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There is much between the lines in History

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Dear Cousins,
    I hope you aren't weary of my long messages.  The point I try to show is
that history can not be explained with a few phrases such as the "Sinclairs
were vassals".  I'm sure the Republicans and Democrats would be annoyed to
have Presidents Nixon and Clinton labeled for eternity as "bad presidents
who did nothing good".

    Example:  Wed. at a DAR meeting we were handed a paper with some facts
about Thanksgiving.  This was copied from a well-known seasonal poetry
magazine.  In just a few paragraphs it left out much.
(1) yes, Abraham Lincoln, was the first to declare a Thanksgiving Day--BUT
not for the harvest.  They were thankful that the Civil War was ended.
There was joy about that but so much sorrow from the war.

(2) The article said that one year (1621) after the Pilgrims arrived, they
first held a celebration of thanksgiving.  Yes, I'm sure these pious people
did dutifully give thanks BUT if was a pitiful harvest.

    The Pilgrims arrived in Dec. 1620--so that year was over and of course
no harvest.  They had been bound for Virginia and had expected sunnier
climates but that was one of the harshiest winters for years for the NE.
We all have heard of the awful suffering through the winter and the many who
died and were weakened but it wasn't one winter it was THREE
winters-1620-21, 1621-22 and 1622-23.

    So the Spring of 1621 rolls around and also the arrival of more settlers
who have brought few provisions.
This was unfamilier soil and climate, etc.   When fall came, they did not
have a bountiful harvest.  And now they were faced with another winter.
They had to get through it and to the next fall harvest on whatever they
could forage and  little coming in on the ships that carried yet more
settlers.  (The only good thing about these incoming ships is that they
carried healthy people who could take care of the sick and dying until, they
too, joined their ranks)  "Daily ration was only about a quarter of a pound
of bread for each person."

    Spring of 1622:  "In the spring of 1622, the Colonists complained they
were too weak to work raising food.  Although they were, on the whole,
deeply religious, some were so hungry that they stole food from their
starving fellow-workers.  Young men complained because they had to work hard
to feed other men and their wives and  children.  Strong men who were heads
of families griped.  they said that even though they put in long hours and
raised good crops, they and their children received no more food or clothes
than men who were unable or unwilling to put in more than a few hours' work
a day.  Women rebelled when ordered to cook for men not their husbands, or
when requested to wash their clothes (these were really foul clothes from
being sick).  And what about the husbands of women who had been set at these
jobs?  Their wives, they growled, were little better than slaves, and many
men declared they wouldn't permit their women-folk to do that kind of work.
After months of bitter complaints, the Gov. and chief men of the Colony came
to the conclusion that they were making a bad mistake.  As Gov. Bradford
said, they had thought they were ":wiser than God."

     So much credit has to go to the Squanto and chief Massasoit and another
Indian.  Can't remember his name now.  Who helped the Pilgrims so much.
Just as in Jamestown, these dear Indian friends brought them through or else
they would have perished.
    So in 1623 they turned away from goverment dictation and their communal
form of economics and gave each family a parcel of land for its own use.

    Then what a change took place!  Even the women went into the fields
willingly, taking their children along with them.  All---men, women and
children--planted as much corn as they felt they could possibly work.
People who had formerly complained that they were too weak to dig or hoe,
declaring that it was tyranny to make them undertake field work, gladly
undertook to plant and cultivate for themselves.

    AND when the harvest was gathered, instead of famine they had plenty.
And so they all gave thanks to God.  And what a Thanksgiving they
celebrated!  No wonder they gave up for all time their sharing of
poverty...their belief that it was good for all to suffer scarcity together.
They found that it is better for each man to work for himself to produce
plenty, because that benefits everyone."
    Finally in the Spring of 1623, Gov. Bradford issued a proclamation:

This was taken from a large parchment containing Gov. Bradfords diary notes
and another synopsis put out by The International Nickel Companty, INC. that
we sent for back in the 1950's.  It has been put up on display every year
since for Thanksgiving.  So you see what a travisty it is to the Pilgrim's
suffering to  gloss over those years of suffering and say they had their
Thanksgiving in 1621 which leaves the impression that this was the big
glorious Thanksgiving of 1623 where Thanks was really felt wholeheartedly.


PS.  The Pilgrims only wore black clothing when they couldn't get the dyes.
They came with colorful caps and vests...the men in particular.  The famous
painting of the Pilgims really depicted the dress worn by the Puritains who
came a few years later and lived nearby.  It was they that wore those tall
black hats with the buckles.  Weren't those costumes designed on purpose to
"set themselves aside" from the unbelievers in England?  So please spread
the word and help people to understand that Thanksgiving is NOT "Turkey

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