WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Was West Virginia the first state to officially celebrate Thanksgiving?

The answer may be yes according to West Virginia Explorer magazine.

Governor Francis H. Pierpoint issued a Thanksgiving declaration in 1861 in Wheeling, which was soon to become West Virginia in 1863 after breaking off from Virginia during the Civil War, says the magazine.

Thanksgiving Day did not become an official American holiday until two years later in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln called for a day of “thanksgiving and praise” at the end of each November, says the magazine.

The holiday remains an important day to give thanks and reunite with friends and family across West Virginia and the nation.