Treat yourself to an 1880s Thanksgiving

While Thanksgiving may conjure up memories of feasting all day and napping all night, it was quite the opposite on an 1880s farm. Men still had to husk and haul corn shocks, hunt and care for the animals while women were busy storing root crops from the garden and preparing the food for the day’s feast which included some special family favorites, including roast turkey and cranberry jelly.

The farm family enjoy lunch at Slate Run Living Historical Farm. Photo/Frank Kozarich


An 1880s Thanksgiving meal usually consisted of some type of poultry, such as turkey, chicken, geese or quail. In addition to poultry, the meal included fruits and vegetables preserved from the garden. A variety of pies and a hickory nut cake were common desserts.

Thanksgiving was a time for families to gather and enjoy a meal together. Due to the various demands of farm life, family get togethers were far and few between. As harvest season drew to a close, families used this time to talk about the past year’s events and their plans for the future. Add a little bit of 1880s charm to your Thanksgiving with these cranberry jelly and roast turkey recipes.


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