On Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1917, World War I was raging in Europe. U.S. troops were serving in France or undergoing training here at home in preparation for duty overseas. On Thanksgiving Day, despite the War, soldiers and civilians alike still sat down for the traditional turkey and pumpkin pie.
Soldiers of the 322nd Field Artillery, comprised of men from Montgomery and Preble Counties, would spend Thanksgiving at Camp Sherman near Chillicothe, Ohio. According to the History of the 322d Field Artillery, the Thanksgiving menu for Battery F included: celery, radishes, pickles, wafers, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing, giblet gravy, scalloped oysters, mashed potatoes, candied sweets, creamed peas, pumpkin pie, mince pie, ice cream, vanilla cake, coffee, oranges, apples, mints, cigars and cigarettes (p. 24-25). The meal, as the author wrote, proved “army food is worthwhile occasionally.”
Here in the Miami Valley the Dayton Weather Bureau reported a cloudy day with climbing temperatures from a low of 36 in the early morning hours to a high of 50 degrees at 8 p.m. Sunset on November 29, 1917, was 4:13p.m. In the notes section of the Bureau report the following description was written:
“The sun shone dimly through the clouds and breaks in clouds for more than an hour about noon, and from 11 to 12 noon there were 9/10 clouds.”
Daytonian Joseph Graham Crane Schenck, Sr., would start the cool, cloudy morning with, what many of us traveling over the holidays fear the most, car trouble. He then described his afternoon meal as simply “turkey, pumpkin pie, etc.”