Pumpkins were first grown in the New World There were originally grown by Native American farmers in combination with other crops along river banks. The squash and pumpkins were first grown along with sunflowers and beans. Then they were grown with maize (corn) and beans. The “Three Sisters,” as they are known, aid each other in growth. The squash prevents weeds and preserves moisture in the ground. The corn serves as a trellis for the beans to grow, and their growth helps to stabilize the corn in the wind. The pumpkins looked different than the ones which are turned into jack-o-lanterns today.
The word pumpkin, despite the American origin of the plant, has greek origins. In Greek, Pepon means large melon. As the word and squash gained use in France, England and America, the word pumpkin emerge.
Pumpkins were a valuable food source for both Native Americans and early European settlers. From pumpkin seeds to roasted pumpkin strips, they were cooked, used in stews, or ground into flour. They stored well, and helped settlers through the harsh winters. They were also cleaned and used as bowls and for storage. Pumpkins even became a source of beer when settlers found other options scarce.
You should also read the history of Jack o’Lanterns.