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Thanksgiving Day in Highland County in 1913 

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Steve Roush

By Steve Roush
HCP columnist

Ladies and gentlemen, as we observe and celebrate the Thanksgiving season, let’s take a look back – a 110-year look back in time – to see what was written in the local newspaper about the holiday. 

The year was 1913, and just like today, there was good news and bad news happening around town. The good? Edgar Williams of Liberty Township won the Corn Contest and a trip to Washington, D.C., and the Crosen family threw a surprise birthday party for their daughters, Misses Ruby and Leanna. 

The bad? Poor Hardin Roads was attacked by a bull, broke six ribs and was in the hospital for two weeks, and an “interested citizen” was reporting that high school boys were smoking pipes and cigarettes at school and that the school board, the superintendent and the teachers should do their duty and nip it in the bud. 

However, if you turn the front page to Page 2, an editorial, entitled “Observing Thanksgiving Day” appeared, and it was most likely penned by Editor and Manager Granville Barrere (1878-1954), who by the way is my first cousin three times removed.  

Granville would have been about 35 years old in 1913, and he wrote the following:  

Who has the greatest reason to observe Thanksgiving?  

In our opinion, it is the person who is free from physical disease, who can truthfully say, “I have done no one a wrong,” who feels that he has done his duty, who has performed his daily tasks uncomplainingly and gladly, who bears malice and hatred towards no one and who fearlessly stands ready to meet whatever the future holds in store for him. 

It is true that not many of us will have done all of these things, but if we are well and our consciences are clear we have much to be thankful for. 

And let us not simply think of today as a holiday, when we do not have to work and will have a good dinner, but let us really observe the day, and give thanks for the blessings that have been vouchsafed us. It is well that a nation, which has been so richly blessed as ours, should set aside one day, when the daily routine will be discontinued and as a people we will express our thanks. We fear that by many the real spirit of the day is not considered, that all that it means is a holiday. 

And the more fortunate when they consider how much better off they are than many, should show their appreciation by doing something to bring joy to some unfortunate. There is no truer way of giving thanks than by helping the afflicted and the needy. 

It is our hope that today will be a day of real Thanksgiving for every one, that it will contain much joy and gladness and that no one will overlook an opportunity to cause some less fortunate brother to have real cause to give thanks. 

Well said, Granville Barrere, and thank you for wise words penned 110 years ago. May we always count our blessings. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. 

Steve Roush is chairman of the Highland County Historical Society Board of Trustees, a board member of the Highland District Hospital Foundation, a vice president of an international media company and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press. He can be reached by email at

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