Susannah Fuller White Winslow Cooks for Thanksgiving

First Thanksgiving

Jean Leon Gerome Ferris – United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division. It is in the public domain

Leaving her Native Land

Susannah Fuller was born in England, but she left all that was familiar to move to Leiden Holland* with a group of people who disapproved of the Church of England. They were in danger of being jailed for their dissidence in England, and it was illegal for them to leave the country, but finally decided leaving was the better opportunity. There the little English-speaking community lived in the midst of the Dutch for eleven years.  William Bradford wrote of the difficult decision to emigrate:

But to go into a country they knew not but by hearsay, where they must learn a new language and get their livings they knew not how, it being a dear [expensive] place and subject to the miseries of war, it was thought by many an adventure almost desperate; a case intolerable and a misery worse than death. Especially seeing they were not acquainted with trades nor traffic (by which that country doth subsist) but had only been used to a plain country life and the innocent trade of husbandry.”
William Bradford

Sailing to Virginia

Since they could not return to their own country, the idea surfaced that they might sail across the Atlantic to an English Colony, so Susannah, several months pregnant and with a four-year-old in tow, joined her husband on the dangerous voyage.

*NOTE:  One family history on line suggests that The Whites may have joined the group when they sailed back to England before departing for America, rather than having been in Holland.

Here was Susannah, pregnant and trying to keep track of 4-year-old Resolve on the rolling decks of the little wooden ship would have been a challenge, too.

Pioneering in New England

Although they had headed for Virginia, they wound up having to land at Cape Cod.
The Women and children lived on board the ship for two more months, no doubt thoroughly sick of that ship by now.  But on land they faced a horrible winter during which half of their number, including Susannah’s husband, died.

Shortly after William White died, Edward Winslow’s wife also died and Edward and Susannah married–the first wedding in Plymouth Colony.

Those that survived the winter, the “Starving Time” managed to plant and gather and feel blessed by the following fall. So they held a three-day feast. Rather, the men decided to invite the indigenous people to join them in a feast. The women’s role would be to prepare the food.

The First Thanksgiving

Of the 102 Pilgrims who had arrived on the Mayflower, only 56 remained by fall of 1621.  Susannah was one of only four women, plus two teenage girls.  So we can be absolutely certain that Peregrine’s mother was one of the cooks for the Thanksgiving feast. And those women and girls cooked for 91 Indians and forty-some Pilgrim men (minus a few children like Resolve and Peregrine). I’ll never complain again about cooking Thanksgiving for ten people.

What stories Susannah had to tell her grandchildren–the children of Sarah Bassett and Peregrine White!

Leaving her own country, living abroad, sailing across the Atlantic when she was pregnant, giving birth to the first child in the colony, losing one husband and marrying a 2nd in the first marriage on the continent, being a key figure in the first Thanksgiving feast, and living to raise a family and a community in the new land.

I have great admiration for Susannah and the women like her who settled this country.  Although she is not a blood relation, I will definitely be giving thanks for her along with my family members this Thanksgiving.

Research Notes has a comprehensive history of Pilgrims including the Whites and Winslows.

The Sun Journal (Lewiston Maine), November 23, 1994, found in Google News, analyses Who Cooked at the first Thanksgiving.

52 Ancestors: #47–Peregrine White, American Royalty

Sarah Bassett 1630-1711

 Peregrine White 1620-1704

Many people seem to think that the purpose of genealogy is to find out how your family is related to royalty. I have not extended my family history to Europe in search of titled ancestors, but among that bevy of misbehaving children sired by our pilgrim ancestor, William Bassett, Sarah, born in 1630, made the choice of mate that ties us firmly to American “royalty.” (Although my early American ancestors–not a Tory in the bunch–would have been horrified by the term.)

Our family has always been proud of being descendants of the Pilgrim William Bassett, even though his ship the Fortune didn’t get here with the Mayflower as scheduled. But my mother, who loved family history, never learned that one of the Bassett girls married so well. She would have loved this story.

Whose names do we hear in 6th grade when we are studying the Pilgrims?  Well there is William Bradford, Governor of the colony, the other main leader Edward Winslow, and surely Miles Standish, the military leader. William Brewster was the religious leader, and you have probably heard of him. And there is the 3-way romance of Priscilla Alden, John and Miles Standish, made famous (or embroidered) by Longfellow.

Peregrine White cradle

The actual Peregrine White cradle, kept at the Pilgrim Museum by the Pilgrim Society.

But the name that struck an emotional chord with me as a child was Peregrine White.  Besides the fact that I wondered why his parents would give him such a silly name, I was fascinated that he was born ON the Mayflower–the first child born in the Pilgrim colony.

As to the name, what do I know? I have since read that Peregrine comes from a Latin word that means pilgrim (or traveler).

Peregrine had an older brother, Resolve, who had traveled with their parents on the Mayflower. (Read more about his mother Susannah, sturdy pioneer, in the following short bio.)   Baby Peregrine waited until the ship had safely docked in Cape Cod harbor to make his appearance, becoming the first child born in the Plymouth Colony.

Unfortunately, Peregrine’s father William White, a signer of the Mayflower compact, was one of the casualties of the first dreadful winter in New England. He died in February 1621, and Susannah quickly married Edward Winslow, who was one of the close-knit community who came from Holland.

Peregrine would have been a toddler when the colony celebrated the first Thanksgiving.  Speculation is that it took place some time in October. Edward Winslow, Peregrine’s step-father, by the way, is not only important as a leader, but also because he left one of only two surviving documents that mention that first Thanksgiving.

Some time in his early twenties, young Peregrine caught the eye of Sarah Bassett, who was ten years younger than he was.  His obituary says, “He was vigorous and of a comly (sic) Aspect to the last.”  He must have been an attractive youth. According to church records, although they married–perhaps when she was as young as sixteen–they had been fooling around beforehand. The church charged them with “fornication before marriage.” It seems you just could not get away with anything in Plymouth Colony.

Peregrine White Homestead

Peregrine White homestead marker

But Sarah and Peregrine were destined to have a long marriage. They lived in Marshfield, Massachusetts on land that William Bassett gave to them when they married.  Peregrine, besides his soldiering, was a farmer and he did well, expanding his land. He and Sarah had seven children (one dying in infancy) and lived their entire lives on the land in Marshfield.

Imagine my surprise to discover that the land of the homestead is for sale.  If anyone would like to build a true Thanksgiving home,near the Atlantic with a view of a river, and a claim to history, check out this listing on Peregrine Drive in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Peregrine White property

Peregrine White property in Marshfield MA

But wait, there’s more.  Sarah and Peregrine’s home, built in 1648, still stands. No doubt it has been altered considerably, since it is not protected by historic status. But it was for sale a few years ago, so there are pictures of it all over the Internet. (It is not for sale now despite misleading information on the Web.)

Peregrine and Sarah's home

Peregrine and Sarah Bassett White’s home 178 Peregrine White Dr, Marshfield, MA

 How I am Related

  • My maternal grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson, was the daughter of
  • Hattie Stout Morgan, the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett Platt Morgan, the daughter of
  • William Bassett the son of
  • Samuel Bassett, the son of
  • William Bassett, Jr., the son of
  • William L. Bassett, the son of
  • William Bassett, the son of
  • Joseph Bassett, the son of, and Mary Lapham Bassett, the step-daughter of
  • William Bassett, the Pilgrim, also father of
  • Sarah Bassett,8th Great Grand Aunt married to
  • Peregrine White


Research Notes

The Boston Newsletter, Monday, July 31, 1704

The Sun Journal (Lewiston Maine), November 23, 1994, found in Google News

(Other sources are linked above).

There is no end of information about Peregrine White on the Internet, and most of those sources mention Sarah Bassett as well.  I started, as usual, with birth,death and marriage records at

Thanksgiving Recipe: Turkey Dressing

Holidays at my brother and sister-in-law’s house are filled with delicious food. EVERYBODY cooks. Paul William and Norma Haggberg Kaser both cook. Their sons Michael and David cook (especially Michael, who is a trained chef).  So it is no surprise that this delicious recipe for turkey dressing comes from the Kaser household.


Dressing that not only includes apples, but apple cider; not only pecans, but SPICED pecans!

It came to me just in time. I was wondering how I could include turkey dressing in the Thanksgiving recipes I am sharing with you at Ancestors in Aprons.  Dressing is one of my favorite dishes on the Thanksgiving table, but my own is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink concoction that includes whatever I happen to have on hand–nuts, fruit, sausage, oysters, vegetables. And for the bread, I stow leftover ends of all kinds of bread in the freezer for months, and then use the hodgepodge for dressing.  So you can see how it might be difficult for me to pass on my “recipe.”

And by the way, do you call it “dressing” or “stuffing”?  My family is firmly in the “dressing” camp, but American Food Roots wants to know which you use–and I’m curious, too, so leave a comment here.  American Family Roots is also having a Thanksgiving dressing/stuffing contest. But if you want to enter. Do it TODAY, Tuesday, November 18. Check the prize and leave your recipe here.

Meanwhile, if Norma chose to enter her dressing and spiced pecans in that contest, I’m sure it would be a contender.

Norma Kaser’s Spiced Pecans

Norma Kaser’s Spiced Pecan Recipe

Prep time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 50 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold


  • 4 cups pecan halves
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/3 cup dark maple syrup


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Toss together salt, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Add the pecans and toss well.
3. Drizzle melted butter over the pecans and mix well.
4. Turn out onto a rimmed baking sheet, scraping spices and butter from the bowl and spreading all into one layer.
5. Bake until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally for about nine minutes.
6. Drizzle the maple syrup over the nuts, stir to combine and bake about 10 minutes longer.
7. Let the nuts cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then scrape nuts and drippings into a bowl.


While these are made for nibbling as well as for use in the turkey dressing, be careful that the cook does not nibble more than two cups of the pecans before making the turkey dressing!

Photo by Susan Smith from Flickr, used with Creative Commons license.

Norma Kaser’s Thanksgiving Turkey Dressing

Norma Kaser’s Turkey Dressing Recipe

Serves 8-10


  • 6 cups bread cubes (Norma uses a mix of white and whole wheat)
  • 2 cups raw wild rice
  • salt, white pepper
  • 2 medium onions (diced (1 1/2 cups))
  • 4 ribs celery (diced (1 1/2 cups))
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 2/3 cup apple cider
  • 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups (before chopping) Spiced Pecans (below) (coarsely chopped)


1. Cook wild rice according to directions and cool
2. Saute' onions and celery in 2 TBS olive oil.
3. Remove from pan and stir in herbs, pepper and salt
4. Peel, core and dice the apples.
5. Add oil and butter to pan
6. Add to hot pan, diced apples and sugar and cook until the apples begin to brown.
7. Add 2/3 cup of cider and reduce heat for one minute.
8. Add apples and liquid to onion and celery mixture.
9. Combine rice, bread and apple mixture.
10. Add remainder of cider and stock and mix in candied pecans. Stuff turkey, and pile remainder of dressing in buttered Pyrex dish for oven. NOTE: Roast turkey as soon as you have stuffed it. (Never let warm dressing sit in cold turkey.)


The photo is by Elena Gailliard, from Flickr, used with Creative Commons license.