After last week's lecture at Pilgrim Hall Museum about notable rocks in New England given by J. North “Jack” Conway, a former journalist and co-author of “New England Rocks: Historical Geological Wonders,” we were reminded once again of the power of words and, more specifically, stories.
In 1741, when he was 94 years old, Plymouthean Thomas Faunce asked to be brought to Plymouth's waterfront to share one particular story he was told by his father, who arrived in Plymouth Colony on The Anne in 1623. The story was that one particular rock was that on which the Pilgrims first stepped when they arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Faunce's story is the first recorded documentation of what we now know as "Plymouth Rock."
According to Conway, the rock was popularized in the 1770s as the country prepared for the Revolution and in 1774 it was moved to Town Square by the Liberty Pole. According to the Old Colony Memorial, "The Mother Rock remained on the waterfront. The top half stayed uptown until the 1930s, when it broke again during a move to Pilgrim Hall. The Pilgrim Society retains a chunk of the rock for its exhibits but reunited the main pieces under a protective canopy on the waterfront in 1859. That’s when the date 1620 was carved in the rock."