Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Heraldry

Well, it's Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, a day set aside to be with friends and family, to stuff ourselves with turkey or ham, watch football, and get ready to fight the crowds and begin our Christmas shopping on "Black Friday."  Unless you're me (and some others), of course, in which case it's a day for remembering the half of those hardy souls who made it through that first winter of 1620-21 and celebrated bringing in the harvest in Plymouth, Massachusetts with three days of celebration and feasting with their Wampanoag friends.

Surprisingly enough, a significant percentage of the passengers on the Mayflower were entitled to bear coats of arms.  Among those so entitled, my personal favorite is the canting arms borne by Capt. Myles Standish (this image from the website of the Myles Standish Society):

"Really?"  I hear you ask.  "And how is this coat with three white roundels a pun on the name Standish?"

It's simple, really; the blazon (found in Burke's General Armory) is Sable three standing dishes argent.  (I suppose the more expected heraldic term "plates" might also work, but really, isn't "standing dishes" more appropriate here?)

So there you have it, a little Thanksgiving Day heraldry.  I hope you enjoy your day, whether you have it off from work or not.

As for me, I'll be thinking about then 14-year-old Mary Chilton, my 10th great-grandmother, who lost both of her parents during that first winter in New England, but who was also a part of that early thanksgiving celebration in the New World.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!

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