Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

As many of you might remember learning in grade school, the first "official" Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln during the height of the Civil War, in 1863, in honor of the first Thanksgiving held by the pilgrims in Plymouth during the 17th century. But even before President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a holiday, it was traditionally celebrated by many people. The first letter below is evidence of that:

In this letter, Judge Samuel Caldwell of Sandusky has invited Samuel Butler and his wife Clara to his home for Thanksgiving dinner. (We know pumpkin pie was on the menu!) The date of the letter is November 23, 1846, nearly twenty years before the national holiday was observed. (It is also interesting to note that even then Thanksgiving was celebrated on a Thursday in November -- nobody seems to know for sure why this day was chosen.)

The second letter is from Eliza Follett, the wife of Oran Follett, requesting contributions from local residents to provide Thanksgiving food to the wives and children of soldiers serving in the Civil War. Mrs. Follett was very active in community service and charitable work, as can be inferred from this letter.

Have a happy Thanksgiving. . .

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