November 28, 1867: Cheyenne’s First Thanksgiving Dinner
On November 28, 1867, just 15 days after the Union Pacific Railroad had reached Cheyenne, one of the town's original shopkeepers, H.H. Ellis, helped prepare the first Thanksgiving feast in the new city.
By that time, nearly 4,000 workers and merchants had flocked to bustling western outpost.
Ellis, a German immigrant who had followed the railroad west from Wisconsin, opened what may have been Cheyenne's first restaurant, the 444 Monkeys Oyster Bay Restaurant on 1608 Ferguson (now Carrey Avenue).
The restaurant became known for its hearty German cuisine and was the first in the area to introduce a new desert called iced cream.
We'll never know how many hungry patrons Ellis served on that first Thanksgiving in Cheyenne. However, his original book of recipes has been preserved.
According to the Wyoming State Archives, Ellis' stuffing recipe called for: 3/4 lb. of chopped veal, 1/4 lb. of salt pork, seasoned with salt, black pepper, cayenne, allspice, clove and Worcestershire sauce.
After removing the back bone of the turkey, the bird was seasoned using the same mixture. The stuffing was placed into the cavity, the legs were tied and the turkey was boiled for three hours and 15 minutes.