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EARLY AMERICAN THANKSGIVINGS
(Part 1 of a new annual series)
Researched by Freedom Writer for Thanksgiving 2000

St. Johns River Settlement, Florida, June 30, 1564, was established by Rene de Laudonniere, who led a group of French Huguenots (Protestants from France) to colonize and build Fort Caroline near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. Rene de Laudonniere recorded:

"We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us."

(From "America's God & Country Encyclopedia of Quotations" by William J. Federer, FAME Publishing, Inc.; 1996; Page 236)

Colony of Virgina, December 4, 1619, records how 38 colonists landed in a place they called Berkeley Hundred. In their charter, they instructed:

"We ordain that the day of our ship's arrival...in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God."

(From "America's God & Country Encyclopedia of Quotations", by William J. Federer; FAME Publishing, Inc.; 1996; page 626)

On Nov. 29, 1623, three years after the Pilgrims' arrival and two years after the first Thanksgiving, Governor William Bradford made an official proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving:

"To all ye Pilgrims:

In as much as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetable, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience;

now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listed to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

William Bradford, Ye Governor of Ye Colony."

(Enhanced for Netscape)

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