Hardships Beyond What I Have Ever Known: Post 2 in a Thanksgiving Series

You would not think that the people that began our Thanksgiving tradition still had such hardships fresh in their minds.  Hardships that I can not begin to imagine.  This is the second post in a Thanksgiving series.  The facts are taken from “Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember” by Barbara Rainey.

“Perhaps the Pilgrims had felt that the worst was over when they finally set foot on solid ground again.  But their relief was only momentary.  As the weeks went by, the weather grew worse.  In the coldest stretch of winter, a disease made much of the community desperately ill.  The Pilgrims began to die in alarming numbers.  Near the end of March, with the weather improving and the worst of the influenza outbreak over, the surviving Pilgrims assessed their winter losses.  Several entire families had perished in the epidemic; fifteen of nineteen women were dead; in only four couples had both spouses survived.  The children had fared the best.  Of ten girls, nine survived, and only eight of the twenty-three boys died.  Nearly half of those who had arrived on the Mayflower now lay in the shallow graves dug on a windswept hill beside the sea.”

These are the men and women that established our country.  These tragedies struck the very land that we inhabit today.  These is our family tree.

Surely they questioned their journey.  I am sure some of them wished they had stayed in England.  I imagine that many of them questioned God.  Surely some of them were angry.  How hard!  Now they were in a new land with no home, no knowledge of how to survive, and now each of them had been touched by death in a huge way.  This is not the Thanksgiving story that runs through the mind of most while we prepare the turkey.


23 thoughts on “Hardships Beyond What I Have Ever Known: Post 2 in a Thanksgiving Series

  1. Great post. I wonder does this book talk of the thanksgiving feast as a grateful feast or as the unfortunate massacre? I’m still researching the validity of both.


    • i strongly recommend the book! it does talk about the friendship between the pilgrims and some of the particular indians (massasoit, squanto…) and some of the indian tribes. it says these indians told them about another savage tribe that lived in that land that had died out. thanksgiving is described as a grateful feast, there is not talk about a massacre. i would love any other findings you come across on this topic! i love history! and i really like looking at original sources. while this book is not an original source, obviously, she does give reference to a lot of original sources


  2. We are sadly saddled with revisionist histories that hardly reflect the events, My father had “A diary of a colonial preacher” written in the 1700’s wish i knew what happened to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • oh what a treasure! oh! i would loooove to see that! i would love to have it! maybe best i didn’t have it. i would worry about its care 🙂 those are the types of things that i find so amazing. amazing the wonderful words and to see how much our times have changed!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post. We rarely think of the realities of what those people went through as we gorge ourselves with food and make our big shopping plans. We see images of happy people with buckles on their hats sitting down at a large, full table with some happy natives in deerskin suits and feather head dresses as if it were some sort of costume party. I’m sure the real scene is far from what we’ve come to think of it as through the depictions ad agencies have designed. I just started following your blog. So happy I did. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We all learned in school the hardships the pilgrims had to endure, at least I did. I think we honor the pilgrims that did make it through. We celebrate their bravery, and thank them for forging a future for the rest of us. I am sure they wanted a better life for their children and those that would come after them. :o)

    Liked by 2 people

    • yay! so glad you learned about it! unfortunately learning history from primary sources and learning truth is becoming rare. what a wonderful time thanksgiving is. giving thanks is something to be celebrated around the world because of so many stories from the past and present! happy thanksgiving! i hope it is a wonderful one for you!


  5. It struck me that those who have suffered the most are also those who give ‘thanks’ the most for they remember their deliverance from ‘what might have been’. – like the Passover celebration ‘This day shall be a day of remembrance for you’ Exodus 14.
    Looking forward to next instalment.
    I too need to start my personal day of thanksgiving.


  6. Thank-you for another installment of a very interesting series. Since we in Canada have already celebrated our Thanksgiving, I can now enjoy a second as I help my southern neighbors celebrate theirs. And that in itself sounds like a very Thanksgiving type of thing to do. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So interesting to read about the Pilgrim Fathers from the other end…. I am a Scot, living all my married life in England, and I am married to a Pagdin. I have researched this unusual name quite deeply, and discovered they had links to the group from around Blyth who moved to Antwerp, then returned, some of them to eventually sail in the Mayflower. We have often wondered if some perhaps married ex-Pagdin girls were among them…. we know there was a Pagdin baby born in Boston around the time when they all went to Antwerp… but records are scarce, and now that we live in Spain, access is difficult. Am enjoying reading about it. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We forget in our modern day and age, what troubles and hardships North America and it’s inhabits had to go through to forge the great land we have today. The rights and freedoms we are thankful for today came at great cost to those who came before us. Thanks for posting this article, we rarely think about the traditions we celebrate and how it came to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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