Thursday, November 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: "Jack" - Hartford, CT

Hartford, CT

GPS: N41° 46.279; W072° 40.071

Quick Description: 

Jack is the name of the first turkey to receive a presidential pardon. It is the title of a sculpture of a turkey located at the Lincoln Financial Sculpture Walk at Riverfront in Hartford, CT.

Long Description:

Sixteen abstract and traditional sculptures related to the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln are installed along the Lincoln Financial Sculpture Walk at Riverfront in Hartford and East Hartford. Lincoln Financial is an insurance company based in Philadelphia with offices in Hartford.

Lincoln established the Thanksgiving holiday, in 1863, and the practice of pardoning turkeys. The plaque on the pedestal of the sculpture begins with a quote from Lincoln about his early life in Indiana and contains the story behind the practice of pardoning Jack and other turkeys.

The plaque is inscribed:

{Profile of Lincoln}
Walk at

{five wavy lines}

Philip Grausman, 2006

"We reached our new home (in Indiana)
about the time the State came into the Union.
It was a wild region, with many bears and
other wild animals, still in the woods.
There I grew up"

Abraham Lincoln spoke with regret about the first time
he shot and killed a wild turkey at age eight. perhaps as a
result of this traumatic event, he became the first
president to issue a "Presidential Pardon" to a turkey
when his son, Tad, became attached to a bird names Jack
which was intended for dinner. Tad interrupted a cabinet
meeting weeping and begging for his father's intervention
and returned to the cook with the president's handwritten
order of reprieve. Ironically, Lincoln also issued a
proclamation in October 1863 establishing the last
Thursday of November as "a day of Thanksgiving and
praise," inaugurating a long tradition of both turkey
dinners and presidential turkey pardons.

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