Plymouth has been stealing our thunder far too long – 394 years to be exact.
It’s time to put away the pilgrim hats and forget about the Mayflower. The real first Thanksgiving happened right here in Virginia, nearly two years before the historic feast that gets all the credit for our modern-day holiday.
It happened on Dec. 4, 1619 at the Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County along the James River – and it’s still celebrated every year with a “First Thanksgiving” festival at the plantation.
It was that day that 38 settlers, funded by the Virginia Company of London and led by Captain John Woodlief, arrived at Berkeley and proclaimed: “We ordaine that the day of our ship’s arrival at the place assigned for plantation, in the land of Virginia, shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
They even documented it in writing for the sake of history.
But through the centuries, for reasons unknown, it’s the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock who get all glory for the Thanksgiving holiday, even though their feast wasn’t until sometime between Sept. 21 and Nov. 8, 1621.
Maybe it was those fashionable black pilgrim hats?