Stephen Clay McGeehee, of The Southern Agrarian, notes,
“During the Thanksgiving season we often hear that the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation was given by Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. on October 3, 1863. What the northern history books fail to mention is that Lincoln, bowing to political pressure, copied the President of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis actually had made the first national Proclamation of Thanksgiving two years earlier in Richmond, Virginia.”
Click to the link to read President Davis’ Thanksgiving Proclamation.
And the first Thanksgiving itself, on what would become the original 13 Colonies, later 13 States, was actually held in Virginia, at a place called the Berkeley Hundred, a year before the Pilgrims reached Plimouth (as it was called then)!
That was held on 4 December 1619. It was more about prayer than feasting – which may explain why it has not gotten the societal traction of the Pilgrim’s event – and the foods that were served were probably ham and oysters, not turkey and dressing.
Interesting history of this day, in any case!