Here at 1812Blockhouse, we enjoy stepping back in time to try to get a feel for the Richland County of long ago.
So this holiday, join us for a trip through Thanksgivings past…
Bromfield: As we recently featured, Louis Bromfield wrote and narrated a short Thanksgiving story for radio in 1943. The United States was embroiled in World War II; radio shows of the time tended to be very supportive of war efforts, helping communicate to the public at large their responsibility to aid in the war effort. This program was no different; it centers on a Thanksgiving celebration in which several of the young men will soon be leaving their home to join the military. Bromfield uses his narrations to champion his views on the indomitable American spirit. “This is our America. The rich, abundant America of yesterday, and today and tomorrow; the America which will win this war and go on as a great nation believing forever in the power and the rights of the people,” says Bromfield to the listening audience.
Marry Me On Thanksgiving: In Bromfield’s story a young couple, Henry and Mary, is getting engaged and will marry the next day, because Henry is leaving to join up to fight in World War II. As it turns out, the practice of marrying on Thanksgiving used to be far more common than it is today.
In reading through old Mansfield Daily Shields, we find the following from November 29, 1912: “The day before Thanksgiving is the popular time for Mansfield and Richland County young folk to get marriage licenses. Nine were issued ‘the day before’ this year.” That same paper ran a headline two years later on November 25, 1914: “But Two Licenses Issued for Usual Big Wedding Day”. It seems that the report was a bit premature, as reported the next year on November 26, 1915: “Eleven licenses to enter into married life were issued from the probate court license bureau on Wednesday, just preceding the Thanksgiving holiday. This number is not quite so large as for the same day in 1914, but still it discloses that holidays afford a great incentive to prospective brides and grooms.”
The article does not specify exactly what those “incentives” are, so we will have to take their word for it. Although it is rare these days to marry on Thanksgiving, we can certainly appreciate a bygone era in which a holiday focused on gratitude and family was chosen by some as the day to begin their married lives.
Fourth Thursday or Final Thursday?: If you are planning to get married on Thanksgiving, or even just participate in the feast and celebration, you need to know which November day will be designated for the holiday.
From the October 26, 1906 Butler Enterprise: “This year, the same as last year, there is apt to be some misunderstanding regarding Thanksgiving day, as there will be five Thursdays in the coming November. Some people believe that Thanksgiving comes the fourth Thursday in the month. Last year November had five Thursdays, and some magazines had Thanksgiving billed for November 23, and others for November 30. As a rule, November has but four Thursdays, and it will have but four for some years after this one. However, the general rule is that Thanksgiving comes on the last Thursday in the month, or November 29 this year.”
In years to come there would continue to be nationwide confusion over the actual day. This was finally settled on December 26, 1941 when Congress passed a law to ensure that Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
High School Classic: Yes, we’re excited about this weekend’s big game. Here’s some highlights from a local 1913 football game played on Thanksgiving with the attention-getting headline “MHS Alumni Defeat Regular Team In Best Local Game Of Season”:
“The high school alumni defeated the Mansfield high school football team in their annual Thanksgiving battle yesterday by a score of 13 to 0. The game was by far the best that has been played on the local grounds this season as both teams fought hard from the start to the finish. The largest crowd of the season turned out for this game and the spectators were well repaid for their time.
“Had the high school showed the same fighting spirit during the season that they showed in yesterday’s contest they would have won over two-thirds of their games. They went out to the grounds fully expecting to be defeated but even at that they put up a great battle and made the alumni work for everything they secured.”
That is quite the backhanded compliment. The story goes on to detail the fact that the alumni had not really prepared or practiced together, so their win was based largely on their individual strengths. There were two touchdowns and an extra point, and then the game ended just as it was getting dark.
We hope everyone has a happy, relaxing Thanksgiving. We’re grateful for all of our readers and supporters, and look forward to more good things to come!