The Great Turkey Shoot Of 1620

Bethel Church

Time for a little history lesson and this being a holiday weekend lets talk turkey.

The year was 1620. The American Revolution was still many years away, but a little known piece of American history was about to unfold.

America was young then and the Thanksgiving holiday had yet to be recognized. However, such was not the case for the Native American Turkey. Thanks to a group of early American paparazzi, they WERE recognized.

The reason for their recognition may have had a little something to do with bullseyes being pinned to their backs by some early American hoodlums called… The Pilgrims.

Nevertheless, we must remember that Pin the Tale on the Donkey was nearly a century away from being legalized in America… and donkeys were in short supply. So, naturally, what other prank could a young misguided Pilgrim play on someone—or on some turkey?

It also should be noted that the The Pilgrim Gang (as they later came to be called) carried boom boom sticks. Native Americans called them Blunderbusses, but they had a better command of the new American-English language—having been here longer.

Now these young Pilgrim hoodlums became so good with there boom boom sticks that they were actually able to hit the broad side of a barn—from only two-feet away.

And without pulling the triggers!

Seeing as they were now wearing bullseyes this became something of a grave concern for the turkeys.

Above The Law

So one day, as the turkeys were gathering on Lexington Green, black coated Pilgrims took aim and fired their boom boom sticks into the crowd of turkeys.

Apparently, the men in black figured out what the triggers were for—and then quickly adopted The Second Amendment.

When all was said and done, half a dozen turkeys had fallen—and couldn’t get up.

A warning went out far and wide “The black coats are coming, the black coats are coming!” because turkeys are known for repeating themselves. You know like … gobble, gobble.

That’s when the turkeys turned to a young turkey—one Tom by name—to lead them in a revolt.

The turkeys then followed Tom the Turkey up a hill where he began to gobble, gobble—in turkey of course…

“I regret that I have but one life to give!”

Well, the next thing you know those trigger happy black coats fired on Tom the Turkey, and there he gave that one life, because turkeys (unlike cats) only have but one life to give.

Unfortunately, in the process of gobble gobbling… he also gave away the position of all the other turkeys!

Today, we still remember The Great Turkey shoot of 1620 and the turkeys who gave their lives—albeit… involuntary.

This is why we share our tables with their offspring when we gather to eat on the last Thursday of every November.

Oh… and we celebrate by watching football too. But … ALWAYS IN THEIR MEMORY! And it beats the hell out of eating meatloaf on Thanksgiving.

So, eat up, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Clipart Library


37 comments on “The Great Turkey Shoot Of 1620

  1. I must have missed this vital piece of American history whilst in school. Therefore, I must thank-you for sharing your knowledge about the erstwhile Pilgrim hoodlums and the doomed turkeys. Alas, it saddens me that poor Tom could not be the recipient of a presidential pardon. Thank-you!

    • My pleasure, Ellen. Not to worry, seems we all missed this very important history lesson in school. I myself stumbled onto it quite by accident when I discovered the story written on the inside wrapping of my Butterball Turkey! The story was entitled… “Murder Most Fowl” 😀

      • Wouldn’t this story be a blockbuster on the big screen? “Murder Most Fowl” has a very enticing ring to it!

      • Ellen, I think you may be onto something there. Though I’m known more for my gift of writing humour (not here of course), I’ve always felt that a foray into writing mysteries was more my true calling. That, and being a plumbers helper. Murder Most Fowl, however, may be just the ticket to launch my new career into writing mysteries and following in the footsteps of Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, and the rather perplexing, Barton Fink. What do you think of the name, Agatha Christie, as a nom de plume? I don’t know, it just kind of came to me! 😀

    • I, like you Sarah, also give thanks to those rabble-rousing birds of yesteryear—and uh… their trigger-happy Pilgrims. Oh sure they had nothing to do with giving us Stove Top Stuffing and those Campbells Green Bean Casseroles, but their Blunderbusses and bird brains still helped pave the way for a great American day of football and a giant balloon parade—even if Macy’s does like to take credit for it all. 😀

      • If only it hadn’t been so obscure and ambiguous at first. Of course, now it all makes sense to me… Macy’s, Mayflower. I should have picked up on it right away, but it was all so subtle. Oh, they’re clever those Macy’s people. Like when they advertise those Macy’s white flower days. Then when you get down there, there isn’t a single white flower to be found in the entire store! It’s like it was all a ploy to get you inside their doors, only to tell you that they had a run on white flowers that day, and that they’re all sold out! If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were just trying to get you to come down and buy something other than a white flower.

      • This just adds to the connections – do you think it’s a coincidence that those flowers aren’t there? There “may” be a “flower” – the connections between the two are myriad, we just have to notice them.

      • There’s obviously more here than meets the eye. I think if we’re to ever get to the bottom of this flower mystery we’ll probably have to dig deeper to get to the root of the whole thing. This is a Thanksgiving cover-up this is!

    • I think I know what you mean, Jan. I’ve always believed the phrase “I have put one life..” was probably uttered by Tom the Turkey just before that fateful shot heard round the world. Maybe he was trying to say “I have put one life” (his own no doubt) before others—that being the other turkeys at the top of the hill. Sadly, though, his warbling voice fell silent (after that shot) as did the voices of his unsuspecting feathered comrades, and all just before he was able to finish that famous (albeit rather mysterious) last gobble. 😀

    • Funny you should mention that, Ally. Just like Paul Revere and the Raiders, I once started a musical group where we wore Pilgrims attire—right down to the buckles on our shoes. Well, just as we were about ready to sign on the dotted line our agent said to me that my air guitar wasn’t working for him—something about his wanting a different sound outta me… ANY SOUND! Well, as you can imagine, that’s when I gave up music and turned to writing… and voila! Here I am today! 😀

  2. Brilliant!!!… ha!. quite the gangs, right!?… I liked that you mentioned the Second Amendment (an epic moment in your account, by the way)… And Tom The Turkey: an antagonist … but martyr anyway…
    I love historical revisionism. Because at the end… And … to be fair: I am not even sure if the Official version of History is completely accurate, 😉
    Love & best wishes 😀

  3. I had to share this outstanding piece of American history with my daughter. She, too, was unaware of this tragic event…however, she did think it sounded familiar ( especially, the “one life to give” part ). I reminded her of Mark Twain’s words : “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” She also thought you should be made aware that “Agatha Christie” has a familiar ring to it too!

    • Ellen, your daughter sounds like a very wise girl. Ah yes “the one life to give” mix-up. That one dates back to one, Alan Hale, of Gilligan’s Island fame when he made a similar statement to his little buddy… “We have but one boat to give for this three hour tour.” Which eventually turned into at hree year tour—not counting reruns. A natural mistake of course, could happen to anyone. So Agatha Christie has a familiar ring to it eh? Hmm… we’ll have to do something about that. I’ve got it! In my quest not to sound like other writers, whaddya say to the name… Samuel Clemens? Why I’d be willing to bet no one would ever adopt a name like that as their pen name! 😀

  4. The Pilgrim Gang – like the Apple Dumpling Gang? Something was afoul, (HA!) when someone or something has a stutter, of course, they are going to repeat themselves. (as my 14 year old would say ‘ um duh? ‘ ) Were awards given to the Pilgrim that shot so many turkeys – now we understand where that carnival game came from – they got a stuffed prize? (hence stuffing?) I’m starting to understand SO much about history…like the commercial…I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up… like the turkeys.

    • Sandi, as you well know this issue of whether the Pilgrim Gang and the Apple Dumpling Gang were actually one and the same has been a hotly debated topic ever since actor Tim Conway come out and said it’s true. For example, there was that famous gunfight between the Dalton Gang and the James Gang at the KOA Corral—I mean campground. Then there was that West Side Story involving some Gangs of New York—you know, the (New York) Jets and the Sharks—where they had a rumble or two (and even sang some show tunes) over the controversial issue. Of course, nothing ever came of it… except some mega-star movies, but that was about it really. Also, to answer your question, yes I believe the Congressional Wishbone of Honor was indeed awarded to one, Scott Pilgrim, for his bagging of sixteen turkeys in a minute—not easy when you consider he had to keep reloading! Also, I am currently looking into a report that claims I stole that famous catchphrase “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” and erroneously wrote it into my (well researched and historically accurate account) of how one turkey uttered that famous line upon being shot by that Pilgrim firing squad. Well, I just wanna say that I know for a fact that some unscrupulous type tried to make a fast buck off that poor dead turkey’s ignominious death (that we might eat well) by making a television commercial out of it, showing some old geezer lying on a floor mumbling “I’ve fallen and can’t get up! Is nothing sacred anymore when it comes to these Madison Avenue types? My god, making a profit off the misery of some heroic turkeys? How do they sleep at night? Other than the tryptophan I mean.

      • show tunes killed us – or video killed the radio star? They are all linked some how. WE’re onto them…whoever THEM may be…letting them know we can’t be fooled. WE’ll blog about it…in detail…while stuffing our faces, and shooting our mouths off…or guns…something. It’s all been a crap (er) Turkey shoot! Hence the Turkey Trot…better get moving.

      • Yeah, we’ll show them. THEM, always think they can fool people like us—but thank god never us ourselves. But fooling those people who are like us (but who are more than likely our clones) won’t be easy because even though they’re not us they’re like us—and we’re Nobody’s fool. However, if only we didn’t belong to Nobody, then we wouldn’t be Anybody’s fool and I’m almost certain that he would then be trying to pawn us off on, Somebody! And I shudder to think what that guy might do with us! Probably send us out on some fool’s errand.

    • Well Steph, Houghton Mifflin can only take us so far. Of course, there’ll always be doubting Thomas’ but fortunately there are a lot more people with different names other than Thomas, so I’m lucky in that respect. 😀

      • You know Steph, I haven’t heard from Bruce at all. In fact, I went to check on his blogs a few weeks back and it didn’t appear as if he’d written much of late. I’m hoping he’s experiencing nothing more than just a little bout of blogging fatigueitus (a real itus according to some doctor practictioners-I’m still awaiting my caduceus) and something I fortunately only experience infrequently throughout the year. Hopefully, that’s all it is. In the mean time, I recommend he write two posts and call me in the morning. Failing that, I hope whatever it is that has caused him to stop writing, that it soon will pass. Anyway, I too hope he and his family are doing okay as a few bloggers who I also love to read seemed to have stepped aside for a bit. Of course, it’s that time of year where we all get together with friends and family, and you know what that means—cold and flu season sometimes arrives with them. I know, because our grandkids just left us—with a cold. 😀

      • Okay, I kind of thought as much as well because I checked his blog and noticed he hasn’t updated it since earlier in the year. I think I still have his email address. If I do I’ll reach out and if I hear anything I’ll let you know. This year I’m making this blog a priority to communicate with people because I hate losing contact. I know life happens and we all get called away to live our lives but I’ve lost a couple of people and I’d like to keep in touch as much as humanly possible.

        Don’t even get me started on colds and flu. I had one right after the other beginning in October through December. The past two weeks is the best I’ve felt in months.

        I’ll circle back with you if I hear anything.

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