The Low Down on Thanksgiving

The Low Down on Thanksgiving

As we all know, in 1620 The Mayflower brought the Pilgrims to North America from Plymouth, England; landing at what is now Plymouth, Mass. In 1621, they celebrated a successful harvest with a three-day gathering that was attended by members of the Wampanoag tribe. From this, we originate Thanksgiving to be what it is now.

An article written for New York Times states that it wasn’t for over a decade, well into the 1830’s, that the feast started to be called Thanksgiving by New Englanders who looked back and thought it resembled their version of the holiday.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until 1863 that it became an American holiday, when President Abraham Lincoln declared it as a thank you for the Civil War victories in Vicksburg, MS., and Gettysburg, PA

So is it an all-American holiday?  Not so much. Both Native American and European societies had been holding festivals to celebrate successful harvests for centuries.

However, there is an interesting opposing viewpoint that the first Thanksgiving stemmed from the massacre of Pequot people in 1637, at the end of what is known as the Pequot War.

The article mentions that Plymouth was already a village with clear fields and a spring when the Pilgrims discovered it. However, it was unavailable to settle because every single native person who had been living there was a corpse! The diseases and plagues they had brought with them from the new world had wiped them out.

Have you ever heard of Tisquantum, also known as Squanto? According to The New York Times article “Everything you Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong”, he was the guy that brought the two sides together. His people, the Patuxet, a band of the Wampanoag tribe, had lived on the site where the pilgrims settled. When they arrived, he became a translator for them in diplomacy and trade. He also showed the pilgrims the most effective method for planting corn, and the best locations to fish.

How did Squanto know English? From being imprisoned as a slave by the English in 1614. He spend several years in captivity, returning to New England in 1619, only to find his entire Patuxet tribe dead from smallpox.

On a much happier note, when did football become a Thanksgiving staple? Thanksgiving Day football games in the United States is nearly as old as the game and the holiday. The first Thanksgiving Day football game took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of 1869, with Rutgers defeating Princeton in New Brunswick. A local paper declared: “A football match between twenty-two players of the Young America Cricket Club and the Germantown Cricket Club will take place on Thanksgiving Day at Cricket Club at 12 1/2 o’clock, on the grounds of the Germantown Club.”

So there’s a little history (with a twist) to go along with your turkey and stuffing this year.

From all of us at Springer Financial Advisors, we wish you and your family a very happy holiday!

Cheers -Keith

Citations: Salam, Maya. “Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Nov. 2017,

Smart Money Newsletter

Written By: Keith Springer

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