Prompted by a good harvest, the first Thanksgiving in the New World was celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. That feast was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating thanksgiving days of prayer thanking God for blessings.
1614, Squanto, (his true name was Tisquantum) a Patuxet Native American who resided with the Wampanoag tribe, was captured by John Smith who attempted to sell Squanto and other Native Americans into slavery (way to make friends Captain Smith!) via Spain. However, some Franciscan friars discovered the plot and acquired the captured Native Americans, Squanto included. During this time, Squanto received instruction in the Catholic Faith and received holy baptism.
As a freeman, Squanto traveled to London where he worked in a shipyard and learned English. Squanto returned to New England, in 1619 only to discover that his people were being decimated by European diseases.
Because of the ravages of disease, by the time the Pilgrims arrived, 95% of the indigenous population of New England, including the Wampanoag, had been decimated.
Massasoit could have easily overtaken and destroyed the invaders, who were barely surviving, but they had something he wanted. Massasoit feared that his tribe’s weakened state might spark an invasion from rival tribes to the south, and he noted that the Pilgrims had a few cannons and guns that could help even the odds.
So instead of attacking the Pilgrims, Massasoit sent an emissary-Squanto.
Massasoit had Squanto offer food during the first winter that helped the colonists survive. In 1623 Massasoit became seriously ill. Colonist Edward Winslow treated him with Pilgrim medicines and a purgative duck broth (ick!) that miraculously returned Massasoit to good heath. From this point on Massasoit and Winslow had a close relationship. Massasoit lived a long life and remained friendly to the Plymouth colony.
We do a disservice to history by seeing it through the eyes of the present day. Yes, terrible things happened between the native people of America and the newcomers. John Smith tries to enslave them but other Europeans set them free. Whatever came later, right at this moment, this first Thanksgiving, they were at peace. They were allies. Squanto and Massasoit wanted friendship, they helped the Pilgrims survive, they also wanted to share in defense against enemies of the Algonquin tribe. The Pilgrims gave Massasoit medical care. Massasoit and Winslow were friends for life.
Don’t take the ills that came later and use them to make this moment and this shared respect, less than it was. They truly were Thankful for each other.
From the time of the First Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving proclamations were made often but at no set time or date and always locally. Then George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.
From this time forward Thanksgiving was celebrated but it had to be declared each year and the time varied and some years it was skipped.
In the middle of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863.
Since 1863, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.
To get your name in a drawing for an ecopy of Candlelight Christmas, leave a comment telling me something you are THANKFUL FOR! My book and a second novella by Linda Goodnight are contained in Candlelight Christmas.Here’s a bit about them:1. The Outlaw’s Gift by Linda Goodnight
1880s Oklahoma Territory
When drifter Seth Blackstone shows up at Raven Patterson’s homestead, Raven thinks this may be the solution to all her problems. But Seth’s mysterious past is about to catch up with him and could mean disaster for them both.
2. The Christmas Candle by Mary Connealy
Arkansas Ozarks 1883
Gabe Wagner, has left his hectic city life and moved onto Rose Palmer’s mountain. His plans to build a house will tear the heart out of her Ozark Mountain home. Rose learns that what she calls peace and quiet has evolved into isolation and loneliness. As Christmas approaches and she searches for the perfect way to honor the Savior’s birth, she realizes she wants to let Gabe into her life. But to do it, she may have to face a larger world that frightens her while she gives up the safe life she has always known.
Can the search for the perfect Christmas candle and the broken hearts of two little boys bring a solitary woman and a grieving man together?http://www.maryconnealy.com