Thanksgiving, the beginning

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth of England, one of the sects of Puritans known as Brownist or separatist separated from the new Protestant Church of England and after much persecution took refuge in Holland.

They finally determined to immigrate to America and started in ship Speedwell that joined the Mayflower, but later had to be abandoned. The Mayflower, taking on many of the other ship's passenger's sailed alone from Plymouth, England for America, September 6, 1620. When reaching the American coast on a late Saturday evening, strong winds drove them into Provincetown Harbor at the end of Cape Cod. They remained on the ship all day Sunday praying and giving thanks to God for their safe arrival. After much exploration, they settled on the site, which is called, Plymouth named from Plymouth, England, their site of departure. The first building to go up in their community was their church.

Protected by a graphite portico Plymouth Rock, their landing place is preserved in the Waterfront State Reservation. Many Pilgrims are buried on Cole's Hill behind Plymouth Rock. Pilgrim and early colonial relics are housed in Pilgram Hall built in 1824.

The Pilgrims suffered much privations, food and seed corn was rationed; their first crop was a failure. Governor Bradford, then assigned every family a parcel of ground. They tilled and prayed for a good crop and had success; after this harvest of 1621, Governor Bradford arranged for a day of prayer and Thanksgiving.

In 1623, a severe drought came, during a day of prayer and fasting, rain came changing their prayer to Thanksgiving; gradually the custom prevailed of appointing Thanksgiving after the harvest. During the Revolution, Congress annually recommended a day of national Thanksgiving. New York adopted it in 1817. In 1864, President Lincoln appointed a day, and since then the Presidents have issued a Thanksgiving proclamation, usually the last Thursday in November.

We celebrate Thanksgiving, this year of 2014 on November 27. Let us truly be thankful, knowing how good it is to be an American, and to realize how blest we are in our many freedoms, especially to worship God as we wish. - reprinted from the Portageville Southeast Missourian.