Ancestors at the First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving

In early autumn of 1621, the 53 surviving Pilgrims celebrated their successful harvest, as was the English custom. During this time, “many of the Indians coming… amongst the rest their great king Massasoit, with some ninety men.”

Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have been present at the first Thanksgiving?

My husband and son’s ancestor, Governor William Bradford, was present.  In fact my husband is named for him, Bradford, and my oldest son’s middle name is Bradford.

William Bradford (1590 – May 9, 1657) was the chosen leader of the Pilgrim settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. Later, he became the Governor of the Plymouth Colony. Among his important accomplishments was being the primary architect of the Mayflower Compact. Being Governor of Plymouth, Bradford  established what became an American tradition, Thanksgiving.

Which of my own ancestors were there giving thanks to God for his gracious bounty?  And here they are. Gov. Bradford, kindly make room at the table for your future in-laws.

John Howland – Indentured servant of John Carver, he later became a freeman and inherited his estate. Howland was an esteemed man in the Plymouth Colony who had many important roles.  He almost didn’t make it as he fell overboard the Mayflower. I bet he had a lot to be thankful for!

Elizabeth Tilley –  Youngest daughter of John Tilley and Joan (Hurst)(Rogers) Tilley arrived together on the Mayflower.  Though her parents died in the first winter she survived and was taken in by the Carver family.  Only 14 at the first harvest, at 16 she married John Howland.

John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley were the ancestors of Lucy Pond, mother of Jennie Dickie Currier, my great-great grandmother.

Wondering if any of your ancestors were feasting at the first Thanksgiving? Here is a list of all pilgrims who were there.

Here’s another article I wrote that you might be interested in . . .
The Lost Manuscript of Governor William Bradford

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


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