Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thanksgiving 1865

This is the first Thanksgiving after the Civil War, it is two years after Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclaimation. Primarily it was a day of prayer and praise of thanking God for all his good provisions. Below is a letter written Dec. 7, 1865 (Thanksgiving) by Amos A. Lawrence to his Uncle.

December 7, 1865. Thanksgiving Evening.

My Dear Uncle, — On these anniversary days the memory runs back to the days long passed away, and it requires a great effort for any except the very young to avoid an overpowering feeling of sadness. I think of you in what was not many years ago your " new home," surrounded with all that makes life sweet. The glad voices of your children, the tender smile of their mother, all united to warm your heart and to make you thank God for so much happiness.

Now in your " old home " you sit by your hearth, an old man, the lamp growing dim, the bright lights of former days gone out. The forms so dear are not seen; their cheerful voices are not heard. Yet in your own imagination you do see them, and you do hear their voices. But their forms are more heavenly, and their voices are calling on you to prepare to rejoin them. No doubt you will gladly obey the summons when in God's good time it shall come. Meantime you will live for those who remain to you, cheerful and cheering, in the service of the Lord, and in communion with his saints.

All this reminds me of my own life, so filled with blessing, yet fast gliding away. All my dear ones remain with me. My good wife, seven children, and one grandchild, all are here under this roof. I see their forms, to me the most beautiful on earth, and I hear their voices on this Thanksgiving evening. Indeed, I have cause for thankfulness, though the black clouds of sorrow should gather from this very hour ; still I could be thankful, for my cup of blessing has long been full and running over. Who that has lived fifty years can enjoy these family days without some sadness, if those cannot who have been prospered all the time.

Sunday 10th. My note was stopped by the influx of some twenty young people, chiefly nephews and nieces, who assembled here to have " high jinks " on Thanksgiving evening. There were two families of Uncle William L.'s grandchildren (Sprague and Whitney), two families of Uncle Abbott's grandchildren (Abbott L.'s and Rotch), and an equal number of Appleton grandchildren. They soon had possession of my sanctum where this is written, and turned me out to help play the " elephant," to " wind the bottle," to see "the dwarf" and the "giant." The sport ran high from six o'clock till nine, and then they disappeared into the snow-storm to their homes. They like to come to Uncle Amos's ; they think, no doubt, that I have been here always, and that I am as lasting as the hills. If the new heaven and the new earth are to be our everlasting home, then in our human weakness some might pray that this present home may be ours hereafter. Certainly I should be one to ask to live right here.

Your affectionate nephew,

A. A. L.

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