Thanksgiving Headed South

I have fond memories of frequently traveling from my home in Texas to my grandmother’s house in Arkansas for Thanksgiving during my childhood. We had turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Imagine my surprise when I learned through newspaper articles in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives that Thanksgiving was not always celebrated in the South!

This year, on the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, it’s fitting to share what newspapers tell us about when Thanksgiving spread to the South.

The Pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving in 1621. Massachusetts’ Salem Gazette reflected in 1813 that “Our annual Thanksgivings have been observed from the first settlement of the country. May this institution ever be held sacred!”

Read the full article as originally published on