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by Robert Pelton
The first Thanksgiving was observed on American soil in 1621, “after the harvest was gotten in.” It was celebrated by the surviving members of the little Plymouth colony who at that time numbered only 51 and 90 Indians who were unexpected but welcome guests. The menu consisted of such things as clams, eels, and mussels from the sea, venison and duck


The first Thanksgiving was observed on American soil in 1621, “after the harvest was gotten in.” It was celebrated by the surviving members of the little Plymouth colony who at that time numbered only 51 and 90 Indians who were unexpected but welcome guests. The menu consisted of such things as clams, eels, and mussels from the sea, venison and duck from the surrounding forests, leeks and plums and plenty of corn bread from the ovens of the homemakers. There was no pumpkin pie or mince pie at this time.
The first official Thanksgiving in America was in 1619 at the Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia. Not until the year 1636 was there a Thanksgiving Day as we have come to know it now. Church services were then held in the morning. A feast in every home that could afford one, “with the poorer sort being invited of the richer” followed this. As time passed, Thanksgiving, celebrated on the first Thursday in November, became a much more important traditional holiday and annual social event in New England life.
Pumpkin pie was the most popular item added to festivities to go along with the wild turkey, venison, fruits and vegetables of the Puritan’s first harvest feast.
It was later moved to the second Thursday in November in 1705 because of a problem encountered in Colchester, Connecticut. It seems that the town’s supply of molasses had not arrived in time for the local homemakers to make their Thanksgiving pumpkin pies.
Another new table delicacy was introduced at the Thanksgiving festivities in 1779. The unusual food was celery. A young woman living in Massachusetts in writing a letter about the feast had this to say: “ … there was one (vegetable) which I do not believe you have yet seen. It is called selery and you can eat it without cooking.”
The popular Thanksgiving tradition quickly spread throughout the colonies. On October 3, 1789, George Washington as President of the new United States, issued a NATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION making Thanksgiving an official holiday to be held all over the country. It began like this: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. … we then may all unite unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation …”
It wasn’t until January 1, 1795, that President Washington officially issued another NATIONAL THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION. It began thusly: “It is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced.” He further recommended “all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever within the United States, to set apart and observe” this special holiday as “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.”
Despite this action by the President, annual Thanksgiving festivities were still observed almost exclusively throughout New England for many years. The tradition gradually spread to the new southern and western states over a period of time.
In 1798 and 1799 John Adams called for two Thanksgiving observances during his four year term of office as President. Jefferson, Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren, Polk, Pierce and Buchanan – all Presidents who followed – ignored the national significance of Thanksgiving Day.
Then came Abraham Lincoln. In 1863, a year when our country was in the throes of a bloody Civil War, this man was to come forth with one of the most famous of all Thanksgiving proclamations. He officially made the standard date to celebrate as the last Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens … It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”
Historical Thanksgiving Cooking and Baking in America is chock full of delightfully delicious cooking ideas, which were favored by many famous families of yesteryear. It contains the favorite Thanksgiving dishes of many well known as well as lesser known figures from the Colonies, the Revolutionary War period and the Civil War period of our glorious history. Included are delicious breads and other scrumptious baked goods, taste-tempting poultry and meat dishes, soups and stews and loads of other wonderful old-time recipes.
Here you will find the Thanksgiving favorites of such historical luminaries as John Adams who dearly loved his Bacon Wrapped Chicken Li

Product Details

Freedom & Liberty Foundation Press
Publication date:
Historic Cookery , #5
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Barnes & Noble
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20 MB
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Meet the Author

Robert W. Pelton has been writing and lecturing for more than 40 years on historical, biographical and other subjects. He has published hundreds of articles and more than 75 books covering such things as a marvelous The Freelance Writer’s Survival Handbook; Unwanted Dead or Alive – The Greatest Act of Treason in Our History – The betrayal of American POWs Following World War 11, Korea and Vietnam; The McCarthy Chronicles Part 1 Treason, – Was Joe McCarthy Right? You be the Judge; The McCarthy Chronicles Part 2 Traitors, – Was Joe McCarthy Right? You be the Judge
Pelton has carefully mined hundreds of sources for historical cooking and baking recipes from the early days of America. He has perused innumerable old cookbooks as well as yellowed and tattered handwritten receipt ledgers from both private and public archives and libraries. Through all this, he has been able to skillfully recreate these treasures of the past in an unparalleled series of 10 historical cookbooks. Each recipe has been meticulously updated for use in kitchens of today. His latest is titled A Treasury of Family Recipes From the Time of the American War for Independence.
Robert W. Pelton proudly claims a heritage going all the way back to well before the War for American Independence. One of Mr. Pelton’s ancestors, John Rogers, came to America on the Mayflower and was one of 41 signers of the Mayflower Compact.
Another, John Smith was one of the founders of Jamestown.
Peleg Pelton served as the fifer in the Continental Army at age 18 during the Battle
of Saratoga (1777) and again in Yorktown (1781).
Captain Peter Hager was Commander of the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie, New York, in 1780.
Another, Captain Bezaleel Tyler fought in the only Revolutionary War Battle taking place in Sullivan County, New York. Here he fought against Mohawk Chief Thayendeneges, who was also known by the name of Joseph Brant,
Mr. Pelton is a member of Sons of the Revolution (SOR), and Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).
For a Power Point Presentation covering the Words, Dreams, Beliefs, and Aspirations of Our Founding Fathers or Cooking and Baking during the Civil War or in the American Colonies contact Mr. Pelton at 910-339-5354; 865-776-6644 or by e-mail at:

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