Giving Thanks in The Mountain State


Union soldier Larkin Goldsmith Mead holds a Thanksgiving turkey at Camp Griffin, Virginia, c. 1861.

Mason Hammond, Writer

Thanksgiving is the holiday of giving thanks to others and eating until you can’t move and eventually fall into a food coma. In modern day, Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition and holiday across the United States, but it wasn’t always this way. Many people know the story of the first Thanksgiving when the Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered for a ten-day long feast and party with more than 100 in attendance, however, not many know about the first official Thanksgiving. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, but 2 years prior the governor of Virginia, Francis H. Pierpoint declared that now in these war-torn times was the greatest time to count our blessings and give thanks to those around us.
“Now, therefore, I, Francis H. Pierpont, governor of Virginia, do hereby recommend to the good people of the Commonwealth the observance of Thursday, the 28th inst., as a day of thanksgiving”. This speech was given in what would later be known as Wheeling, West Virginia.
This means that the Mountain state of West Virginia started the beloved Thanksgiving traditions of giving thanks and eating until you can’t move. So, every time you bite into a turkey leg or cut a slice of pumpkin pie, remember to thank your home state for the week you get off school.