Thanksgiving – How did it come to be?

Thanksgiving is a traditional North American holiday that has been attributed to the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation who celebrated  immediately after their first harvest in 1621.

St. Augustine, Florida – can’t be …

Oh yes it can.   The very first attested Thanksgiving, or harvest festival held in North America was held September 8, 1565 in what is now St Augustine, Florida.  St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European established city and the oldest port in North America.  A long way, in more than years, from the Pilgrims.

Well, what about the Pilgrims!?

The Pilgrims didn’t hold a true “Thanksgiving” until 1623.  The other colonies all celebrated a “Thanksgiving” after their harvests each year, and not necessarily on the same day.

What about Virginia?

Well, some folks traveled about 20 miles upstream from Jamestown, the “Virginia Colony” and settled on the North bank of the James River near an area known as “Charles Cittie” on about 8000 acres called Berkley Hundred.  When these folks finally got there, I’ll bet it was a trip in 1619, they had “Thanksgiving” held on December 4, 1619.

Feast to Fast to Feast …

During the 18th century “Thanksgiving” was held throughout the year, but it was not celebrated with a feast but with fasting and prayer.

Later in the 1700’s the individual colonies would set aside a day of “Thanksgiving” to honor military victories, such as the one held in December, 1777.  This “Thanksgiving” was held by all the colonies at the same time to commemorate the surrender of the British at Saratoga.

Back to Feast …

Each President from Washington to Lincoln proclaimed different days for the celebration of “Thanksgiving.” It wasn’t until President Lincoln proclaimed that a day of Thanksgiving was to be the “final Thursday of November…” on October 3, 1863 that our traditional day of Thanksgiving was born.

So what has this to do with Charlottesville and Albemarle County?

Let’s see – other than being the home of Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe,  and being one of the oldest settled areas in the country, I guess we could count ourselves as having celebrated the early “Thanksgiving” as well.  While we no longer celebrate the bringing in of the harvest, it’s still a celebration of family and friends.

We can trace many of our beautiful estates and farms in Albemarle County to the mid 1600’s.  Here in Charlottesville, we live in an area rich in history and should celebrate that as well this Thanksgiving.  Just drive down almost any road in Albemarle County and you will probably drive by a farm or estate that can trace its beginnings to this time period.

If you are interested in moving to the Charlottesville, Albemarle area, let us know.  As Charlottesville real estate professionals, we can introduce you to our diverse Charlottesville neighborhoods and show you a broad spectrum of available homes in the greater Albemarle County area.  If you are local and looking for a larger or smaller home, we can help.  If you are happy with your current home and are looking instead for a second / vacation home, you’re looking for Wintergreen real estateWintergreen is the premier four-season, Blue Ridge Mountain resort of the mid-Atlantic located only 45 minutes from Charlottesville.

If you have any questions about the Charlottesville, Albemarle County area, please leave a comment on this blog.

I’m not finished with Thanksgiving yet.  There is much more to come soon about how we celebrate here in Charlottesville.

Check back soon for more,


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