The first American Thanksgiving didnt occur in 1621 when a group of Pilgrims shared a feast with a group of friendly Indians. The first recorded thanksgiving took place in Virginia more than 11 years earlier, and it wasnt a feast. The winter of 1610 at Jamestown had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived, in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God.