The original supposition that a white feather represented cowardice appears to come from cock fighting, in which it was believed that a cock with white feathers in his tail would not be a very good fighter. In America in 1775, an incident occurred in New York when a group of Quakers in a Meeting House were confronted by a hostile group of indigenous Indians. The Quakers remained silent and the Chief of the Indians, realising the Quakers had no weapons, took a white feather from his quiver and attached it to the door of their church as a sign that the building was to be left alone.
We have been speculating as to where the white feathers would have come from. Could they have been goose or duck feathers? At that time people raised geese in their gardens and back yards for Christmas. If anyone knows more please get in touch and enlighten us. Photo Admiral Charles Cooper Penrose-Fitzgerald.