Thanksgiving Wasn’t Always Turkey


It’s great fun searching out the tidbits in vintage newspapers about our ancestors. Probably it’s more appealing to me as a retired librarian than to the average person. Of course, it’s a lot easier searching for news with my online subscription using keywords. In my mother’s day, she had to visit libraries and struggle with the microfilm reader. The newspapers were not indexed then, so she would have to scan page after page looking for the family names.

Thanksgiving cartoon by John T. McCutcheonThanksgiving cartoon by John T. McCutcheon 28 Nov 1913, Fri The Coffeyville Weekly Journal (Coffeyville, Kansas)

Here are some of my finds relating to Thanksgiving.

Harry Joy - ThanksgivingHarry Joy – Thanksgiving 27 Nov 1946, Wed The Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas)

This 1946 Thanksgiving is at the home of my grand-uncle, Harry Joy. I found it interesting to see roast goose, pheasant, and chicken on the menu, but no turkey. It doesn’t give his wife’s name, but it is Mildred, also called Millie.

The guests included their daughter, Harriet, who was married to Theoren Miller. The Joys younger daughter, Orvetta was there also with her husband, Morris Yeager. I’ve no idea about the Morrison and Vaught families and how they connect.

Clyde Martin's parents spend Thanksgiving with them in El Dorado.Clyde Martin’s parents spend Thanksgiving with them in El Dorado. 24 Nov 1959, Tue The Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas)

This 1959 Thanksgiving brings my grandparents, Charles Lorenzo and Cora, from Emporia to El Dorado for the holiday meal. Again, it is without turkey. Maybe Dad had been hunting while laid off work, but I don’t remember eating duck, quail, and prairie chicken. I would have been about 9-years-old. How many quail and prairie chickens would it take to feed six children and four adults?

Usually, the company handed out turkeys to the oilfield workers at Thanksgiving. Sometimes they just gave them a bottle of whiskey which probably was a big hit with the young single men, but was a big disappointment to those with family to feed.

Here are some more family stories about Thanksgiving:

3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Wasn’t Always Turkey

  1. I don’t remember duck, quail, or prairie chicken either. And I don’t remember Dad ever hunting, other than that story our cousin tells about going night hunting from the car. Maybe Cora was making a joke?!


  2. Cynthia J Ross

    Love hearing the family stories. I was wondering how that many were able to set around the table, but maybe someone of kids used the toy box….. We didn’t have booster seats back then & one of us was always seated on the Lincoln Library.


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