first thanksgiving

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
~ Edward Winslow
(Mourt’s Relation, 1622)

Happy Thanksgiving!

17 thoughts on “first thanksgiving”

    1. Would that the benevolent sentiments of sharing good fortune had lingered into the future – how different American history would have been!

  1. Such a good reminder of that first Thanksgiving so long, long ago. It’s interesting pondering what’s still pertinent now. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Barbara!

    1. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too, Kathy! I think it’s that same spirit of sharing that moves us in modern times now to gather in our communities to donate turkeys to local families in need so they can be partakers of our plenty, too.

  2. Hi Barbara. I think I remember you are related to the one of the Mayflower folk! I have two ancestors who travelled on the Mayflower, John Billington (hanged!) and Stephen Hopkins. I have this through a ‘Sabean’ Great-great-great Grandparent. I wonder if our ancestors knew one-another. Jane

      1. Rosie, John & Eleanor Billington came to America with their two teenage sons on the Mayflower in 1620 and they all survived the perilous first winter. John and his sons were involved in many incidents of disobedience and rebellion in the early days of the new colony, in spite of his signing the Mayflower Compact. In December 1620 one of his sons evidently fired a gun inside the cabin of the Mayflower, close to an open half-keg of gunpowder. Miraculously, no one was hurt.

        John vocally stood up to Miles Standish and was punished by having his “neck and heels tied together.” Gov. William Bradford had such a low opinion of John that he wrote in a letter, “He is a knave, and so will live and die.” After being found guilty “by plain and notorious evidence” at a trial “both by grand and petty jury,” John Billington was hung in Plymouth in September 1630 for the murder of John Newcomen.

        1. How can you tie your neck and heels together? Ouch!
          It’s astonishing and thrilling that you’ve been able to research so far back Barbara. Thanks for sharing the story.

          1. You’re welcome, Rosie. I couldn’t picture tying neck and heels together, either, which is why I quoted that part exactly as it was recorded.

    1. So far I’ve found I am descended from twelve of them, but this is not at all unusual because there are millions of descendants of the Mayflower passengers. Stephen Hopkins and John Billington are two of mine, as well, so we’re distant cousins, Jane!

    1. Thank you, Sheryl! It makes me wonder if people will be reading our blogs with such interest and pleasure hundreds of years from now… 🙂

    1. I’m so late, too, Diane! I agree, in the end it’s not the exact day or month that matters, it is the spirit of abundant sharing year round that brings us so many blessings to be thankful for. Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

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