Did the Sikes family celebrate Thanksgiving? What was it like? Such questions are not likely to be answered directly, but with the wondrous internet, we can make inferences based on historic newspaper collections. The San Diego papers of the 1870s and 1880s are filled with notices and news regarding Thanksgiving, beginning in the last weeks of November. The following is one of the most entertaining quips found: “Weather and creditors still threatening; rainfall light – – money ditto; – – Thanksgiving is next Thursday, and no turkey!” (source Daily Union, Saturday, November 20, 1875).
Proclamations were issued by the governor for many years running, making it clear that the state of California supported the nationally recognized holiday. These were printed in the newspaper for everyone to see. Advertisements for Thanksgiving dinners held in San Diego’s fine hotels were printed as well as schedules for special church services.
Could the Sikes family have gone out and shot their own turkey? According to a 21st century Union-Tribune article, they could have done so. An article expressing great fondness for San Diego’s incomparable November weather in 1889, stated that the “. . . turkeys were roosting high.” Cranberry sauce was on the menu in many homes, and the cranberries (or tins of sauce) must have been shipped to southern California at some expense! For entertainment on the day of the feast, options included boating on the bay, or traveling to the El Cajon Valley, or to National City, or attending the baseball game! It is most likely that the Sikes family gathered its growing number of members and shared their feast under one roof; then perhaps joined other families belonging to the town of Bernardo for rural relaxation.
At the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead today, we are thankful for the help given us by our dedicated volunteers and supporters: docents, gardeners, resident volunteers, Eagle Scouts, the North San Diego County Certified Farmers’ Market vendors, and San Pasqual High School AVID students. For information on how to become involved, please send an email to the museum manager firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Thanksgiving!