Plymouth, Massachusetts is at the very heart of what it means to be American. From its importance as the principal anchorage of the Mayflower and first settlement of the Pilgrims, to its role in the colonization and independence of the country, Plymouth nurtured the nation’s earliest traditions. Trade, commerce and the eventual industrialization of the colonies would saturate the town of Plymouth with legendary stories of natives, pioneers, entrepreneurs and revolutionaries. These tales of the land and its people exists in the carefully preserved landmarks, antique homes, monuments and histories of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The Heart of America
Survival for the early settlers was no easy feat. They were plagued by disease, harsh winters and conflicts with regional native American tribes. The pioneering spirit that brought the early settlers to the new world would persevere however, and lead to formative moments in our culture such as the forming of the first governments and the peace treaty with the Pokanoket tribe that led to the tradition of Thanksgiving. The American spirit of entrepreneurship and pursuit of freedom was born.
Newer generations of Plymouth residents proved no less industrious. The Colonial Era brought steady growth in trade and commerce for Plymouth, which at first sat as the capital of Plymouth Colony, but was later absorbed into Massachusetts Bay colony. The 18th century was marked by shipbuilding, fishing and other industries that would eventually support the robust economy of Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. Quality craftsmanship and traditional ideals became the benchmark of Plymouth.
Stories Within Stories
“There is another valuable farm, near the northern limits of the town, which, in 1665, was the seat of Governor Prince. This farm is bounded on its whole length by the sea bank, and consists of a variety of soils. It is now in the possession 'of Isaac L. Hedge, Esq., who, duly appreciating the value of a long neglected farm, is now engaged in meliorating its condition.” 1
Beginning in approximately 1830 this 166-acre farm, known to locals as Plain Dealing Farm, was home to the I. L. Hedge Brickyard. Under the auspices of Isaac’s son, Barnabas, the business grew to become one of the largest manufacturers of bricks in the county. Locally, Hedge bricks were used to build the Cordage Company Mill, the Hedge School, the Eben Jordan estate and the Jordan Hospital. The hospital’s bricks had been donated by the Hedge family. By 1880, the brickyard had ceased business and much of the original farmland had been sold to the Plymouth Cordage Company. Many ancestors of the Hedge family still reside in or around Plymouth. Today, the remaining property is now the site of Light House Point. Several of the original Hedge bricks have been preserved and are now on display in the Clubhouse.
This farm alongside sites like the Mayflower House, Town Brook and Harlow Old Fort House are exemplary of the rich history of Plymouth, Ma. The Colonial and Precolonial importance of the town has not been lost on its more recent generations, who have faithfully maintained these and other cultural landmarks meticulously. The first steps towards the foundation of this country were taken in Plymouth, Ma, a town that resounds with those historic footprints.
Sources: 1 History of the Town of Plymouth: From Its First Settlement in 1620, to the Year 1832, By James Thacher