Berkeley Thanksgiving painting by Berkeley Plantation Artist Sidney King
Berkeley Thanksgiving painting by Berkeley Plantation Artist Sidney King

The descendant of an early settler that gets credit as the founder of the holiday says Virginia, not Massachusetts, is the origin of the first English Thanksgiving.

Pilgrims in Plymouth wearing black and white suits and funny hats. Shirtless American Indians dawning feather headdresses. Maybe a colonial soldier with plated armor. And of course — turkey.

Graham Woodlief, president of the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival, tells a different tale: It was “35 men that got off of a ship after two-and-half-months on the Atlantic, who said a prayer of thanksgiving and did it perpetually and annually,” at the order of King James I of England. That was one year and 17 days before the pilgrims landed in Massachusetts.

Read the rest of the story at The Dogwood, Courier Newsroom’s local news site for Virginia.