Who Attended the First Thanksgiving?
"The First Thanksgiving" – painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
At the first Thanksgiving, colonists were likely outnumbered more than two to one by their Native American guests. The preceding winter had been a harsh one for the colonists. Seventy-eight percent of the women who had traveled on the Mayflower had perished that winter, leaving only around 50 colonists to attend the first Thanksgiving. According to eyewitness accounts, among the pilgrims, there were 22 men, just four women and over 25 children and teenagers. The higher death toll among adults also meant that children and teenagers now accounted for roughly half of the entire group. These latter included the wonderfully named Remember Allerton, Resolved White, Humility Cooper, and the two Brewster boys, Love and Wrestling. Descendants of these original pilgrim survivors are referred to as 'Mayflower Children." That the Pilgrims could celebrate at all in this setting was a testimony to human resilience.
*Fun fact: The author is a direct descendent of Elder William Brewster, the grey bearded gentleman on the left with a white ruffled collar, and his children, Love and Wrestling Brewster.