Timeline Tuesday: A Blustery Thanksgiving in Valentine

President Grover Cleveland in a proclamation issued November 4, 1896, set aside November 26 “to be kept and observed as a day of thanksgiving and prayer throughout our land” and asked that Americans forego their usual work and assemble in their houses of worship to render thanks. However, the celebration of Thanksgiving in Valentine in Cherry County in 1896 was “remembered more on account of the breach than the observance,” according to Robert Good, editor and publisher of The Valentine Democrat. The chief culprit was the weather. Good wrote in the Democrat on December 3:

“With the wind blowing at the rate of forty miles an hour and the thermometer hovering around zero while ten inches of snow filled the circumambient atmosphere so full it was continually at the bursting point, general observance of the holiday graciously granted by Grover could not be expected though most of us his loyal subjects closed our usual places of business. Repairing to our houses of worship was out of the question.


“It is impossible to give in detail the manner in which the day was celebrated by the majority of Valentine citizens but if the editor of this paper did such an absurd thing as to keep a diary of his daily doings the page devoted to Thanksgiving day would read about like this:


“Nov 26, ’96 – 4 a.m. Got out of bed to catch train going east. Lots of snow and wind. 4:40 a.m. – Went to depot, train reported hour late. 5:40 -Train another hour late. Still snowing and blowing. 6:40 – Train ‘nother hour late, same weather, ate breakfast. 8:00 a.m. – Train ‘n’our later, got mail put papers in office, read letters. 8:50 – train said to be coming.


“9:00 – Same old snow and blow, went to The Donoher [a hotel operated by M. J. Donoher], ate dinner as follows, all of it: Oyster Soup, Baked Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Roast Beef, Brown Gravy, Roast Veal, Mushroom Sauce, Stewed Lamb, Green Peas, Mashed Potatoes, French Beans, Corn, Mince Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Walnut Pudding, Brandy Sauce, Tea, Coffee, Milk, Water, Apples, Oranges, Toothpicks.


“Dear reader, we leave it to your imagination to complete the diary. After eating a dinner like that what would you have done, always remembering that the snow and blow before mentioned had not ceased?”

The weather, in addition to inconveniencing Good, also stranded area travelers and forced the cancellation of an entertainment in Valentine. He noted elsewhere in the December 3 issue of the Democrat, “Most people are now thankful Thanksgiving is over.”

An unidentified woman holding a large turkey.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Marker Monday: K-9 Training Area, Fort Robinson

Marker Monday: K-9 Training Area, Fort Robinson

State Song Sing-Along

State Song Sing-Along

Robert Ball Anderson’s journey “from slavery to affluence”

Robert Ball Anderson’s journey “from slavery to affluence”

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.