While it seems that Michigan would be celebrating Thanksgiving with the rest of Americans across the country, that wasn't always the case. Giving thanks around a table of family, food, friends, and of course football, hasn't been around very long in the Great Lakes state. And the reason why we got our late start to the Thanksgiving table is a surprising one.

The First Thanksgiving...Without Michigan

The first Thanksgiving in America took place in New England in 1621. The New England custom started making it's way across the country as the U.S. expanded westward in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. While Michigan became the first in the Midwest to proclaim Thanksgiving as an annual holiday, it took us awhile to get there.

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Why did Michigan not celebrate Thanksgiving?

Michigan was going through a lot of turmoil and devastation for many years.  A devastating fire swept through Detroit in 1805, and the city was again damaged during the Battle of the Raisin River during the War of 1812. There was little food for Detroit's citizens who were also feeling defeated. But, things began to turn around for the city and its citizens in 1813 when Lewis Cass was elected as Governor of the Michigan territory.

On Nov. 4, 1829, Cass issued a proclamation designating Nov. 26 “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” The proclamation was printed in the Detroit Gazette and called on the citizens to 'set aside a day to acknowledge such blessings as their civil and religious freedoms, equal and stable government, the diffusion of knowledge, advantages of education, and general prosperity.'  And we're thankful that we can now pass the turkey and be thankful along with the rest of the U.S. And be hopeful for a Lions win.

Thanksgiving In Michigan

Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day Game From 1999

The Lions were then led by Bobby Ross and saw scoring touchdowns by Germane Crowell in the first quarter, then Greg Hill and Johnny Morton in the second quarter, which would prove to be enough by the end of the 4th. The game was a sell-out of 77,905, which is not unusual for these games.

Gallery Credit: Leanne Shaw Truckey