Special Episode – The First Thanksgiving, Virginia 1619

I have written about, and even briefly mentioned the First Thanksgiving before, but this event deserves a stand-alone podcast episode.

For those who have not heard about the first English Speaking Thanksgiving in the New World, it started when a group of closely related English investors came together to plan a new life in Virginia.

They saw an opportunity to escape economic and religious hardships plaguing 17th Century England, enlisted a veteran Virginia settler, and shipped 35 settlers to an 8,000 acre land-grant on the James River in 1619.

Upon their arrival, the settlers offered their thanks to Almighty God as their first action at their new home, Berkeley Hundred. All of this was accomplished before their more famous counterparts, the Pilgrims, set sail in 1620.

Berkeley Plantation’s Reenactment of Captain Woodlief and his men coming ashore to celebrate the First Thanksgiving in 1619



  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Dowdy, Clifford. The Great Plantation: A Profile of Berkeley Hundred and Plantation Virginia from Jamestown to Appomattox. Charles City, VA: Berkeley Plantation, 1957.
  3. Hatch, Charles. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia 1607-1624. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1991.
  4. Horn, James. A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America. New York: Basic Books, 2005.
  5. Hume, Ivor Noel. Here Lies Virginia. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1963.
  6. Hume, Ivor Noel. The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to James Towne – An Archaeological and Historical OdysseyNew York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994.
  7. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  8. Price, David A. Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of a New NationNew York: Vintage, 2003.
  9. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  10. Smith, John. The Generall History of Virginia. 1624.
  11. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  12. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  13. Williams, Tony. The Jamestown Experiment: The Remarkable Story of The Enterprising Colony and the Unexpected Results that Shaped America. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2011.
  14. Woodlief, H. Graham. History of the First Thanksgiving found at Berkeley Plantation Website
  15. Wooley, Benjamin. Savage Kingdom: The True Story of Jamestown, 1607, and the Settlement of America. New York: Harper and Collins, 2007.




All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of colonial re-enactors at the First Thanksgiving Festival, which takes place annually at Berkeley Plantation.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Little Birdie” by Vince Guaraldi, also available on iTunes.

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