Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Okay, okay, so I lied. I'm going to post about Thanksgiving. But, I'm kicking it old school, and turning the blog over to Winslow & Bradford, the authors of the only two written accounts of the late fall harvest feast that became Turkey Day.

Edward Winslow, Mourt's Relation:
"our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie."

William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation
"They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty; For as some were thus imployed in affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish, of which yey tooke good store, of which every family had their portion. All ye somer ther was no want. And now begane to come in store of foule, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besids water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they tooke many, besids venison, &c. Besids, they had about a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indean corn to yt proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largly of their plenty hear to their freinds in England, which were not fained, but true reports."

There are over 3 million descendants of the 52 or so Mayflower colonists who celebrated that day. Pretty impressive legacy for a bunch of city-dwelling religious zealots who just wanted the freedom to commune with their god on their own terms.

1 comment:

Aria Littlhous said...

You know I heard once that the Puritans didn't leave England because they were looking for religious freedom, rather, they were kicked out for being zealots. Hmmmm, I wonder if there's any extra space in New Zealand....