Honest Abe Talks Thanksgiving

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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Nichols Library hosted a “historic” guest to tell about how the holiday came to be.

The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, appeared Naperville for an educational event about his role in establishing Thanksgiving.

Lincoln’s Role

But honest Abe wasn’t touting himself as the only reason the holiday came to be. Guests at the lecture were taught the history of the woman who wrote letters to multiple presidents, trying to create a national day of giving thanks.

Abraham Lincoln impersonator Kevin J. Wood, said, “Basically there’s a woman, named Sarah Josepha Hale, a very influential woman, who spent 35 years trying to get this country to have a national day of Thanksgiving. And I was the president who finally honored her request, and so we created it in 1863. Had a proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving, we did it again in 1864, and I understand every year since then the president of these united states has issued a proclamation. You continue the tradition today.”

Lincoln also shared how he established another tradition, as he was the very first president to pardon a turkey from becoming holiday dinner…though it was in fact a Christmas turkey, not a Thanksgiving one.

Naperville News 17’s Ryan Skryd reports