a pond until he agreed to their demand.
Christmas, like the evergreens refusing to acknowledge the seasons, has not changed much with the years. Older than either Orlando established in 1843, or Miami established in 1869, today it boasts but 250
population. As late as 1914, ox carts and horses and wagons were still used as modes of travel and transportation. Today, however, the ox cart and wagon have gone their way to be replaced by the automobile. The horse, however, still holds his important place in the heart of the community, for cattle raising is the principal industry of this small replica of the west. The sombrero, the round up, the sound of lowing herds, the light of campfire at night - these are all familiar and homely scenes.
Even during boom days Christmas escaped the inroads of progress, for its citizens purchased nearly all the available land, paying fabulous prices for some of it. Consequently, it stands today just as it was before the great Florida "land rush" and practically the same as it has been for many many years, with the exception of a few hard roads.
Yes, Christmas is a quiet place. There are no moving pictures nor places of amusements, no street cars, trains, nor traffic, no noise nor hubbub to break the monotoned pattern of life. But life is not dull; it is marked by unusual beauty and simplicity. There are the small farms, the groves, and the cattle for which to care. In summer, there are alligators to hunt and in winter trapping to do. On Sunday there is Church to attend, for Christmas' citizens are a religious people. On the long winter evenings there are cane grindings and at Christmas time there are parties and much Holiday festivity and merriment.
It seems that the heritage of these virile sons of stalwart pioneers has been a great love for nature and the out-of-doors. It is to be doubted if many would exchange places with the mighty of the earth. The red light of a 'gator's eye hunted by night, the lure of the wild cat trail for pure sport, the chase of the deer, the bear, or the panther furnish zest and adventure to life. The opening of hunting season is particularly a gala day for all. Then the silence of wood and swamp is broken by a tempest of motion and confused sound. The hunter is on the trail. Night finds the country side lit by camp fires. Beneath a sky whitely lambent with stars, group gather and regale each other with the adventures of the days chase. Misty events of the past rise like vapors and take form in the flickering firelight at an old hunter's reminiscence of bygone glories. There is food and warmth and cheer. Life is good; life is abundant.
Midst this palpable mass of life stands the Post Office playing its part in the destiny of men through sunlight and shadow. Here from far and wide, come the letters of the young and old, the rich, the poor, the shut-ins who have no diversion other than a stamp or cover collection,