Tad Lincoln saves the life of Jack, the White House Turkey

donna

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512px-Peas_2018_Pardoned_Turkey.jpg
Peas 2018 Pardoned Turkey

Unnamed White House staffer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and thought this Lincoln family story would be appropriate to share. In late 1863, a live turkey was sent to the White House for the Lincoln family to feast on during the Holidays. Tad Lincoln who was 10, befriended the bird. He taught the bird to follow him as they walked the grounds. The turkey was named Jack and Tad fed him as a pet.

When it was time to prepare the turkey for Christmas meal, Tad burst into one of his father's cabinet meetings . He was crying and begging that Jack not be killed. Tad said he was a good turkey and I don't want him killed. Lincoln paused in the midst of the cabinet meeting and took out a card and on it wrote an order of reprieve. Jack's life was to be spared. Tad raced out of the meeting and showed the reprieve to the executioner of Jack.

The holiday turkey incident may have revived youthful memories for Abe Lincoln. When he was eight years old and his Dad was away, Abraham asked his Mother if he might use his Dad's gun. Nancy Hanks Lincoln gave permission and Abe shot a turkey. After he saw the beauty of the bird whose life was ended, he was very distraught. In Lincoln's own words, he never again "pulled the trigger on any larger game". Down deep Lincoln was know to love animals and treated them very kindly.

Sources for these stories are from: "Lincoln's Youth Indiana Years Seven to Twenty One 1816-1830" by Louis A. Warren, "Lincoln's Sons" by Ruth Painter Randall, and "Tad Lincoln: Mischief-Maker in the White House" by John D. Weaver.

Presidential pardons of turkeys are well known. In November 1997, President Clinton spared a 60 lb turkey named Willis. He related Jack's story to reporters. In 2001 the turkey pardoning ceremony was told by President Bush as he pardoned his turkey. In 2008 President Bush. pardoned two turkeys named Pumpkin and Pecan. In 2009 President Obama pardoned Courage and in 2010 President Obama pardoned two turkeys, named Apple and Cider.

We presume, President Obama will pardon the turkey or turkeys at the White House this year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.
 
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diane

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Thanks for a great story! Lincoln's compassion for animals was well known. When the White House stables were set afire during the war, he took off for them leaping tall hedges like a rabbit, because one of the horses had belonged to his deceased son.

They should use wild turkeys - although the pardoning event would also be wild! Wild turkeys are beautiful critters.

http://www.groundbreakermag.com/files/2010/11/turkey-american-peacock.jpg

As opposed to your domestic dinner turkey!

http://images.cdn.fotopedia.com/annamnt-LwJ-_oQtOxg-hd.jpg

Sadly, the pardoned turkeys usually live only a year or so afterward because they are bred for meat and grow too large too fast for a long life.
 

donna

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Here it is time for Thanksgiving. This is always one of my favorite stories about Lincoln and his son, Tad.

I have been searching more on the story, and run across a great children's book, "Thanksgiving in The White House" by Gary Hines and illustrations by Alexandria Wallner. If you have young ones, a great gift for Thanksgiving for them. Another rendition of Tad and his turkey, Jack
 

Carronade

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This reminds me of a story I read years ago, I think in Reader's Digest. A family purchased a calf with the intention of raising it for meat. Of course the children made a pet of it, named it Charlie Brown, and were upset when Charlie went to his destiny.

Sometime later they were having a cookout for some occasion, maybe a birthday, with many children invited, and featuring hamburgers and hot dogs. When the children found out the burgers were Charlie Brown, most of them opted for hot dogs; but one kid took a burger, explaining "I didn't know him that well" :wink:
 

Northern Light

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Carronade

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All he was saying, was give Peas a chance :wink:
 

lupaglupa

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This reminds me of a story I read years ago, I think in Reader's Digest. A family purchased a calf with the intention of raising it for meat. Of course the children made a pet of it, named it Charlie Brown, and were upset when Charlie went to his destiny.

Sometime later they were having a cookout for some occasion, maybe a birthday, with many children invited, and featuring hamburgers and hot dogs. When the children found out the burgers were Charlie Brown, most of them opted for hot dogs; but one kid took a burger, explaining "I didn't know him that well" :wink:
My Mother had a similar story about her cousin's pet goat, Samson. Her cousin cried and cried when they slaughtered him for a BBQ. Mother just said he was delicious.
 
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