Well, what about an annual event?
What about Thanksgiving?
With the day rapidly approaching, I found myself wondering how my ancestors celebrated the holiday, how their personal and societal perspectives might have differed from our own – so spent some time reading through old family diaries...
From the diary of John Allen Gould (1785-1860):
Nov 25, 1847 – Thanksgiving day – My Children with their Wifes and little ones were all at home & in good health
Nov 26, 1857 – Annual Thanksgiving. I visited my daughter Wilson (Margaret Gould Wilson) and took dinner with her and her husband. This is the first time that I have dined from home on thanksgiving day for about forty years
Nov 25, 1858 – This was the annual Thanksgiving day. My son George and his family was with me, and Margaret and her husband called upon us in the evening. In former years my Children were usually with me on thanksgiving day, but now they with their families have become so numerous that it is not convenient to continue the practice.
My mother’s side of the family had its diarists, too; Selah Howell (1840-1910) wrote a little note nearly every day in his Unitarian “Day by Day” inspirational book. It’s confusing, mostly, in that on any given page there are comments from the 1870s through the 1900s; sometimes wading through it is an exercise in patience.
Here are some clips from the page you see here:
1880 – All home, children well & happy. God be praised.
1894 – All at home
Cedar Ave., except for dear old Fred. After breakfast:
Will & I in Library, Fanny &
down stairs. Snowing hard from N.E. Marion
1897 – All at home except dear Fred & Carry
1898 – Will, Fanny, Marion & I. Nannie in
My 3rd-great aunt, Roxanna Wilder Sabin (1832-1925) kept diaries for most of her life; my great-grandmother, though, tossed most of them in the furnace in 1925 – she saved only a few of them. Here’s her comment from 1910:
Thursday 24 – The whole family at Waban – Ethel & I & Ed at Lute’s – Fred and Polly there. Ethel “belt crazy”
I don’t know what “belt crazy” means, but I do know something for certain: all these entries – from 1847 to 1910 – every entry was about home and family...every single one.
And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Happy Thanksgiving to you all...