Plymouth began in 1871 as a farming community 3 miles south and 1 1/2 miles west of the present town of Plymouth. D.E. Jones, a Congregational minister and land agent for the Burlington and Missouri Railroad, arrived to locate a site for a colony that would follow the ideals of the Pilgrims who founded Plymouth, Massachusetts. Settlers came from eastern states and Germany. In 1872 the town of Plymouth was founded. By 1880 it boasted 100 people, a Congregational Church, a school, and numerous businesses.
In 1893 the Rock Island Railroad refused to build a depot at Plymouth because of a steep uphill grade from the town. The loss of a station meant the end of old Plymouth. Only the cemetery remains.
The depot was built on the divide between Cub Creek and Dry Creek, the present site of Plymouth. The new village, incorporated in 1894, was settled by arrivals from Germany joining Germans who came by way of Canada. Their descendants make up the majority of Plymouth's present population.