10 Historical Untruths About the First Thanksgiving

It Was a Family Affair
Chief Massasoit pays a visit to the Pilgrims' camp at Plymouth Colony, circa 1621. MPI/Getty Images

Like 'em or not, most of us wind up spending turkey day with our families. Or, for those who draw the short end of the stick, with in-laws.

It remains unclear whether the first Thanksgiving was a family affair. Certainly, the group of 101 English Pilgrims who journeyed from Amsterdam across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, landing in New England in 1620, included women and children [source: Plimoth Plantation].

Yet Winslow's letter references only men and the event is believed to have been a political affair strengthening the newly minted bond between the colonists and the Wampanoag. This, of course, was long before the days of Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. Political wrangling of any sort would have been left to the men [source: Krulwich].

Some historians believe colonial women were likely involved to some extent, however. Someone -- likely several someones -- had to cook that glorious Thanksgiving feast [sources: Krulwich, Gambino]. And, it's unlikely everyone gathered around a table or tables in a house; the meal was probably held outdoors with folks perched on whatever tree stump or log they could find.

So what exactly was on the menu in 1621? Read on to find out.