The author of "Mary had a little lamb", Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned for 17 years to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, writing letters to five presidents: Zachary Taylor, Millard Filmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchann, and Abraham Lincoln. It was President Lincoln who finally officially declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, more than 200 years after the Pilgrims first shared in this Native American harvest tradition. Sarah was born October 24th 1788. She was educated by her mother and an older brother who had a college education. Sarah married David Hale the day before her 25th birthday, and together they had five children. Sadly, David Hale passed away when Sara was 34. She wore black as a sign of perpetual mourning for her husband until she passed away at age 90. In her life Sarah was a school teacher, a poet, and an amazingly influential author. She also campaigned for the preservation of George Washington's Mount Vernon plantation. Sarah was also instrumental in bringing about completion of the Bunker Hill Monument. Today the Sarah Josepha Hale Award, a prestigious literary award, honors her memory. The Liberty ship #1538 is named in her honor. Sarah was 75 when she finally saw Thanksgiving become a national holiday.
(source: history.com and wikipedia)