Tapping the Scales of Justice - A Dose of Connecticut Legal History

Gov. Wilbur Cross

A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation

State of Connecticut
By His Excellency Wilbur L. Cross, Governor

Wilbur Lucius Cross (1862-1948)

Wilbur Cross was an educator and politician who served as governor of Connecticut during one of the most turbulent and challenging times in America's history. Growing up in Mansfield, he earned his doctorate from Yale in 1889 and spent several years as a schoolteacher and principal in Westport before accepting a position as an English professor at Yale in 1894. After retiring, Cross took an interest in politics and accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for governor in 1930. Serving as Connecticut's governor for two terms (1931-1939), Cross helped see Connecticut through the Great Depression, pushed for the repeal of Prohibition, and even presided over the opening ceremonies for the newly constructed Merritt Parkway in 1938.

In 1936 Connecticut Governor Wilbur Lucius Cross penned a Thanksgiving Proclamation that has withstood the test of time. The words of this former professor of English and Graduate School dean at Yale are revived year after year for their positive, uplifting message:

Proclamation issued by Governor Wilbur Cross on Nov. 12, 1936

"Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of Public Thanksgiving for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth -- for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives -- and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man's faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; -- that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.

Given under my hand and seal of the State at the Capitol, in Hartford, this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty six and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and sixty-first."

Wilbur L. Cross

By His Excellency's Command:
C. John Satti

Doses of Connecticut Legal History