Thanksgiving Day by Lydia Maria Child

Thanksgiving Day

by Lydia Maria Child


Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood–
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
To have first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate.
We seem to go
Extremely slow–
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood–
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!



This poem is popularly known as Over the river and Through the Wood.

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was a prominent American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights advocate, novelist, and journalist. Born in Medford, Massachusetts, Child spent most of her life championing humanitarian causes through her writings and activism.

Child found success in her 20s with her historical novel “Hobomok” (1824) and as editor of the children’s magazine The Juvenile Miscellany. In 1833, she published “An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans,” a groundbreaking treatise against slavery and early call for total abolition. The controversial pamphlet destroyed her mainstream career, but Child courageously devoted herself fully to the antislavery movement henceforth.

Over the following decades, Child wrote prolifically for abolitionist newspapers like the National Anti-Slavery Standard. She advocated for immediate emancipation,ivil liberties for African Americans, and women’s rights alongside luminaries like William Lloyd Garrison and Susan B. Anthony. Her antebellum antislavery short stories and nonfiction works like “The Quadroons” (1842) and “The Freedmen’s Book” (1865) helped galvanize public sentiment against slavery.

A woman far ahead of her time, Lydia Maria Child stands as one of the most influential and principled activists of the 19th century devoted to ending racial and gender injustice in America. Though lesser known today, her impassioned writings and organizing efforts were instrumental in bringing about the abolition of slavery and advancing human equality.