December 16, 1620, they were able to sail to the permanent location. It had a perfect harbor, able to handle vessels with a draft twice that of the Mayflower.
There was a large open field, easily defendable, with gentle slopes to the water’s edge. Four spring fed creeks with sweet water flowed through the area.
December 25ththey began building the common house for the people and their supplies. One month later, January 21, 1620, the sick were filling the common house and the roof caught fire.
The common house was saved but some much needed supplies were lost.
After completing the common house, they began building homes for the families. As they moved into the month of February, two people a day were dying from sickness, on some days three and February 21st four people died.
One day in February there were only five men well enough to care for the sick, one of them being William Bradford.
Only fourteen people died in March and by mid April, the worst had passed. Nearly half the colony had died that winter, a total of forty-seven people.
Thirteen of the eighteen wives had been lost and only three of the original families remained without the loss of a loved one.
Through it all their hearts remained soft to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sunday was their favorite day of the week, as they gathered for public worship.
Over the remaining months of 1621 God brought divine provision, safety and harvest.
October 1621 Governor Bradford declared a day of public thanksgiving. The neighboring Indian chief, Massasoit, was invited. He arrived a day early with ninety of his people.
They did not come empty handed.
Their contribution to the Thanksgiving meal was five deer and a dozen fat wild turkey.
That first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated with food, fun, laughter, games and wonderful fellowship between the first European people and the Native Americans.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER
He felt more troubled than he had ever felt in his life. The very fate of the Union was at stake. This was the most critical hour of the war and perhaps the most critical hour in the history of the United States.
In desperation, he left his office, crossed the hall into his private chambers, and locked the door. He fell to his knees in front of a chair; head in his hands, he began to weep and pour out a prayer.
He cried out to God that he had done all he knew to do and pleaded for help. After a heartbreaking hour of prayer he rose from his knees, crossed the hall to his office again, but with a great burdened lifted from his shoulders.
As Mr. Lincoln returned to his desk, before him lay a copy of the new “Thanksgiving Proclamation” he was about to sign, declaring the last Thursday of November as a day of national Thanksgiving.
The nation had never had such an annual Day of Thanksgiving and President Abraham Lincoln believed it was time for the nation to remember how God had blessed and prospered this great country.
The Proclamation read:
We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven…
We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace…
We have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
Tear slipped down his face as he again read the words he had written. He believed them deeply.
It was that deep belief that moved him to order the Treasury Department to engrave on every American coin, “In God We Trust.”
You can read all of Dr. Hackett’s articles here.F. Dean Hackett has served in full time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered through out the United States, Canada and Eastern Europe, serving as an evangelist, pastor, and conference speaker. He has planted four churches and assisted in the planting of many others and is known for training many workers who are presently in full time ministry as pastors and missionaries. He holds a Masters degree in Ministry, a Masters of Theology and a Ph.D. in theological studies. His enthusiastic and challenging ministry has made him a popular teacher and conference speaker. He has written five books, Discovering Jesus, Uncovering the Jesus Life; The Joy of Becoming Like Jesus; The Joy of Becoming an Ambassador for Christ; Discovering True Identity; Mission Agape’. He began Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate and support outreach ministries in the USA, Croatia and other regions the world that open for ministry. He is the author of F Dean Hackett – Foundational. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Rosilind, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an Associates of Practical Theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.