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DAR museum correspondent docent talks about first Thanksgiving taking place in Virginia

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TAPPAHANNOCK – The Henricopolis Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution met November 18th, 2013 in the historic Women's Club Building in Tappahannock, Virginia.  The guest speaker for the event, Anna Schoenenberger, was introduced by Vice Regent Anita Harrower.  Anna Schoenenberger is the Virginia NSDAR District 11 Chairman of the National Committee of Public Relations and Media and is also a DAR museum correspondent docent. She is an honorary regent of the Frances Randolph Bland chapter of the NSDAR located in Petersburg.

Anna Schoenenberger spoke on the first Thanksgiving.  She informed the chapter that a year before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts in 1621, a hardy band of Englishmen landed at Berkley Hundred on the James River in the then Colony of Virginia.  They set sail from England on the ship "Margaret" and sailed for three months on the stormy North Atlantic before reaching their destination.  King James of England had granted them 8,000 acres in the Virginia Colony and it was hoped that this would result in a profit to the London company that sponsored them.  They were ordered by the London Company in England to kneel and pray and give thanks for safe passage and to do so yearly.  They did so until attacked by Indians in 1622.  The attack left only one survivor.

In 1931, the log of the ship Margaret was uncovered in the New York Public Library.  President John F. Kennedy ordered research about this and in Proclamation 3560 issued on Thanksgiving Day in 1963 he noted that "our forefathers in Virginia and Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time for thanksgiving,"  thereby acknowledging that Virginia had a  valid claim to the first Thanksgiving.