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Gold Rush Sonora was site of first Thanksgiving Day in California | News


Gold Rush California’s first Thanksgiving Day premiered in Sonora with “fun and jollity, but not of the most refined order,” Capt. Thomas R. Stoddart wrote in his 1861 history of Tuolumne County.

The historic hoorah on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 1849, was held nine days before the state’s official day of grace proclaimed by Military Gov. Bennett Riley. Why the earlier celebration in Sonora happened remains a mystery, but the late County Historian Carlo M. De Ferrari speculated: “They may have been thirsty.”


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