1845—Washington’s First Thanksgiving

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What Once Was: 1845—Washington’s First Thanksgiving

Orginally PUBLISHED: 2017;

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 By Matthew B. Gilmore*

In November of 1845 Washington’s newspapers, including the National Intelligencer, and The Union, reported on Mayor William Winston Seaton’s proclamation of November 27 as a “Day of Thanksgiving,” it being the city’s first observance of the holiday. Maryland’s Governor Thomas Pratt had issued a Thanksgiving proclamation earlier in October, also setting November 27 as the day for that states’ observance.


Seaton’s proclamation had sparse local precedents. [1] The Thanksgiving holiday observance had New England, “Yankee,” origins — primarily Connecticut and Massachusetts — but had recently slowly spread southward through the states. Niles’ Weekly Register, in the last quarter of 1817, noted in passing Thanksgiving proclamations in New-York, Pennsylvania, the city of Charleston, and Vermont.

In 1832 Washington had had a special (one-off) day of thanksgiving for the departure of the cholera epidemic. The epidemic was a serious one – 1,000 cases were reported, half of them fatal. Washington’s population at the time was only 24,000. [2]

As the 1840s progressed an increasing number of state governors adopted the holiday and proclaimed the observance of a day of thanksgiving in late November or early December. Federal holidays simply did not exist. The only other precedent might have been from the early days of the Republic, when Presidents George Washington and John Adams had each had proclaimed a day of thanksgiving as a religious observance.


full post here: https://matthewbgilmore.wordpress.com/2021/11/26/1845-washingtons-first-thanksgiving-2/