pilgramhave come ashore.



In 1609 a group of pilgrims left England for the religious freedom in Holland where they lived and prospered. After a few years their children spoke Dutch and they had become attached to the dutch way of life. But the Pilgrims grew worried. They considered the Dutch frivolous and considered their ideas a threat to their children's education and morality.

So they decided to leave Holland and travel to the New World. Their trip was financed by a group of English investors, the Merchant Adventurers. It was agreed that the Pilgrims would be given passage and supplies in exchange for their working for their backers for 7 years.

Beside food, clothing and some pieces of furniture, the Pilgrims took along a supply of seeds, garden tools, saws, axes, hammers, gunpowder, and firearms. They also brought barrels of bright cloth, beads, knives and small mirrors to trade with the Indians.

Christopher Jones was an expert mariner and had commanded the Mayflower for twelve years. Beside the officers there were about twenty or more seamen. They cursed the Pilgrims and made fun of their constant praying. The pilgrims saw the hardships aboard ship as God's way of testing their faith and courage.

The long trip was cold and damp and took 65 days. There was the danger of fire on the wooden ship, so food had to be eaten cold. Many passengers became sick and one person died by the time land was sighted on November 10th. The long trip led to many disagreements between the "Saints" and the "Strangers".

After more than two months at sea, land was finally sighted. They were at Cape Cod, just north of the Hudson River. Heading south they ran into shoals and breakers. They took shelter at Provincetown Harbor where the Pilgrim leaders drew up the Mayflower Compact. This Mayflower Compact guaranteed equality and unified the two groups. They joined together and called themselves the "Pilgrims."

land ho!

Although they had first sighted land off Cape Cod, there were too many Indians around and not enough fresh water. They decided to go to Thievish Harbor but could not find it, so they landed at a place they called Plymouth where fresh water was more plentiful.

The Pilgrims sheltered in the ship for the winter. In January & February of that first winter, sometimes two or three people died in a single day. Many died of scurvy, a sickness caused by the lack of fruit and vegetables. Some would have died from pneumonia and typhus. The sick were lodged in the storehouse and the Mayflower became a hospital ship. The ship left in April for the return trip to England.

Plymouth offered an excellent harbor. The Pilgrims were now on their own, three thousand miles from home. In the spring the fragrant pink arbutus bloomed, which they called the mayflower. The large stream that flowed into Plymouth, named Jones River after the ship's master, offered a resource for fish.


The Pilgrims biggest concern was attack by the local Native American Indians. But the Patuxets were a peaceful group and did not prove to be a threat.

native American

The first winter was devastating to the Pilgrims. cabinThe cold, snow
and sleet was exceptionally heavy, interfering with the workers as they tried to construct their settlement. March brought warmer weather and the health of the Pilgrims improved, but many had died during the long winter. Of the 110 Pilgrims and crew who left England, less that 50 survived the first winter.


When the pilgrims came to America, there were plants and animals they had never seen before,including lobster, squash and corn. They learned about these new foods from the local Native Americans.

new veggies in America

The Indians introduced the Pilgrims to the sour red berries that grew in the bogs around Plymouth. The Cape Cod Indians called the berry Ibimi, meaning bitter berry. To the Pilgrims, the nodding pink blossom of the plant looked like the head of a crane. So they named it the crane berry, which was later changed to cranberry.

The Pilgrims invented cranberry recipes of their own. They made cranberry sauce, cranberry tarts, cranberry nog, and a jam made of cranberries and apples, sweetened with syrup from pumpkin pulp.

Corn was a very important crop for the people of the northeast woodlands. It was the main food and was eaten at every meal. There were many varieties of corn -- white, blue, yellow and red. Some of the corn was dried to preserve and keep it for food throughout the winter months. Corn was often ground into corn meal, using wooden mortars and pestles. Corn meal could be used to make cornbread, corn pudding, corn syrup, or could be mixed with beans to make succotash. A special dessert was made by boiling corn meal and maple syrup.

All parts of the corn plant were used. Nothing was thrown away. The husks were braided and woven to make masks, moccasins, sleeping mats, baskets, and cornhusk dolls. Corncobs were used for fuel, to make darts for a game, and were tied onto a stick to make a rattle for ceremonies.

indian manindian woman cornstalkindian n corn

On March 16, 1621, what was to become an important event took place, an Indian brave walked into the Plymouth settlement. The Pilgrims were frightened until the Indian called out "Welcome" (in English!).

His name was Samoset and he was an Abnaki Indian. He had learned English from the captains of fishing boats that had sailed off the coast. After staying the night Samoset left the next day. He soon returned with another Indian named Squanto who spoke better English than Samoset.

Squanto's importance to the Pilgrims was enormous and it can be said that they would not have survived without his help. It was Squanto who taught the Pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap. He taught them which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal powers. He taught them how to plant the Indian corn by heaping the earth into low mounds with several seeds and fish in each mound. The decaying fish fertilized the corn. He also taught them to plant other crops with the corn.

Of all the The Thanksgiving symbols the Turkey has become the most well known. The wild turkey is native to northern Mexico and the eastern United States.

Though there is no real evidence that turkey was served at the Pilgrim's first thanksgiving, in a book written by the Pilgrim's Governor Bradford he does make mention of wild turkeys. In a letter sent to England, another Pilgrim describes how the governor sent "four men out fowling" returning with turkeys, ducks and geese.


The harvest in October was very successful and the Pilgrims found themselves with enough food to put away for the winter. There was the corn, fruits and vegetables, fish to be packed in salt, and meat to be cured over smoky fires.

The Pilgrims had much to celebrate, they had built homes in the wilderness, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. They had beaten the odds and it was time to celebrate.

pilgram manpilgram womancabin
0boy at wellkidsnpony

The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. They invited Squanto and the other Indians to join them in their celebration. Their chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the celebration which lasted for 3 days. They played games, ran races, marched and played drums. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills. Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration took place in mid-October.

The following year the Pilgrims harvest was not as bountiful, as they were still unused to growing the corn. During the year they had also shared their stored food with newcomers and the Pilgrims ran short of food. The 3rd year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields. Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came. To celebrate - November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution (late 1770's) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

In 1817 New York State had adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

1st thanksgiving

Throughout history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest with thanksgiving ceremonies. Thanksgiving Day in America is a time to offer thanks, of family gatherings and holiday meals: a time of turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. This year, why not remember the First Thanksgiving when you celebrate your own Thanksgiving?

SEE and HEAR the sentiments of the poor turkey:

poor turkey


Some time ago I lost my old GuestBook: I am absolutely clueless as to whut happened to it, but suddenly I could not make connection thru the established link. Since I could not find where they went I completely revamped a NEW GuestBook which I myself customized. I have also included a short (well, all right, maybe not so short) survey that I hope each of you will complete as you sign the GuestBook. If you have signed my GuestBook in the past, I would appreciate it if you would sign again since all those entries went whatever way the old GuestBook did, hmmmmmm....now that I thimk on the matter, the old GuestBook was probably stolen by my nemesis The Master and is now lost in the fartherest reaches of the universe!!!

Look into MY TARDIS
to View My NEW Guestbook


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