The first Thanksgiving meal, Bainbridge style

Published 3:34 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2017

One of our readers, Laura Bridges, had been going through some old documents and papers recently when she found an interesting article she was good enough to share. It was published in 1923 in The Post Searchlight and was a reprint of an article that appeared in 1882 in The Bainbridge Democrat, the predecessor of The Post-Searchlight. We thought it interesting enough to share again, as we are sure some of the names will be recognized as early leaders in the Bainbridge community.

Titled “Bainbridge’s First Thanksgiving Dinner”, it chronicles an event celebrated in 1882 and reads, “In 1882 the first public Thanksgiving dinner ever given in Bainbridge was celebrated at the home on Broughton Street of Ralph Hastings Cutter. It was entirely a stag affair and the guests were composed of the Albany circuit including Judge D.A. Vason, Judge of the Circuit; the Solicitor General, R. K. Hines of Albany; John C. Rutherford; Wm. O. Fleming; Dan McGill; D.A. Russell; O. Y Gurley of Bainbridge; Rev. H.B. Stewart-Martin; W.G.D. Tonge; E.R. Peabody; and B. E. Russell and John M. Brown of the Press, The Bainbridge Democrat.

“The toast was the tribute to the original organization of the day, George Washington and is as follows:

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‘George Washington, President of the United States, set aside in 1789, at the request of the National Congress, Thursday, Nov. 26th as a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer. To the people of the United States of America to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of God. A lovely service followed in which all took part, lead by that exaulted English divine, Rev. M. Stewart-Martin of the Episcopal Church—Bainbridge Democrat December 1882.’”

This article provokes some thought. As this was listed as a stag affair, it must be assumed the women must have been busy overseeing the cooking and preparations. It is also curious as to why it was named a “public” dinner when the attendees appear to have been limited to leaders of the Court and community, many the names of whom will be familiar with Bainbridge residents today.

It would also have been interesting to know what was on the menu.

At any rate, the dinner was very different from what one might have today.