Thanksgiving meal mostly original Amerindian stuff
Jack Tyler wrote:
Much of what was eaten on that first "Thanksgiving"
day was grown from seeds brought over here by the Pilgrims.
Traditionally, the bountiful harvest before the first Thanksgiving
feast was largely due to
the assistance that Tisquantum (Squanto) gave the Pilgrims in planting
maize along with a small fish for fertilizer.
Indian corn was precious, it was a matter of life and death to Indians
and Englishmen alike, and Indian corn repeatedly figured in the drama
of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies.
One of my New England ancestors was Richard Warren, a passenger on the
Mayflower. He would have known Tisquantum personally. Both died within
three years of the Mayflower's landing in Massachusetts.
Richard's name appears on the Mayflower Compact, the document that they
all agreed to sign in order to legitimize their establishment of a
colony hundreds of miles away from the intended site in "Northern
Virginia" near the mouth of the Hudson river.
In a video called "Desperate Crossing", The History Channel dramatized
the Pilgims digging up Native American graves and seed corn caches near
Cape Cod. After an encounter with angry Wampanoag Indians, the Pilgrims
decided to move the colony to New Plymouth.
Later, the Pilgrims encountered the same band of Wampanoags and
Governor Bradford agreed to make restitution in the matter of the seed
corn they'd pilfered.
Massasoit, sachem of the Wampanoags, regarded the Pilgrims as not being
dangerous at all, according to some sources, but "Desperate Crossing"
suggests that Massaoit welcomed the Pilgrims as allies against the
Narragansetts and the Pequots, who were a
warlike band of Iroquois that had moved into New England only a century
Massasoit agreed to a treaty with the Europeans in 1635, when he
realized that Indians were outnumbered. Massasoit agreed that all
Indians would live by English law. The Wampanoags were known as
In 1675, Massasoit's grandson Metacomet became angered after seeing the
bodies of three Indians who had been hanged for some crime, and
Metacomet led the insurrection known as "King Phillip's War".
By that time, my direct ancestors were living in the small town of
Hingham. Wampanoags lay in ambush by a wheat field and attacked and
killed a relative who made a good account of himself by using his
musket as a club. Another ancestor was the officer in charge of the
Hingham militia. He was killed, and my direct ancestor's house was one
of five burned by Indians.
King Phillips War killed about 5% of the population of New England, and
some counties in Rhode Island were uninhabited by Europeans for decades
Metacomet sent 5000 Wampanoag warriors to kill the English, and only
500 came back.
Metacomet was captured and hanged, along with chief Canonchet, his
ally. In those days, Canonchet was as notorious as Geronimo was, 200
Metacomet could have gotten away, but he returned. Why? He came back to
retrieve his cache of seed corn...