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the first thanksgiving

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THE LIST OF PILGRIMS AT "THE FIRST THANKSGIVING" IN 1621


As compiled by William Bradford, the leader of the Pilgrims and writer of the Mayflower Compact, in his journal Of Pilgrim Plantation, the 53 who survived that first horrible disease-infested winter:

4 MARRIED WOMEN : Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Elizabeth Hopkins, Susanna White Winslow.

5 ADOLESCENT GIRLS : Mary Chilton (14), Constance Hopkins (13 or 14), Priscilla Mullins (19), Elizabeth Tilley (14 or15) and Dorothy, the Carver's unnamed maidservant, perhaps 18 or 19.

9 ADOLESCENT BOYS : Francis & John Billington, John Cooke, John Crackston, Samuel Fuller (2d), Giles Hopkins, William Latham, Joseph Rogers, Henry Samson.

13 YOUNG CHILDREN : Bartholomew, Mary & Remember Allerton, Love & Wrestling Brewster, Humility Cooper, Samuel Eaton, Damaris & Oceanus Hopkins, Desire Minter, Richard More, Resolved & Peregrine White.

22 MEN : John Alden, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, William Bradford, William Brewster, Peter Brown, Francis Cooke, Edward Doty, Francis Eaton, [first name unknown] Ely, Samuel Fuller, Richard Gardiner, John Goodman, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland, Edward Lester, George Soule, Myles Standish, William Trevor, Richard Warren, Edward Winslow, Gilbert Winslow.


About half of the Pilgrims who set forth to escape persecution in England didn't survive.

I was struck by the sadness that must have made that Thanksgiving do bittersweet after seeing the names of the actual people.

It was similar to the feeling I got after learning about some of my ancestors from France who emigrated to Nova Scotia in the late 1600's, about 60 years after the first Thanksgiving.

In the middle of the 17th Century, my ancestor Claude Guidry and his family were expelled by the British in the Acadian Dispersion. After what must have been a horrible voyage back to France on a crowded ship in a convey of five, Charles lost his 9 month old son, his wife, and a four year old son in the span of a month.

Real people. Real feelings. Real hope, despair, love, and pain. Real courage.

How much we owe; how much we have to be thankful for.

How different things might be if not for very small circumstances.

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