Here is an account of the first Thanksgiving.
THE MONROE COUNTY MAIL
Thursday, November 26, 1914
Turkey Figured In the Menu When They “Had Things In Good Plenty.”
Governor Bradford describes the first Thanksgiving of the pilgrims in America.
“They (the pilgrim colonists) now began to gather the small harvest they had and to fit their dwellings against winter, all being well recovered in health, and had all things in good plenty. Some were employed in affairs abroad; others exercised in fishing about bass, cod and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All summer there was no waste. Now began to come in store of fowl as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first, and beside waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, beside venison, etc. Beside, they had about a peck of meal to a person, or now, since harvest, Indian corn to that portion.”
On Dec. 11, 1621, Edward Winslow wrote the following description of the Thanksgiving to a friend in England:
“our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, so that we might after a special manner rejoice, together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. Amongst other recreations we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming among us, and among the rest Massasoit, their greatest king, with some ninety men, whom we entertained and feasted three days. They killed five deer, which they bestowed on our governor and the captain (miles Standish, a Roman Catholic) and others. Although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God we are so far from want that we often wish you (were) partakers of our plenty.”
From other sources it is learned that besides the exercises with arms that Winslow mentioned there were athletic contests. No doubt the pilgrims played stool ball, an old form of croquet, and pitch the bar, which Bradford named in his journal. There appears no evidence of special religious services having been held. The pilgrims had daily prayers before breakfast. In this service and int he temper of rejoicing that ran through their Thanksgiving they voiced their gratitude.