November 25, 2009


The First Thanksgiving
by Jean Leon Gerome Ferns

Native Americans were the first gardeners and they saved our early pilgrim settlers by teaching them their craft. Most of the seeds brought by the settlers from their English homeland did not thrive in the new soil and climate . They would've starved to death if the Native Americans hadn't shown them how to grow the "three sisters " -corn, beans and squash. We gardeners are very familiar with their wise saying : "When the oak leaves are as big as a mouses ear, it is time to plant the corn " . The early settlers also learned to find nuts, berries, lobster, clams, and to hunt ducks, geese, deer and bear.

That first Spring they " tilled and planted with heavy hoes ".. .20 acres of corn, 6 acres of wheat, barley and rye . A vegetable garden was also planted and harvested .

The harvest was abundant and so they invited their Indian neighbors to celebrate with feasing, singing , dancing and games.

From all indications, turkey was probably not on the first Thanksgiving menu but most likely fowl such as duck, geese, and pheasant were. The first Thanksgiving was a BBQ with venison, fowl and fish roasted over an open fire.

Potatoes hadn't been cultivated at the time and due to the shortage of flour and sugar there was no pumpkin pie, but boiled pumpkin instead. They did have barley for beer and corn for corn bread.

So as we gather to give thanks on this 232nd Thanksgiving let us be grateful and remember those American pilgrims and their kind neighbors, who, like gardeners everywhere, couldn't pass up an opportunity to introduce their craft.

Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. Carolyn, I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with family and/or friends. :-) As I prepared our menus, I thought perhaps we were enjoying pretty traditional foods... many of which would have been enjoyed at those first feasts! Somehow that made it heartwarming. Have a great weekend.

  2. See my husband contends that the 1st TD feast celebrated the massacre of the Pequots, but your story is much nicer!

  3. Do hope your Thanksgiving weekend is delightful, Carolyn. Sharing both, my native American heritage and my husband's pilgrim with 2 ancestors arriving on the Mayflower, our Thanksgiving is a true day to celebrate (a melting pot of delightful/interesting traditions :)

  4. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving Carolyn!

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays thanks to its rich tradition and meaning, and relative absence of materialism.

  5. OUr thanksgiving was, of course, six weeks ago, but I have enjoyed reading some of the blog stories around this year's celebrations, Carolyn. I hope yours was a happy time!

  6. Thank you all for your comments and good wishes. Hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as well.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...