It wasn’t easy to get us to just take a day and be thankful. It took a long campaign . We should perhaps take some time to thankher for all her hard work- an unsung heroine.
It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, whose efforts eventually led to what we recognize as Thanksgiving. Hale wrote many editorials championing her cause in her Boston Ladies’ Magazine, and later, in Godey’s Lady’s Book. She was fired with the determination of having the whole nation join together in setting apart a national day for giving thanks “unto Him from who all blessings flow.”
In 1830, New York proclaimed an official state “Thanksgiving Day.” Other states soon followed its example. The Territory of Minnesota celebrated its first Thanksgiving Day on December 26, 1850. The whole territory, including all of what is now the State of Minnesota plus the Dakotas as far west as the Missouri River, contained approximately 6,000 settlers but the book, The Frontier Holiday, describes a spirited celebration.
By 1852, Hale’s campaign succeeded in uniting 29 states in marking the last Thursday of November as “Thanksgiving Day.”
Finally, after a 40-year campaign of writing editorials and letters to governors and presidents, Hale’s passion became a reality. On September 28, 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale wrote a letter to President Lincoln and urged him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day “of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father.”