What follows appeared in the November 28, 1896, edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper. The paper began on page 1 with a little recap of the origins of the thanksgiving tradition. We wish you a fine holiday and be sure to make some great Rangeley history of your own! 

(Contemporary commentary in Italics). 

 Early Thanksgiving Days  

The first recorded Thanksgiving was the Hebrew feast of the tabernacles. There have been but two English Thanksgivings in this century. One was on Feb. 27, 1872, for the recovery of the Prince of Wales from illness; the other, June 21, 1887, for the queen’s jubilee. The New England Thanksgiving dates from 1633, when the Massachusetts Bay colony set apart a day for thanksgiving. The first national Thanksgiving proclamations were passed by congress during the Revolutionary war. The first great American Thanksgiving Day was in 1784 for the declaration of peace. There was one more national Thanksgiving in 1789, and no other till 1862, when President Lincoln issued a national proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving. Since that time the president has issued an annual proclamation.  

(The description of a Thanksgiving table below, reprinted from the Cleveland Exchange, would have been pure fantasy for all in Rangeley but the wealthiest of land barons in 1896. Most Rangeley Lakers had never even seen a banana or mandarin let alone could afford a turkey).  

Carry Out the Idea of Plenty  


To fulfill the chief end of its being there must be too much to eat at Thanksgiving dinner. That, too, is one of the traditions of the day. All decorations of the table must carry out the idea of plenty, the heaped-up fruits, apples, pears, grapes, oranges, mandarins, bananas, that form the centerpiece; well filled dishes of bonbons, salted almonds and olives, the vases of flowers that mingle their perfume with the odors which steam from the high piled plates of the guests. A couple of small pumpkins, hollowed out, lined with paper and filled with nuts and raisins, will remind the fasters of what might otherwise be overlooked in these degenerate days— that the festival is of New England origin. The same fact may be further suggested by serving the sorbet in pumpkin shaped paper cases and by a toast in sweet cider to the pilgrim fathers— who would, by the way, have been mightily shocked could they have foreseen the lavishness of the banquet. 

(And from Page 2 a more realistic description of a Thanksgiving feast for the average Rangeley family in 1896). 

Venison with partridge on the side is a very acceptable camp substitute for the conventional turkey. 

(And we will close with some snippets from the ‘With Sportsman’ column found on Page 5). 

A Rockland game warden hasn’t any doubt that the game law is being violated. He went down to see the (ferry) Frank Jones come in and he also saw aboard the boat six deer saddles in as many different packages of egg boxes, barrels, etc., and packed with the deer were 45 partridges and 20 rabbits. (Unfortunately, the act of being a Game Hog remains timeless). 

Just Hungry? 

When in Rome, Don’t Do as the Romans Do 

Rome, Maine- Game Warden Clark, of Smithfield, arrested four men named Mosher, residents of Rome for taking trout with a spear. He discovered a light near the spawning bed at the mouth of Meadow Brook on Great Pond. With assistants, Mr. Clark arrested the four, when they landed. He also found six fish that had been speared. He thinks one man escaped and that a bag of fish also disappeared in the scuffle. They plead guilty before Judge Philbrook, at Waterville, and were each fined $25.00 and $1.00 for every fish taken and one quarter of the court costs. It was shown that they were very poor men and reduction was made so that $20.00 each let them off. They won’t get caught spearing fish again right off, and the chances are that they didn’t even take home the half dozen that cost them so much! 


Caption: It is hard to fathom how sparse Thanksgiving truly was for these residents of “Boobie Town” located just outside of Rangeley.

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