Society & Culture

Thank this New Hampshire woman for Thanksgiving

Author of ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb” persuaded Lincoln to name national holiday

By Donna Judge, Granite Grok

Do you remember making hand outline turkey art in elementary school, while learning about how the Pilgrims and the Indians (now called Native Americans) sat down together for a harvest celebration feast at Plymouth Plantation in 1621?

Were you also taught that a New Hampshire woman was responsible for making the last Thursday in November a national holiday?

Sarah Josepha Buell was born in Newport, NH, in 1788. In an era when girls didn’t receive a formal education, Sarah was home-schooled and self-taught (an autodidact). In 1813 she married David Hale, gave birth to 5 children, and was widowed in 1822. She wore black the rest of her life, until her death in 1879 at the age of 90, as a sign of perpetual mourning.

Mrs. Hale never remarried and was able to support herself with writing and editing work. She’s perhaps most famous for writing the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” which Thomas Edison immortalized when he recorded it into his phonograph invention.

In the mid 1800’s many of the northeast states celebrated Thanksgiving holidays on different dates, independent of each other. Mrs. Hale thought that Thanksgiving should be a unified national holiday. She spent 17 years advocating for this in the journal she edited, Godey’s Lady’s Book. In 1863 she wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln. Four prior presidents had ignored Sarah’s letters. Lincoln responded immediately and agreed to her request. Secretary of State William Seward wrote and issued a proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November to be a “national day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”

Did Abe decree that all citizens must participate? No. Did he mandate that everyone has to eat turkey and stuffing on that day? Nope. He simply standardized the date of the holiday so that each State would be aligned with all the others.

After all, isn’t that what the federal government was created to do? It’s not supposed to be Big Brother, trample on State Sovereignty, or issue guidance that could result in weight gain or a tummy ache. It’s only supposed to (among other limited powers) standardize weights, measures, and currency in order to facilitate interstate commerce. Our founding fathers never had any intention of telling us what to put into our bodies, as a condition of employment or to participate in society. So, why are Biden and Fauci doing that now?

A little food for thought as we sit down, feast, and give thanks for our blessings this week. Oh, and you might want to avoid discussing the subject of mandates versus individual liberties at the dinner table, if anyone joining you got the jab or wears a mask in between bites. Just sayin’….

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