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The First Thanksgiving....and What We Tell The Children

In my adolescent years,  I knew that Thanksgiving Day meant it was the time to give thanks but I didn’t know why.  I also knew it meant a huge feast and prayers of thanks.

I read a story ‘for kids’ and in simple form, but I wanted to write an even simpler story for my Grandson, Brayden.  I want to be able to tell him all about the history of Thanksgiving. Children ask MANY questions which will require an answer, right?

Here’s my story for baby Brayden when his question about Thanksgiving arises:

Gramma!  Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?  To give thanks and express gratitude for all we have…instead of nagging about what we don’t have.  Haha!  You’re funny Gramma! But for real, how did Thanksgiving come about?

A long time ago ‘back in the day’ (Brayden will say it’s a zillion years ago) the Native American tribes lived all over the United States.  In southern Massachusetts (where your Great Grandfather John was born) and Eastern Rhode Island (where Gramma Sally was born) were the areas of the first Thanksgiving feast.

There were people who left England and moved to Holland because they didn’t want to belong to the Church of England. After many years of having money problems they received funding from English merchants to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to live in the “NEW WORLD”. 

101 men, women and children sailed on the boat for 66 days, with the intent of landing in (what is now) New York City. But there was bad weather and they ended up in Cape Cod. The Wampanoag people have lived int his area for over 12,000 years!

It was a hard to start a new life in a new world, let alone preparing for a long winter. A couple of Native American tribes visited the English people and showed them how to grow corn and use fish to fertilize the field. 

  • One day that fall of 1621, the English and native people ate together. The meal was not the turkey dinner we celebrate with now…but it was indeed a feast of deer, corn, shellfish and roasted meat.
  • In 1623, the first religious Thanksgiving Day happened in Plymouth. The colonists thanked God for the rain that came after 2 months of severe hot weather with no water.
  • In 1846, a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale, who was an editor of a magazine (Godley’s Lady’s Book) asking for a National Thanksgiving Holiday.
  • It wasn’t until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared TWO national Thanksgivings. One day in August was for commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg (another story for another day, Brayden) and the other in November to give thanks for “general blessings.

Over the years, the Thanksgiving meal turned to a Butterball turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes (or potatoes or even rice), stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, dinner rolls, salads, pumpkin and apple pies and more.

We give thanks and are grateful for the food on our table and the company of family and friends. We watch football games or play games but in my case….a NAP is in order.

I am thankful for all of you in my life.

I am grateful for what I have …..

And share with those who have not.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!



Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman  is a Realtor-Associate® and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client's needs  she serves the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) and all Hawaii Military Relocations, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents, Home Buyers and Sellers.


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Hawaii Real Estate and Relocation Blog.

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Comment balloon 10 commentsCeleste "SALLY" Cheeseman • November 22 2012 10:25AM
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