Did Texas Actually Host the First Thanksgiving?
Well, this theory is new to us.
When you think about the first Thanksgiving celebration, you probably think about the pilgrims celebrating in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the 1620s. The Lone Star State, however, begs to differ.
Interestingly, El Paso, Texas, also claims to have hosted the first Thanksgiving in a little-known celebration in 1598. "The story goes that Spanish loyalist Juan de Oñate went on a fame- and land-seeking trek north from Mexico in 1598. He followed the Rio Grande with a group of about 500, and ended up in modern-day El Paso," writes Sarah Vrba for Wide Open Country. (You can read more historical information on the Texas Alamanac here.) "The expedition, including women and children, went without supplies for a number of days. So when they hit water, a few helpful Native American hands and a place to rest you can imagine the jubilant relief," Vrba continues. After stumbling upon salvation, Oñate allegedly offered a mass service, a gratitude prayer, and claimed the land on behalf of the Spanish crown. Now, the El Paso Mission Trail Association does an annual reenactment of the occurrence with a First Thanksgiving celebration each April.
WATCH: Rick Bragg on Thanksgiving
Of course, this Thanksgiving story may be quite different from what your grade school teachers taught you, but as Southern history buffs, we always love adding another piece of trivia to our arsenal.