History: November 10, 1775: US Marine Corps Born in Tun Tavern, Ooo-Rah!

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A Brief History

On November 10, 1775, the finest fighting force in the history of the world was born when the United States Marine Corps was established in a Philadelphia tavern by Samuel Nicholas.

Digging Deeper

Even back in 1775 Tun Tavern was already an old established meeting place, having been built way back in 1686, making it almost 90 years old.  Located near the Philadelphia waterfront, Tun Tavern was a meeting place for the St. George Society, the first Masonic lodge in America (St. Johns Masonic Lodge #1), the St. Andrews Society,  served as a recruiting place for the Pennsylvania militia by Ben Franklin during the French and Indian War, and the Continental Congress had met there with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Samuel Nicholas, the innkeeper at the Tavern (a former Quaker) was authorized by the Continental Congress to raise 2 battalions of Marines.  In fact, Captain Nicholas was given command of the first company of Marines recruited, 100 men from Rhode Island.

Ever since, the date of November 10 is celebrated by US Marines wherever they are in the world, often with a formal ball, 240 Birthdays celebrated thus far, with no end in sight.

Although the streamlining of the armed forces of the US has been proposed and pondered time and again, with proposals to put all flying missions with the Air Force, all the current Army and Marine Corps missions with the Army, and leaving the Navy to drive their boats, the Marine Corps has prevailed and survived every attempt to streamline the Corps out of business.  President Truman once lamented that the Marine Corps “have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin’s.”  Hey Harry, it is not bragging if it is true!

Apparently the old haberdasher and Army Captain just did not get the Big Picture.  The Marine Corps serves with the Navy on ships, provides its own close air support, is the repository for amphibious warfare expertise, and produces a better trained, smarter, and more effective fighting man than the Army for less money.  These days a bargain like that cannot be ignored.  Marines are deployed on amphibious warfare ships anywhere in the world our country might need a fighting force in a hurry.  No other force in the world can match the Navy/Marine Corps team for that sort of power projection.

No former Marine has ever been President of the US, perhaps an indication of the USMC focus on fighting wars, not political battles.  Today, as you celebrate the Birthday and rich history of the US Marine Corps, please remember all those who have fallen in service to this country and those that serve on the front lines far away.  Semper fi, Mac.

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Historical Evidence

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.

  • tragon

    Very interesting story on how the Corps began. Good point about how someone who has served in the Marines has never become president, because they are too busy fighting to save american lives instead of fighting with other politicians.

  • Dana Roman

    With my cousin, age 21, currently training to be in the Air Force it is very interesting to read about how the Marine Corps started. Thankful for all those who fight for our safety everyday.

  • Mikayla Hutchings

    I also found the article’s comment interesting about how a Marine has never been President of the US. It makes sense that Marines are more focused on fighting wars instead of political battles, so I am not necessarily surprised. I just never thought of it that way. I also thought that the Marines would have been developed after we fully gained independence in 1776. Anyways, I am thankful for the Marines, and all the other branches, for what they do to serve America.

  • Ellen Liebenguth

    I come from a family of several Marines and I know how loyal they are to this country and are military. I think the fact that it was founded before the United States was even a nation. We celebrate its birthday every year and we attend the Marine Corps Ball every November 10th. I think that the Marines, from day one of their creation, have been fighting to protect their country and its peoples’ rights.

  • Claire Fraser

    Thinking about the dramatic events in the current political election, the line about how a marine has never been a President because they are fighting real battles, not political ones made me laugh! Very interesting to read how America, the country with the strongest army, Marine branch came to be.

  • Frank F.

    Going off of what Claire F. said I think that it is funny that a marine has never been a President because they fight the real battles. That is a great comment and I also agree that it is amazing to see how the Marine came today.

  • Maria Ndini

    I have always had great respect for Marines and reading how they first started is really interesting. I will have to agree with Mikayla’s comment here; it makes sense that a Marine has never been a President. Politics are a separate war to fight in, but Marines are more focused in protecting the country in ways a politician can never do.

  • Mike Andelbradt

    Marines are some of toughest and bravest men and women in our country. I really enjoyed the part about how none of them have been president because they were focused too on fighting military battles and not political ones. The well roundedness of the Marine core can not be matched and we are blessed that they serve our country.

  • Erin Kochan

    I never knew how the Marine Corps came to existence until now. I wonder if the Tun Tavern is still there today. We should make November 10th a more public celebration.

  • Amanda Lopuchovsky

    I’ve always known the U.S. Marine Corps to be some of the toughest and bravest men fighting for our country. This article basically helps establish that thought and explains that the Corps is even cheaper than the army. It is a wonder why anyone would try to take down the US Marine Corps.

  • Christina Hickey

    It is always nice to hear about how part of the U.S military was started. Tun Tavern seems to have had some important meets and was a location for important events. It is neat that a place with a lot of history was also the location of the starting of the U.S. Marine Corps. God Bless all our military.

  • Daniel Cora

    The Marine Corps seems to be such a vital part of our service in America today. After reading this, it seems they are a great asset to the Navy, and it just shows how all branches of the service work together to serve and protect our country.

  • Nicholas Mog

    The Marine Corps is one of America’s treasures. These men and women should be commended for the work they have done and the work that they will do. These men and women give themselves to this great nation. Go Marines!

  • Joshua Dzurko

    U.S. Marines are the some of the bravest and toughest people in the world. I respect what they do so much, but I did not know how they started out. After reading this article, Samuel Nicholas would be proud of what the Marine Corps have become today and what they represent to all of us at home and to people around the globe.

  • Alexander Correa

    I know people who fight in the Air Force and Marine Corp and etc. Amazing to read how they first came about and I think that the soldiers in any division should be celebrated more than they are because they do so much more for this country than we realize.

  • Lauren Synek

    Most of these readings make me realize how far things have come today. I never knew how the Marines started but the fact that it has been around 240 years is amazing. I think Samuel Adams would be shocked to see how far it has come today. Starting out with just 100 people from Rhode Island.

  • Morgan price

    I’m not familiar with really any history that has to do with the marines so this article was interesting. It’s funny that the marine corps was founded in a tavern. a tavern doesn’t seem a likely place for such an important organization to be established.

  • Mark Baniewicz

    I have had the privilege of knowing several friends who have spoken highly of their time serving as proud members of the USMC. I would never have guessed this organization began in a local tavern. I have the utmost respect for these men and women who serve and continue to serve our great country.

  • Matt Grazia

    It is crazy to me that the marine corps started in a local tavern. It is such an important organization that it blows my mind how it was founded. It is cool to learn how organizations like this came about.

  • Hannah Grazia

    I never knew much about the marine corps until this article. I thought it was interesting that the marine corps was founded in a tavern and started with only 100 people recruited from Rhode Island. My birthday is November 10th, so it is nice to know that such an important asset to America is celebrated on that day.

  • Brandon Simpson

    Never would’ve thought marine corps started in a local tavern. Very interesting to learn about groups like this who I have nothing short of respect for.

  • Sarah

    Such a powerful group of men, starting with 100 from Rhode Island, created in a small tavern to now a great amount of heroic men and women fighting for our country. Crazy to think about.

  • Peyton Elliott

    I’ve never heard this story on how the Marine Corps was actually founded, and it’s pretty funny how such a powerful fighting force was founded in a tavern in Philadelphia. I’ll have to mark November 10th in my calendar from now on, to keep in mind all those who have sacrificed so much for this country.

  • joe leary

    It is amazing to read about how our nation’s greatest military asset was created.

  • Nikos Nacopoulos

    Who would have thought that our country’s most powerful force was founded in a simple Philadelphian tavern! It makes sense to keep the Marines separate from the other Corps, I can’t imagine them being forced to merge with the others.

  • Matt E.

    This article has given me great inspiration to spend more time in taverns!

  • KS

    Well Dr Zarzeczny, your father and I have a lot in common… Semper Fi Major Dan! I always love reading how much better the Marines are than the Army. I feel like I may have learned much of the information about Tun Tavern while in boot camp, but I don’t remember it being the 1st Masonic Lodge. That is interesting!

  • KS

    Well Dr Zarzeczny, your father and I have a lot in common… Semper Fi Major Dan! I always love reading how much better the Marines are than the Army. I feel like I may have learned much of the information about Tun Tavern while in boot camp, but I don’t remember it being the 1st Masonic Lodge. That is interesting!