The First Thanksgiving Was In Virginia!

The roadside entrance to Berkeley Plantation’s manor house.

Virginian’s are rather proud of their history, and they should be. So, when some New Englander tries to impose their faulty history on us, we shout back with facts. One such fact is that the first Thanksgiving in the New World did not take place at Plymouth Bay Colony, Massachusetts. It took place on the Berkeley Hundred, or what is today known as the Berkeley Plantation on the James River. A group of 35 settlers under Captain John Woodlief disembarked the Margaret on December 4, 1619 to hold a Thanksgiving service a full year before the Plymouth Bay colonists landed in New England, and more than two years before the Pilgrims celebrated their famous festival.

Berkeley claims to be America’s “Most Historic Plantation”, and with good cause. This sign list just a few notable events to have taken place on the grounds.

To honor the event the elegant Berkeley Plantation celebrates the First Thanksgiving on the first Sunday of November every year. This year, my wife and I plan to attend. It should be a treat for the both of us. For her, because she’s never been to Berkeley. For me, because I fell in love with this James River Plantation the second I set eyes upon it. I will add more pictures in future posts, but in advance of the weekend’s festivities, I wanted to share a few pictures I took while on a history trip with my friend Brandon last year. Enjoy, and if you also attend this weekend’s Thanksgiving, feel free to say hello!

Crops, such as corn and soybeans are still harvested every year, as they have been for centuries along the James River.

*For more information about this weekend’s events at Berkeley Plantation, please visit this link.

**All pictures are from my personal collection, and are copyrighted by Robert Van Ness, 2015.

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