After banging around Cape Cod Bay for more than a month the Mayflower set a shallop ashore amidst gale-force winds and stormy seas, two anchors out the Mayflower wasn't able to disembark that gang of intrepid Pilgrims for another two days. We know they were inside Plymouth Harbor and were thankful to be on solid land. What was the first thing they stepped on was secondary to it being solid ground, hence the cultural icon and myth of Plymouth Rock. When I was a kid the family visited Plymouth Rock and we had ice cream cones. In 1741 the 95 year old Thomas Faunce, a life long resident of Plymouth, Mass was on a mission when he asked to be carried in a litter to the town's waterfront. Faunce has heard that a pier was going to be constructed over a undistinguished rock at the high tide line near Town Brook. He explained once at the site that his Daddy who had arrived in Plymouth in 1623 had told him that the boulder was where the Pilgrims first landed. In 1769 a group of Plymouth locals started the Old Colony Club so they had a centralized place to drink, party hardy and get through them long New England winters without killing themselves. They also designated December 22 as Forefather's Day (splitting the difference between when the scouting party landed and when the main group on board the Mayflower came ashore) celebrating the landing of the "Pilgrims on the Rocks". As time went on and because the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the hot bed of the American Revolution the group soon disbanded into factions of Loyalists and Sons of Liberty. Meanwhile despite Mr. Faunce's sworn testimony a pier had been built, though a small portion of the rock he claimed was the stepping stone of America still poked out from the solid built structure. So on Founder's Day 1774 Colonel Theophilus Cotton and his Army Engineers yanked the rock out of it's crypt. As they attempted to load the rock on a wagon they dropped it and it broke in half, a useful metaphor at the time as the wags insisted it was a clear portend of the coming split of the American colonies from Britain. A side note: Colonel Cotton, a member of the Sons of Liberty, commanded a rebel unit on the day of Concord and Lexington, he repeatedly did not take his unit into action before, during or after that opening day of the American Revolution. In his favor it should be stated he did take an active role in the Siege of Boston. He was an ardent American patriot and many feel the events of history moved to quickly for him to grasp his need to seize the moment. Cotton and his men left the bottom of the Rock in the ground, and hauled the other piece to the town square, where they deposited it beside a newly erected Liberty Pole. Since that time the Rock has been moved, history rewritten and if you go today the Rock is back to where it was, or close to where it was when Tom Fraunce said it was.