– The author of Mary Had A Little Lamb is responsible for us having a national day of thanks. She lobbied several presidents before finding a sympathetic ear with Abraham Lincoln. Sara Joespha Hale wrote a final letter to him on September 28, 1863 arguing that a day like this would be good for the country after the Civil War. He read her letter on October 3 and the first Thanksgiving happened the following month!
– Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the holiday from the last Thursday of the month to the second to last. He thought this might boost the economy by giving and extra week of holiday shopping. Many states went along with his decision, many didn’t. In 1941 Congress made a ruling (typical) that we would celebrate on the 4th Thursday so sometimes it’s the last and sometimes it’s not.
– Sara Hale’s contributions didn’t stop after she got the holiday. She wrote numerous articles to newspapers providing recipes to prepare for the feast. These items would not have been at the original celebration but they sure tasted good. She’s responsible for yummies such as turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Thank you, Ms. Hale!!
-There were 102 people on the Mayflower. Only about half of them were what we call Pilgrims. The others were called Strangers and were basically folks that hitched a ride on the ship to the New World.
– The term Turkey Shoot came from a practice in the late 19th century. They would tie a turkey’s leg to a log with only his head showing from behind and then hold competitions for marksmanship. (Ewwwwww- that’s not even sporting!)
– Did you know turkeys have heart attacks? When the Air Force was conducting test runs and breaking the sound barrier, fiels of turkeys would drop dead. (Whoa!)
– There’s fossil evidence that show turkeys roamed the Americas 10 million years ago.
– The Guinness Book of Records records the heaviest turkey weighed in at 86 pounds!