Thanksgiving Day Celebration in 1840s
On the actual day itself, the family would get up early, eat breakfast, and start cooking the dinner. Housewives would be frustrated and exhausted from all the preparations.
Then family, friends, and neighbors met at the meetinghouse (church) for a two-hour service, sitting in family pews. The sermon would be either topical or political. The most important part of the service would be the collection for the poor, so they could have a nice meal, too.
Dinner was served around two to three PM. Typical foods served would be: turkey, chicken pie, roast beef, winter vegetables, pies, puddings, dried fruits and nuts, and hard cider or wine to drink. It was not considered a children’s holiday. They might even eat separately.
After dinner, the family would play games, tell stories, sing, talk, or visit other households.
If anyone was hungry after that huge meal, a small supper might be served. At the end of the evening, families would gather around the fireplace and say prayers before they went to bed. Some schools closed for the whole week and some workers had the Friday after off.
Thanksgiving was more prominently celebrated than Christmas at that time.
(from the back part of my book….Canal Town Christmas-Erie Canal Cousins-Book 4)