Celebrating Easter in Galveston 1884 – 1920

Easter, in the liturgical sense, does not consist of a single Sunday. Properly it may extend from Lent through the Ascension but for the purposes of immediacy it certainly includes all of what we call the Holy Week from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. It is that last seven day period that we are going to address in this entry and fall back on our old practice of using cards from Margaret Edythe Young’s album for illustrations, items from the Galveston Daily News for contemporary text and, as we did with the Christmas entry, selections from scripture marking both the joy and the solemnity of the occasion.

A card received from a classmate who had entered the convent

From the Galveston Daily News, 6th of April 1884, an index to the Palm Sunday services. Margaret Edythe Young's family was probably still in the Cathedral parish although they may have gone to St. Patrick's - the Irish parish.

The entry into Jerusalem from the Gospel of Luke

28     ¶ And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
29     And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
30     saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
31     And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
32     And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.
33     And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
34     And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
35     And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
36     And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
37     And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
38     saying, Blessed be the King
that cometh in the name of the Lord
peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest.
39     And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
40     And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
41     ¶ And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42     saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43     For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44     and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

An Easter greeting card received in 1908 which is different because it is and actual photographic print.


Thursday of Holy Week received barely a notice in the edition of the 22nd of March 1894 of the Galveston Daily News with services interspersed with notices of boxers training and breweries opening.

The institution of the Eucharist from the Gospel of Matthew

17     ¶ Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
18     And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
19     And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
20     ¶ Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
21     And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22     And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
23     And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
24     The Son of man goeth as it is written of him but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
25     Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
26     ¶ And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27     And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28     for this is my blood  of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29     But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

A hand painted card, enclosed in a paper folder and closed with a ribbon is one of a few in Margaret Edythe Young's album

Good Friday described in the Galveston Daily News of the 1st of April 1904 but there is no index of services in the issue and the descriptions contained are at best cursory.

The Crucifixion from the Gospel of John

17     ¶ And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Gol’gotha:
18     where they crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
19     And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
20     This title then read many of the Jews; for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
21     Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
22     Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
23     ¶ Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
24     They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith,
They parted my raiment among them,
and for my vesture they did cast lots.
These things therefore the soldiers did.
25     ¶ Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cle’ophas, and Mary Mag’dalene.
26     When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27     Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
28     ¶ After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
29     Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. Ps. 69.21
30     When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

An Easter card from 1910 from a classmate who lived in Galveston. A penny card, with a penny stamp with a handwritten greeting mailed on Good Friday and received on Saturday.

By the 12th of April 1914 the Galveston Daily News had given the services two full columns - on page 12 on the inside with columns to the right reserved for advertisers.

Our first card feature eggs, which were traditionally given up for Lent along with meat and dairy, and so were very much part of the celebration of Easter. Our last card features the lilies which show forth Christ and His Kingly Majesty, Who is heralded by the prophet as "the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys"


Description of the services at St. Mary's Cathedral for Easter on the 12th of April 1914 from the Galveston Daily News


Easter Sunday described in the Gospel of Mark

[1] And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
[2] And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
[3] And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
[4] And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
[5] And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
[6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
[7] But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
[8] And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
[9] Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
[10] And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
[11] And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
[12] After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
[13] And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.
[14] Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
[15] And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
[16] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
[17] And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
[18] They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
[19] So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
[20] And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

In the ecumenical spirit and with thanks for and to Margaret Edythe Young's great grandson this is a description of the services at First Presbyterian Church in Galveston on Easter Sunday on the 12th of April 1914 from the Galveston Daily News


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s