The Pilgrim Monument and the Societies of Mayflower Descendants

The Pilgrim Monument was founded in 1892 as the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association—Cape Cod’s oldest not-for-profit organization. Its purpose is to commemorate the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing in the New World in Provincetown, in November 1620. 

The Pilgrims spent 5 weeks exploring the tip of Cape Cod, before they sailed on to Plymouth. They also drew up and signed the Mayflower Compact, which established the rule of law for the new land.

The Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association built the Pilgrim Monument to honor the Pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1907. In 1910, President William Howard Taft dedicated the finished 252-foot tower. In 1910, the Cape’s first building built to house a museum opened at the base of the monument, to educate the public about Provincetown’s role in Pilgrim history and American history. Today, millions of visitors and generations of local residents have admired and climbed the 252 foot granite Pilgrim Monument for almost 100 years.

Screen Shot 2018 06 07 at 12.44.22 PM

The inside of the Pilgrim Monument is decorated with 175 plaques. In 1906, the President of the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association, was authorized by a motion of the Board of Directors to extend to the Societies of Mayflower Descendents throughout the United States, and the several towns formerly composing the Plymouth Colony, the privilege of contributing each a stone properly inscribed toward the erection of the Pilgrim Monument.

On her recent trip to Provincetown, GSMD’s Executive Assistant Kathy Liolios had the wonderful opportunity to climb the Pilgrim Monument and snapped photos of the stones donated by the Societies of Mayflower Descendants throughout the United States at the time of authorization.

20180418 115323 20180418 115335 20180418 115400  

20180418 115406 20180418 115419 20180418 115423

20180418 120225 20180418 120239 20180418 161626

The stones were placed in no particular order, just as they arrived at the site. Societies who contributed stones to the Pilgrim Monument in 1906 are:
Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California
Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation
Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Connecticut
Society of Mayflower Descendants District of Columbia
New York Society of Mayflower Descendants
New Jersey Society of Mayflower Descendants
Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants
Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 
Michigan Society of Mayflower Descendants (not pictured)
Colorado Society of Mayflower Descendants (not pictured)

The dedication of the tower was held on August 5, 1910, on the anniversary of the day the Pilgrims set sail for America. Governor Eben Draper of Massachusetts introduced President William H. Taft. The President was received with applause and a round of cheers. The assembled crowd listened with great attention. At the close of the President’s address, Miss Barbara Hoyt, a young girl who was a Mayflower descendent, drew aside the flag that covered the bronze tablet over the doorway of the Monument.

The Inscription on the Plaque Reads:

On November 21st, 1620 The Mayflower, carrying 102 passengers, men, women and children, cast anchor in this harbor 67 days from Plymouth, England.
The same day the 41 adult males in the company solemnly covenanted and combined themselves together “into a civil body politick.”
The body politic established and maintained on the bleak and barren edge of a vast wilderness a state without a king or a noble, and church without bishop or a priest, a domestic commonwealth the members of which were “straightly tied to all care of each other’s good and of the whole by every one.”
For the first time in history they illustrated with long suffering dedication and sober resolution the principles of civil and religious liberty in the practice of a genuine democracy.
Therefore the remembrance of them shall be perpetual in the great republic that has inherited their ideals.

For the full list of engraved stones, click here:

For more information on the Pilgrim Monument, visit their website here:

Go To Top