Diary details earliest Thanksgiving in NY

- Historian Claire Bellerjeau making a remarkable discovery that may change history as we know it.

“Thanksgiving had this burst in the 1600s, then not too much known about it until the Revolutionary War and all 13 colonies and then after the war, again the 13 colonies and then a little bit of a lag in its history until Lincoln's time,” said Bellerjeau.

Content inside an unpublished diary by a man named Zachariah Weekes brings to light a much earlier date.

Weekes was a schoolmaster during the mid to late 1700s in Oyster Bay who made direct mention of Thanksgiving Day in the Colony of New York dating back to 1759.

“So we know the people of this town set that day aside and they went to church and heard a special sermon about being thankful and we don't know what else they did because he didn't put it in his diary but I'm sure they ate something special that day,” she said.

An incredible coincidence is that the journal was found this year with Thanksgiving, today, November 22. It happens to be the same date referred to in the diary in 1759.

“I went online and started Googling about Thanksgiving and then I began to really realize and understand this is the earliest New York Thanksgiving that's ever been found,” Bellerjeau said.

“We need to value our museums and go into records and be history detectives and keep looking because there's a lot of information from the past that's waiting to come to light.”

Doodles and Weekes' signature covers the front of the diary, inside, soft paper and ink from a quill pen tell stories of life long ago.

The discovery fueling Claire's drive to continue looking for more clues about our history.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories