VICKSBURG FACTS: Vicksburg’s Thanksgiving was once a great day for football 

Published 8:00 am Friday, November 25, 2022

Did you know that Vicksburg once had its own football Thanksgiving tradition?

Starting in the late 19th century, Vicksburg’s Athletic Club and Greenville’s Athletic Club competed in a football game for the Athletic Championship of the State title on Thanksgiving Day. The first recorded football game started in Greenville, Miss.

The Vicksburg Athletic Club sent 11 of its best players to compete for the title of an Athletic Championship of the State, according to the Nov. 28, 1895, edition of The Daily Commercial Herald. 

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The people of Vicksburg were excited to watch this Thanksgiving event and began to make their way to cheer on the Vicksburg team. It was reported in The Daily Commercial Herald that “The Vicksburg team leaves, however, confident that they will have to play to win and determined that their opponents, if victorious, shall at least be aware that there has been a struggle for supremacy.”

Unfortunately, the Vicksburg team was not victorious that Thanksgiving but did put up a good fight as promised. As described in The Daily Commercial Herald the next day, “Every effort was made and no trick left untried to turn the tide of defeat into victory, but the brawn and brain of the Greenville men proved too much for their skill and determination.” 

The next year, it was Vickburg’s turn to host the Thanksgiving game at the fairgrounds. It was a warm and very windy Thanksgiving as mentioned in The Daily Commercial Herald’s Nov. 27, 1896 edition, but that did not stop the Vicksburg team from getting their victorious win. In the 1896 Daily Commercial Herald, “the people of Vicksburg were treated to an exceedingly scientific game and the small crowd in attendance went wild with enthusiasm when Vicksburg with apparent ease, would go through Greenville’s line and around her end for yard after yard.”

The Vicksburg team played a great season in 1896 and was able to finish it off by winning the Atheltic Championship of the State title. 

The Vicksburg and Greenville teams continued competing for the title of Athletic Championship of the State until 1900.

The last Thanksgiving game was in Vicksburg’s Athletic Park. As mentioned in the Nov. 30, 1900 edition of The Vicksburg Evening Post, the rainy weather for the Thanksgiving game was not ideal since it brought in low attendance from the fans and did affect the player’s performance in the game. Neither team was prepared for the big Thanksgiving game. As described in the 1900 Vicksburg Evening Post article, the Vicksburg team hardly practiced for the game and the Greenville team struggled with their interference and maintaining offense.

However, Greenville was victorious in the last Thanksgiving game. The citizens of Vicksburg, although disappointed with the game’s results, still managed to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving going with other fun activities and take the time to remember what they are grateful for that year.