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1864 November 24: A Day of Thanksgiving and Praise

November 27, 2014

In 1864 Thanksgiving Day fell on November 24.  The proclamation by Wisconsin Governor James T. Lewis appeared in several issues of The Polk County Press in November, and the short “Notice for Thanksgiving” appeared in the November 19, 1864, issue.

Notice for Thanksgiving.

Notice is hereby given, that there will be appropriate religious services held at the School House, in the village of Osceola, on Thursday the 24th of November, being the day set apart by the Chief Magistrate of our State and Nation, as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise.”

Services in the forenoon at 11 o’clock, conducted by Rev. Joel Brown.

Services in the evening at  6 o’clock, conducted by Rev. Samuel T. Catlin.

Dated Nov. 14th, 1864.

Signed in behalf of the M. E. Quarterly conference, Osceola.

Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1864, from "Harper's Weekly"

Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1864, United We Stand, from “Harper’s Weekly”¹


Another year has passed; its trials, its victories, its rewards, its punishments, its blessings have been recorded: its fruits have been gathered in.  In reviewing them, how manifest are the reasons and thankfulness and praise to God for his wonderful goodness to the children of men.  For the many tokens of Divine favor, the many blessings they have been permitted to enjoy, the people of Wisconsin have great reason to be thankful. Pestilence and famine have been kept far from us.  The labors of the miner, the mariner, the mechanic, and the husbandman have been rewarded.  The privileges of education and of worshiping God according to the dictates of conscience have been enjoyed by all.

The honor and loyalty of Wisconsin have been most nobly vindicated by her sons on many a battlefield.  Wherever our liberties have been assailed, an All-Wise Creator has given us stout hearts and strong arms to defend them.

The free institutions established by our fathers have been protected and preserved, and a wicked and unholy rebellion brought near to its close.

While the people of our sister States have suffered from the devastations caused by hostile armies in their midst, our people have been spared this calamity. For all these and numerous other blessings, which God in his goodness has vouchsafed to us ; for His loving kindness. His constant care and abundant mercies, we should with grateful hearts thank and praise him.

Therefore, I, JAMES T. LEWIS, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, in accordance with a worthy and time-honored custom, do hereby designate and appoint


1864, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God, and I would recommend to the people, laying aside secular pursuits, they meet on that day in their accustomed places of worship, and offer thanks to God for the many blessings we have been permitted to enjoy during the past year, and with their thanks let the earnest, fervent prayer ascend for the protection of the widow and the orphan, the noble soldier and his suffering family, that we may all grow wiser and better, that all our blessings may be continued, and that peace may soon again visit and bless our land.

In testimony whereof, I have here unto subscribed my name and caused the great seal of the State of Wisconsin to be affixed. Done at Madison, this 22d day of October, in the year of our Lord on thousand eight hundred and sixty-four.

By the Governor, LUCIUS FAIRCHILD,
.            .Secretary of State.

1.  The University of Wisconsin-River Falls’ Chalmer Davee Library has microfilm copies of Harper’s Weekly for 1858-1865 (UWRF online catalog).

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