Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Second Thanksgiving at Plymouth

The Second Thanksgiving...
When two of my ancestors collaborated on survival in New England 1623

"The Sacred Cod" hangs in the Massachusetts State House in Boston

David Thompson (1592 – 1628) arrived in New Hampshire in 1623, the first permanent European settler in our fair state.  He established an outpost at Pannaway, where Odiorne State Park is now located in Rye. His son, John, was the first European child born in New Hampshire.  He came to make money, to utilize the resources of New England for trade- salt cod, furs, and lumber.  One of his first visitors was Myles Standish from the Plymouth Colony, where, although they had been there several years, the people were starving and not able to grow significant harvests or pay back their creditors, the Plymouth Colony.  Thompson was successful at fishing, and brought a load of salt cod down to Plymouth where the settlers held their second Thanksgiving in his honor.

In his journal, Bradford mentions the cod fish incident, and the second Thanksgiving.  He doesn’t give credit to Thompson for the event.  The Separatist settlers who came for religious reasons, to be separate, perhaps did not hold the settlers who came for money making reasons in high enough esteem, even though they saved their lives.  Myles Standish is my 8th great grandfather, and David Thompson is my 9th great grandfather in a completely different lineage.

I find this story interesting because two of my ancestors, from completely different sides of the family, had this meeting which influenced New England history, and American history, almost 400 years ago.  By 1626 Thompson had removed to an island in Boston harbor, now known as Thompson’s island.  There on this island he met with Myles Standish in 1621. Along with others, and they brokered an agreement about trading and relations with the native Indians.

In another weird coincidence, David Thompson’s widow remarried to Samuel Maverick, who lived on Maverick’s island off Boston.  Samuel’s brother, Moses Maverick, married Remember Allerton, who was also a Mayflower passenger when she was only five years old.

And so, on the first Thanksgiving the Plymouth settlers celebrated with five deer brought by the Indians, and on the second Thanksgiving they celebrated with salt cod brought by David Thompson. 

The big questions is:  Are you having cod for your Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow?

For more information:

The Islands of Boston Harbor:  Their History and Residents by Edward Rowe Snow, Andover Massachusetts: The Andover Press, 1935.   Available online at this link:

The Great Migration Begins, by Robert Charles Anderson, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, Volume III, pages 1807 – 1809.

Myles Standish Speaks Out on NH’s First Settler, by J. Dennis Robinson, from his blog at “Seacoast New Hampshire”  at this link:

Turkeygate: 365 Year old Scandal, by J. Dennis Robinson, from his blog at “Seacoast New Hampshire”, 1997 at this link:

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Copyright © 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Two of my hubby's Mayflower ancestors survived to the first Thanksgiving, Isaac Allerton and his daughter, Mary Allerton. Two others (Degory Priest and Mary Norris Allerton) didn't make it, sorry to say. I'm thankful they made this dangerous voyage! And no cod for us. Turkey is just a delivery mechanism for stuffing, IMHO :)

  2. My mother ate salt cod and potatoes every day, probably more than once a day, during the Depression; she has not eaten a flake since!