The Bullitt County History Museum

Bullitt Memories: Thanksgiving

The following article by Charles Hartley originally appeared in The Courier-Journal on 27 Nov 2013. It is archived here with additional information for your reading enjoyment.


Thanksgiving has long been a time to bring families together to celebrate the holiday, and give thanks for the blessings of the past year. Unfortunately it can also be a dark time when death, disease, or great need intrudes.

Today I want to begin by taking a brief look back approximately a century ago and see some of what was happening then at Thanksgiving.

In 1910, in a thanksgiving service at Little Flock, Rev. C. B. Atthoff gave a touching tribute to the physicians and surgeons in Louisville whose work eased the lives of the victims of tuberculosis housed at Hazelwood Sanatorium.

And on Thanksgiving Day, Laura Trunnell Stallings died. She was married to William T. Stallings in 1866, and left him, six children, and sixteen grandchildren to mourn her passing.

On a happier note, in 1914 Edna Starks, the teacher at the Green Briar school, published an invitation to the community to visit the school for a box supper and a Thanksgiving program. The proceeds would aid the children to get some needed supplies. Schools then, as now, resorted to fundraisers to meet needs.

On Thanksgiving 1915, someone "borrowed" John Sneed's shotgun, and the following June he indicated that he would be greatly pleased if they would return it as "he might want to go hunting himself some day."

The Hebron Church reminded the community in November 1916 that "a Thanksgiving service will be held at the church at eleven o'clock and a neighborhood Thanksgiving dinner will be served afterward." Another annual tradition.

That same year, the Tacky Party given by Miss Fronia James on Thanksgiving night was a delightful event. Miss Texia Swearingen received the prize for being the tackiest one present. Those present were Ada Greenwell, Bertha Trunnell, Alleen Swearingen, Bessie Grant, Mollie Roby, Miami Deacon, Texia Swearingen, Elmer Samuels, Willie Deacon, Roy Shaw, Virgil Roby, Bruce Bridwell, Gabe McCormick, Norman Bridwell, John Lane, Bennie Roby, Hugo Crenshaw, Bernard Roby, Mr. and Mrs. Lem Swearingen, and Mr. and Mrs. Iley Jones. At 12 o’clock, all departed for their homes expressing their joy and hoping that all would be there on the Thanksgiving of 1917.

And the following Tuesday, down at Lebanon Junction, the Loyal Daughters class at the Christian Church entertained their many friends at their annual banquet in the Masonic Temple. Places were laid for about eighty-five and a real Thanksgiving banquet was prepared.

Thanksgiving 1918 followed a great tradition of families gathering together to celebrate the holiday. At one gathering, Mrs. M. E. Meredith provided Thanksgiving dinner for a host of family and friends. Gathered together were Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Monroe, Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Meredith and son, Chas. Carroll’s family of Louisville, J. B. Combs family, C. F. Troutman’s family, Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Troutman, Mesdames Lee, Nusz, Rennison, Miss Burkholder, H. H. Combs, J. I. Rickerson, Robt. Troutman and Miss Annie Troutman, and Frazier Lee’s family. The paper's correspondent declared, "The dinner was delightful and everyone who was ever in Mrs. Meredith’s home knows what a splendid hostess she is."

The paper also reported that "Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Showalter and boys, of Louisville, who came to spend Thanksgiving with relatives are still here. Mr. Showalter contracted the flu and others in the family have since taken it." The Spanish Influenza was taking a deadly toil that year. However, it appears from census records that the Showalters survived.

In 1919, Mrs. Stella Simmons, teacher at Green Briar, continued a tradition by giving a Thanksgiving entertainment at her school. A large crowd was present and the little folks did well.

And perhaps another tradition was beginning, as Dr. and Mrs. Ridgway spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Lexington with their son Samuel, and attended the Kentucky vs Tennessee football game, a game Kentucky won 13-0.

Thanksgiving 1920 was a happy time for Mrs. Julia King on her 75th birthday as a surprise party was provided by her children. Present were Mrs. Betty Harris, Mrs. Ida Hecker, Mr. & Mrs. Ed Mothershead, James, Charles and Pearl King, one brother, W. R. Newkirk, five grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and one niece.

This is just a sampling of the Thanksgiving events in Bullitt County during those years. Coming forward to our own time, we often find that things haven't changed much. Families still gather, communities still hold events, and footballs still move up and down the field; while newer traditions, such as "Black Friday" seem to intrude on the slower times of old.

And needs are still present, with churches and community organizations working to help meet them. The Fellowship of Concern, a local organization, has been helping to meet those needs for over forty years. Currently, the Fellowship provides some assistance with utilities and medicine. Their contact number is 543-6284.

The Fellowship relies solely on volunteers, and the generosity of the community and churches to meet its average monthly expense of over $1000. It is largely funded by donations taken at a combined church revival at five local churches in October, and a Thanksgiving service held in Shepherdsville during Thanksgiving week; and by contributions from businesses and citizens like you. You may contribute by writing a check to the Fellowship of Concern and mailing it to P.O. Box 6624, Shepherdsville, Kentucky 40165.

Another community event is held in Shepherdsville at First Baptist Church, where a Thanksgiving meal is served by members of the church and community volunteers to those who have made reservations. This annual tradition provides a home-style meal to those in need, and the elderly who might otherwise go without.

Wherever Thanksgiving takes you this season, give thanks for your blessings, not just on Thanksgiving, but each day of the year. And having given thanks, find a way to reach out and share. Someone will bless you for it.


Copyright 2013 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.


The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Sep 2017 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/memories/thanksgiving.html