Illinois History Minutes

November 25 Illinois History Minute


It’s Thanksgiving Day, a holiday that’s generally traced back to colonial settlers in 17th century New England. By the early 19th century, its popularity was spreading, actively promoted by Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of the women’s magazine, Godey’s Lady Book. The holiday spread unevenly in Illinois, since settlers from the south considered it a “Yankee” holiday. But Illinois governors eventually endorsed the holiday, with the first Thanksgiving proclamation coming in 1838 or 1842, depending on which source you trust.

Then, in 1863, Illinois native Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential Thanksgiving proclamation that has been repeated by presidents ever since. Lincoln’s version named the last Thursday of November quote as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.“