If you are celebrating Thanksgiving today, there are two people you should be thanking. Tisquantum and Sarah Josepha Hale. Tisquantum, also known as Squanto, is one of the reasons the pilgrims even survived and Sarah Hale is the reason Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Tisquantum was a member of the Patuxet tribe and part of the Wampanoag Confederacy. He is particularly well known for his assistance in keeping the pilgrims alive during their first difficult year. He shared traditional planting techniques and acted as interpreter and peacekeeper between the settlers and natives.

Sarah Josepha Hale lobbied four presidents before she got to a sympathetic ear in Abraham Lincoln. It is thought that Lincoln used Thanksgiving as a unifying holiday after the Civil War. She campaigned for 17 years to turn Thanksgiving into a national holiday, adding it to the very short list with Washington’s birthday and Independence Day. Certainly Hale is known for many more things in her life, but since today is Thanksgiving in America I’m focusing purely on that one tidbit of information.

Enjoy your time with family today.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Erin