- This time of year we always wonder how those first Pilgrim settlers actually got along. This post, originally written last year for the holiday describes the menu and some of the circumstances. If you are curious about the Pilgrim experience in the New World, Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower is an interesting read about the Pilgrims voyage and their early years in America.
- J.L.G. Ferris’s painting “First Thanksgiving” Courtesy of Abiline Christian University
An epidemic in 1617 virtually annihalated the local Native American population at Plymouth Colony, meaning that the Pilgrims had their first Thanksgiving in 1621 pretty much to themselves. Their first holiday meal was probably just as heavy but less interesting than our Thanksgivings are today. Cornbread or “Johnny Cake” was the main staple of their diet for the first few years. And we are fighting off any Soprano’s refrences in the interest of food seriousness.
The first Thanksgiving undoubetly included wild game fowl, most likely turkey, but possibly ducks or geese.
Sara Josepha Hale, one of the first female American novelists and the author of Mary Had a Little Lamb is credited as the individual most responsible for making Thanksgiving a national holiday in all of the United States. Prior to the Civil War, Thanksgiving was only celebrated in the New England states and then on various dates ranging from October to January. In a time when only 2 national holidays existed (Independence Day & Washington’s Birthday), Hale lobbbied 5 U.S. Presidents until in 1863, Abraham Lincoln, seeking to heal a war torn country proclaimed Thanksgiving a holiday.
We hope you have a good Thanksgiving Holiday, cooking and laughing with family and friends.
Happy Thanksgiving Cooking