tv American Artifacts 1619 Thanksgiving at Berkeley Virginia CSPAN November 22, 2018 12:40pm-1:11pm EST
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>> each week, american artifacts takes to you museums and historic places to learn about american history. in 1619, 35 english settler arrived in berkeley, virginia, up river from jamestown. we talked to gram woodlief, zeendant of the leader. captain john woodlief but about how they celebrated thanksgiving in america. lart mark horton described his project, looking for artifacts from the settlement to determine it's exact location. >> hi, my name is graham woodlief, president of the virginia thanksgiving festival which is an organization devoted to the history of the first thanksgiving in america which we share at berkeley plantation. in journey began in the spring of 1618 when four gentlemen met in london to form the berkeley company. their names were were william
morten ob john smith, george thorpe and richard berkeley who owned berkeley castle in england. they met in lond pd as i said because they were give and grant of 8,000 acres of beautiful land in virginia to start a settlement and to bring profits back to england. at that point in the early 17th century england was going through a severe recession. poverty was rampant. king james i had tierneyle rearedship. and people wanted to go to the new world and see what it was like and try to gain fortune and profit. it was easy to get people to go to the new world and they did. as i said it started in 1618 and they wanted an expedition to virginia to see the new land they were given by king james i. what they needed to do first as was find a leader. and that leader was john woodlief. after looking at several people
they chose captain john woodlief to lead the expedition to the new world. and john woodlief had been to the new world several times. he was an ancient planter which was a title of distinction in those days. he was a merchant trader. and he was in jamestown during the starving time. so he had been to the new world, experienced the new world and experienced the leadership of an expedition. the group in london made him a captain and the first governor of the colony. and he set on the task to lead the expedition to the new world. now what he had to do first was lease a ship. he leased the good ship margaret from edward williams in bristol, england in 1619. the name the marg was due to take off for the new world expedition on september 16th. next captain woodlief had to get a crew. and he found men capable of building a settlement,
carpentering be journalymen, turners, foulers, those professions who were craftsman that knew how to build a sturdy settlement that would lass. he chose 35 men to go across as the settlement progressed. next he needed provisions for the ship and he started to do that. he had food, including bisque it's and bread, wheat, peas, bacon and horse meat and things like that. he also had beer, cider and ac which vita which is a alcoholic beverage. he took with him as well tools, kitchen utensils, bibles, and 6,000 beads to trade with the indians. there were a lot of things on the ship that went over. the margaret was a small ship for the times. only 35 feet long as its keel
and weighed 47 tons, one of the smallest ships of the period. the men in fact when they went across probably slept on the top deck of the ship because there was not room underneath because of the supplies there to sleep under the deck. so they took off on september 16th, 1619 at 8:00 in the morning. a beautiful morning. actually 35 settlers plus the captain and a crew of 19. they left bristol england and went forthon their journey. unfortunately this was there was not a lot of wind. on the seventh day of the cruise a small gale came up up and pushed them. they spent two and a half month on the tlanic. they were home sick. there was vermin infessation. there was a lot of difficulty times during the two and a half month span and storms took
place. but they made it to the hampton roads area of virginia on in 1619. a gale sloud a shroud storm is what it's called. they lost the cap stand which was the birch winch part of the ship. they prayed to make it through the night and they did make it through the night and headed up the james river to the destination. so cast captain woodlief could meet with friends and they stopped at jamestown along the way and ended up at berkeley hundred as it would be called on december 4th 1619. at clifford doudy says in his book, the great plantation they rode to the shore, dropped their luggage on the hard winter ground, december the 4th gazed at the woods enclosing them and listened in complete silence. then at a command from captain
woodlief he said, gentlemen kneel to say a prayer of thanksgiving. we ordain the day of in arrival at plenty conin the land of virginia shall be perpetuatially a annually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to almighty god. that was the first glesh thifrg in the new world. it was two years before the thanksgiving had their thanksgiving in 1621. with that said, the -- the settlement continued on and continued sending goods to england. and went about their business. george thorpe as a cleric who had come over and wanted to convert the indians to christianity. they had become very friendly with the indians and the indians with them. aufld on the morning of 22nd,
1622, the indian tribes came into the settlement and other settlements along the james river and picked up any weapons they saw and what's known as the massacre of 1622, the indian uprising many people were killed. in fact 11 were killed at berkeley. many injured and others just ran into the woods. and this happened all up and down the james river. the chief opikinoa had planned the assault. jamestown was spared because an indian named chanko, hives befriended one of the settlers let him know what was going on. and the settler rode across to jamestown the night before and warned them of the impending hostility. so jamestown was spared. captain woodlief was spared in england at the time and his family was in jamestown. captain woodlief eventually settled at sion hill across the river from the settlement. in what is known as jordan point
today in hopewell virginia. how did we find out about this? well in 1931 dr. lion tyler president of the college of william and mary and the son of president john tyler came across papers at the new york public rye braer. they were known as the nibbly papers and chronicled the journey across the atlantic and once they landed. dr. tyler was excited to find this as he lived on the james river and close to the berkeley plantation. he wrote an article in the richmond news leader in 1933 about his find and i think this is the first time people realized that the first thanksgiving happened in virginia and not in massachusetts, as many people believed. so he wrote his article then told his neighbor who was mack jamieson at the time who owned berkeley plantation about his discovery. and years later in 1958, the
jamison family invited the woodlief family to the plantation to celebrate this historic event that happened on their land. the woodlief family started meeting in 1958. and three years later opened it. and today as we celebrate the thanksgiving, we celebrate it with the virginia thanksgiving festival that has been hld for the last 57 years. it's actually recreates that first thanksgiving when the landing occurred at berkley. also a lot of other colonial games take place, but the main purpose is we have been. reenacting that thanksgiving ever since 1958 as they had ordered in the initial papers. once captain left england, they had given him instructions to do ten things. the very first thing was when he landed to say thanks for their safe journey. to do that annually. that's why the captain had his men kneel.
we think that's the reason they did that and it's an official first thanksgiving is pause it was ordered by england. other thanksgivings in the new world were spontaneous, now another specific orders. all the pilgrims had orders from colony governor but the one at berkley was ordered by england and to be done annually, which it was. so that makes a difference in how the pilgrims in massachusetts and other thanksgivings at the time. plus it was two years earlier. in those days, thanksgivings were primarily a part of the new england lifestyle. there was a lady who was a 73-year-old magazine editor. she had been trying for 15 years to get one of the presidents of the united states to listen to her. she was very well thought of in
the united states in those days and quite influential. after 15 years, abraham lincoln did listen to her and designated the official thanksgiving day. it was five days after he met with her that he did that. it was said in a "washington post" article i just read recently she may have had some influence on him with the pilgrims being recognized as the first thanksgiving. the pilgrim hs a harvest festival in addition somewhat of a religious service so that was different. but in those days it was giving thanks for safe voyages and good harvest is and things like that 37 today you have food, football games, a lot of o things like that. it comes right down with being with family and being a family time and giving thanks for what the good lord has provided. let me mention one other thing
too. in 1962 john wicker, who was a virginia state senator, saw president kennedy's thanksgiving proclamati proclamation. he wrote to the president, but arthur schlesinger was the historian for the white house asking why virginia was not recognized. arthur sent him a note back basically saying he was sorry the error occurred but due to new england biassed on the part of the white house, they had overlooked virginia being. the first. the 1963 thanksgiving proclamation by john f. kennedy included virginia first and then massachusetts after that. so we feel like we have gotten our due as far as recognition.
they had an association that they started in 1958 when the jamisons invited them to the plantation. and it's been a part of my life ever since i was a child because they would send information and have the festival here. it's been an important part of our life and something we really enjoyed and learned a lot from. the state of virginia through the foundation is commemorating certain historic reasevents tha happened in 1619. one was the first africans came to the new world, first groups of females came to the new world, first legislative body in jamestown and the first thanksgiving was here at berkley. so we have invited berkley to the 400th anniversary, which is is in 2019. charles owns berkley and is member of that family. is so he's coming as a part of that though they are having a
lot of excavations done around berkley in england. and the gentleman that's doing that is here now excavating -- well, actually, looking at surveying the berkley grounds to see if we can find the original settlement when the first thanksgiving occurred. so mark horton is his name e-mailed me and said i'd like to come to virginia. we met with him six months ago. we looked at the land with the owner of berkley. they pretty much decided where the ship came in and decided to come back and do further surveys. so they have been here the last four days doing that. we are hoping they are going to find something that's going to be meaningful.
>> for the last ten years, we're fascinating in trying to uncover the story of berkley america. the famous berkley 100 that was established here in 1619 by people that came from england. it's been. known that for hundreds of years, but the precise location of where the settlement is located has never been discovered by archaeologists or historians. we have been surveying this huge field here because we think this
would have been the most likely place they would have been. there's a small spring over here. there's a shall et low landing where they could have brought their boats up. ask there's a fantastic view in both directions. so if i was coming here for the first time, this is where i would end up. so that's the reason why we have come to this particular field. we have done a massive survey using radar across this entire field to see if we could find traces of this settle mement. we find a series of targets and anomalies in the geophysics. what we're trying to do is ground truth the anomalies to work out whether they are of war because millions of men were camped here during the american civil war, but could it also be part of the settlement that was here in the 17th century.
this is a dig we're doing to see whether there's any evidence for what we found is a promising anomaly at this place, so we're trying to see whether there's any archaeology there at all. a lot of the archaeology of this area centered on jamestown has come from the london area from britain and the southeast. what was interest iing about th colony, it came from the west country. where the pipes are quite different to what was being consume d in london. so what we actually have in our excavations in england is the precise material we would expect to find underneath our feet here. from the excavations of other plantation sites on the james river, just the quantity of material that has been discovered is massive. we know that the barkley company
was very rich. it had a lot of investment in it. thousands of pounds even in 17th century standards, probably 5 or 10 million pounds of goods that were brought here. so hopefully there was stuff here to find. one thing we notice immediately when we come here is is how similar the landscape was when they came from. the 7 is almost the same width as it is here than it is back in england. it's almost as if they chose a place familiar in terms of their landscape. the vegetation is very different. and more different than the forest. so it would have been ab alien environment. but we know they took a will the of material with them to make them feel at home. the pipes and so forth. so it is clearly would have been
a real wrench, but conditions back in england were not good in this time. a lot of poverty. we have excavated at barkley a lot of the graves of the people, the poor people of the parish. all the people that would have come out here. and we can see that they were. wrapped with scurvy and rickets and horrible diseases. so it was a good reason why they would want to come out here to seek out a new life and opportunities. i think there's two things that really set them apart. one was that they came from the west of britain rather than the east. the west countries had a long history of engagement with north america to rally in the late 16th century. and is the out to discover the main out of north america in 1498. so there's a long history of
engagement with the west country with north america, which has sometimes been neglected. so one of the things we're interested in is understanding that and putting that into context. . the other thing that the barkley site is interesting about is there clearly has a strong source here. we know from the people organizing the colony they were very strongly in their outlook. one of the keys was a christian who believed that native americans should be converted to christianity. the relations here, james went out of his way to both be friendly in an attempt to cri
christian news the native americans. he built a school for them and moved between here and there and clearly had friendly relationships with them. the story goes when this site was pulled up into the broad events happening in the james riv river, that he saw his friendly indians. he within tent up to greet them part of the massacre, the indians attacked him and killed him on the spot. i think he said my children, what's the problem. so this place tells a story of those relations and events took over and that's why we have an empty field here.
we know 12 of the settlers were killed in the massacre. there would probably be 50 or 60 of them living here at the time. it would have been on quite a substantial skap here. but it brought to ab end the settlement here. the barkley company after the massacre carried on and attempted to trade in tobacco through jamestown, but clearly this wasn't particularly successful. one of the interesting aspects was two particular features, which is famous. another one who was the lived in
barkley and he was a scientist. he communicated with apothecary who had a type of apparatus to cure people from the diseases they were likely to get here. this apparatus is distillation. so we have good fd they experimented with it. this is the first place where bourbon was distilled in america. the second thing that the colony is famous for is this is the site of the first thanksgiving. that's contained in the articles of instruction for the colonists when they came here. what's interesting is this idea of thanksgiving comes out of the
christian colony and was specifically part of the instructions that the promotors of the company issued for here. it was the thanksgiving was intended. quite clearly i'm convinced they would have said thanksgiving in 1619. i think that from a british perspective, we become the story of early english colonization in america. i think one of the things we learn is how minor in terms of our history this colonization process was. it was not the big thing the
things that happened was the expeditions is hardly mentioned in english history books. i live very close to barkley. nobody in my town has ever heard of it. how much it's written out of our histories. what our work is trying to do is to bring back some american history and push it within a proper perspective become in eng b land. what we want to do. s it's become. ing such an iconic year in history with all sorts of commemorations happening at this time. so what we'd like to do is is provide some tangible. we all know that thanksgiving happened from here in 1619 where exactly that's what we're trying
to find is actually the physical place on the ground where the colony settled. >> you can watch this and other programs by visiting our website at c-span.org/history. cbs broadcast four one-hour specials in 1967 to invest controversies and unanswered questions surrounding the november 1963 assassination of president kennedy. tonight on reel america, the cbs news inquiry on the warren report. here's a preview. >> explore glaring emissions. cbs news decided to conduct its own tests. and the elevation of the window might make a difference. it was a 30-foot tower less that
be half for the 6th floor above elm street. so they had target. the target track was moved previcely. the target is a standard silhouette moved by electric motor at 11 miles per hour. prmtly the speed of the limousine. a rifle of the same make and age was fitted with the the same telescopic sight found on his rifle. 11 volunteer marksman took turns firing clips at the moving target. none had much familiarity with the italian, although each was given time to practice. most of the volunteers were experienced with bolt action rifles. in each case the first shot was fired at a point proximating the point where they thought the
first shot was fired. results varied. a state trooper made two hits on the silhouette. one near miss. in slightly less man 5 seconds. another state trooper's best time was 5.4 seconds. one hit, two near misses. a weapon near had the best score. three hits in 5.2 seconds. >> you can watch the four-part cbs news inquiry kwming the warren report on the assassination of president kennedy tonight on reel america
at 8:00 p.m. eastern. when did the civil war truly begin? next military history professor harry laver argues that the battles in kansas between forces marked the beginning of the american civil war. the professor discusses the bloody 1856 caning of massachusetts senator charles sumner by a pro-slavery congressman on the u.s. senate floor. the watkins museum of history in lawrence, kansas, hosted this one-hour event. >> good morning, everyone. welcome to the keynote address for civil war in the western frontier events at the watkins. i'm public engagement coordinator here at the museum. we're so happy to have you here for the keynote address and thesore events that are happening. so i will start