Rock and a hard place – Pilgrim Tercentenary Silver Half Dollar Coin

Today, the Pilgrim Tercentenary Silver Half Dollar Coin tells the tale of some of the early Pilgrims’ challenges back in 1620.

After their first aborted attempt with the Mayflower and sadly leaking Speedwell, the Pilgrims began their journey again with just the Mayflower on September 16, 1620.

They journeyed across the ocean from England for 66 days finally spying land on November 9.

But, they quickly realized this land was much further north than the area granted to them by the Virginia Company of London.

The Company approved a plantation for the Pilgrims near the Jamestown area.

In fact, the Company approved their plantation with its associated taxes to help with the finances for Jamestown.

Though the colonists knew they were too far north, their stores of water and food were too depleted to take them down the coast.

Not only did the Mayflower miss its destination near Jamestown, the landing site was even outside the northern boundary of the land under the management of the Virginia Company of London.

Another company, the Virginia Company of Plymouth initially held the area, however that organization went out of business before the Pilgrims sailed.

In the meantime, another group banded together to control the northern land.

On November 3, 1620, the Council for New England incorporated as “The Council Established at Plymouth, in the County of Devon, for the planting, ruling, ordering and governing of New England in America.”

The corporation consisted of 40 men, prominent in their area with some of them being peers in the aristocracy.

On the Mayflower’s return journey to England, the Pilgrims sent a request for another patent for a particular plantation in the Council of New England’s territory.

Called the Second Peirce Patent, the 1621 patent reads (edited for modern spelling) in part:

“This Indenture made the First Day of June 1621 and in the years of the reign of our sovereign Lord James by the grace of god King of England Scotland, France and Ireland defender of the faith etc. That is to say of England, France and Ireland the Nineteenth and of Scotland the four and fiftieth.

Between the President and Counsel of New England of the one party And John Peirce Citizen and Clothworker of London and his Associates of the other party Witnesseth that whereas the said John Peirce and his Associates have already transported and undertaken to transport at their cost and charges themselves and diverse persons into New England and there to erect and built a Town and settle diverse inhabitants for the advancement of the general plantation of that Country of New England Now the said President and Counsel in consideration thereof and for the furtherance of the said plantation and encouragement of the said undertakers have agreed to grant, assign, allot and appoint to the said John Peirce and his associates and every of them his and their heirs and assigns one hundred acres of ground for every person so to be transported…

In witness whereof the said President and Counsel have to the one part of this present indenture set their seals And to the other part hereof the said John Peirce in the name of himself and his said Associates have set to his seal given the day and years first above written.


The Pilgrim Tercentenary Silver Half Dollar Coin against the background of the Plymouth Rock remembers the hardships of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, physically at their new home and business-wise back in England.

Pilgrim Tercentenary Silver Half Dollar Coin