Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings.

Read more about the Howlands at Ancestry. Com

Meet my distant relatives, John and Elizabeth Tilley Howland, the original Pilgrims who left England early in 1620 on the Mayflower to start a new life in the New World. John, a young lad probably in his early 20’s came as a manservant or indentured servant to John Carver. Elizabeth also booked passage on the Mayflower. According to, Howland probably inherited Carver’s estate after the Carvers died the second year at The Colony of New Plymouth, having survived the first year when so many of the pilgrims died. Governor Carver had no children, so some believe that Howland as the oldest surviving male of the Carver household inherited Carver’s estate, which allowed him to buy his freedom, though no documentation has been found to prove that he did gain his wealth and freedom in that manner. He did, however, serve in a public capacity during his long life to shape a new America. He used his inheritance to help pay for the colony's debt to its London lender.

Despite that some historians write that the Pilgrims were criminals escaping from their crimes, the Pilgrims were religious activists, so some were jailed for their religious beliefs as they sought freedom to practice their own faith outside the Church of England.

I would like to think that because I am a direct descendant on my grandmother Duston’s side, I am unique or special, but I am not, for according to various genealogy web sites, the Howlands had ten children, leaving a legacy of millions of American descendants. None-the-less, I am proud of my colonial heritage.

William Bradford, also on the Mayflower and author of the Mayflower Compact, writes of John Howland in his journal where he describes how John comes on deck during a storm and is thrown overboard. Able to grasp hold of a broken halyard, he hangs on until he is rescued. As Bradford writes, the “lusty young lad” is saved because, as the Puritans believed, God felt him worthy enough to be saved.

Thanksgiving was first determined by executive order by President Lincoln in 1863; however, not until December 26, 1941 did Thanksgiving become an official holiday when President Roosevelt signed Congressional law making it an official holiday on the 4th Thursday of November. Though it seems that Thanksgiving these days is less about giving thanks for those hearty, brave Puritans who sought religious freedom and more about eating huge amounts of good food, watching football, and getting ready for Black Friday, the holiday remains one of our favorite holidays when we can sit back and just enjoy family and friends, reflect on how great America really is, and  give thanks for our abundant blessings. As we give those blessings, let us remember to pray for those brave men and women who have sacrificed their Thanksgiving celebrations to preserve American freedoms.

PS: Let's not forget that our Canadian neighbors also celebrate their Thanksgiving, too.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Happy Eating. God Bless America and God Bless our Military.


  1. Interesting bit of history and something to be proud of. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Ann.

  2. I'm going to show A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to my reading workshop class.
    We usually draw pilgrims on our Thanksgiving butcher paper tablecloth! Not a lot of football is watched when I am around! I spent all my growing up Thanksgivings watching football when I wanted to do something FUN!
    Have you caught up on the grading? Our trimester ends soon, so all I have to do is feed the SCANTRON machine!
    Sending love your way!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Ann,
    I really enjoyed reading the history of your ancestors and it is something to be proud of for sure.
    I have celebrated one Thanksgiving in New York watching large inflatables of Garfield and sesame street being blown up by the park and then floated down the street the morning after,i have never seen so many cheer leaders in one place :)

  4. Have a lovely Thanksgiving and a great week!

  5. Hi mom- just read your post. Your photo is lovely. Again your story telling a it's best. I am vastly proud of our heritage no matter how many of us there
    may be. Thanks mom. Love you.

  6. You are so creative, love the great things you do. Where do you find all the awesome backgrounds/borders?