Thanksgiving Part 5: With a Thankful Heart

Mistress Kate, once again, greeting thee with a joyful heart!  ‘Tis the harvest, indeed, this Autumn on Plimoth Plantation, and we Pilgrims are preparing for a great feast of Thanksgiving!  From the persecutions of our brethern in England and the hand of God to deliver us onto this prepared land in America, through the storms and trials of our arrival last year in the fall of 1620 – we surely have much for which to be thankful.  Today, we look back over the great loss of so many of our loved ones, even so . . .

We still praise Jehovah for our God is good!

The Indian native, Squanto, taught us the farming  skills we needed to tend the earth in this new land.  And, most joyfully we have reaped an abundant harvest by the Lord’s hand and keeping.  Over the spring and summer we have grown to know our new Indian friends, and ’tis by a Peace Treaty that we will continue to enjoy their fellowship and trade for some 50 years hence.

Our leaders have called for a day of Thanksgiving to celebrate our blessings.  It will require all our cookery wisdom, to be sure.  The great Chief Massasoit will be in attendance, with others of his tribe – including Squanto and Samoset.  They are to bring wild game for preparation and food to the feast.

Not a small amount of work to be done, I daresay – especially when we have our regular chores to be seeing to.  Our laundry is ever busy and there’s clouting, to be sure!

Now here in New Plimoth our garments grow thin,
And wool is much wanted to card and to spin;
If we get a garment to cover without,
Our other in-garments are clout upon clout.

Our clothes we brought with us are often much torn,
They need to be clouted before they are worn.
But clouting our garments they hinder us nothing.
Clouts double are warmer than single whole clothing.
Yet, we still praise Jehovah for our God is good!

As we often say with our Saint Paul in the Scriptures:

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

And, content we well be, with food good enough on the table – though often very different from our old English fare.

If flesh meat we wanting to fill up our dish,
We have carrots and pumpkins and turnips and fish.
And when we’ve a mind for a delicate dish,
We repair to the clam-bank and there we catch fish.

Instead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies.
We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon.
If it was not for pumpkin we should be undoon!

Yet, we still praise Jehovah for our God is good!

Our feasting tables overflowed on our Thanksgiving day.  And, not just one day – but three whole days of feasting, games, contests, and prayers of thanksgiving!

Our Indian friends joined us in great celebration, bringing venison, waterfowl, geese, and eel to the table – enough for all.  Through our good fellowship with the Indians, they came to inquire of us concerning the God we worship.  What praises the day they, too, Samoset, Massasoit, and so many of the other Indian tribe, came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  They asked to be taught of the God of the Bible – the God of freedom and truth, who so graciously . . .

Oops!  Mistress Kate is off to fetch yet another platter of victuals for the table and must end her story here.  There’s still the washing up to be done when the feast is fini!  And, perhaps a letter or two to write back to the family and friends in England, echoing the verses shared during these five chapters of the Thanksgiving Story.  And, yet, here’s another verse she might write:

Now you whom the Lord intends hither to bring,
Forsake not the honey for fear of the sting.
But, bring forth a quiet and contented mind,
And all needful blessings you surely will find.

In 1623, three years after they landed, one of the Pilgrims wrote the verses of this song as a ballad about their life in New Plimoth.  It was handed down from generation to generation and in 1767, was finally written down from the lips of a 94 year old woman.  It was printed in 1774.  It represents a firsthand account of life in the Plimoth colony.  It’s apparent that the lyrics of the song were meant to be read back in England, just as they were meant to be heard in New England.  While the Pilgrims were honest about reporting to the folks back home about the hardships in the New World, they were always eager to encourage new settlers to come to join them.  It was their simplicity of life and fullness of their faith in God that no matter what Providence came their way they still praised Jehovah for their God was good!

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And, having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8

Don’t miss all the story installments on THANKSGIVING – by Kathryn Ross:

Note:  For excellent primary source research information about Plimoth Plantation and the diary of William Bradford, from which the details of the Pilgrim’s plight and 1621 Thanksgiving feast were taken for this five part story series, visit the Foundation for American Christian Education featuring The Principle Approach, to find a storehouse of excellent resource materials for personal study – and especially home school studies.  

Sharing Thanksgiving Part 5 with:

  Trish’s LACE Wednesday at Lily Rose Cottage
Laura’s It’s Not About Me November at Beholding Glory


  1. I’ve so enjoyed following along with your story, Kathy.
    What faith and tenacity the Pilgrims had!
    The sacrifices that all our pioneers made were very great, regardless of which country we now live in :-)
    We owe them so very much.
    Praise God, for His protection and provision which is still ongoing today!
    It is truly something to give Him grateful thanks for!
    Thanking YOU for linking this to LACE, my friend.

  2. Kathy, that was truly a fabulous presentation and I am honored you shared it on your blog. We do have such a godly heritage which gets lost so often. Thank you again. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed. We are most blessed to know Him who gives us all.

  3. Your visuals are so lovely with these posts. I would love to share this series with my children as we don’t know much about thanks giving living here in Australia.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    blessings to you

  4. OK, I said I would hold comments until I finished reading everything I’ve missed here, but I just have to say that I love the way you incorporated the hymn into this whole story. I love the fact that they wrote it to begin with. It reminds me of the way Moses and Miriam (and others in the OT) composed songs to be sung in memorial.

    And this is my favorite part of all:

    “We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon.
    If it was not for pumpkin we should be undoon!”

    If you knew the way I obsess over pumpkin around this place, you would know why I love it and laughed so hard at it. (Seriously, I once ate so much pumpkin over a period of time that my skin took on a yellowish hue like a baby who eats too many yellow vegetables. I had to back off.)

    This is wonderful!

  5. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Kathy, you have been a great blessings for sharing this. I feel as if we shared Thanksgiving in our hearts.

I would love to hear from you--share your thoughts!


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