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© Gail Underwood Parker

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Soapbox: Say "Thank you Sarah!"

Give a lady her due.  Take a quick peek at the history of celebrating Thanks in this country listed below.  Check out the dedication and determination of a single lady.  Widely acknowledged to have been the driving force behind this wonderful holiday, Sarah Josepha Hale should be a household name. She was a thoroughly remarkable women in her time or in any time. I was honored to research her and do a chapter about her in my book on amazing women from New Hampshire.  She deserves recognition! 

July 8: 1630: Governor John Winthrop [Massachusetts Bay Colony] documented a celebration in his records: "We kept a days of thanksgiving in all the plantations."June 29, 1671: a celebration of thanksgiving at Charlestown, Massachusetts by order of its town council.October 3, 1789 President George Washington signs a decree appointing November 26, 1789 as "a Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer."  You can read the original as published on October 14 that year in the Massachusets Centinel newspaper or a transcribed copy.

1817:  New York State makes an official annual Thanksgiving custom

1827: Sarah Josepha Hale begins 36 years of lobbying American Presidents to officially declare an annual national celebration of Thanksgiving and prayer.

October 3, 1863:  President Abraham Lincoln issues his Thanksgiving Proclamation setting the last Thursday of November for annual celebration nationwide. [Note: Some previous Presidents had done individual year proclamations.] 1939: President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the 4th Thursday of November as the official holiday. 1941: Congress approved Roosevelt's date as a national holiday.

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