Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.

32 years on this earth knowing the words to "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and I had no idea about the roots of the nursery rhyme.

As it turns out, Mary and her lamb, are likely from the Granite State - New Hampshire!

It was today, May 24th in the year 1830 that "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was first published by a New Hampshire poet by the name of Sarah Josepha Hale.

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Hale was from Newport, located in western New Hampshire near Lake Sunapee.

According to the National Women's History Museum, Hale's parents thought it important for their daughter to be well educated. This worked out after her husband died only 9 years after they were married and Hale was left to support her and her children. She then began publishing her poetry.

This is where "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was born. It was from a poetry book she wrote specifically for children. Appropriately named Poems for Our Children.


While Mary Had a Little Lamb is what Hale is best known for, the National Women's History Museum goes on to say that Hale played a large role in Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday. At the time Thanksgiving was only celebrated in the northeast and she petitioned lawmakers to make it a national holiday. She finally got her wish granted during the Civil War when President Lincoln signed "A National Day of Thanksgiving and Praise."

So next time you sing-say "Mary Had a Little Lamb" to your little one, or the next time you scarf down some Thanksgiving grub, take a second to think about New Hampshire's Own Sarah Josepha Hale.

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