AMONG the multitudes-who observe Thanksgiving, there are many who do not know when, where, or how the first was observed.

 It was in the autumn, one year after the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers.

During that year, sickness had taken many to their graves. They had suffered from famine, and their peace had been disturbed by Indians. But about this time the chiefs from all the country round came into the village, and made treaties of peace with the colonists.

Under these favorable circumstances the first harvest was gathered. 

When they saw the piled-up stores, the first gathered in their new home, they felt very thankful to God, who had so prospered them. Accordingly, Gov. Bradford proclaimed a Thanksgiving feast. The men went into the forest to shoot wild fowl, and although it had been scarce through the summer, they now found enough to last the whole settlement a week. 

Then in the houses and over fires in the open air, the work of cooking began.

The men, with their brave captain, Miles Standish, marched to the meetinghouse. The sermon of Elder Brewster was suited to the occasion. He was never known to preach a better nor a shorter discourse, although it would seem very long to us now.

It was a Thanksgiving dinner, although the tables were of the rudest kind, and there are many of the delicacies we have now, which were entirely unknown to them. In the evening, Massasoit, the great Indian chief, came into the village with one hundred savages, who brought with them deer and a supply of other game. So the feast was continued another day. On the third day it was again resumed, as the Indians had gone out early in the morning, and returned with more venison. A council fire was built, and new treaties of peace were made. 

Then, with much ceremony, Massasoit took leave.

Thus ended the first Thanksgiving, and it has been observed with more or less ceremony every year since. 


HERE on this blest Thanksgiving night, 

We raise to Thee our grateful voice;

For what thou doest, Lord, is right, 

And this believing, we rejoice.

 J. O. Holland.