David Thomson might have been repairing his fishing nets when Miles Standish arrived at his home in 1623. Thomson, the state's first non-Native American resident, lived on what is now called Odiorne Point in Rye and fished for cod in the nearby waters. It was the cod Standish was interested in.
He was on a mission from Plymouth Plantation to find food for its starving residents. After a good harvest two years before - celebrated at the original thanksgiving dinner - the situation had turned dire, and Thomson's cod was needed for survival.
Seacoast-based writer and lover of history J. Dennis Robinson says that soon after the cod arrived a supply ship from the motherland arrived as well, so "another solemn day was set apart" by the thankful Pilgrims "and appointed for that end." Robinson calls the ensuing feast Thanksgiving II.
In a satirical account of the real event ("Turkeygate," online at www.seacoastnh.com), he complains that New Hampshire's role in Thanksgiving has been ignored: "Where are the little candles shaped like David Thomson and his wife Amias, the little codfish mobiles, the popout centerpieces of Pannaway Manor (the name of Thomson's home)?"
Check it out and learn about the nefarious effort to make sure few know of Thomson's role in the Thanksgiving story and what's being done to restore him to his rightful place. Who knows? The story could become the Thanksgiving version of "The Night Before Christmas."
Thomson is sometimes spelled Thompson, as in Thompson Island in Boston Harbor, which is named after the Granite State's first settler. For more information about him visit:
This article appears in the November 2008 issue of New Hampshire Magazine