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THE REAL THANKSGIVING STORY – As Written by the Pilgrims

Posted by FactReal on November 13, 2008

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THE PILGRIMS’ MISSION – To Advance the Christian Faith
In 1620, a small group of pilgrims arrived in New England and
wrote out the Mayflower Compact
creating their own community
for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith.”

THE MAYFLOWER COMPACT – Signed by the Pilgrims in 1620

Modern Transcription:

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, convenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politic, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.

In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620″ (Mayflower Compact, Nov. 11, 1620)

Literal Transcription:

In ye name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord King James by ye grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, & Ireland king, defender of ye faith, &c.
Haveing undertaken, for ye glorie of God, and advancemente of ye Christian faith, and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and one of another, covenant & combine our selves togeather into a civill body politick; for our better ordering & preservation & furtherance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof, to enacte, constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete & convenient for ye generall good of ye Colonie: unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witnes wherof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd ye .11. of November, in ye year of the raigne of our soveraigne lord King James of England, France, & Ireland ye eighteenth, and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom. 1620.

PILGRIMS’ WRITINGS – Early Christian records of the U.S. history

“OF PLIMOTH PLANTATION” written by the Pilgrim Governor William Bradford (Governor of the Pilgrims for over 30 years)
e-book: History of Plymouth Plantation 1606-1646 (PDF)
e-book: History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647

This journal “Of Plimoth Plantation” was written by Pilgrim Governor William Bradford – check the Massachusetts Records, here, here, and here
The Massachusetts State House stores the hand-written journal of Mayflower Captain and Pilgrim Governor William Bradford where he narrates the first years of the Pilgrim colony at Plymouth. The Pilgrims sailed from England on the Mayflower and arrived in Massachusetts in 1620 where Bradford served as the colony’s first governor. Bradford wrote an account of the settlement from 1620 to 1646, titling it “Of Plimoth Plantation.”

The hand-written journal describes the voyage of The Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ experience settling in Plymouth
Originally titled “The Log of the Mayflower” contains an account as narrated by Mayflower Captain William Bradford who was one of the Company of Englishmen who left England in April 1620 in the ship known as “The Mayflower.” He also narrates the circumstances leading to their prior Settlement in Holland, their return to England and subsequent departure for New England, their landing at Cape Cod in December 1620, their Settlement at New Plymouth and their later history for several years.
This record is an invaluable source for the early history of Massachusetts and the United States.
The manuscript contains a copy of the Mayflower Compact (the original copy, written on board the Mayflower, no longer exists), a list of passengers who sailed on the vessel. (p19)

PILGRIMS’ WRITINGS – Thanksgiving to God
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING AT PLYMOUTH – to honor God for His deliverance and providence.
As narrated by the Pilgrim, Captain and Governor William Bradford in his manuscript “Of Plymoth Plantation”
(originally titled “The Log of the Mayflower”)

"Of Plimoth Plantation" By Pilgrim William Bradford

● The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends.
● It is primarily from the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving celebration of 1621 that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving Day.

Modern transcription:

And thus, they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings & incomings, for which let his holy name have the praise for ever, to all posterity.

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.”

“MOURT’S RELATION” written by Pilgrim Governor Edward Winslow, 1621 (Governor of the Pilgrims several times)
e-book: Mourt’s Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth (PDF)

"Mourt's Relation" by Pilgrim Edward Winslow

Modern transcription:
our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

This journal Mourt’s Relation was:
– Written primarily by Pilgrims and Mayflower passengers: Edward Winslow, William Bradford.
– Written between November 1620 and November 1621.
– Describes the landing of the Pilgrims at Cape Cod, their exploring and eventual settling at Plymouth, their building of the Colony, their relations with the surrounding Indians, including the First Thanksgiving.
– Originally printed in 1622 under the tile A Relation or Journal of the English Plantation settled at Plymouth, is the first published account of the coming of the Pilgrims to the New World to settle Plymouth Plantation.


(as written by the Pilgrim’s second Governor, William Bradford)

Pilgrims embrace Capitalism
(from the journal of Pilgrim William Bradford)

Pilgrims corn production increased when each family was assigned a parcel
● For the Pilgrims, life was a constant battle for survival. Later, Governor William Bradford made a decision. Instead of the colonists sharing their crops equally, he assigned a parcel of land to each family and told them they could keep whatever they produced for themselves.
● ‘This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.’ If you can keep everything you make, of course you’re going to work harder …more

Modern transcription:
All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

History of Thanksgiving in America
Celebrating Thanksgiving in America
What is the origin of America’s annual Thanksgiving Day?
Embarkation of The Pilgrims (painting on south side of the Rotunda in the United States Capitol Building)

Embarkation of The Pilgrims
(painting in the U.S Capitol Building)

Mayflower by Bernard Gribble

The Mayflower at Sea
by Margeson

Landing of the Pilgrims by Constantino Brumidi – Frieze in the U.S. Capitol

A group of Pilgrims, led by William Brewster, is shown giving thanks for their safe voyage after their arrival in Plymouth, Massachusetts. (1620)

Thanksgiving Thanking the Christian God

The First Thanksgiving
by Jennie A. Brownscombe

Pilgrims Signing the Mayflower Compact by Edward Percy Moran

Signing the Mayflower Compact
by Edward Percy Moran

Video Greetings from our Troops
A Thanksgiving Revival
What people are saying

[NOTE: For a smaller screen format, click here.]
True Story of Thanksgiving: Thanking God and How Socialism Failed
Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving: How Communism Failed and Private Property Triumphed
Pilgrims Set First Thanksgiving Day to Thank God (1621)


2 Responses to “THE REAL THANKSGIVING STORY – As Written by the Pilgrims”

  1. […] THANKSGIVING – As Written by the Pilgrims […]

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