Day of thanks develops into national holiday over 240 years

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

What we now celebrate as Thanksgiving is traditionally tied to a three-day feast involving the Pilgrims after their first harvest in 1621.

After the long winter that claimed many lives that first year at Plymouth Colony, the settlers put together a fall celebration to give thanks for the bountiful harvest and for surviving the harsh New England winter.

The colonists ate with the Wampanoag Indians, and the menu included wild fowl, venison, seafood, squash and corn.

The Pilgrims celebrated a day of thanksgiving again in 1623. After that, a tradition began in Plymouth and other New England colonies of setting aside a day to give thanks for the autumn harvest. Although this tradition did not take place every year, it persisted throughout the rest of the 17th Century and became a foundation of a maturing colonial landscape.

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress appointed one or more thanksgiving days each year except for 1777. In that year, Gen. George Washington declared the holiday to be in December as a victory celebration for the defeat of the British at Saratoga.

Washington later issued proclamations of the Thanksgiving holiday in 1789 and 1795, this time as the president of the newly formed United States of America. However, it was not until another war that Thanksgiving Day was officially proclaimed a national holiday.

Influenced by a seemingly unending stream of letters from Sarah Josepha Hale, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in October 1863 officially recognizing the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Hale’s campaign to have Thanksgiving observed as a national holiday lasted more than 40 years and consisted of tireless lobbying efforts of her elected representatives and literally thousands of letters sent to presidents dating back to Andrew Jackson.

Later, in 1941,President Franklin D. Roosevelt, under mounting pressure from the business community, re-designated the holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Comments are closed.

  • The Old Watts Mill

    March 20th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News You might visit the area around 103rd Street and State Line Road if you were interested […]

    Lincoln Electric Park, a delight to the city’s Negro population

    March 13th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News During the early days of the 20th century, Kansas City’s Black population enjoyed only limited access […]

    Corby legend lives on in St. Joseph

    March 6th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News When John Corby passed through the trading post area of Joseph Robidoux on the Missouri River […]

    The Streets Hotel was listed in ‘Green Book’

    February 27th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week’s Linen style postcard was published by Blankenship Distributor, 1827 Vine Street in Kansas City, […]

    The White Co. delivers innovation through history

    February 20th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Our standard has always been to build a car able to surmount any road conditions which […]

  • Chicago World’s Fair: Century of progress

    February 13th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News One of the highlights of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair was the Firestone Singing Color Fountain. […]

    A Postcard from your Valentine

    February 6th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Around 200 A.D., the Roman Emperor Claudius was busy conquering various parts of Europe and Asia, […]

    No better view west of the Hudson

    January 30th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Built in 1906-07 by the Swenson Construction Company at a cost of $15,000, the stone-arched 15th […]

    Airport was among best in the US

    January 23rd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This Hallmark Cards postcard titled “Airplane View of Kansas City, Mo.” is actually a copy of […]

    A little slice of Beverly Hills in Independence

    January 16th, 2019

      Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Beverly Hills Acre Tracts. Ideal home sites on easy terms. City conveniences, no city or […]

  • What’s Happening

    Riverfront Homeless Camps in Harms Way

    For the section of Kansas City’s homeless population that live along the banks of the river, the rising river levels spell trouble in a big way.

    Residents can now visit Canady’s campaign office to sign the Paseo Petition

    Residents who are interested in signing the Paseo Petition can stop by the campaign office of Alissia Canady for Mayor

    St. Joseph’s Day preparations

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Thousands of cookies, pastries, various dishes, and fruits were prepped for this year’s Saint Joseph’s Day […]