Thanksgiving “Strangers”


Over at The New York Times, Irish-American Studies scholar Joseph Kelly reminds us that not all those who celebrated the so-called “first Thanksgiving” were Pilgrims.  Here is a taste of his piece “The Thanksgiving Story You’ve Probably Never Heard“:

But the pilgrims (Bradford called them “saints”) weren’t the only settlers at the feast. Troublesome “strangers” who did not confess the Pilgrim creed were there, too.

One of the strangers was the historical figure you should be thinking about this Thanksgiving. You’ve probably never heard of Stephen Hopkins. He might change the way you think about the national holiday.

We don’t know very much about him. Hopkins was born in 1581, about the same time Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway in Stratford. His family was neither poor nor rich. As a young man, Hopkins leased a farm, married, had children and lost his lease, and perhaps to mend his fortunes in 1609 he joined 500 other settlers headed for Jamestown, Va.

Read the rest here.


6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving “Strangers”

  1. As someone who lived recently in Florida and now lives in Virginia, I appreciate the quotes around your “first Thanksgiving.”


  2. Thank you for sharing this. My second grade class is reading A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla which chronicles children trying to reunite with their father in Jamestown but were shipwrecked in Bermuda. Next we’ll be reading about the Pilgrims. I’m excited to share with them this new to me information.


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