Children, do you know the story
Of the first Thanksgiving Day,
Founded by our Pilgrim Fathers
In that time so far away?
They had given for religion
Wealth and comfort, yes, and more,
Left their homes, and friends, and kindred,
For a bleak and barren shore.
On New England’s rugged headlands,
Now where peaceful Plymouth lies,
There they built their rough log cabins,
‘Neath the cold, forbidding skies.
And too often, e’en the bravest,
Felt his blood run cold with dread,
Lest the wild and savage red-man
Burn the roof above his head.
Want and sickness, death and sorrow,
Met their eyes on every hand.
And before the Springtime reached them,
They had buried half their band.
But their noble, brave endurance
Was not exercised in vain;
Summer brought them brighter prospects,
Ripening seed and waving grain.
And the patient Pilgrim mothers,
As the harvest time drew near,
Looked with happy, thankful faces
At the full corn in the ear.
So the governor, William Bradford,
In the gladness of the heart,
To praise God for all his mercies,
Set a special day apart.
That was the Autumn, children,
Sixteen hundred and twenty-one;
Scarce a year from when they landed,
And the colony begun.
And now, when in late November,
Our Thanksgiving feast is spread,
‘Tis the same time-honored custom
Of those Pilgrims long since dead.
We shall never know the terrors
That they braved, years, years ago,
But for all their struggle gave us,
We our gratitude can show.
And the children of New England,
If they feast, or praise, or pray,
Should bless God for those brave Pilgrims,
And their first Thanksgiving Day.
*Public Domain. Taken from my great-grandmother’s scrapbook.