Swatting Flies Thanksgiving Day | November, 1914

Compiled by Susan Cypert

Burt H. Leonard and Friends at Thanksgiving dinner in Poland Junction 1910 (SHM call # 1700-0893-0002)

In 1914 Europe was in the beginning of World War I, but not the United States. And in Prescott, the town was celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1864. It was also celebrating a great Thanksgiving as described in an article in the Weekly Journal-Miner on November 27th.

The following version of the 1914 article was originally published on November 22, 1997 as a Days Past piece edited by Michael Wurtz, archivist at the Sharlot Hall Museum. It is a delightful article and bears revisiting. The subheading gives the reader an idea of why this particular Thanksgiving was so remarkable: “Mercury Ranges From 28 to 70; Day Long To Be Remembered in Prescott”.

“It simply does not lie in the power of the weather man to make a finer day for Thanksgiving than the one in Prescott yesterday, and it is probable that the people enjoyed it to the full measure of their capacity for such perfect things.

In the morning the thermometer registered twenty-eight above at 7 o’clock. At nine o’clock Old Sol had driven the silver point up to [sic] twenty, and at noon it was 67, becoming still warmer than this as the beautiful afternoon wore slowly away.

Second Yavapai County Courthouse (SHM call # 1403.0503.0001)

It seemed that the whole populace enjoyed a day in the open. All the automobiles available were in use. Save the sheriff’s office all the office doors in the court house were locked from morning to night. The general delivery of the postoffice was open but one hour. Some of the downtown stores were open a short time in the morning but there was none open in the afternoon. The cigar stores, saloons, and pool halls were about the only places available for any who wished to while away the time in the down town district. And in many of these places men were noticed during the day swatting the flies as though it was July, an incident of Thanksgiving, 1914, which is worthy of transmitting to eastern people and pasting in the crown of one’s hat. The plaza was a popular place. There the comfortable seats were crowded with people all the afternoon, who seemed to enjoy the beautiful day as much as the more fortunate ones with their automobiles and carriages.

A number of sportsmen went to the turkey shoot at Whipple Barracks in the afternoon, and many scores attended the football game between the Prescott and Tempe teams at the ball park, witnessing the locals get another ‘trimming’, it being the last game of the gridiron season.

It was a great day – a feast day – a sport day, and a day which could not fail to inspire thankfulness in the hearts of all Prescottonians for a multiplicity of blessings. And it closed last evening with religious services at the Odd Fellows’ hall, where Evangelist DeLaye delivered a Thanksgiving sermon and the large choir, led by Prof. Pfaffenberger, sang many selections appropriate to the occasion.

‘Today it will be cold stew.
Tomorrow, turkey hash.
Saturday, bone soup.
And Sunday – just plain beef.”’

Mineral Fountain on Plaza in front of Yavapai County Courthouse
(SHM call # 1403-0555-0002)


“Days Past” is a collaborative project of the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Prescott Corral of Westerners International (www.prescottcorral.org). This and other Days Past articles are also available at archives.sharlothallmuseum.org/articles/days-past-articles/1 The public is encouraged to submit proposed articles and inquiries to dayspast@sharlothallmuseum.org Please contact SHM Research Center reference desk at 928-277-2003, or via email at archivesrequest@sharlothallmuseum.org for information or assistance with photo requests.

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