Why It’s Called A Turkey


IN ANY EVENT, the sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century English bred these birds that they thought came from Turkey and so were well acquainted with them by the year 1620. Thus, on that first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621—featuring Gov. William Bradford, Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullins, John Alden, and all that crowd—when the Wampanoag chief Massasoit came forward and offered a wild bird for the feast, saying, “This bird is mighty good eating, folks—it’s called a neyhom ,” the Pilgrims no doubt made a reply something like this: “Gee, thanks, Chief. We’ll pluck this bird and roast it right away. These birds are well known to us in England; we call them turkeys .”