On This Day in 1789: Washington declares a day of public thanksgiving and prayer

On This Day in 1789: Washington declares a day of public thanksgiving and prayer
George Washington declared a day of Thanksgiving and prayer on Nov. 26, 1789. (Source: National Archives)

(WWBT) - On this day in history, President George Washington made his first presidential proclamation - a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.

According to Mount Vernon, Washington marked Nov. 26, 1789, by attending church services at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City and by donating beer and food to imprisoned debtors in the big apple.

Thanksgiving was practiced by early British colonists more than a century earlier in Virginia.

The next president to issue a Thanksgiving proclamation after Washington was Abraham Lincoln in 1863 – also choosing Nov. 26.

Since Lincoln, - every president has issued an annual Thanksgiving proclamation, each citing a specific date.

You can learn much more about the creation of this holiday in episode 2 or our “How We Got Here” podcast:

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