Who Was at the First Thanksgiving? Fun Facts about Massasoit

Have you been enjoying our Fun Facts Series? This week we are taking a look at Who Was at the "First" Thanksgiving. Now in truth what we celebrate as the first Thanksgiving was not the first in America. The Native Americans held various thanksgiving festivals long before Europeans came to America and the first European Thanksgiving happened well before there were colonies. (Source) Well today we are looking at some Fun Facts about Massasoit

  1. Massasoit was born around 1590 near present day Bristol, Rhode Island.  He lived in Montaup, a Pokanoket village.
  2. Massasoit, KC MO - general view
    Statue of Massasoit in Kansas City, MO By Sculptor Cyrus E. Dallin (1861-1944). (Own work (I took this photograph)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  3. Massasoit was the grand sachem of the Wampanoag when the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth. He and his brother Quadequina were probably the two kings mentioned by Captain Thomas Dermer when he brought Squanto his homeland in May 1619. Massasoit means Great Sachem.
  4. Outbreaks of smallpox devastated the Pokanokets and Wampanoags.  The neighboring Narragnasetts were a threat to the Wampanoags.
  5. March 22, 1621 Massasoit visited Plymouth Plantation at the invitation of Squanto who had visited earlier. He approached Plymouth with his brother and 60 armed men. Edward Winslow was sent to meet them with knives and a copper jewel chain as gifts.
  6. At the peace negotiation Captain Myles Standish and William Brewster met him at the river and brought him to William Bradford’s house. He met with Governor John Carver there.
  7. Wampanoag2
    Massasoit and Governor John Carver Smoking a Peace Pipe See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  8. He invited the Pilgrims to visit his home in Pokanoket. Myles Standish and Isaac Allerton volunteered to go. A second trip was made by Edward Winslow and Stephen Hodkins went.
  9. Massasoit was able to maintain peace with the colonists. There was some tension when the Pilgrims did not turn Squanto over to him after Squanto had been deceiving his fellow Wamanoags.
  10. In March 1623 Massasoit became very ill. Edward Winslow made the trip to Pokanoket. Massasoit was blind but could understand that Winslow was there. Winslow gave him some medicine and took care of him. Within half an hour Massasoit had his eye sight back and in a few days he had his appetite back.
  11. By 1632 Massasoit is referred to as Ousemequin which means Yellow Feather.
  12. 1631 RogerWilliams Boston byHoppin NewMirror
    The Landing of Roger Williams By Hoppin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  13. In the winter of 1635-1636 Roger Williams stayed with Massasoit while he was avoiding arrest and deportation from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Massasoit gave him land along the Seekonk River the following spring. He founded Providence Plantation on the other side of the river because Governor Winslow informed him he was within the bounds of Plymouth Colony. Providence Plantation became the state of Rhode Island.
  14. Philip King of Mount Hope by Paul Revere
    Metacom By Paul Revere (Yale University Art Gallery [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  15. In 1661 he died. His son Mooanam (later called Wamsutta and Alexander by the English) became leader of the Wampanoag. He was succeeded by his brother, Metacom (King Philip). Only one of Massasoit’s five children survived King Philip’s War.