“A Wonderful Plague” and a “Phony Pandemic”: 400 Years of Thanksgiving Memories

Modern Day Zorro
4 min readDec 17, 2021


A terrible illness which ravaged the land. The Religious and Heathen gathered, feasting on victuals, spirits and cider. And the few among them who recognized how blessed they were that the Lord had provided Health to their people one more year prayed through the festivities in somber reflection.

So, that was our Thanksgiving. How was yours?

Every year, I learn something new about the holiday and not all good, to be honest. It was a 3-day feast, sometime around September- November 1621, which coincided with the Harvest Festival previously celebrated in England. The Plymouth Settlers made treaties with the Native leaders, and were in many ways, saved by the ingenuity and skillful command of the land of their new compatriots. Oh, and what was that other thing? Right. For their generosity, their numbers may have been utterly destroyed and the area “depopulated” by a virus of known origin (allegedly).

Champlain and Smith understood that any Europeans who wanted to establish communities in this region would need either to compete with Natives or find ways to extract resources with their support.

But after Champlain and Smith [John Smith] visited, a terrible illness spread through the region. Modern scholars have argued that indigenous communities were devastated by leptospirosis, a disease caused by Old World bacteria that had likely reached New England through the feces of rats that arrived on European ships.

Horrifying, if true, don’t you think? I don’t recall reading that in my Banner of Truth Puritan tomes which used to occupy much space on my shelves. I am a fervent believer that we can rarely catch a glimpse into the truth of an event because “history is told by the victor”. In fact, what makes this theory a bit more shocking is that, and forgive me, but the charters and records of the time recall this as a Providential occurrence by God Himself, a “wonderful plague”, an opportunity to avail their English brethren of this bountiful land.

By God’s visitation, reigned a wonderful plague,” King James’ patent for the region noted in 1620, “that had led to the utter Destruction, Devastacion, and Depopulation of that whole territory.”

Sorry, that’s not my brand of Calvinism. Speaking of bad takes…

Context: the G3 conference in Atlanta, or what we called Southern ShepCon because the “evil” Public Health Department had restrictions on events, conventions causing the POTB at Grace Community Church to cancel the 2021 Shepherd’s Conference. (And the 2022 Shepherd’s Conference with the way things are going. You heard it here first.)

Newsom! (fist to the air defiantly)

Live tweeting, Ryan Garber managed to catch this nugget by Dr. John MacArthur (still waiting for our Research Department to unearth that bad boy: the elusive PhD we kept hearing he had) when asked how his church was faring during the pandemic. Quick to make the best of a situation, and not waste a crisis, MacArthur responded with what I would call a particularly cavalier way of saying, “hey, can’t complain. Business is good. No one is sick, so the Lord has Provided”. Well, silver lining, at least Bradford and his contemporaries acknowledged that there was an epidemic, though Bradford in the referenced CNN article had stated that they were all and, I paraphrase, happy to die in this wilderness. Freedom over fear, am I right?

The quote that was attributed to King James may have bandied about the notion that God brought such a plague to clear the way for the Pilgrims (remember folks, there is a difference between Puritans and Pilgrims. Steve Lawson will not forgive you if you get it wrong. Trust me.) Reading through several of these charters, you can see where the Manifest Destiny philosophy originated. 400 years later and has much changed?

A faithful remnant. Tone-deaf religious leaders. The wounded disenfranchised and as always, the censure of the watching world as our testimony loses its light. City on a hill indeed.

Oh, takes us out, Stevie:



Modern Day Zorro

Ungodly Blogger by Night, Corporate Stooge By Day. Former GCC Member. Articles, usually light-hearted with a musical component. Stories of abuse and corruption.