By JAMES H. STREET
Associated Press Staff Writer
NEW YORK, Dec. 23.
"'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house..."
He wrote it for children - if the legend is true - and the story gave rise to a cry and hue as to who wore the 'kerchief and who wore the cap and who settled down for that long winter's nap.
Moore Is Credited
The controversy has never been settled. The poem was published in a volume by Moore, who was born in 1779 and was a teacher of theology.
It was exactly 110 years ago today that the story of Santa Claus' tour appeared in print in the Troy, N. Y., Sentinel. The editor commented that its author was unknown to him. Twenty-one years later the poem appeared in Moore's book.
Shadows Cross Grave
And each year children, after their stockings are hung by the chimney with care, take flowers to the grave and leave them there - where shade troops by from an old church house and no creature stirs - not even a mouse.
The Livingston claim to the poem came sometime after it appeared under Moore's name. He was a patriot who was born near Poughkeepsie in 1748 and whose family says he composed the poem to recite to children, who have never tired of that midnight ride of the saint of cheer with his miniature sleigh and little reindeer.
But the children's crusade is made to Moore's grave and in unison they say:
"To the top of the house, to the top of the wall - now dash away, dash away, dash away all!"
It seems a bit tragic that there is an argument over Santa Claus and Comet and Blitzen, but on one thing the critics agree - regardless of who is right;
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."
Copyright © 2014, Mary S. Van Deusen