Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The First Thanksgiving
CatholicExchange.com ^ | 11-21-06 | Tom Purcell

Posted on 11/21/2006 7:44:10 AM PST by Salvation

by Tom Purcell

Other Articles by Tom Purcell
The First Thanksgiving
11/21/06


"A myth! What do you mean America's Thanksgiving holiday is based on a myth?"

"The Christian Science Monitor published a detailed report on it. They found that the holiday has two distinct histories, one real, the other made up. We celebrate the made-up version."

"Made up?"

"Yep. Everything historians know about the first Thanksgiving is based on the accounts of two colonists: Governor William Bradford and a fellow named Edward Winslow."

"Go on."

"In 1621, Winslow wrote a letter to a friend. He said that after a plentiful harvest, the 52 remaining colonists decided to feast. The governor sent out four men to hunt for fowl. Ninety Native Americans, the Wampanoags, also joined in; they contributed five deer. The colonists and Wampanoags feasted for three days."

"They ate deer meat on Thanksgiving?"

"In 1641, Governor Bradford wrote a book about the history of the Plymouth settlement. In it, he also described the first Thanksgiving. But the British stole his book during the Revolutionary War. It didn't turn up until the late1800's — after America's Thanksgiving tradition was already formed."

"The lousy Brits. So what do we know about the first Thanksgiving?"

"Well, it was nothing like it has been presented. For starters, the pilgrims didn't eat turkey. The 'fowl' Winslow described in his letter were probably geese or duck."

"Thanksgiving duck?"

"Yeah, and there was no cranberry sauce. The colonists didn't begin boiling berries with sugar until 1671."

"What are you going to tell me next? That there weren't any mashed potatoes or stuffing or pies for dessert?"

"Funny you mention that. White and sweet potatoes weren't yet available to the colonists. There wasn't bread yet, either — they had no ovens. And though pumpkins were available, it's doubtful they had the butter and wheat flour they needed to make pie crust."

"Oh, brother. Then what did they eat?"

"They ate what was available then. In addition to the fowl, their meal probably included grapes, plums, flint corn and sea food — you know, lobster, crab and mussels."

"Lobster, crab and mussels! Who the heck catered the first Thanksgiving, Long John Silver's? If what you say is true, why does our Thanksgiving celebration differ so much from the first one?"

"The reason dates back to the 19th century. Back then there was no official Thanksgiving holiday and if people celebrated it, they did so in a private and solemn manner. A woman named Sarah Josepha Hale changed that."

"Who was she?"

"Hale was editor of a popular lady's magazine. She wrote editorials promoting an official Thanksgiving holiday. In 1858, she petitioned the president to declare it a national holiday. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln did just that."

"But how did we get our facts so wrong about the first Thanksgiving?"

"Well, Hale also published numerous recipes for turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce pumpkin pie, etc. She idealized the first Thanksgiving and the foods and traditions she promoted are the very same ones we now associate with our Thanksgiving feast."

"And most of what we do on Thanksgiving — and much of what we eat — has nothing to do with what really happened during the first Thanksgiving, when the colonists supposedly 'broke bread' with the Native Americans?"

"Yes, that is correct. The relationship between Native Americans and the colonists was complex and not always pleasant. In fact, in the coming decades after more colonists arrived and pushed the Native Americans westward, the two factions would soon find themselves in a bloody war."

"Boy, you sure know how to cheer a fellow up in time for the holidays."

"But we should be cheerful. Regardless of how our Thanksgiving tradition was formed — regardless of what is fact and what is myth — we have an incredible abundance of blessings to be thankful for. That's what the day is really about — celebrating our prosperity, our freedoms, and the many young men and women who are serving the rest of us to protect our freedoms."

"Now that's something to be thankful for."

"Yes it is. Happy Thanksgiving."


Tom Purcell's weekly political humor column runs in newspapers and Web sites across America. His email address is
TomPurcell@aol.com; his web address is www.TomPurcell.com.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Political Humor/Cartoons
KEYWORDS: thanksgiving; tompurcell
For a little bit of a laugh and your discussion.
1 posted on 11/21/2006 7:44:12 AM PST by Salvation
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: All

** Regardless of how our Thanksgiving tradition was formed — regardless of what is fact and what is myth — we have an incredible abundance of blessings to be thankful for. That's what the day is really about — celebrating our prosperity, our freedoms, and the many young men and women who are serving the rest of us to protect our freedoms."**

In thanks for all the service men and women who actively protect our freedoms! And in thanksgiving for all the veterans who did likewise!

May God bless you all this Thanksgiving and always!


2 posted on 11/21/2006 7:46:40 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
The First Thanksgiving was actually at Bar Harbor, Maine, and conducted in French.

Fellow named Lescarbo wrote a play to entertain his fellows.

That was 1599.

The following year they moved across the Bay of Fundy to what is now Nova Scotia. Eventually several of them (Protestants in fact) ended up in Jamestown ~ just in time to hold another Thanksgiving, and then in Menhoulde (Manhattan) to hold another one. One of their business partners attended the first one in Plymouth Colony.

The Spanish also claim an early Thanksgiving, but they were doing that sort of thing all the time ~ holding big feasts once a week, and really big ones on saint's days, and even bigger ones with full pit barbeque anytime they could find a big enough hole (which is why we don't count theirs, but may explain why we use turkeys instead of bulls).

3 posted on 11/21/2006 7:50:22 AM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Thanks for the post.

I read (here at FreeRepublic I think) that the first Thanksgiving was also due to the abandonment of the communal lifestyle. When people were given their own plot of land to farm, instead of a community plot, the yields were much larger due to a sense of ownership.

I don't have the link handy, but that would be another tidbit that was omitted.


4 posted on 11/21/2006 7:53:53 AM PST by Gvl_M3
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gvl_M3
Right. The capitalist system of owning property and fruits of your labor was a huge harvest and success over a starving communal system.
5 posted on 11/21/2006 8:01:29 AM PST by Zon (Honesty outlives the lie, spin and deception -- It always has -- It always will.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Gvl_M3
...the first Thanksgiving was also due to the abandonment of the communal lifestyle.

Yes, you can hear that story on Rush Limbaugh's show today.

6 posted on 11/21/2006 8:01:58 AM PST by American Quilter (You can't negotiate with people who are dedicated to your destruction.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

You're pulling our collective legs.


7 posted on 11/21/2006 8:02:13 AM PST by RoadTest ( He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. -Rev. 3:6)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: RoadTest
Only if they're turkey legs.

Seriously, Virginia has a claim in for the first Thanksgiving at Jamestown. However, the first Acadian settlers at Bar Harbor, Maine (St. Sauveur) held theirs first (1599) and a number of them were later taken by Samual Argall, Governor of Virginia, back to Jamestown. You can read alla bout it in the histories of the earliest times.

Those guys went into business with The Virginia Company and Captain John Smith to peddle real estate up and down the East Coast.

Think of Thanksgivig being rather like those meals the vacation resort folks hold to convince you to buy more land.

8 posted on 11/21/2006 8:05:14 AM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Gvl_M3

A Thanksgiving Lesson

It's one of the ironies of American history that when the Pilgrims first arrived at Plymouth rock they promptly set about creating a communist society. Of course, they were soon starving to death.

Fortunately, "after much debate of things," Governor William Bradford ended corn collectivism, decreeing that each family should keep the corn that it produced. In one of the most insightful statements of political economy ever penned, Bradford described the results of the new and old systems.

Continued @...

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2004/11/a_thanksgiving_.html


9 posted on 11/21/2006 8:14:15 AM PST by Zon (Honesty outlives the lie, spin and deception -- It always has -- It always will.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

I'll bet the colonists got just as upset over early Christmas decorations as we do.


10 posted on 11/21/2006 8:14:38 AM PST by pianomanjoe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah
The First Thanksgiving was actually at Bar Harbor, Maine, and conducted in French.

FRENCH!?!? That doesn't count. The first English speaking Thanksgiving feast was held by the Jamestown Colonists in Berkley Planation in 1619..." On December 4, 1619 settlers stepped ashore at Berkeley Hundred along the James River and, in accordance with the proprietor's instruction that "the day of our ship's arrival ... shall be yearly and perpetually kept as a day of thanksgiving," Since wild turkey was common here then they probably enjoyed a little turkey or duck or goose along with a bounty of oysters, clams and crabs. YUM!

11 posted on 11/21/2006 8:23:18 AM PST by pgkdan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

Pedro Menedez de Aviles celebrated a feast of Thanksgiving upon the founding of St Augustine in August of 1565. The meal consisted of garbonzo beans, ships bread, salt pork and wine. They also invited the Salloy tribe that lived in the area.


12 posted on 11/21/2006 8:58:36 AM PST by bobjam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

I wonder what Sarah Hale would say if she were around to watch Southerners deep fry their turkeys in the backyard.


13 posted on 11/21/2006 9:01:29 AM PST by bobjam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
"They ate deer meat on Thanksgiving?"

Sounds like my Texas Thanksgivings growing up. Yet another reason the San Jacinto monument is as tall as the Washington monument and the Texas flag is the only state flag allowed to hang as high as Old Glory.

The History Channel special the other night says the DID eat wild turkey on that first Thanksgiving.

14 posted on 11/21/2006 9:06:05 AM PST by hispanarepublicana (Funny, but I don't remember pressing 1 for English in 1994.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bobjam
I wonder what Sarah Hale would say if she were around to watch Southerners deep fry their turkeys in the backyard.

Probably something like "What wondrous bounty! God is surely gracious to you, His southern children, to so bless you that you can immerse these great fowls wholly in rich oil for their cooking."

To which your average redneck backyard chef would reply "D@mn straight!"

Honestly, if people could have fried turkeys whole hundreds of years ago, they would have. Tuck would have had a vat of oil going in Sherwood Forest if he'd thought of it.

Of course, then we'd have to call him the Turkey Friar.

15 posted on 11/21/2006 9:12:00 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
16 posted on 11/21/2006 9:16:48 AM PST by sionnsar (?trad-anglican.faithweb.com?|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Zon

Yes, Great x 10 Grandfather William Bradford was a smart guy !


17 posted on 11/21/2006 9:20:51 AM PST by pbear8 (Love you Rummy)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: pgkdan

"Praise God from Whom all blessings flow..."


18 posted on 11/21/2006 11:29:40 AM PST by talleyman (Kerry & the Surrender-Donkey Treasoncrats - trashing the troops for 40 years.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

You should read the book "1491" for insight about the Native American motives and actions before, during, and after the first Thanksgiving. That version does a pretty good job presenting all sides as having their own reasons for their actions, some of which were not so heroic. In any case, giving thanks for our bounty is a good reason for sober consideration of our blessings, no matter what the "real" history of the time might have been.


19 posted on 11/21/2006 2:56:35 PM PST by redpoll (redpoll)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gvl_M3
I don't have the link handy, but that would be another tidbit that was omitted.

Someone was kind enough to send me a link to Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647, which I would regard as a primary source confirming the veracity of this story or, at minimum, that Governor Bradford saw things that way long before Karl Marx came on the scene. May be a nice book to bring along to a Thanksgiving dinner with liberal relatives.

20 posted on 11/21/2006 3:01:38 PM PST by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: pgkdan
You must have missed my suggestion that the same Frenchmen who held the first Thanksgiving at Bar Harbor, Maine ALSO officiated at the first Thanksgiving at Jamestown, Virginia.

By that time (arrive in colony 1613 courtesy of Samual Argall, officiate at Thanksgiving in 1619) they had 6 years to learn English. Inasmuch a they were already selling off millions of acres of North America to settlement groups back in England, I suspect they knew English quite well. Since they were also Huguenots with close contact with English Protestants since the early 1500s, I suspect they had known English since they were children in fact.

BTW, the one at St. Augustine doesn't count ~ those guys didn't wish to learn English and assimilate doncha know.

21 posted on 11/21/2006 3:43:37 PM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Gvl_M3

That makes total sense.


22 posted on 11/21/2006 9:05:02 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

**but may explain why we use turkeys instead of bulls).**

LOL!


23 posted on 11/21/2006 9:06:27 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ...

Any thoughts? Discussion?


24 posted on 11/21/2006 9:10:37 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oberon

"Of course, then we'd have to call him the Turkey Friar."

*groan* :o)


25 posted on 11/21/2006 9:22:25 PM PST by samiam1972 (Live simply so that others may simply live!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

I sit down at the table with my brother-in-law, so I don't find it too unbelievable that the Pilgrims would sit down with Indians, that they sometimes fought with.


26 posted on 11/22/2006 4:24:24 AM PST by SampleMan (Do not dispute the peacefulness of Islam, so as not to send Muslims into violent outrage.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: samiam1972
*groan* :o)

Thank you, thank you...I'm here all week...don't forget to tip your waitress...

27 posted on 11/22/2006 5:07:36 AM PST by Oberon (What does it take to make government shrink?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

THE FIRST (REAL) THANKSGIVING


28 posted on 11/22/2006 8:35:01 AM PST by murphE (These are days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed but his own. --G.K. Chesterton)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Next you're going to tell me they didn't play football, either.


29 posted on 11/22/2006 8:43:28 AM PST by P.O.E.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana
The History Channel special the other night says the DID eat wild turkey on that first Thanksgiving.

I'm sure they did; there are still plenty of them up here in MA! There used to be a pair of turkeys that hung around the neighborhood where our Parish is located. I think one of them finally got hit by a car.

Just about a month ago, I saw a turkey standing in the median of Belmont St. in Worcester which is four lanes ON EACH SIDE! I guess he must have come from the field to the north, adjacent to UMass Medical School.

I even had a mama turkey and her 3 poults wander into our backyard one summer day. She and they were feasting on the seeds of the tall grass where the yard meets the woods in back. I have a friend who owns 5 acres on the edge of town, and she said she sees flocks of turkeys all the time.

30 posted on 11/22/2006 3:09:51 PM PST by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Thanksgiving bump.


31 posted on 11/22/2006 3:56:09 PM PST by Ciexyz (Satisfied owner of a 2007 Toyota Corolla.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

Full barbecue pit - sounds like a pig roast Thanksgiving!


32 posted on 11/22/2006 3:58:27 PM PST by Ciexyz (Satisfied owner of a 2007 Toyota Corolla.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: All
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
 

Bless us, O Lord,
 
and these, they gifts,
 
which we are about to receive
 
from thy bounty,
 
through Christ, our Lord.
 
Amen

33 posted on 11/23/2006 6:58:53 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
Just saw the misspelled word above.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
 

Bless us, O Lord,
 
and these, thy gifts,
 
which we are about to receive
 
from thy bounty,
 
through Christ, our Lord.
 
Amen

34 posted on 11/23/2006 7:03:23 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson