Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The First Thanksgiving Dinner Party

This Thanksgiving postcard is by artist HBG (H. B. Griggs), an artist who produced some of the liveliest and wittiest Thanksgiving postcards.

Little is really known about the first Thanksgiving feast, and most of what we do "know" is really a myth. An article about the First Thanksgiving discusses some of the myths and concludes with a list of things that we actually do know about the first Thanksgiving:

1. The first Thanksgiving was a harvest celebration in 1621 that lasted for three days.
2. The feast most likely occurred between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11.
3. Approximately 90 Wampanoag Indians and 52 colonists - the latter mostly women and children - participated.
4. The Wampanoag, led by Chief Massasoit, contributed at least five deer to the feast.
5. Cranberry sauce, potatoes - white or sweet - and pies were not on the menu.
6. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag communicated through Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe, who knew English because he had associated with earlier explorers.
7. Besides meals, the event included recreation and entertainment.
8. There are only two surviving descriptions of the first Thanksgiving. One is in a letter by colonist Edward Winslow. He mentions some of the food and activities. The second description was in a book written by William Bradford 20 years afterward. His account was lost for almost 100 years.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Statue of Massasoit, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Massasoit was the chief of the Wampanoag Indians when the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth. He signed a peace treaty with the Pilgrims after being offered gifts and told that the Pilgrims were only interested in peace and trading.

A bronze statue by sculptor Cyrus Dallin was erected in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1921. It was commissioned by the Imperial Order of Red Men and commemorated the 300th anniversary of the peace treaty. Dallin also created other well-known statues of Native Americans.

Provincetown Pilgrims

The Pilgrims anchored near present-day Provincetown, Massachusetts on Nov. 21, 1620. They spent time exploring the area and signed the Mayflower Compact there before landing at Plymouth on December 26, 1620 and establishing the Plymouth Colony. The first child born to the Pilgrims in New England, Peregrine White, was born aboard the Mayflower on December 16 while the ship was in Provincetown Harbor.

The date of the Pilgrims' first landing was first recorded as November 11 because England was still using the old style Julian Calendar until 1752. November 21 (sometimes dated November 22) is the new style date using the Gregorian Calendar.
For more Mayflower and Pilgrim history, visit
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