SANDY SHOCKER:SHIPWRECK UNCOVERD BY HURRICANE SANDY EROSION CHRONICLES AMERICKA'S FIRST “THANKSGIVING” ON FIRE ISLAND, NY IN 1601
by Tom Quinn
National Wire- History/ Archaeology
Saltaire, New York, November 22, 2012
The shifting sands of Fire Island, New York caused by subtropical storm Sandy have uncovered wreckage of a Dutch registry ship from 1600. The discovery of the ship, including a watertight cash box containing a few coins, a ship log and a community log, establish that there was a community of Dutch settlers on Fire Island that lasted for about two and one half years before mysteriously disappearing in 1603.
Perhaps most startling, the tiny Dutch community celebrated a "Thanksgiving" festival in 1601 and 1602 at the site of the present-day Saltaire on Fire Island. "This establishes that the first Thanksgiving in the New World was a celebrated on Fire Island 19 years before the Pilgrims set foot at Plymouth Rock." according to Professor John Crackinkle of Springfield College in Massachusetts, a leader in the study.
Historical treasures recovered included the ship’s log and other documents that had been stored in a water tight chest in the captain’s quarters. The figurehead, a five and one half foot long sculpture of a beaver, is being donated to Springfield College for installation at “Cracktinkle Hall.” Other items from the ship, described by historians as “priceless” will be sold to set up a scholarship fund for non athletes at Springfield College.