Arkansas celebrated its first Thanksgiving in 1847, thanks to the tireless efforts of writer Sarah Josepha Hale (you might be familiar with her work “Mary Had a Little Lamb”). She revived and spearheaded the Thanksgiving movement years after President Washington first requested a national day to give thanks.
In 1846, Hale’s campaigning reached Arkansas and Gov. Thomas Stevenson Drew issued the proclamation. News spread by boat and stagecoach so it took months for the word to circulate, but the date was set. Cargo records indicate menus were likely comprised of bacon, veal, mutton and goose. Turkey would catch on later.