Capt. John Woodlief, a survivor of the Jamestown settlement's "starving time" who had returned to England, set sail with 37 other settlers on the good ship Margaret to seek their fortune in the New World. After a violent storm blew them off course, they waded ashore Dec. 4, 1619 at what is now Berkeley Plantation. They opened their orders from their backers, which stated that they were to drop to their knees immediately and give thanks. Their landing date was to "be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God."
Whether they prayed the General Thanksgiving prayer is a supposition. But that prayer is a good one: "Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory."No one knows if they had anything other than old ship rations to eat. Historians surmise that they might have supped on roasted oysters and Virginia ham. Others say their feast included bacon, peas, cornmeal cakes, and cinnamon water. But regardless of the menu, to these settlers, the first Thanksgiving was much more than turkey and pumpkin pie. It was all about prayer.
And regardless of who can claim the first Thanksgiving, this day is more than just our feast. It's about being together and giving thanks. Here's wishing you happiness on this day.