Governor Francis Pierpont issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in Virginia or West Virginia in 1861, despite the Civil War raging. He designated November 28th as a day of gratitude and prayer. Pierpont acknowledged God's providence in blessings like agriculture amidst the conflict's grief. The proclamation preceded national Thanksgiving holidays started in 1863. Though simple, Pierpont's Thanksgiving aimed to inspire optimism and unity during grim times, boosting morale as West Virginia moved towards statehood. The occasion was a forerunner to modern Thanksgiving traditions.
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Photo Credits: Library of Congress