The First Thanksgiving in America 1621

The First Thanksgiving in America


The First Thanksgiving by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe  cir. 1914

The First Thanksgiving by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe cir. 1914

After much trial and tribulation, the pilgrims at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 declared a time of “Thanksgiving” to God who had provided richly for them. This manner of celebrating by giving thanks to God had been a custom in England. The following text comes from original accounts of the young colony’s leaders, Governor William Bradford and Master Edward Winslow, in their own hand. The spelling differences are in the original.

“They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty; for some were thus imployed in affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish, of which yey tooke good store, of which every family had their portion. All ye somer ther was no wante. And now begane to come in store of foule, as winter aproached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degree). And besids water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they took many, besids venison, &c. Besids they had aboute a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indean corne to yt proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largly of their plenty hear to their freinds in England, which were not fained, but true reports.” W.B. (William Bradford)

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