- Special Sections
- Public Notices
In a few weeks, Owen County families, some of whom have traveled many miles to return home, will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Most dinners will feature “Mr. Turkey,” complemented by potatoes and gravy, vegetables, rolls, and a variety of pies served in the good old-fashioned Owen County way.
Every year, a few days before Thanksgiving, the President of the United States pardons a live turkey presented to him by the National Turkey Federation. No one knows for sure when this tradition began. Some claim President Harry S. Truman was the first to bestow clemency on the presidential gobbler, but others lay the honor at the feet of Abraham Lincoln.
Supposedly, Lincoln’s 10-year-old son named a turkey given to Honest Abe in 1863. “Jack” was given a reprieve from being the guest of honor at the dinner table when Tad Lincoln burst into one of his father’s cabinet meetings to successfully plead for sparing the bird’s life.
There are so many homespun tales about Abraham Lincoln, it is difficult to ascertain whether this one is true, but the tradition of turkey pardoning continues today — and the reprieved bird continues to live out his life in a petting zoo or on a farm.
The first Thanksgiving is attributed to the Pilgrims who gathered to give thanks to God for their survival through the previous hard winter. In 1777, the Continental Congress wrote the first National Proclamation of Thanksgiving stating in part: “For as much as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; And it having pleased Him in his abundant mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of His common providence; but also to smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary (Revolutionary) War ...”
On Oct. 3, 1789, President George Washington made a proclamation and created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States. Both houses of Congress requested President Washington “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God ...”
When hard times hit Owen County, a chicken might grace the table instead of a turkey, but be assured, Owen countians continued to gather to give thanks for their blessings and to enjoy the fellowship of family and friends. Those whose circumstances left them with little food were invited to a neighbor’s house to enjoy a repast with their friends.
The Owen County Historical Society will celebrate the blessings of the past year at the I.O.O.F. Hall Thursday, Nov. 11, at 6:30 for our annual Thanksgiving dinner.
James Bondurant, pastor of Old Cedar Baptist Church, will be the special guest speaker. Brother Bondurant was raised on a farm located just across Elkhorn Creek from Peaks Mill. Making a living at farming was difficult, and it wasn’t long before James was called by the Lord. When Old Cedar Baptist lost their minister, Lela Maude Hawkins asked Brother Bondurant to “fill in” for Sunday morning services. That first Sunday only 11 people were in attendance, 5 of whom included James and his family; yet in Brother Bondurant’s own words, “After a few Sundays, I cared more about that little church than my own personal goals in life.” Although the Bondurants no longer raise crops of tobacco and corn, their farm serves as an extension to their ministry, as they host children’s Pony Camps, with opportunities to witness about the Lord from the saddle.
Please join us for fellowship, an enjoyable meal, and a Thanksgiving message by Pastor James Bondurant.