In July of 1936 the Pilgrim John Howland Society began to publish our quarterly newsletter the Howland Quarterly. Now over 76 volumes of the Quarterly exist.

The main objects of this publication are (1) to bring our members closer together, for, after all, we are one large family; (2) to present to you the many interesting items relating to the Howlands—past and present—and (3) notices of our meetings, the work we are doing and our plans for developing the PJHS.

Below are articles from past issues of the Howland Quarterly that should be of interest to you. In addition, much of the material of this web site is culled from the past issues of the Howland Quarterly and are written by our members to help celebrate and to educate about our ancestors' achievements and lives.

Thanksgiving Questions & Answers

By John Dickinson Sherman

What is Thanksgiving Day?The following suggestion may be found interesting to our members. We will call it a Thanksgiving Game. Prepare place-cards for the members of the family and guests. On the backs of these cards have the answers to the questions given below.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday peculiarly our own. It is the happiest sort of combination of sober and sincere gratitude to Divine Providence, of feasting and jollity and of home and State.

When was the first American Thanksgiving Day?
December 13th, 1621.

Where was it celebrated?
At Plymouth.

By whom was it celebrated?
The Pilgrims.

For what reason did Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony set apart a day of Thanksgiving?
During the first terrible winter of 1620-1621 nearly half of the Mayflower company had died. But the Fall of 1621had assure them of an abundant harvest.

Were there any quests at this Thanksgiving?
Yes, about 90 friendly Wampanoags.

What did the Pilgrims serve for this Thanksgiving feast?
Large bowls of savory broth with clams and oysters, wild turkeys stuffed with beechnuts, dishes of turnips and carrots, bowls of salad, hasty-pudding, thin cakes of bread or manchets, and baskets of wild grapes.

How long did the Thanksgiving feast last?
Four days.

What did the Wampanoag Indians contribute?
The second day, Massasoit, and his men went into the woods and brought back several deer. They had also brought large saks of pop-corn.

When was Thanksgiving Day first observed as a National Holiday?
In the first session of the first Congress, President Washington was requested to recommend to the people a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. In accordance whi this request, President Washington set apart November 26th, 1789.

When did Thanksgiving become a recurrent National Holiday?
In October, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, by proclamation, recommended the ay to the people, and set aside the last Thursday in November for its observance.

How should good Americans today observe Thanksgiving Day?
On Thanksgiving Day the good American should give thanks to the Divine Providence whis has so often aided the progress of this one nation dedicatd to liberty, to equality of rights and opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness.

Never before has a people enjoyed such material comfort, and the nation is the wealthiest and most powerful on earth. With power comes responsibility; such is the unwritten law. Also prosperity tries to soul of man quite as much as does adversity; such is human nature.

And so it is with nations. The good American should therefore add dignity and importance to Thanksgiving Day by taking stock of the past and present, and by making resolve for the future.


Reprinted from the October 1936 issue of The Howland Quarterly.