Humanity's history has been closely tied with the struggle for resources, whether it's man against nature or just man against man. Falmouth is no different in its need for resources, but it is perhaps unique in which ones in chose to fight over—in this case, herring.
The year was 1800, and the mill industry was booming in the town, largely in East Falmouth. The oldest mill extant at that time was constructed in 1700, and the most productive of these were the grist and woolen mills.
Mill construction was scattered, with the next mill being constructed in 1767, then in 1788, all producing copiously and seamlessly until the year 1800, when an incident concerning the construction of an East Falmouth mill that would block a herring run is said to have occurred.
The mill in question was to be placed across East Falmouth's mill stream, which would have the consequence of barring the path of a herring run. The debate over the mill was both heated and protracted, lasting a period of several years and eventually reaching the point at which a more intense demonstration of the citizens' ire had to be made.
The instigators of this tragic yet bizarrely comic affair, several local men, selected one of the cannons on the village green to add emphasis to the message.
Having selected their cannon, these men quickly proceeded to pack it full of herring. Herring not being an approved ammunition for such a weapon, the fish failed to fit into the barrel properly. Eventually, and with a not-undue application of force, the fish were solidly packed up to the muzzle of the cannon, tamped down, the primer inserted, and the fuse lit.
The cause of what happened next isn't clearly mentioned in historical records, but what is known for certain is that once the fuse burned down the cannon exploded, scattering remnants of fish everywhere (and killing the gunner).
The name of the firer of the cannon is also, sadly, lost to history, but the incident did stop the debate over the herring run, at least for a little while.
If there is one thing that this story, and human history itself, teaches us is that too much of anything—be it commitment to a cause, enthusiasm, or even fish—can be bad for you.