A broadside (a large piece of paper printed on only one side) issued by Thomas and Samuel Green, of New Haven, announced the proclamation of Connecticut Gov. Matthew Griswold naming Thursday, the 24th of November, 1785, “a Day of Publick Thanksgiving.”
Most credit the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony as being the originators of the Thanksgiving tradition — though, as historians point out, settlers in what are now Texas, Maine and Virginia held earlier celebrations in a similar spirit. It is the Pilgrims’ 1621 gathering, however, that became the touchstone throughout the colonial period and into the 19th century for official days of feasting or fasting, depending on the year’s fortunes. There was no set month or date for these observances to take place, and it was common for the colonies and later the states to issue proclamations.