All branches will be closed Wednesday, December 24 through Friday, December 26. We wish you a happy & safe holiday!

First New World English Thanksgiving Was Celebrated in Virginia

The Pilgrims get the fame for their feast in New England, but two years prior on December 4, 1619, thirty-eight Virginians at Berkeley Hundred celebrated “a day of thanksgiving’ to God as required by their charter:

“We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."
 
Carpenters, cooks, gardeners, and gentlemen, they had sailed from Bristol, England, aboard the Margaret, under Captain John Woodleefe (Woodliffe), full of hopes for a future in a new land.  Yet within a few years, Berkeley Hundred would be the site of a massacre and that part of the colony would be abandoned for a time as colonists withdrew to more secure settlements, such as the Jamestown Fort. You can read more about the sorts of lives lived by these colonists with books from the library and online sources:
 
In the Library:
 
 
 
 
Online:
 
Berkeley Plantation: Virginia’s Most Historic Plantation
 
“Old Muddy James and the Flow of History” from the Colonial Williamsburg Journal
 
Yate’s Account of a Voyage to Virginia in 1619