Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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November 27th
The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving
We know very little about the first Thanksgiving the Pilgrims celebrated in Plymouth. We know it took place in 1621 sometime after the autumn harvest. William Bradford, longtime governor of the colony, reported that after a “sad and lamentable” first few months that brought much sickness and death, the first harvest left them with “all things in good plenty,” including corn, “cod, bass, and other fish,” waterfowl, venison, and a “great store of wild turkeys.” Edward Winslow, one of the Pilgrims, left us the only other eyewitness account of the harvest feast in a letter he wrote on December 11, 1621. Though sparse in description, it conveys some sense of the joy and gratitude that must have marked the occasion:

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And 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 partakers of our plenty.
American History Parade
1806
President Jefferson warns citizens of a conspiracy to make the western frontier a separate nation, a scheme that allegedly involves Aaron Burr.

1834
Thomas Davenport, a Vermont blacksmith, invents the electric motor.

1924
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held in New York City.q

2003
President George W. Bush spends Thanksgiving with the troops fighting in Iraq.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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