Column: Theories link Thanksgiving to 1637 Pequot massacre

An engraving by John Underhil depicts the massacre of 700 Pequots -- mainly women and children -- in Mystic, Connecticut, on May 26, 1637. Image from Houghton Library / Wikipedia

Columnist David Collins discusses theories that link the Mystic massacre in 1637 to the celebration of Thanksgiving:
You don't have to go far, in researching the origins of Thanksgiving, to come across some scholarly opinions that it was the bloody Pequot massacre of 1637 that everyone is commemorating, not the 1621 turkey picnic feast in Plymouth.

The record of the national holiday is clear: It was established by President Abraham Lincoln, who set aside the last Thursday of every November as a national day of thanks.

That proclamation Lincoln issued in October 1863 is surprisingly religious and pays homage to an Almighty Hand that might heal the "wounds of the nation" and restore it to "full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union."

There was no mention in the proclamation of colonists or Indians or turkeys. It seemed to be much more about an escape from the punishing Civil War than a celebration of a happy fall bounty feast held in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Get the Story:
David Collins: Does Thanksgiving mark the Pequot massacre in Mystic? (The New London Day 11/21)

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