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Beneath oia roor irees, 

3 1924 025 963 970 





.A..Z^j>:^.r ^ : <^/vZf. 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


Beneath Old Roof Trees Fully illustrated, $1.50 
Beside Old Hearthstones (In press) 

History of Bedford Family Edition 10.00 

" " Popular Edition 5.00 

Bedford Old Families (Woodcuts) 1.50 

" " (Steel engravings) . 2.50 

Glimpses of Old New England Life 50 

Flag of Minute Men With colored plate 

Cloth JO 

Paper 25 

' Tkll it Again, CiKAXUPA I " FroJitispie. 

Beneath Old Roof Trees 









Copyright, 1896, by Lee and Shepard 

Ail riffhts reserved 
Beneath Old Roof Trees 







SEfjis Halnmt 
is gratefully inscribed 

The Author 



While speaking on the battlefield at Lexing- 
ton with tourists from the city of Philadelphia, 
allusion was incidentally made to other towns 
than those usually mentioned in this connection ; 
whereupon I was at once politely met with the 
honest inquiry, " What did they have to do with 
it ? " 

My object in this volume is to answer that 
question, showing in a story-like manner the part 
taken by many towns in the opening events of the 

In offering this work to the public, I desire to 
acknowledge gratefully the sources from which 
aid has been obtained ; but they have been so 
numerous that I refrain from mentioning any 
published works, lest I may inadvertently omit 

Manuscript records of towns and churches have 
been freely consulted through the courtesy of 
their custodians to whom I am indebted. The 
many interviews with venerable men and women 
herein recorded have been to me occasions of 
great pleasure, and I trust will result in lasting 
benefit to all who peruse these pages. 


This volume being one of a prospective series, 
" Footprints of the Patriots," treats of only a small 
portion of the towns identified with the opening 

It is my purpose to consider the other towns as 
they appear in the widening circle from which 
came the ready response to the memorable alarm. 

If the reader shall be aroused to a keener ap- 
preciation of the cost of our national heritage, 
and to a higher standard of citizenship beneath 
its star-spangled emblem, the work will not have 
been in vain. 

With that hope for an impelling motive in the 
future as it has been in the past, I remain the 
friend of the reader. 


" 'Tis like a dream when one awakes, 
This vision of the scenes of old ; 
'Tis like the moon when morning breaks; 
'Tis like a tale round watchfires told." 

" Surely that people is happy to whom the noblest story 
in history has come down through father and mother, and by 
the unbroken traditions of their own firesides." — Senator 
George F. Hoar, Oration at Plymouth, December, 1895. 


Chapter I. — page 

Some of the General Facts of the Opening Revolution . i 

Chapter II. — 

A Glance at the Enemy's Route . . 8 

Some Leading Steps . . . . lo 

Marshfield Tories. . . ... . .12 

Salem might have been the Concord of History . 12 

A Billerica Teamster 14 

Activity of Friend and Foe . . . ... 16 

Chapter III. — 

Important Messages ..... 19 

Parsonage Guests . . ... . ... 21 

Midnight Messengers ... . . 21 

Echoes of the Lexington Belfry ... 23 

Chapter IV. — 

Belfry Echoes, continued .... . . .28 

John Parker's Story . 28 

Joshua Siraonds's Story . 32 

Chapter V. — 

More Belfry Echoes . . . . • ■ • 37 
Boston Poor . 42 

Chapter VI. — 

Theodore Parker 45 

A Belfry Listener -45 

Chapter VII. — 

The Parson and Parsonage . .52 

Burlington or Precinct Parsonage . . . • 5^ 

Guests of April 19, 1775 56 

Amos Wyman Home .... -59 

Reed Home ■ . 61 


Chapter VIII. — page 

Diary of Rev. John Marrett . 62 

Description of Camp by Rev. William Emerson . 73 

Origin of Continental Army 74 

Journal of Jabez Fitch 75 

Chapter IX. — 

Old Manse of Concord and its Ministerial Occupjlnts . 79 
Cupid in the Revolution ... 90 

Chapter X. — 

Told and Retold ... .102 

Incidents of Concord Fight 102 

Chapter XI. — 

Concord Homes of History in 1775 ... . 113 

Chapter XII. — 

A Concord Patriot's Secret ... , ... 122 

Chapter XIII. — 

Footprints of Acton Patriots .... . . 139 

Faulkner Residence ... ... . . 140 

Chapter XIV.— 

Speech of Rev, James T. Woodbury .... . 149 

Eagle in Concord Fight 167 

Chapter XV. — 

Footprints of the Patriots at Bedford 171 

Through the Old Burial-Ground of Bedford vifith a 

Nonagenarian . . . 181 

Chapter XVI. — 

The Old Colonial Banner, and Flag of the Minute-Men 

of Bedford 195 

Chapter XVII.— 

Cupid's Heirloom 204 

Chapter XVIII. — 

Story of Lincoln Patriots 214 

Capture of Paul Revere . . 215 

The Most Deadly Fight. . .... 220 

Brave Women .... . . . . 225 


Chapter XXVIII. — Continued. page 

Burial of the King's Soldiers 226 

New England Ancestors of President James Abr;im 

Garfield 227 

Chapter XIX.— 

Billerica Patriots 2-56 

Hill Homestead . . . ... .... 2^8 

Provision for the Army ... . 240 

Mrs. Abbott's Story 244 

Chapter XX. — 

The Story of Menotomy 247 

The Russell Family Store , . 2 Co 

Story of Whittemore Family . . ... 262 

Cambridge 264 

Chapter XXI. — 

General Artemas Ward .... .... .27? 

The Old Homestead ... . . .... 290 

Chapter XXII.— 

Groton Patriots 293 

The First Ride of Paul Revere, and its Consequences . 293 

James Sullivan .... ... . . . 297 

Groton Inn ... . 298 

Rev. Samuel Dana ... . . . . 299 

Charlestowfn's Distress .... . . . . 300 

Story of the Rev. Joseph Wheeler . ... 309 

Chapter XXIII.— 

Woburn's Part . . . 312 

The Thompson Family . . . . • ■ 313 

Colonel Loammi Baldwin 
The Winn Home .... 

A Romance of War 

General Gage's Excursion Reported in 1775. 
List of Killed and Wounded April ig, 1775 . 



"Tell it Again, Grandpa" Frontispiece 

Territory covered in the Volume {^Map^ . . . to face page i 

Somerville Powder-House lo 

Salem Bridge 18 

Lexington Parsonage. Home of Rev. Jonas Clarke . . 20 

Eli Simonds 24 

Lexington Belfry 25 

Buckman Tavern, Lexington 29 

Jonathan Harrington House, Lexington 31 

Lexington Battle Monument 37 

Certificate carried by Boston's Poor into the Country . . 43 

Munroe House, Lexington .... 46 

Birthplace of Theodore Parker, Lexington ... 47 

Precinct Parsonage. Sewall Home, Burlington ... 56 

Site of Home of Amos Wyman, Billerica 57 

Parsonage Table, Burlington ... 58 

Forest Path taken by Hancock and Adams, April 19, 1775, 59 

Parsonage Clock, Burlington .... .... 60 

Old Manse, Concord ... 79 

Window of Old Manse, Concord .... ... 89 

Merriam's Corner, Concord 98 

Old Parish Meeting-House and Wright Tavern, Concord . 104 

Hunt Home, Concord 108 

British Officer's Sword, Concord .... .... 112 

Graves of British Soldiers, Concord 112 

Elisha Jones Plouse, Concord ... 112 

Barrett Home, Concord 115 

Buttrick Home, Concord ... .... 119 

Ebenezer Hubbard, Concord 123 

Hubbard Home, Concord . ... 129 

Statue of Minute Man, Concord 136 




Battle Monument, Concord . . ... to face page 138 

Faulkner Residence, Acton . 140 

Luke Smith, Acton 144 

Acton Powder Horn 146 

Acton Monument . . .... 165 

Eagle of Concord Fight ... 168 

The Old Oak in Bedford ... 171 

Page Home, Bedford 172 

Cyrus Page, Bedford . . -173 

Fitch Tavern, Bedford . .174 

Eleazer Davis Home, Bedford . 178 

Home of John Reed, Bedford 180 

Tombstone of Calley Fasset, Bedford .184 

Tombstone of Captain Jonathan Willson, Bedford 

Flag of Minute Men, Bedford 

Continental Money 

Farrar Homestead, Lincoln 

Whitman House, Lincoln 
Samuel Farrar, Lincoln . 
Burial of British Soldiers, Lincoln 
Monument Over British Dead, Lincoln 
Abraham Garfield Tombstone, Lincoln 
Garfield Homestead, Lincoln 
Garfield Footstone, Lincoln . 
Hill Homestead, Billerica 
Susan (Jaquith) Abbott . . 
Russell House, Menotomy . 
Russell Store, Menotomy 
Attack by the Exempts, Menotomy . 
Mrs. Sophronia Russell, Arlington 
Mrs. Parmelia Fiske, Arlington . . 
Ward Homestead, Shrewsbury . . . 
General Ward's Sword . . . 
Rocky Hill Meeting-House, Salisbury 

Groton Inn 

Benjamin Thompson House, Woburn 
Colonel Baldwin's Mansion, Woburn 



















■« 0^ 

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The revival of interest in Napoleon Bonaparte 
inclines many to long to visit the scene of his 
fatal conflict. But Waterloo, described and 
painted by pen and pencil over and over again, 
when viewed in connection with its results to 
the world, is not comparable to the battlefield of 

Good citizenship is patriotism in action. It is 
not necessary that one should face the bullets of 
the enemy on the field of battle in order to evince 
true patriotism. He who loves his home, his 
native town, and his country, and is ready to 
make sacrifice for their honor and welfare, is the 
good citizen. In him the germ of patriotism is 
well developed.- 

This is seen in the great company of intelligent 
people who make pilgrimages every year to Lex- 


ington, Concord, Bunker Hill, and other places of 
historic interest. Each recurring anniversary 
emphasizes the fact. No true citizen can cross 
the green sward of Lexington Common, gaze 
upon the bronze " Minute-man " at Concord, or 
press the turf of Bunker's height, without feeling 
the blood course more rapidly in his veins as he 
makes new resolutions of better citizenship. 

We find nothing of a sanguinary character of 
the scenes that were enacted on the memorable 
19th of April, 1775 ; for the war-drums throb no 
longer, and the battle-flags are furled. The bay- 
onets of the red-coated soldiers glisten no more 
ominously in the gray dawn of the breaking day, 
and the musket of the yeoman hangs useless 
among the reminders of the past. But within 
easy access of New England's metropolis are 
many existing reminders of that most significant 
uprising, and the person for whom a recital of the 
"oft-told tale" of the battlefield ^ would prove 
tedious will find enough of interest in the story 
of things and places that existed when the wild 
crash of musketry broke the stillness of that 
April dawn. 

While the scene of carnage was at Lexington 
and Concord, and on the entire line of retreat, it 
was from all Middlesex that the yeoman soldiery 
came ; and the entire Province was in arms before 


nightfall, and all New Englknd was astir before 
another sunset. I would not abate one "jot or 
tittle" from the accumulatfed honor justly due 
Lexington or Concord, but I would remind all 
young people that the only limit to the response 
was the primitive means of spreading the alarm. 
A preconcerted signal was so general that it re- 
quired but "a hurry of hoofs in a village street," 
or the crack of a musket from a chamber-loft, to 
carry on the alarm from town to town. When 
the immortal scroll of that day was made up, there 
appeared upon it forty-nine names. These were 
from seventeen different towns, ten of which were 
in Middlesex, four in Essex, and three in Norfolk 
Counties. But more than twice this number of 
towns responded to the alarm before the enemy 
were back within protection of their ships of 

It is natural that the tourist should find his 
interest centre at Lexington and Concord ; but 
if he would trace the footprints of the patriots, he 
must follow them in the dew of that early morn- 
ing from their remote homes to the scene of con- 
flict, and in the evening by the blood of the 
martyrs, who, early slain, were borne lifeless to 
their homes. 

The general uprising of the colonies on the 
19th of April, 1775, was the natural outcome of 
the treatment to which they had been subjected. 
They had always claimed the liberties of English- 


men, acting upon the principle that the people 
are the fountain of political power, and that there 
-can be no just taxation without representation. 
Every act of the British ministry tending to 
undermine these principles served but to whet 
the blade of righteous indignation. The acts of 
Parliament " for the better regulating the govern- 
ment of the Province of Massachusetts Bay," 
and "for the more impartial administration of 
justice," were regarded as blows aimed at the 
liberties of the people, and, when undertaken to 
be carried into effect by the local authorities at 
Boston, created a commotion throughout the 
colonies. The positive dealing with the small 
tax on tea was but the outcome of a failure to 
maintain their rights by strong reasoning, firm 
resolves, and eloquent appeal for a series of years. 
It was the boldest stroke of the people up to that 
time, and, although struck in Boston, received 
a hearty approval from the remotest hamlet, 
through the ringing of bells and other signs of 
joy. The punishment intended for Boston by 
the Port Bill, which took effect June i, 1774, was 
a blow felt and resented at the remotest border. 
Its execution devolving upon Thomas Gage 
brought general contempt upon one who had so 
recently been proclaimed the governor with great 
applause, and Fanueil Hall had been the scene 
of animating festivity in his honor. From 1767, 
when the first addition was made to the troops 


which commonly formed the garrison of Castle 
William, there had been a growing unrest among 
the Provincials, strengthened by each new arrival 
quartered within the town, and becoming unbear- 
able at the massacre in King Street, on March 5, 
1770. Each anniversary of this event served as 
another occasion for declaring the charter rights 
of the Province, and, although calling forth the 
expression of different sentiments, was continued 
until the Declaration of Independence cleared the 
way for a new anniversary, and the 4th of July, 
instead of the 5th of March, became the day of 
America's patriotic expression. 

One needs but refer to the manuscript records 
of the small towns of the colonies to be duly 
impressed with the approval of each act of the 
leaders in Boston. The record of sympathy ex- 
pressed for Boston and Charlestown when the 
Port Bill went into effect, the memoranda of 
provisions forwarded for the relief of the dis- 
tressed, together with the solemn league and 
covenant against the use of British goods into 
which they entered and boldly spread upon their 
records, attest the intensity of feeling which ce- 
mented the people more closely together as the 
months of trial succeeded one another, all of 
which found civil expression in the acts of the 
Committee of Correspondence, and also in the 
convention of Aug. 30, 1774, at Concord, when 
one hundred and fifty delegates from the towns 


of Middlesex County placed upon record, "No 
danger shall affright, no difficulty shall intimidate 
us ; and if, in support of our rights, we are called 
to encounter even death, we are yet undaunted, 
sensible that he can never die too soon who lays 
down his life in support of the laws and liberties 
of his country." 

Following close upon the memorable conven- 
tion of Middlesex came the Prdvincial Congress, 
which assembled in the meetirlg-house of Con- 
cord, the hostile preparations, the clash of arms, 
and the general uprising of the people. 

One hundred and twenty years have passed 
since the embattled farmers struck the first blow 
for liberty, but many reminders of that day are yet 
to be seen. Hills over which Revere galloped on 
his midnight ride have been carried into the val- 
leys through which he made rapid pace ; but many 
a hearthstone that glowed with the embers of 
patriotism is still the pride of a thrifty owner, who 
rejoices that the same roof which protects him 
sheltered his grandfather, who at the same door 
gave a parting blessing to wife and children as he 
hastened to the scene of conflict. Such homes, 
possessed and cared for By those who have there 
received the story of personal experience from 
honored sires, are monuments to which all would 
gladly revert. These, and the many other re- 


minders of the footprints of the patriots, have 
their lessons of good citizenship for all. 

I have spent much time, during a score of 
years devoted to historical writing, in visiting 
such homes throughout New England, and in 
conversation with the widows of those who had 
personal experience in the army, also with the 
children who have had the story of sacrifice from 
fathers who suffered in the field, camp, or hos- 
pital, and from mothers whose sufferings were be- 
neath their own roofs. The widows and children 
of soldiers of the Revolution had become very 
scarce when I began my research ; but grand- 
children have been often met who received indel- 
ible impressions of the struggle of the colonists, 
while fondled in the arms of those who were 
actors in the Revolution. 

The result of my research has from time to 
time been given to the public in story through 
the daily press. Realizing that such a medium, 
in the main, is as fleeting as the day, I have been 
prompted to gather my stories into a more endur- 
ing form for the benefit of the many whom I now 
ask to visit the scenes. Familiarity entitles me 
to invite the company of all who have entered 
into the labors of the patriots of '75. 






Boston is our starting-point. We make but a 
short journey into Middlesex County, having the 
restless army of Gage in view as they start on 
their "holiday excursion," before we are in the 
midst of the scenes that witnessed the flight of 
the redcoats, and their steady pursuit by the 
rough-clad yeomen. The very ground has tongues 
to tell the story of that heroic day. The memo- 
rials that patriotic hands have set to mark the 
deeds that were done recount anew the romantic 
valor, the courage that could not tire, and the 
resolution that knew no compromise. 

As we go over that ground we will listen again 
to the words of the great patriot Samuel Adams, 
spoken as the sun was rising over the hills of 
Lexington : " What a glorious morning for Amer- 
ica is this ! " It matters not whether this morn- 
ing's exclamation was the evidence of prophetic 


wisdom; certain is it that Samuel Adams 1 was 
the great seer of his time, and, having the sight, 
he spared nothing to hasten the dawn of a better 
era for America. Tardy, indeed, is the gratitude 
of a great nation shown by the failure to appro- 
priately mark his resting-place in Granary Burial 
Ground in Boston, where in like obscurity rests 
his honored associate, John Hancock.^ In pass- 
ing we will not fail to commend the people of 
Lexington, who have provided the horizontal slab, 
in the form of a shield, which tells us where Han- 
cock and Adams were when the attack was made 
upon the Lexington company. Every child is 
familiar with the story of Lexington and Concord. 
He knows — ■ 

" How the British regulars fired and fled ; 
How the farmers gave them ball for ball 
From behind each fence and farmyard wall, 
Chasing the redcoats down the lane, 
Then crossing the fields to emerge again 
Under the trees at the turn of the road, 
And only pausing to fire and load." 

It. is not ray purpose to recount the events of 
the opening Revolution familiar to the most care- 
less student of history ; but I deem it advisable to 
give a brief outline of facts, in order to show their 

1 One wrote of Samuel Adams in 1773, "All good men should 
erect a statue to him in their hearts." 

2 Since writing the above, the foundation has been laid for 
a State monument over the tomb of Hancock. 


William Brattle of Cambridge, and lodged at 
Castle William. 

Believing that the guns which they had manned 
for the king were liable to be turned on them, they 
did not hesitate to appropriate them to their pro- 
tection. The old battery at Charlestown, where 
the Navy Yard now is, was dismantled in sight 
of the ships of war which lay opposite; and the 
guns were removed by the patriots, and carried 
into the country, despite the vigilance of the Brit- 
ish officers. But the object of the patriots was 
not to overturn, but to preserve. They claimed 
their ancient rights and liberties, regarding ease, 
luxury, and competency as nothing, so long as the 
rights enjoyed by their ancestors were denied to 

Each town had its militia, an organization of 
long standing, and its minute-men, organized by 
order of the Provincial Congress on Oct. 26, 
1774, which was an outcome of the General Court 
ardered to convene at Salem by Governor Gage. 
They cheerfully paid their taxes over to one of 
their own number, who had been made Province 
treasurer, — Henry Gardner of Stow. Each town 
voted money freely to arm, equip, and discipline 
"Alarm Lists Companies." The leading citizens 
were made the officers of the companies; and mili- 
tary drill on the towns' common or training-field 
was frequently supplemented by adjournment to 
the meeting-house, where religious services were 


held. They were exhorted by their ministers to 
prepare to fight bravely for God and their country. 

The patriots were aware of the injury to their 
cause by the Loyalists, but they saw them make 
no successful attempt at organization until Gen- 
eral Timothy Ruggles of Marshfield headed one. 
He was a great leader of the Loyalists, or Tories 
as they were derisively called. Their requirements 
were that all who joined it should at the risk of 
their lives oppose all acts of constitutional assem- 
blies, such as committees and congresses. This 
Marshfield association had the protection of the 
king's troops under Captain Balfour. 

An exultant Tory letter of the time says of 
them: "The king's troops are very comfortably 
accommodated, and preserve the most exact disci- 
pline ; and now every faithful subject to his king 
dares freely utter his thoughts, drink his tea, and 
kill his sheep as profusely as he pleases." 

It was during these midwinter days of anxiety 
and expectancy throughout the towns that Salem 
just escaped the beginning of hostilities, and the 
honor of being the Lexington of the Revolution. 
Some brass cannon and gun-carriages were de- 
posited there, and Colonel Leslie made a Sabbath- 
day excursion to seize them. Knowing the habits 
of the New England people for church atten- 
dance, he landed at Marblehead, and in the 
afternoon of Feb. 26, while the people were at 
meeting, started for Salem. His object was sus- 


pected, and a messenger despatched to the neigh- 
boring town. The desired materials were on the 
north side of Old North Bridge. This was built 
with a draw for the passing of vessels ; and before 
Colonel Leslie reached there, the people had it 
raised. His order to lower it was refused, and 
their action sustained by the statement, " It is a 
private way,_and you have no authority to demand 
a passage this way." The officer then made prep- 
arations to cross the river in two large gondolas 
that lay near. But their owners made good their 
objections by scuttling them. A few of the sol- 
diers tried to prevent this ; and in the scuffie which 
attended it bayonets were used, and it is recorded 
that blood was spilt. At this juncture a clergy- 
man of Salem, Rev. Mr. Barnard, interfered; and 
a compromise was effected, whereby the troops 
retired without having accomplished their pur- 
pose. In fact, they had injured their general 
cause ; for the movement had aroused the people 
to the point of action not before reached. The 
alarm got to Danvers in time for the minute-men 
of that town to rally and march to Salem, arriv- 
ing just as the British were leaving town. 

The rhymester of the day noticed this expedi- 
tion. After the description of the arrival at Mar- 
blehead is the following : — ■ 

"Through Salem straight, without delay, 
The bold battalion took its way; 
Marched o'er a bridge, in open sight 
Of several Yankees armed for fight; 


Then, without loss of time or men, 
Veered round for Boston back again, 
And found so well their projects thrive, 
That every soul got home alive." 

The people of the country were in sympathy 
with those in the larger towns. Boston was their 
guide. They watched the movements of the pa- 
triots there with great interest. The sentiments 
of the Massacre anniversary orators were freely 
indorsed in all the towns where patriotism pre- 
vailed. When one of their own number suffered 
violence they were ready to demand redress. 

Early in March of 1774, Thomas Ditson, Jr., a 
citizen of Billerica, of thirty-four years of age, 
being in Boston, was seized by the British troops 
on the pretence that he was urging- a soldier to 
desert ; without any examination kept a prisoner 
until the following day, when he was stripped, 
tarred and feathered, and dragged through the 
principal streets on a truck, attended by soldiers 
of the Forty-seventh Regiment, under command 
of Colonel Nesbit, to the music of " Yankee 
Doodle," the original words of which, it is said, 
were then first used. This outrage produced 
great indignation ; and the selectmen of Boston 
communicated by letter the case to the selectmen 
of Billerica, who presented a remonstrance to 
General Gage, and submitted the case to a town 
meeting. The town thanked the Boston authori- 
ties "for the wise and prudent measures " they 


had taken, expressed its dissatisfaction with the 
reply of General Gage, and instructed them to 
carry the case to the Provincial Congress. The 
man lived, and by his presence in Billerica and 
neighboring towns did more to the injury of the 
cause of the king than he could have done by 
inducing a whole company to desert. The indig- 
nation of the voters of Billerica is doubtless im- 
plied in an order "to look up the old Bayonets," 
which was passed at a town meeting held soon 
after Mr. Ditson's abuse. 

To prevent the troops in Boston from being 
supplied with materials for hostile operations, the 
town also voted not to permit any team "to Load 
in, or after loaded, to pass through, the Town, with 
Timber, Boards, Spars, Pickets, Tent-poles, Can- 
vas, Brick, Iron, Waggons, Carts, Carriages, In- 
trenching Tools, Oats," etc., without satisfactory 
certificate from the Committee of Correspondence. 

General Gage knew that despite all his vigi- 
lance the patriots were gathering military stores, 
and their repositories were the objects of his 
jealous eye. A rumor was abroad that he had 
determined to destroy them ; this led the Commit- 
tee of Safety to establish a guard, and to arrange 
for teams to remove the stores to places of greater 
safety, in case of alarm. To make the arrange- 
ments more perfect and effective, couriers were 
engaged in Charlestown, Cambridge, and Roxbury 
to alarm the people. What better plans could 


have been made for each town to have some part 
in the decisive action, let it come in the full 
light of day, or under cover of the darkest shadow 
of night ? 

Officers of the king's army were sent out to 
Concord and elsewhere to spy out the situation, 
make plans of the roads, etc. They were well 
disguised, but detected and watched, and the 
people made doubly vigilant.^ On the 30th of 
March, eleven hundred men were sent out 
through Jamaica Plain with an eye to intimidate 
the citizens ; but they saw an uprising people 
well armed, and returned without important inci- 
dent, only such acts of damage as any company 
long pent up in a town would naturally commit 
when passing through an enemy's territory. 

The month of April opened with intelligence 
that- re-enforcements for the king's army were 
on the way to Boston. Together with this news 
came that of the declaration of Parliament to the 
king, that the opposition to legislative authority 
in Massachusetts constituted rebellion, and also 
the answer of his Majesty to Parliament, that 
"the most speedy and effective means" should 
be taken to put the rebellion down. 

Not only did the king's messenger require 
haste, but ihat of the Provincial Congress as well. 

1 The account of the detection of the British spy, John Howe, 
together with his journal, will be found in the second volume of 
this series. 


On the 5th the Congress adopted rules and 
regulations for the establishment of an army ; on 
the 7th it sent a circular to the Committee of 
Correspondence, "most earnestly recommending" 
to see to it that "the militia and minute-men" 
be found in the best condition for defence when- 
ever any exigency might require their aid, but, 
at whatever expense of patience and forbearance, 
to act only on the defensive ; on the 8th it took 
effectual measures to raise an army, and to send 
delegates to Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and 
Connecticut to request their co-operation ; on the 
13th it voted to raise six companies of artillery, 
pay them, and keep them constantly in exercise ; 
on the 14th it advised the removal of the 
citizens of Boston into the country ; on the 
15th it appointed a day of fasting and prayer. 
Having done all in their power, they seemed 
anxious to again commit their cause to the 

The days which intervened between the ad- 
journment of Congress and the beginning of hos- 
tilities were spent in busy preparations for the 
inevitable. The Committees of Safety and Sup- 
plies usually met together, and were in session 
at Concord on the 17th, when they adjourned 
to meet at Menotomy. 

While the Provincials were thus active. General 
Gage was making exertion to secure supplies for 
camp service; but the patriots made every pos- 


sible exertion to prevent it, both in Massacliusetts 
and New York. 

Worried by the importunities of the Tories, 
and distressed by the energetic measures of the 
Whigs, who " unknown to the Constitution were 
wresting from him the pubhc monies, and collect- 
ing war-like stores," it is not strange that he 
decided upon the action of the night of April 
1 8. 







A MOVEMENT of Gagc's on the 15th looked 
suspicious to Dr. Warren, who sent out a messen- 
ger to Hancock and Adams, then at Lexington. 
It was this intelligence that prompted the Com- 
mittee of Safety, of which John Hancock was 
chairman, to take additional measures for the se- 
curity of the stores at Concord, and to order, on 
the 17th, cannon to be secreted, and a part of 
the stores to be removed to Sudbury and Groton. 
On the 1 8th (Tuesday) Gage's officers were sta- 
tioned on the roads leading out of Boston, to 
prevent intelligence of his intended expedition 
that night. These officers dined at Cambridge. 
The patriot committees also met that day in 
Menotomy — West Cambridge (Arlington). Some 
of the Committee remained to pass the night at 
Wetherby's Tavern. Devens and Weston started 
in a chaise towards Charlestown, but soon meet- 
ing a number of British officers on horseback, 
returned to warn their friends at the tavern. 


They waited there till the officers passed, and 
then rode to Charlestown.^ 

Mr. Gerry of the Committee of Supplies, anx- 
ious as were they all for the safety of Hancock 
and Adams, sent an express to them that " eight 
or nine officers were out, suspected of some evil 
design." This caused the precautionary measures 
so wisely adopted by the minute-men of Lexing- 
ton, and prepared them for other messages that 
followed during the night. 

Mr. Gerry's letter was delivered by a messen- 
ger who took a by-path to the Lexington parson- 
age. The reply is worthy of notice. 

"Lexington, April i8, 1775. 
Dear Sir, — I am obliged for your notice. It is said 
the officers are gone to Concord, and I will send word 
thither. I am full with you that we ought to be serious, 
and I hope your decision will be effectual. I intend doing 
myself the pleasure of being with you to-morrow. My re- 
spects to the Committee. I am your real friend, 

John Hancock." 

The politeness, culture, and despatch of the 
opulent young merchant and patriot are apparent 
in this hastily penned reply. One need not draw 
much upon his imagination to see the beautiful 
Dorothy Quincy sitting by in the quiet solicitude 
of her high-bred dignity. '■ 

1 Jeremiah Lee, Elbridge Gerry, and Azor Orne, members of 
the Committee of Safety and Supplies, were Marblehead men. 
Their footprints will be more thoroughly traced in the story of 
that shore town. For Paul Revere's first ride, see Chapter XX. 


The master of the house and entertainer of 
these noted guests, Rev. Jonas Clark, alludes to 
three different messages received at Lexington 
that evening ; viz., a verbal one, a written one 
from the Committee of Safety in the evening, and 
between twelve and one an express from Dr. 

It is the last message that the poet has made 
familiar to all. One of the messages we must 
believe was brought by William Dawes, who went 
out from Boston, through Roxbury, at about the 
same time that Revere left by the way of Charles- 

The intelligence thus brought to the guests at 
the Lexington parsonage was not only for them, 
but for the whole country, and no delay was made 
in spreading the alarm. 

The presence of British officers scouting about 
the country that spring was a very common thing; 
but the large number on the i8th, and the late- 
ness of the hour, led to the conclusion that their 
purpose was to return, under cover of the night, 
and capture Hancock and Adams, whose offences, 
it was said by Gage in his proclamation of June 12, 
"are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other 
consideration than that of condign punishment." 

"As for their king, that John Hancock 
And Adams, if they're taken, 
Their heads for signs shall hang up high, 
Upon the hill called Beacon." 


This apprehension of the Lexington people had 
brought together a company of men well armed, 
who made up the guard around Rev. Mr. Clark's 
house, in command of Sergeant Munroe. Three 
of their number, Sanderson, Brown, and Loring, 
went on towards Concord to ascertain and give 
information of the British officers; but while -in 
the town of Lincoln, between Lexington and Con- 
cord, they were captured. Revere and Dawes, 
after refreshment, started on towards Concord, 
not knowing the fate pf those who had preceded 
them. They were soon joined by Dr. Prescott of 
Concord, who was returning to his home after 
spending the evening with Miss MuUikin, at her 
home in Lexington. He was an earnest patriot, 
and entered heartily into the plans of his chance 
friends. Before coming to Concord line they 
were met by the same British officers, armed 
and equipped, who demanded their surrender. 
Prescott, being familiar with the roads, leaped 
a stone wall, escaped, and carried on the alarm 
to his townsmen. The prisoners were taken 
back towards Lexington, threatened and ques- 
tioned, but given their freedom when the alarm 
bells of the country towns so frightened the 
British officers that they made haste for their 

With these general facts plainly in mind, the 
reader must be prepared to consider the approach 
of_the invading army, their reception at Lexing- 


ton and Concord, and see what the other towns 
had to do about it. 

The soil of Lexington drank up the first blood 
shed in the cause of freedom on that April morn- 
ing ; and Concord was the point on which the 
forces of the colonists and of the king were 
focussed — the former bent on protection, and 
the latter on destruction. It was there that the 
first forcible resistance to British aggression was 

By reason of the events of that morning these 
towns became famous throughout the world, and 
pilgrims have journeyed thither for more than a 

Historians have vied with one another in telling 
the story of Lexington and Concord, but I prefer 
to give it to my readers as I received it from the 
Old Belfry. 

Facts of civil history and domestic life, having 
been introduced incidentally, will not detract from 
the interest of the story. 

"Come up into the old belfry," said my friend 
of fourscore years, as we strolled across the beau- 
tiful green in the centre of Lexington. 

Uncle Eli Simonds is well fitted to act as guide 
in this part of historic Middlesex. He is among 
the last of the native born of Lexington who have 
heard the narratives of the early days from the 
lips of those who .participated. He has been to 
the place of sacrifice, hand in hand with those who 



were actors in the opening scene of the Revolu- 
tion. Eli Simonds has not only the advantage 
of a birthright in the town of Lexington, but he 


^ .kB 

%. \ 




Eli SiMoxDS 

came of a long line of ancestry who made a set- 
tlement there when the territory was known as 
Cambridge Farms. 

The house to which he directed his steps, and 
to which every tourist to that town makes his 

The (.)li> Urlfkv, Li'Xixr.TON. Fat^e 25 


way, was the one from which Uncle Eli took his 
earliest observations, — the Lexington belfry. 

To those accustomed to the lofty belfry of the 
present time, the rude structure at Lexington, 
somewhat back from the village street, seems 
diminutive, and of itself presenting but little at- 
traction. While climbing to its present situation 
Uncle Eli said, "This was erected on this' hill in 
1761, removed to the common in 1767, and was 
known to our ancestors as the ' bell free.' In it 
was hung the bell provided through the generosity 
of Mr. Isaac Stone. 

" It sounded the alarm over the hills and through 
the vales on the memorable morning of April 19, 
177s ; and it served the people in joy and sorrow 
in that position until 1794, when the new meeting- 
house put forth a steeple of its own, and the bell 
was raised to its loft. Then the belfry was sold. 
It was so soon after the battle waged about its 
Avails that no one had aroused sentiment enough 
to suggest its preservation. In fact, the time had 
not yet come for the erection of a memorial upon 
the spot where fell ' the first victims to the sword 
of British Tyranny and Oppression.' 

" The martyrs were sleeping in the rude graves 
where they were placed by the stricken town, be- 
fore it was known ' whether their blood would fer- 
tilize the land of freedom or of bondage.' But 
the fates had decreed that the old belfry should 
be preserved, which was accomplished through the 


purchase of the tottering house by John Parker, 
son of the gallant captain of the Lexington min- 

" It was removed to the Parker farm, some two 
and a half miles away, and there used as a me- 
chanics' workshop. It was there that I became 
familiar with its stout frame, cut doubtless from 
the primeval forest, and made from trees that may 
have had the blazes of the pioneer's axe. Neither 
the house nor barn on the Parker estate afforded 
such general attractions as the old belfry offered 
to young and old." 

It was the workshop of a mechanic, John 
Parker, whose age exactly corresponded with that 
of the shop in which he plied his craft. In it the 
old soldiers and townsmen gathered to while away 
the hours of their infirmity ; and in some retired 
nook, perhaps perched upon the huge timber in 
the loft where once hung the bell, were the boys 
of the farm, Parkers and Simondses, and their 
youthful associates, who there gave heed to the 
stories related in their hearing. 

Not the least thoughtful of the bystanders in 
the belfry workshop was Eli Simonds, who has 
long been "Uncle Eli" of the neighborhood, an 
honored official of the town. To this mechanic, 
John Parker, who was well on in his teens when 
his father was called to arms, the rhieille of that 
April morning never got out of those rafters. He 
heard the clanging of the bell, saw his father grab 


his musket, and hastily leave the home and family 
in answer to the midnight alarm. The whole town 
afforded no more appropriate place for the soldiers 
to test their memories. 

Captain John Parker died, Sept. 17, 1775. He 
was in feeble health when at the head of the Lex- 
ington minute-men. He faced the British regu- 
lars, eight hundred strong, commanded by the 
impetuous Pitcairn. He also marched with a por- 
tion of his company to Cambridge on the 6th of 
May, and with a still larger detachment of them 
on the 17th of June. 

After the death of the captain, the relations of 
the two families, Parker and Simonds, were more 
intimate ; for Eli's grandfather became a joint 
owner, and the two families of children mingled 
by a common right at the farm. 





Not only were the old belfry's rude walls 
scarred by the bullets of the enemy, but its owner 
of later years was active on that eventful morn- 
ing, and there rehearsed what he experienced, 
and what his brave father suffered, in all the try- 
ing scenes of the "bloody butchery." 

Here Eli learned his own grandfather's story of 
the capture of the first prisoner of war, and of the 
first trophy of that day's victory. 

To him and to others of the belfry's listeners, 
it mattered not how much great men contended 
for the honor of April 19, 1775, they were con- 
tented with the narratives told, without thought 
of preservation, and from lips that paled before 
the carnage about the very house in which they 
loved to linger, and which the sentiments of their 
later descendants have prompted them to return 
to its proper place. 

JOHN Parker's story. 

At two o'clock, my father (Captain John Par- 
ker) ordered the roll of his company to be called, 


and gave orders for each man to load his gun 
with powder and ball. After being some time on 
parade, one of the messengers, who had been sent 
towards Boston, returned, reporting no evidence 
of the approach of the regulars. This led to the 
conclusion that the whole movement was another 
scheme of Gage's to alarm the people; and, the 
evening being cool, the company was dismissed, 
with orders to report again at the beat of the 
drum. Some went to their homes near by, but 
more gathered in Buckman's Tavern. Messengers 
were frequently sent in order to prevent a sur- 
prise. It was Thaddeus Bowman, the last one 
sent out, who returned with the certain intelli- 
gence of the approach of the king's troops; 
others, who preceded him as detectives, had been 
captured, and he had a narrow escape. It was 
about half-past four o'clock when my father or- 
dered the alarm-gun to be fired, and the drum to 
beat to arms.^ 

Sergeant William Munroe formed the company 
in two ranks, a few rods north of the meeting- 
house. Father ordered the men not to fire unless 
fired upon. The minute-men's drum was the first 
heard that morning by the British soldiers ; for 
they had made a silent march, in hopes to catch 

1 The drum is said to have been a gift from John Hancock. A 
portion of the head is now seen in the Lexington historical collec- 
tion ; on it is to be seen a representation of a portion of the Han- 
cock arms. 


the people napping. It was evidently taken by 
the British officers as a challenge. They halted, 
primed, and loaded, and then moved forward in 
double-quick time upon our men as they were 
forming. Some began to falter, when father com- 
manded every man to stand his ground till he 
should order him to leave it, saying he would 
have the first man shot down who should attempt 
to leave his place. Then came the rush, and the 
shout of Major Pitcairn, " Disperse, ye rebels ; lay 
down your arms and disperse!" Our men did 
not obey; and Gage repeated his order with an 
oath, rushed forward, discharged his pistol, and 
gave orders to his men to fire. A few guns were 
discharged; but no injury being done, our men 
supposed the enemy were firing only powder, and 
they did not return the fire. The next volley 
fired by the British took effect, and our men re- 
turned it. When father saw his men fall, and the 
rush of the enemy from both sides of the meeting- 
house, as if to capture them alli he gave the order 
to disperse. The British continued firing, and 
our men returned the fire after leaving the field. 
Ebenezer Munroe first discovered that balls had 
been fired by the enemy, for he received a wound in 
his arm. In return for this he discharged his gun, 
and received two balls from the British, one grazed 
his cheek, and the other just marked his clothing. 
John Munroe did well, but loading with two 
balls, lost a part of the muzzle of his gun. 


William Tidd, first lieutenant in our company, 
did well. When pursued by an officer, thought to 
have been Pitcairn himself, who cried out to him, 
" Stop, or you are a dead man," he sprang over 
a pair of bars, made a stand and fired, and thus 
escaped. John Tidd fared hard. He stayed too 
long on the Common, and was struck down with 
a cutlass by a British officer on horseback. He 
was robbed of all his belongings and left for dead ; 
but John lived a good many years after that day. 
Poor Jonas Parker ! how my father mourned over 
him ! He had always said he'd never run from an 
enemy. He kept his word. Having loaded his 
musket, he put his hat, in which was his ammuni- 
tion, on the ground between his feet, ready to load 
again. He was wounded at the enemy's second 
fire, and sank upon his knees ; he then discharged 
his gun, and while loading again was run through 
by a bayonet thrust which finished him. My 
father could hardly keep back the tears when tell- 
ing of Isaac Muzzy, Robert Munroe, and Jonathan 
Harrington, who were killed on the Common when 
the company was paraded. 'Twas strange that 
Ensign Robert should have served in the French 
war, been standard-bearer at the capture of Louis- 
burg, and then been of the first to fall by the 
bullets of the king's army. Poor Harrington fell 
in front of his own house. His wife at the win- 
dow saw him fall, and then start up, the blood 
gushing from his wounds. He stretched out his 


arms, as for aid, and after another effort fell dead 
at his own threshold. Samuel Hadley and John 
Brown were killed after leaving the Common. 
Asahel Porter was a Woburn man; but falling 
here, we felt as though he was one of our own 
men. He was not armed, having been captured 
in the morning by the British on their approach 
to Lexington, and in trying to make his escape 
was shot down near the Common. Jedediah Mun- 
roe received a double share. He was not only 
wounded in the morning, but was killed in the 
afternoon. Others who were wounded were John 
Robbins, Solomon Pierce, Thomas Winship, Na- 
thaniel Farmer, and Francis Brown. 

" That's well done, John," cried a chorus of 
attentive listeners ; "you had your eyes and ears 
open as well in your boyhood." 

"You've missed those men who were in the 
meeting-house after powder," said Mr. Simonds. 

" Sure enough," replied the mechanic, giving 
his workbench a thump with his huge mallet. 
" It's your turn now, Simonds ; 'twas your father 
that dealt out the powder, and you may finish the 

The First Prisoner, and First Trophy of the War. 

I was in charge of the town's stock of ammuni- 
tion on the eventful morning. The magazine was 


the upper gallery of the meeting-house, and in 
the discharge of my duties I was there filling the 
powder-horns of my comrades when the regulars 
came into the town. 

As fast as the horns were filled, their owners 
made haste down the stairs, and out to the line 
of the company for action. Of the last two who 
left the house, one, Caleb Harrington, was de- 
tected and killed, while the other, Joseph Comee, 
running in the midst of a shower of bullets, was 
struck in the arm, but reached a dwelling-house, 
and passing through it made a safe retreat. 

I was left in the meeting-house with one asso- 
ciate, when, as it appeared, the truth flashed upon 
the British commander, and he determined to see 
what was in the house. 

We heard the order, " Clear that house ! " My 
associate glancing out saw the situation, and said, 
" We are all surrounded ! " He then hid in the 
opposite gallery. 

We heard the order, " Right about face ! " I 
then determined to blow up the house and go 
with it rather than fall into the hands of the 
enemy. I cocked my gun already loaded, placed 
the muzzle upon the open cask of powder, and 
waited for their course to determine their fate 
and mine as well. With my heart throbbing to 
bursting, I heard the tramp, tramp, tramp, as the 
soldiers came up the steps, and the words of the 
commander, as his head rose above the casement, 


" Are there any more rebels in this house ? " 
Tramp, tramp — they came nearer and nearer, 
then the word, " Halt," brought all to a stand. 
After an instant's pause, when the regulars, the 
meeting-house, myself, and comrade, were within 
a hair's breadth of destruction, the order was 
given, "Right about, march!" and they left the 

I looked from the window, and saw the enemy 
form in line, and start on towards Concord ; while 
there lay on the Common my dead neighbors, but 
no sign of a living comrade outside. 

As soon as practicable we left the house, and 
in consternation went out upon the field. I soon 
espied a straggler from the regular army, who 
seemed to be somewhat indifferent to the whole 

He made no attempt to escape, and I took him 
into my custody. He was an Irishman, fully six 
feet in height, and manifested but little inter- 
est in the morning excursion. To my inquiry as 
to his delay, I found he had been overcome with 
liquor, lingered behind, and lost his companions. 
I took him to a place of safe keeping, away from 
the possible line of march of the army when they 
should return. He was thus the first prisoner 
captured on that day. 

His musket, a good specimen of the king's 
arms, I also took, appropriated to my own use, 
and at the close of that day turned it over to 


Captain Parker as public property. I was not 
able to ascertain the remainder of the man's ex- 
perience, but the gun is of interest to all. 

The first trophy of the war was held by Cap- 
tain Parker until his death in the autumn of that 
year, when it became the property of his son 
John, the mechanic ; and it occupied a position 
over the door of the dwelling-house of the Parker 

The gun now became in a peculiar manner a 
piece of common property with the Parker and 
Simonds families. 

At the settlement of the estate of Captain Par- 
ker I bought a portion of the homestead, and my 
family occupied a part of the house. Large fami- 
lies of children had some things in common, one 
being the old musket. ^ 

The story of Joshua Simonds's experience told 
by his son William met with the approval of the 
belfry listeners, inasmuch as it accounted for the 
men omitted by John Parker, and made clear 
some things about which there was a little disa- 

In resuming, Mr. Eli Simonds said, "When 

1 Mr. Sylvanus Wood of Woburn claimed the honor of captur- 
ing the first prisoner. The discrepancy may be accounted for by 
the two incidents occurring at different places. Some twenty years 
after the death of Mr. Simonds, a claim was made for a pension 
by Mr. Wood, and obtained by aid of Hon. Edward Everett, then 
representative in Congress for the district of Middlesex. 



bent on a squirrel-hunt I went to the belfry shop 
and asked permission of John Parker to take the 
old musket. Realizing that it was my grandfather 
who captured it, and his grandfather who held 
it, he would playfully say when handing it down 
to me, ' You may take our gun.' 

" Among my associates and playfellows was 
Theodore Parker, son of the mechanic of the bel- 
fry. To his possession in later years the musket 
came ; and through a provision of his last will, 
that musket of history found its way to the Sen- 
ate Chamber of the State of Massachusetts." 


Sachgd to Liberty and the rights of Mankind! ! ! 

The tREiiuoM and Independence of America, 
Sealed and defended with the Blood of her Sons. 

This Monument is erected 

By the inhabitants of Lexington, 

Under the patronage and at the expense of 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 


Ensign Robert Munroe, and Messrs. Jonas Parker, 

Samuel Hadley, Jonathan Harrington, Jr., 
Isaac Muzzy, Caleb Harrington and John Brown, 

of Lexington and Asahel Porter, of Wqburn, 

Who fell on this Field, the First Victims to the 

Sword of British Tyranny and Oppression 

On the morning of the ever memorable 

Nineteenth of April, An. Dom. 1775, 

The Die was cast!!! 

The Blood of these Martyrs 

In the cause of God and their Country 

Was the Cement of the Union cf these States, then 

Colonies, and gave the spring to the Spirit, Firmness, 

And Resolution of their Fellow Citizens. 

They rose as one Man to revenge their Brethren's 

Blood, and at the Point of the Sword, to assert and 

Defend their native Rights. 

They nobly dar'd to be free!1 

The contest was long, bloody and affecting. 

Righteous Heaven ap,provrd the solemn appeal. 

Victory crowned their arms; and 

The Peace, Liberty, and Independence of the United 

States of America was their Glorious Reward, 




" It was some days after the rehearsal of my 
grandfather's experience by my father," said 
Uncle Eli, " before the weather favored another 
gathering of the same company. Farmers were 
obliged to spend all the time in fair weather on 
their land, and, in fact, there were duties enough 
for foul weather ; but there was an advantage in 
the interchange of ideas for the older people, and 
the boys, such as Sydney Lawrence, Theodore 
Parker, and myself, improved those opportunities. 

The Parker and Simonds stories had revived 
an old theme ; and the older belfry speakers, when 
at their homes, refreshed their memories by the 
aid of wives and parents. 

John Parker himself was not averse to taking 
a part in the ordinary belfry gossip ; and when con- 
versation turned, as it often did, upon the subject 
of the Revolution, especially when others of his 
age were in the company, he was sure to drop his 
auger or mallet, push up his spectacles, and join. 
Peing in his fifteenth year when Major Pitcairn, 
backed by eight hundred regulars, ordered his 
father with his company to disperse, John Parker 


was admitted to be good authority, and even Jon- 
athan Harrington (the last survivor) would give a 
listening ear. 

" It was a catching day in haying season, dog- 
days are usually uncertain," said Uncle Eli, "when 
the belfry was filled with young and old, and con- 
versation was at its height, a discussion of the 
two stories was in order, and Mr. Parker inter- 
rupted the speculation by saying, ' We had be- 
come so alarmed by the reports from the army in 
Boston that we hourly expected to see them rush 
in upon us, and rob and butcher young and old ; 
of course, much of this was the result of exag- 
gerated stories, yet it took but the slightest alarm 
to set all in motion. Why, I stood there by that 
wall ' (pointing to the fence near by) ' on the igth, 
and listened to the old bell as it clanged and 
clanged in this old belfry up there on the Com- 
mon, and I longed to be there with father and the 
rest ; but mother needed me, and I well remember 
her anxious face as she came running out of the 
house, with her silver spoons and other valua- 
bles, which she intrusted to my care. Now, if you 
will just come with me, I will show you where 
I secreted them.' To this call and lead of the 
speaker, we all responded, regardless of the falling 
rain, and followed down to where a decayed stump 
of an apple-tree was yet visible," said Uncle Eli. 

"'Here is where I put it,' said Mr. Parker; 
' there was much more of the tree here at that 


time, but it was hollow ; and thinking of the suc- 
cessful hiding of the charter of the Connecticut 
Colony from Sir Edmund Andros, by William 
Wadsworth, I determined in my haste to intrust 
the household valuables to a hollow tree. I dug: 
into the decayed heart, and pushed down my 
treasures, with as stealthy motion as though the 
whole army of the king was near at hand. So 
anxious were we about father's safety (for he was 
ill when he left the house) that I was kept a good 
part of the time stationed down near the highway 
so as to catch the slightest intimation of tidings 
from any one passing.' Upon returning to our 
belfry shelter, a hitherto earnest listener was seen 
to take a fresh pinch of snuff, strike a positive 
attitude, and take his turn in the conversation. 

" Said the new speaker, 'That didn't begin with 
the Cutlers over to the west side. Thomas, you 
know, was a minute-man, and was off to answer 
the call, and all of the men of the family were 
gone. The womenfolks were so frightened that 
they all fled to the woods, and left the babe in 
the cradle.' — -'Do tell!' cried out a half-score 
of voices, 'What became of it.'' — 'Oh, it lived 
to tell its own story,' resumed the speaker. ' I 
guess it was much more comfortable than were 
those who forgot it, sleeping away as though the 
redcoats were cracking jokes down in Boston 

"'But some of the folks at the Centre hid their 


silver under a heap of stones, thinking it would 
never be discovered there ; but in the afternoon, 
when the regulars came back from Concord, the 
owner looked out from her hiding-place, and saw 
an officer standing directly on top of the stones. 
But he had little thought of what was under 
him, being too much absorbed in that which was 
about him.' 

"'I declare,' said Uncle Caleb, 'that reminds 
me of the folks down to the east side, when 
the regulars went into the house and ransacked 
everything. No one dared resist, although some 
were where they saw all that was done, until one 
red-coated fellow began to tear the leaves out of 
the olH Bible ; then a boy pushed his head out 
from under the table, and exclaimed, " My dad 
'ill give it to you, if you spoil our best Bible!" 
They did not meddle with the boy, thought it not 
worth the while, I suppose.' 

" ' No more than our folks did the little fifer,' 
said Lieutenant Munroe. ' He was a bright little 
fellow, and had piped away for Pitcairn as well as 
he could, in coming down from Concord, until 
an old fellow had let fly at him from his musket 
loaded with shot for wild geese, and had broken 
one of his wings ; at least, there he sat, with his 
fife stuck into the breast of his jacket, begging 
for help.' — 'We gave it to him too,' cried 
a voice from the perch above ; 'although they 
abused our folks, young and old.' — ' If they hadn't 


thought any of us worth killing,' said Mr. Blod- 
gett, ' more than they did Black Prince, why they 
would have gone right on, and we should have 
been as free to go to dinner as we are to-day.' 
With this closing remark the company decided to 
disperse at the ringing of the noon bell, cheered 
by the promise of haying weather for the rest of 
the day." 

Weeks passed before the same company assem- 
bled again under the roof of the old belfry. But 
they had casually met in twos or threes in their 
daily walks, and some plans for the presentation 
of incidents in the military history had been the 

Jonathan Harrington was the leading speaker 
at the next meeting. He was about one year 
older than John Parker, and was a fifer in "that 
phalanx of freemen" on the 19th of April, 1775. 
He said, "■! was aroused early that morning by, 
a cry from my mother, ' Jonathan, get up, the 
regulars are coming, and something must be 
done.'" Mr. Harrington said, "But fighting was 
not the whole of it ; our people had burdens to 
bear that are not suggested by the experiences in 
the field. The loss of ten of our citizens carried 
mourning into many families, and sorrow rested 
upon the hearts of a broad circle at the close of 
that eventful day. But that was not all. There 
had been a wanton destruction of property on the 
route of the enemy's march, and the pecuniary 


sacrifice had scarcely begun. Each town was 
called upon to share in it. With the operation 
of the Port Bill came grim want. Business was 
suspended in Boston, and sources of supply were 
cut off. The Whigs refused to furnish their 
produce to the Tories and British officers ; Tories 
were severely dealt with when attempting to se- 
crete supplies into Boston. Many who had been 
in comfortable circumstances were brought to the 
level of others who had been previously depend- 
ent. Many of the poor of Boston made an early 
removal into the country to the homes of friends, 
but there were others who' were forced to remain 
and suffer. So great was their want that relief 
was sent from other colonies. Colonel Israel 
Putnam came with a drove of sheep from Connec- 
ticut to succor the inhabitants of the besieged 
town. Sickness naturally followed the scarcity of 
provision, and the condition was distressing to 
the extreme. The towns did all in their power 
for the relief of the sufferers, taking them into 
their own homes, and sharing their reduced in- 
come with those more needy. The extremity 
was so great that on May i, 1775, the Provincial 
Congress ordered that they should be supported 
by the country towns, and the expense of removal 
of thousands unable to be met by themselves 
should also be borne by the towns. Lexington, 
with the others, had its share sent out. They 
were sent to the selectmen, and by them distrib- 

B0S7VA' rooj^' 43 

uted around ann^nig the families. Each family 
was provided with a certificate from the com- 
mittee of donations. This, which I have in my 
hand, was brougdit to my neigdiborhoocl with a 
famil}' who found a good home there." The 
speaker paused to give each of the belfry com- 
pany opportunity to examine the original from 
which the cut was made : — 



B S T.O N, Af<vi^;^, I77J. 

THE laarer Mr.*'rf^»z^j;;i5&>.,^z^j/i^and "iiCfi-^ 
Family- removing out of the Town of Bofton 
^1 «»<^ recoijimended to the Charity and ^ffift^nce 
I of our Bc4e>'>jlent Sympathizing Brethren in the 
a i. fo'cral 'Jii^nsin this Province. • —J.- . . 

if By Ordpr of the Committee of Donations, 

1 ^ To I he Sile^Y^Jra tmj Camfuiluts of Cvr^^&tilaut in tht Jrjkf^Tvantr 
ir. Ibc Trivmcz i[ M^JfabtJilll-a^' 



He continued by saying, "After the camp was 
established at Cambridge, there came the demand 
for supplies of food and clothing, and above all 
there was a continual demand for necessaries for 
the hospitals. As each colony was at first man- 
aging its own army, it also made provision for 
them. But up to the time of the coming of Gen- 
eral Washington, and the organization of the 


Continental army, a good deal was supplied gra- 
tuitously and voluntarily. Brave young men, un- 
used to hardship, who were in service on April 
19, and went immediately to Cambridge, were 
soon stricken down with disease, and either went 
home to die, or perished there in the illy fitted 
hospitals." So great was the want of the British 
army at one time in 1775, it is said that the town 
bull, aged twenty years, was slaughtered in order 
that the officers might have a change of diet from 
the salt meat to which they were reduced. The 
price per pound was eighteen pence sterling. We 
can imagine that a steak from this patriarch had 
staying qualities, at least. 

Each town within the distance of twenty miles 
was called upon to furnish its quota of wood, 
hay, and beef for the army at Cambridge. Dur- 
ing the entire war there were continual calls 
upon the towns for shirts, shoes, stockings, and 
blankets, and other necessaries. While the men 
were striving to meet the oft-repeated calls of 
the tax-collector, the women were busy at the 
spinning-wheel and loom, and there was no one 
•exempt from duty." 




"The rehearsal of these trying experiences 
through which our ancestors passed was of great 
interest, and subdued us all to a condition of seri- 
ousness," said Uncle Eli. " But John Parker 
broke the spell when he said, 'The British got the 
worst of it. They came out here to capture Han- 
cock and Adams, as well as to destroy the stores 
at Concord ; but they missed their aim here, and 
fared hard indeed in their entire enterprise. Pit- 
cairn probably thought he had so used our com- 
pany that we would not rally again ; but he got 
some shots from us as he came down through 
Lincoln, and not a few farewells were hurled at 
him as he left town.' " 

Among the attentive listeners of the belfry 
workshop none attained greater eminence than 
Theodore Parker. Endowed with an enviable in- 
heritance on both sides of his family, he went 
forth, overcoming all obstacles, as an example of 
Christian heroism ; standing out against oppos- 
ing forces as distinctly and grandly as did his 
honored grandsire on the field of Lexington, 
April 19, 1775. 


It is fitting to make a digression at this point 
from the main line of my subject, and consider a 
brief sketch of the life of Theodore Parker, as 
given by his old belfry companion, Eli Simonds. 

Theodore was the youngest of eleven children 
of John Parker and Hannah Stearns. He was 
born in 1810. Eli Simonds was the tenth of a 
full dozen of children of William Simonds and 
Susan Pierce. He was born in 1817. Although 
seven years the junior of Theodore, the two boys 
had much in common. While Eli was too young 
to be profitably employed about the farm, he 
found a nook in the belfry workshop, where Theo- 
dore was trying to aid his father in the struggle 
for the maintenance of the family. 

The humdrum of the workshop was irksome 
indeed to the boy Theodore, whose tastes for lit- 
erary pursuits began to develop very early ; but 
constrained by a sense of duty, he was faithful at 
his post, whatever it might be. 

The manufacture of wood pumps was carried 
on by John Parker, much of the work being done 
in the belfry shop. The logs, cut thereabouts, 
were trimmed and bored by hand ; the great auger 
used in making the circular hole in the green 
pine log was turned by hand. This work required 
a good deal of force ; and Theodore detested it, 
and assumed very early the duties of the farm in 
place of that of the workshop. 

Although located on a farm which might have 



given good returns for faithful culti\'ation, Jolm 
Parl<er liad but little taste or inclination in that 
direction, preferring the work of a mechanic 
Hence, both father and son pursued the line of 
choice, as far as circumstance admitted. "When 
the school was kept at the little brown school- 
house at ' Kite End,' " said Uncle Eli, " we were 

Birthplace of Theodore Parker 

always in attendance. The schoolhouse was rude 
and the room unattractive; although the old fire- 
place had been superseded by a large square stove, 
around which we gathered to warm our bare feet 
in the late autumn days, and to thaw our fingers 
and lunch in the winter, Theodore took but 


little interest in our games, but spent his odd 
moments over some book ; but they were scarce 
indeed, yet such as could be obtained never es- 
caped his faithful attention. 

" We went together to the village to attend ser- 
vice at the meeting-house on Sundays. It was 
there that he had access to an old association 
library, from which he drew books to use at 
home. I have seen him open a book, when start- 
ing homeward after service, and become oblivi- 
ous to all else. He would become so absorbed 
as to lose his bearings, and occasionally come in 
contact with a tree or stone wall ; but tacking 
about, he would start on again, still engrossed 
with some deep study, that offered no attraction 
to me or other boys who were in our company. 

"I well remember when, in about the year 1820, 
the subject of a Sunday-school was advanced. 
Parents as well as children were full of wonder- 
ment as to what would be studied. We had 
studied the Westminster Catechism at the little 
brown schoolhouse. The younger of us having 
the ' New England Primer,' a sort of juvenile cate- 
chism, in which we had learned, — 

' In Adam's fall, we sinned all,' 

' An idle fool is whip't at school,' 

' My book and heart shall never part.' 

"We also had learned the story of John Rogers, 
'Agur's Prayer,' and the 'Dialogue between Youth, 


Christ, and the Devil.' • But what could be studied 
at a Sunday-school was the subject for general 
speculation until the time set for the opening of 
a school. We were all thefe, excepting those 
whose parents were jealous of the school being 
a desecration of the Lord's day. In the great 
square pews we were classified, and Deacon Mulli- 
kin was our teacher. Theodore hailed the Sun- 
day-school with delight, because it suggested 
study, and of course books were provided. He 
improved every opportunity for study, and did 
succeed in getting away a few weeks during the 
winter to a school where there were better appli- 
ances for school work. We had not ceased re- 
garding him as ' one of the boys,' when it was 
whispered among the families that Theodore Par- 
ker was going to ' keep school.' 

" I had begun to look upon him as a superior 
being, even when we were the most intimately 
associated, particularly when going in his com- 
pany to Boston to market the peaches and other 
produce of the Parker-Simonds farm. We rode 
to market in the night, and Theodore would talk 
about the stars, and upon things of which I had 
failed to get any information. But when he be- 
gan the life of a schoolmaster, I felt that I was 
left entirely in the rear. 

"After the close of his Waltham school, it was 
rumored that he was not very successful ; and 
when inquiry was made, we learned that Parson 

Missing Page 

Missing Page 





1775. REED HOME 

The word parson from its derivation — French 
persone, Latin persona — suggests the attitude of 
that official in New England. He was the person 
of the town. He furnished, not merely spiritual 
food, but much of the intellectual and social stim- 
ulus, for the entire people. 

The voice of the preacher was regarded as the 
voice of God. The words spoken from the pulpit 
passed from lip to lip as the sacred oracles of the 
olden times. 

In many of the colonies the clergy were the 
only learned class, and in some instances even 
schooled in the medical profession, serving their 
people as healers of both body and soul. 

The parsonage was the centre of influence, and 
to it resorted many people. When journeying 
they did not hesitate to halt at the hospitable 
door, and were never refused the best the house 
afforded. The stated salary of the minister was 
meagre indeed, but it represented only a part of 
the amount annually bestowed upon him and his 
family. There were many in the parish who felt 


it incumbent upon them to leave at the parsonage 
a tithing of all their produce, thereby making it 
possible for the good wife to respond to oft-re- 
peated calls upon her bounty. 

The clergy as a class were conservative, and in- 
clined to favor existing institutions; but when the 
difficulties with the mother country assumed form, 
when it was necessary for action to be taken, the 
pastors of the so-called Puritan Congregational 
Churches favored the Colonial cause In some 
instances they joined the ranks of the minute-men 
and shouldered a musket, and many more served 
as chaplains in camp and hospital. 

The parson in many country towns was an 
ardent Whig, notably so in Lexington and Con- 
cord. Rev. Jonas Clark of the former, and Rev. 
William Emerson of the latter, were so outspoken 
as to be known as "Patriot Priests," or "High 
Sons of Liberty." Much of the spirit of resist- 
ance to British oppression in those towns was 
attributable to their utterances. 

A Tory writer says in a letter dated Sept. 2, 
1774 : " Some of the ministers are continually stir- 
ring up the people to resistance. It was urged 
that salvation depended upon signing certain in- 
flammatory papers, when the people flew to their 
pens with an eagerness that sufficiently attested 
their belief in their pastors." 

The person who could make the most lawless 
village ruffian cower and slink away by a look. 


who presided over a community of church-goers, 
and who had a paternal care for everything and 
every one in it, has passed away. So has the 
New England parsonage in its realistic sense been 
relegated to the bygones. But the house, the 
parsonage, in many instances yet remains, occu- 
pied in some cases by descendants in the third or 
fourth generation from the fjatriot priest of 1775. 
To these homes in their present well-kept condi- 
tion I now invite my readers, while we there con- 
sider the footsteps of the patriots. 

The Lexington parsonage has passed out of the 
family possession; but to its well-kept grounds 
all may go, and there in a well directed fancy 
may see the guard of minute-men in command 
of Sergeant Munroe as they keep their all-night 
vigil. Within, the rooms are reanimated by the 
voices of the noted patriots, Hancock and Adams ; 
the graceful figure of Dorothy Quincy and the 
matronly form of Madam Hancock add dignity to 
the hour and occasion. 

It was perfectly natural that those notable pa- 
triots should have turned their footsteps to the 
Lexington parsonage. They were just from a 
meeting of the Committee of Correspondence and 
Safety, and were fully aware of the precarious 
situation of the avowed friends of the Colonial 
cause in Boston, and that for them the British 
halter was already threatened. 

It was not merely the sympathy for one cause 


that attracted them to that home, but kinship had 
allured them as well. Mrs. Clark, wife of the 
patriot priest, was cousin to the opulent young 
merchant, John Hancock. The proud step and 
richly embroidered costume of this guest were 
not strange to that home. It had been the abode 
of his paternal ancestry for many years. There 
he had spent much of his boyhood with his grand- 
father. Rev. John Hancock, the pastor of Lexing- 
ton. Where he was, his elder friend and adviser, 
Samuel Adams, well might be. 

Tender relations and fondest hopes account for 
the presence of the others in the group that 
night. The subject of conversation that evening 
can easily be imagined. " John Hancock, being 
in England, was present at the funeral of George 
n., and also at the coronation of George HI., pa- 
geants congenial to his taste." He stood almost 
at the head of the merchants of Boston, had been 
an object of flattery, and strongly urged to join 
the royal party ; but thanks to Samuel Adams, 
the young merchant was so decided in his course 
that he could say, while thinking of that princely 
residence and all else : " Burn Boston, and make 
John Hancock a beggar, if the public good 
requires it !" Had there been a word of doubt or 
any hesitancy expressed as to the righteousness 
of the cause in which the noted guests were 
champions, it would have been dissipated by the 
firm convictions of Rev. Jonas Clark. 


The messengers from Boston were not only to 
warn — 

" The country folk to be up and to arm," 

but to look out for the safety of Hancock and 
Adams. Those proud spirits could not easily be 
persuaded to flee from any power. But the ap- 
peal in behalf of the future welfare of the Colo- 
nies inclined them to consent ; and having heard 
the first shots, and uttered memorable words, 
these noted men were conducted from one parson- 
age to another. 

Over in Woburn Precinct, Burlington, was an- 
other parsonage. It was but a few miles away. 
The minister, Rev. Thomas Jones, had recently 
died ; but his widow, well known to Rev. Jonas 
Clark, was an ardent Whig. There was a young 
minister. Rev. John Marrett, at this home, who 
was destined to be the successor of the deceased 
pastor in both pastoral and family relations. The 
Lexington pastor and his guests had confidence 
in all the occupants of the Precinct parsonage, and 
made haste in that direction. They made a halt 
at the home of James Reed, a well-known patriot, 
but soon pushed on ; and as the gilded coach 
rolled up to the door of the parsonage, open 
arms and hearts were in anxious waiting. The 
patriots, with Miss Quincy, were soon comfortably 
ensconced in Madam Jones's best room. 

It may be of interest to the reader to know 


something of the history of the Precinct parson- 
age before following this morning's guests any 
farther. Leaving them seated before the crack- 
ling fire, the freshly scoured brass of the hand- 
irons reflecting their brilliant costumes in most 
pleasing pictures, we take the hand of the present 
owner, 1895, Samuel Sewall, of the fourth genera- 
tion, and hear from him the story of the — 


It was purchased by Rev. Thomas Jones, my 
great-grandfather, in 1751. He was the second 
minister of the town, filling that position in the 
broadest sense of the term until his death in 1774. 
He lived to see the beginning of the Revolution- 
ary troubles, and to make an , impression as an 
avowed patriot, but, like Moses of old, died with- 
out entering the promised land of freedom. He 
was succeeded by Rev. John Marrett, who married 
his daughter, and hence the pastoral association 
continued with this house. This young minister, 
my grandfather, proved to be a inost worthy asso- 
ciate of the ministers of Lexington and Concord. 
Besides his regular duties, he gave much attention 
to the poor of Boston, who were sent out to the 
town, sheltering some in this house. He also 
made frequent visits to the camp at Cambridge, 
and there administered to the wants of the needy. 
He kept a daily record of the vicissitudes of the 
times, and this record is one of the precious relics 



of our family. Strangely enough Rev. Mr. Mar- 
rett's successor, Rev. Samuel Sewall, married the 
daughter of his predecessor, and the charm still 
remained. I was the only son of Rev. Samuel 
Sewall and Mary Marrett ; with two sisters I 
occupy the ancestral home. Here my children 
and grandchildren have been born, and are enjoy- 
ing the same privilege. Hence, six generations 
have already occupied the parsonage, and many 
reminders of the first are constantly before the 
sixth generation." This well-kept home presents 
much of the same appearance that cheered the 
eyes of the noted guests of April 19, 1775, when 
Hancock's gilded coach rolled up to the door. 
Old-fashioned hospitality found expression in 

an early spread 
of the best the 
house afforded. 
Madam Jones 
made haste to 
prepare a meal 
worthy of her 
guests; she was 
aided by Cuff, 
the faithful ne- 
gro slave of the 
parsonage. A 
spring salmon 
had been passed in to the door of the Lexington 
parsonage in honor of the guests. This was sent 

Parsonagk J'able 

GUESTS OF APRIL 19, 1775 59 

on by a messenger to the Precinct, and was pre- 
pared by Madanj Jones. All being ready, the 
guests were seated about the best table, with Rev. 
John Marrett as the host. Grace had been duly 
said, and they were just to begin the welcome meal, 
when a hurried messenger entered the house an- 
nouncing that the British were coming in hot pur- 
suit, and entreating them to flee for their lives. 
Some made haste to secrete the telltale coach 
under cover of Path Woods, while Rev. Mr. 
Marrett conducted the patriots by a devious 
way through the woods to the obscure home of 
Amos Wyman, in a distant corner of the town, 
where it borders on the towns of Billerica and 

As soon as the immediate fright was over, 
Messrs. Hancock and Adams, with appetites 
whetted to a keen edge by the morning ride and 
the savory smell of the feast left so suddenly, 
were glad to eat cold boiled salt pork and pota- 
toes, with rye bread from a wooden tray taken 
down by Mrs. Wyman from a shelf above the 
fireplace. Strange diet indeed for these people 
accustomed to the best the market afforded. It 
was all the variety Mrs. Wyman had, and was 
given cheerfully to guests whose like she had 
never entertained before. Her act was not for- 
gotten. Like the widow of Zarephath, who fed 
the prophet Elijah, she had her reward. It is 
said that John Hancock presented her with a cow. 



when the affairs of the colony were so far adjusted 

as to admit of outside attention. 

The alarm that drove the patriots 
from the Precinct parsonage proved 
to be false, and no unwelcome guest 
came to that door that day. 

It was one of the youthful pleas- 
ures of Mr. Sewall of the pres- 
ent day, to accompany his honored 
father. Rev. Samuel Sewall, in 
his old age, to the Hancock man- 
sion an Beacon Hill, Boston, and 
there listen to the conversation 
with Madam Scott, the "Doro- 
thy Q." of 1775. An allusion to 
the experience related always 
brought a smile to her aged 
face, and recalled her aunt whose 
name she bore, and of whom 
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote : 

Parsonage Clock 

"Grandmother's mother! Her age, I guess, 
Thirteen summers, or something less; 
Girlish bust, but womanly air; 
Smooth, square forehead, with uproUed hair; 
Lips that lover has never kissed; 
Taper fingers, and slender waist, 
Haftging sleeves of stiff brocade — 
So they painted the little maid. 

What if a hundred years ago 

Those close-shut lips had answered no, 


When forth the tremulous question came 
That cost the maiden her Norman name; 
And under the folds that look so still 
The bodice swelled with the bosom's thrill? 
Should I be I, or would it be 
One-tenth another to nine-tenths me?" 

There is another house in Burlington where the 
scenes of April 19, 1775, have left a lasting interest. 
It is the — 


Here Hancock's coach halted when on that 
memorable trip from Lexington, but soon has- 
tened on with its company, making way for the 
British prisoners to be lodged here. At this 
home is met Mr. Edward Reed, the present owner 
and occupant. He was preceded in the possession 
by his father and grandfather, both named James 
Reed. " In this room," said Mr. Reed to the 
writer, " the prisoners captured at Lexington were 
held in custody. My grandfather said, ' I was 
making ready to go over to Lexington when I 
saw some of the minute-men coming with a squad 
of the redcoats. They brought them here to my 
house, and gave them up to me, informing me of 
the affairs at Lexington. I could not then go on 
in the pursuit, as I was given the custody of those 
prisoners. I did my duty faithfully, treated them 
well, as they would say to-day if they could come 
around ; but I guess they would not want to run 
the gantlet of the Yankees again.' " 






Through the courtesy of Samuel Sewall, Esq., 
the present owner of the Precinct parsonage, the 
following extracts are made from the interleaved 
almanacs of his grandfather. Rev. John Marrett. 

Some notes are quoted that do not tend to show 
the movements of the patriots altogether, but give 
light on the customs of the time. 

Jauuaty 12,, 177$- Moved to Woburn. Board at Madam 
Jones' for 40 s. per week, and keep my horse myself. 

February 8. Rode to Lexington. Lodged at my brother's 
last night, attended lecture at Lexington ; a lecture on the 
times. 1 began with prayer. Mr. Gushing preached from 
Psalm 22 : " He is the Governor among the Nations.'' Mr. 
Clark concluded with prayer. 

March 6. Prayed at March meeting. Rode to Lexing- 

March 7. Lodged last night at Brother's. Spent day 
at Lexington. Attended training there. At night rode 

March 21. Training. Viewed arms. 

March 27. Bottled cider; n dozen and one bottle. 

April 4. (Tuesday.) Rode to Wilmington and Reading. 
P.M. Heard Mr. Stone (of Reading) preach a sermon to 


the minute-men. Returned to Wilmington ; lodged at Mr. 
Morrill's, (the minister). 

April 8. People moving out of Boston on account of 
the troops. 

April 9. (Sunday.) Mr. Marston came up from Boston 
to get a place here for his wife and children. 

April 19. Fair, windy & cold. A Distressiilg day. 
About 800 Regulars marched from Boston to Concord. 
As they went up, they killed 8 men at Lexington meeting- 
house ; they huzza'd and then fired, as our men had turned 
their backs (who in number were about one hundred) ; and 
then they proceeded to Concord. The adjacent country was 
alarmed the latter part of the night preceding. 

The action at Lexington was just before sunrise [show- 
ing that the paster kept an eye on all military preparations] . 
Our men pursued them to and from Concord on their retreat 
back ; and several killed on both sides, but much the least 
on our side, as we pickt them oiTon their retreat. The regu- 
lars were reinforced at Lexington to aid their retreat by 
800 with two field pieces. They burnt 3 houses in Lex- 
ington, and one barn, and did other mischief to buildings. 
They were pursued to Charlestown, where they entrenched 
on a hill just over the Neck. Thus commences an important 

April 20. Rode to Lexington and saw the mischief the 
Regulars did, and returned home. 

April 21. Rode to Concord. The country coming in 
fast to our help. 

April 22. All quiet here. Our forces gathered at Cam- 
bridge and towns about Boston. The Regulars removed 
from Charlestown to Boston day before yesterday. 

A-prili},. (Sunday.) Preached at home. Soldiers travel- 
ing down and returning ; brought their arms with them to 
meeting, with warlike accoutrements. A dark day. In the 
afternoon service, just as service was ended. Doctor Blodget 
came in for the people to go with their teams to bring 


provisions from Marblehead out of the way of the Men of 
war. Considerable number at meeting. 

Apj-il 24. Packing up my most valuable effects to be 
ready to move on any sudden occasion. 

April 2^. Rode to Cambridge. Our forces very numer- 
ous- there. Lodged at Richard Clark's, Watertown. 

April 26. Returned home via Lexington. Many houses 
on the road pillaged by the Regulars between Lexington and 

April 27. Josiah Quincy arrived this week from England 
and died at Cape Ann. 

May II. Fast day. Preached at Reading in exchange 
for Mr. Haven. Rode to Medford. 

May 12. Lodged last night at Captain Brooks, Medford. 
Rode through Cambridge to Dorchester. Surveyed the 
situation of our forces. 

May 17. Saw about 9 o'clock P.M. a great fire towards 
Boston. Went up a hill and saw the blaze. Just before the 
fire heard a great noise, 

May 18. The fire last night was in Boston. Burnt a 
number of stores. It began in one of the barracks. 

May 23. Last Sabbath our people destroyed a quantity 
of hay at Weymouth which the Regulars attempted to get 
to Boston. Some firing on both sides, but have not heard 
that any were killed. 

May 27. (Sunday.) All day and in the night heard the 
cannon at Boston. A skirmish, I sujjpose, between the 
troops under General Gage and our forces. Heard the can- 
non in time of service a.m., and hear our forces have burnt 
a tender to a man of war, this morning, at the mouth of the 
Mistick River, and that they from yesterday, p.m. to to-day, 
were firing at each other. 

May 31. Rode to Watertown. Dr. Langdon preached 
to the Congress from Is. i : 28, (and the destruction of the 
transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they 
that forsake the Lord shall be consumed). 


June I. Rode to Watertown. Heard Mr. Stevens 
preach Convention sermon. Rode to Cambridge and iiome. 
June 10. Mr. Marston and wife and children moved 
from Boston here. 

June 1 6. Mr. Marston, of Boston, arrived here. He 
escaped in a fishing boat. 

June 17. Fair and very warm and Dry'g at home. 
June 18. S [Sunday] fair and very warm at noon a little 
Sprinlil'g of rain and P.M. Sun clouded, preached at home 
very thin meet'g ye men gone down to ye army on ye alarm 
yesterday, last night 3000 of our army went to Charlestown 
and entrenched on a Hill. But before yy had prepared yir 
cann ye Shipp'g and ye regulars by land attacked yur and 
after much fighfg we were obliged to quite ye Entrenchment 
and ye town, many killed and wounded, on both sides, ye 
Shipp'g annoied us much ; the town laid in Ashes ; ye ad- 
jacent Country gone down. Abt 1000 of ye regulars killed 
and wounded not more yan 200 killed of ours, abt 50 of our 
men killed and 29 taken prisoners and 70 or 80 wounded, 
a 1000 of our Enemies killed and wounded among wch are 
many officers 84. 

June 20. Rode to Watertown and Cambridge and viewed 
the intrenchments of our army between Cambridge and 
Charlestown and returned home. 

June 24. P.M. Just heard that our army had entrenched 
last night nearer the enemy on Bunker's Hill, and that the 
enemy this morning appeared with their horse in battle array 
and in readiness at the bottom of the hill by Charlestown 
Neck to drive our forces away ; but after a while they with- 
drew. The heavy cannon are now playing, the firing is 
smart and very plainly heard. 

July I. Heard the firing of some cannon which were 
at Roxbury neck. 

July 2. (Sunday.) A great deal of firing below. It be- 
gan about daybreak and continued till 7 o'clock. Heard it 
was at Roxbury neck. 


Jjily 13. Last night lodged at Watertown, and rode to 
Roxbury, Cambridge, and to Prospect and Winter Hills, 
viewed the forts and entrenchments, well executed and 
strong. Prayed in evening with Colonel Gerrish's regiment 
and returned home. 

July 20. A general fast appointed through British 
America by the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. 

July 22. At Cambridge. At evening prayed in the 
army. Attended the funeral of Jesse Wyman aged 21, living 
in the old parish, mortally wounded in the battle of Charles- 

July 23. Sunday. Last night lodged at Mr. Tappan's. 
A.M. Preached in the array, p.m. Some rain which prevented 

July 26. Attended the funeral of George Reed, jun., who 
died of a fever, which was occasioned by a surfeit of heat he 
got in Charlestown fight the 17th inst. 

August 4. Rode to Bedford and returned. On return 
called and prayed with Bacon's family, very sick, and also 
visited and prayed with Capt. Walker's son. 

August 28. Master Hutchinson of Boston lodged here. 
To-day I rode to Lexington, dined at brother's and returned. 

September 12. Rode to Cambridge, and viewed the 
camps and forts, and returned at night. Boston is hedged 
in on every side but the water. 

September 24. (Sunday.) Put on coarse, linen shirt. 

October 2. Visited the sick and catechised the children 
present, 24. 

October 18. Messrs. Wigglesworth and Gannett dined 

October 22. Attended the funeral of Capt. Marstons's 

^ Belonged to a Boston family, probably related to Mrs. Jones. 
They had sought refuge in Burlington during the siege. A little 
gravestone in old burial-ground says, "While British forces held 
his native town." 


October 24. Rode from Watertown to Cambridge, viewed 
the camps and returned home. 

November i. Rode to Concord. Attended the Dudleian 
Lecture. Dr. Langdon (President of Harvard College) 
preached from Micah 4 : 5. Subject natural religion. 1 

November 9. Cannon fired much from 12 to 3 o'clock; 
about 400 or 500 Slegulars landed on Lechmere's Point and 
carried off i cow. They were soon drove oiT by a party of 
our soldiers. We lost i man killed, and i mortally wounded. 
What they lost, cannot tell. 

November 21. President Langdon came here. 

November 30. Attended three funerals in my Parish, viz.. 
Widow Speer ; a child of Abraham Alexander's ; and a child 
of Mr. Peters 's of Wilmington, which died here; and mar- 
ried a couple. 

December 5. Rode to Cambridge and back. Hear Que- 
bec is taken by the Provincials. 

December i"]. (Sunday). Heard several cannon fired. 
Our people a raising a covert way from Prospect to Cobble 
Hill, and the enemy endeavoring to prevent them. 

December 18. The firing yesterday was at Lechmere's 
Point, our people entrenching there. A ship that had lain 
up the River all summer moved off this morning. 

December 20. Fair, and the coldest day this season. At 
home. Heard several cannon fired. 

December ij,, p.m. Attended the funeral of iVIr. Gardner, 
leather dresser, formerly of Charlestown ; he died in the 
other parish. 

December 27. Attended the funeral of IVladam Temple, 
late of Charlestown, who died at Captain Johnson's ; and 

' The American army occupied for barracks the buildings of 
Harvard College at Cambridge, and the institution removed to 
Concord, remaining there nearly a year. It held its exercises in 
the Court-House, its students and professors living in various fami- 
lies of the town. The Commencement exercises of 1776 were held 
in the old meetingjbouse of Concord. 


married Josiah Locke to Elizabeth Richardson, both of 
Woburn Old Parish. i 

December 29. Rode to Cambridge and returned, and 
lodged at Jonathan Carter's. Last night our forces arranged 
to attack Bunker Hill over the ice on the mill pond, but the 
ice was not strong enough, and therefore they desisted. 

Deceviber 30. Many cannon fired. Returned home A.M. 

January 10, 1776. Called about break of day to visit 
Capt. Wood's wife, being sick. 

January 18. Cannon fired much. Heard our army is 
defeated at Quebec. 

Jaiiuary 22. Evening. Singing meeting here. 

January 23. Rode to Cambridge, and viewed the lines, 
and returned home. Deacon Johnson and wife went with 

January ■^i. Eight men enlisted out of this parish for 
two months. 

February 2. Heird several cannon. 

February 12. Heard many cannon. Supposed to be 
below Boston at sea. 

February 14. Last night the enemy burned some houses 
and barns on Dorchester neck. 

February 28. Mr. Stone, of Reading, and Mr. Jacob 
Gould, of Weymouth, dined with me. Sent my watch by 
Mr. Gould to Braintree, to Mr. Cranch's to be mended. 

March 3. (Sunday p.m.) Master Coggin preached from 
2 Cor. 5 : 10. People in great anxiety about some important 
transactions speedily to take place between our army and the 
enemy's forces. 

March 4. Last night, from eight in the evening till the 
morning, the cannon and mortars between our army and the 
enemy fired more or less ; and to-day were firing more or 
less, till between 12 o'clock and one, a general battle or a 

^ These deaths of Charlestown people suggest how they were 
scattered about, after the burning of the town by the British, 


very smart skirmish, ensued, as I judge, from the report of 
small arms and cannon. The Regulars had a mock fight 
in Boston. Visited Lieut. Tidd's sick children. My people 
collecting rags, etc., for the use of the army. 

March 5. Last night the mortars and cannon played 
very fast most all night from both sides, and our army 
entrenched on Dorchester Hill without any molestation. 
Rode to Cambridge. 

March 6. Lodged at Cambridge. Returned home. 

March 10. (Sunday.) Last night our forces intrenched 
on another hill on Dorchester Point, nearer to Boston ; a 
smart firing ensued on both sides. We lost about 12 men. 
At first we were drove off, but by a reinforcement carried on 
and completed the work. \_Not true.'] 

March 11. Visited Mr. Spear, being sick, and prayed at 
parish meeting. Hear the sraall-pox is at Welch's. 

March 18. Yesterday morning, about break of day, the 
British troops evacuated Bunker Hill and Boston, and all 
shipping moved oif and lay windbound below the Castle, 
whither bound, know not, — but it is conjectured to Halifax 
to wait on orders from Great Britain. Our forces have 
taken possession of all the places they have left. The Lord 
be praised ! Last night we intrenched on Dorchester Point. 

March 19. Dined at Timothy Winn's, p.m. Rode to 
Old Parish and attended Mr. Pool's funeral. Mr. Morrill and 
1 prayed with the sick woman, Mrs. Pool. Hear that below 
the Castle the ships are arrived to the fleet of the enemy 
which lies below. 

March 20. Rode to Charlestown Ferry, and viewed Bun- 
ker Hill, the works of the enemy, and the ruins of the town. 
The fleet lays below the Castle. Returned home via Cam- 

March 2.1. A great fire last evening at the Castle, the 
enemy demolishing it. Rode to Old Parish to see Mrs. Pool, 

April 2. Attended funeral of Nathaniel Wyman. 


April 5. Attended funeral of Daniel Simonds and his 
wife, two aged persons in Lexington. 

April 19. Rode to Lexington ; dined at Brother's, p.m. 
Attended a lecture in commemoration of Lexington Battle. 
Mr. Clark performed the whole exercise ; preached from Joel, 
3d chapter, the last verses ; a very, crowded audience ; the 
militia companies in Lexington mustered. Returned home. 

April 23. Rode to Boston and returned home. First 
time I have been to Boston since the enemy evacuated it. 

May 3. Mr. Thurston, a preacher in the other Parish, 
visited me. 

May 5. (Sunday.) Rode to Concord and preached on 
an exchange with Mr. Emerson. 

May 6. Lodged last night at Doctor Minot's. 

May 16. Attended the funeral of George Reed's negro 

May 17. A Continental Fast; preached at home, a full 

May 20. Hear a large brig loaded with warlike stores 
was taken by us from the enemy, as she was coming into 
Boston Harbor. 

June I. Hear our forces at Quebec have been driven 
from their intrenchments, and renewed the attack afterwards, 
being reinforced, and recovered their lost ground. 

June 3. Went to the Castle with Woburn militia to 

June 4. Lodged last night at Roxbury. This morning 
sailed from Boston to the Castle ; intrenched all day. p.m. 
Returned home with the militia. 

Jjine 15. Night before last, 5,000 of our people went 
down and intrenched on an island and another place in Bos- 
ton Harbor, and yesterday morning drove all the enemy's 
ships down below the lighthouse. A 50-gun ship was 
obliged to cut her cable, and be towed down by boats, etc. 

June 17. Visited Amos Wyman, being sick. (The hus- 
band of her who entertained Hancock and Adams.) 


Jtine 1 8. Attended training.i 

June 25. Exceeding hot ; the hottest — very dry and 
melancholy time. 

June 29. Exceeding hot and scorching, and burning sun. 
The land mourning by reason of the dearth. 

July 2, 1776. Independency. 

July 3. Lecture on account of the drought and war; 
Mr. Penniraan (of Bedford) preached from Psalm 39 : 9. 

July 4. Attend Lecture at Bedford; Mr. Emerson (of 
Concord) prayed and preached. I made last prayer. 

July 6. Small-pox in Boston, inoculating there. Ten 
men, of the fifteen, enlisted out of this parish for the expedi- 
tion to Canada; 5,000 to be raised from this province for 
New York and Canada. 

July 1^. (Sunday.) Preached at Bedford. Mr. Sprague 
preached for me, and Mr. Penniman for him, at Carlisle. 
Five o'clock p.m. Preached at lecture, at home, to a party 
of soldiers going on the Canada expedition. 

Jjily 15. Visited Amos Wyman, sick in deep consump- 

July 18. P.M. Rode to Lexington and back ; my brother 
and two of his sons and eighteen others inoculated last week 
in his own house for the small-pox. 

July 24. Hear the enemy's ships are destroyed by a 
tempest at South Carolina ; two 40-gun ships, one 50-gun 
ship, and a tender and a transport lost ; and all the men 

July 25. Woburn company of soldiers for the Canada 
expedition marched for Crown Point. Prayed with them at 
Deacon Blanchard's. 

1 The acquaintance of the president of Harvard College with 
the Precinct clergyman doubtless accounts for the removal of 
college property to his parish, as an old paper bears evidence. 
Deacon Joseph Johnson was intrusted with two hogsheads of 
books, one large box containing glass, two boxes containing a 
pair of globes, one large pack of carpets. 


July 29. Visited young Mr. Nevers and Mr. Amos 
Wyman, being .sick. 

August \. Provincial Fast. Exchanged with Mr. Morrill. 

August 23. The enemy landed on Long Island, New 

August 24 and 25. Fight at New York, Long Island. 

September 7. Hear our forces are beat off from Long 
Island, at New York, and that four boats full of men in com- 
ing away were taken prisoners. 

September 15. (Sunday). Read the Declaration for In- 

September 25. Attended Dudleian Lecture at Cambridge. 
Mr. Morrill, of Wilmington, preached. Subject, Revealed 
religion, from i Peter 3:15. (Harvard College back in its 
old quarters.) 

October 6. (Sunday.) Uncle Dunster and his wife kept 
Sabbath here. 

October 13. (Sunday.) Preached at Old Parish on ex- 
change with Mr. Jones. Mr. Emerson, of Concord, died 
at Otter Creek. 

October 26. Rode to Stow. 

October I"]. (Sunday.) Preached at Stow on an exchange. 

October 1%. Rode to Lancaster and returned to Stow; 
lodged at Deacon Gates'. 

October 29. Returned home. Heard (that) Mr. Emerson, 
of Concord, died at Otter Creek (the) 13th inst. 

November 16. Fort Washington taken. 

November 11. Lodged last night at College. Rode to 
Boston and returned home. 

December 9. Hear a fleet of the enemy's ships are seen 
off Rhode Island. 

December 12. Thanksgiving. First snow, 2 inches. 

December i^,. Dined at Samuel Reed's Jr.'s ; General 
Lee taken prisoner by treachery. 

December 18. General Howe marching towards Philadel- 
phia. General Washington before, and General Lee behind. 


The condition of the patriots' camp at Cam- 
bridge, visited by Rev. John Marrett, is best de- 
scribed by the Concord minister, Rev, William 
Emerson, in a letter written byhim when serving 
as a chaplain. It was a few days after the arrival 
of Washington as commander-in-chief. 

" New lords, new laws. The generals, Washington and 
Lee, are upon the lines every day. New orders from his 
excellency are read to the respective regiments every morn- 
ing after prayers. The strictest government is taking place, 
and great distinction is made between officers and soldiers. 
Every one is made to know his place, and keep in it, or to 
be tied up and receive thirty or forty lashes, according to his 
crime. Thousands are at work every day from four till eleven 
o'clock in the morning. It is surprising how much work has 
been done. The lines are extended almost from Cambridge 
to the Mystic River ; so that very soon it will be morally 
impossible for the enemy to get between the works except 
in one place, which is supposed to be left purposely unforti- 
fied, to entice the enemy out of their fortress. Who would 
have thought, twelve months past, that all Cambridge and 
Charlestown would be covered over with American camps, 
and cut up into forts and intrenchments ; and all the lands, 
fields, and orchards laid common ; horses and cattle feeding 
in the choicest mowing land ; whole fields of corn eaten 
down to the ground ; and large parks of well-regulated 
locusts cut down for firewood and other public uses? This, 
I must say, looks a little melancholy. My quarters are at 
the foot of the famous Prospect Hill, where such prepara- 
tions are made for the reception of the enemy. It is very 
diverting to walk among the camps, they are as different in 
their forms as the owners are in their dress, and every tent 
is a portraiture, of the temper and taste of the persons who 
encamp in it. Some are made of boards, and some of sail- 


cloth; some partly of one and partly of the other; again, 
others are made of stone or turf, brick or brush. Some are 
thrown up in a hurry ; others are curiously wrought with 
doors and windows, done with wreaths ^nd withes, in the 
manner of a basket. Some are your proper tents and mar- 
quees, looking like the regular camp of the enemy. In these 
are the Rhode Islanders, who are fuj-nished with tent 
equipage and everything in the most exact English style. 
However, I think this great variety rather a beauty than a 
blemish in the army." 

Fearing that some of my readers may be doubt- 
ful in regard to the correct distinction between 
the Provincial troops and the Continental army, 
and in regard to the time when the former were 
merged into the latter, I insert the following gen- 
eral order issued on the 4th of July, 1775, the 
day-after Washington took command of the army. 

" The Continental Congress having now taken all the 
troops of the "several colonies, which have been raised, or 
which may be helvgafter raised for the support and defence of 
the liberties of Am^erica, into their pay and service, they 
are now the troops of the United Provinces of North Amer- 
ica; and it is hoped thai- all distinction of colonies will be 
laid aside, so that one and the same spirit may animate the 
whole, and the only contest-be, who shall render, on this 
great and trying occasion, the niost essential service to the 
great and common cause in whicfe, we are all engaged. It is 
required and expected that exact discipline be observed, and 
due subordination prevail througlr-. the whole army, as a 
failure in these most essential points must necessarily pro- 
duce extreme hazard, disorder, and confusion, and end in 
shameful disappointment and disgl"ace. 

" The general most earnestly requires and expects a due 


observance of those articles of war, established for the gov- 
ernment of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swear- 
ing, and drunkenness ; and in like manner, he requires and 
expects of all officers and soldiers, not engaged on actual 
duty, a punctual attendance on divine service, to implore the 
blessings of Heaven upon the means used for our safety and 

A vivid picture of the movements of the pa- 
triots, while encamped at Cambridge and Rox- 
bury, is seen in a journal from Aug. 5 to Dec. 

I3> 1775- 

It was kept by Jabez Fitch, Jun., of Norwich, of 
the Eighth Company (Captain Joseph Jewett's), 
in the Eighth Connecticut Regiment (Colonel 
Jedidiah Huntington's), at the siege of Boston. 
He first describes the journey to join the Pro- 
vincial army. 


Saturday, Aug'. ;, 1775. Came from (l3i6me) a little 
after sunrise. Joined the company at TvJ^er's in Preston, 
from whence we marched ; about 8 o'clor^'^ made a little halt 
at Deac" Belcher's where we were haridsomely treated, and 
after resting a little we march'd, 2f'^^ at the same time Mr. 
Edwards and my boys went back 

7th. After breakfast we ma«{.(,j^i(j jnto town (Providence) 
where we made a small halt, /^t shav'd, and did some other 
errands, and march'd forw^^d to Attleborough, where we 
now are at Daggefs, the y^yern (they say he's a Tory), but, 
however, we have got a /jnng,. a-cooking, and intend to eat 
it. I was afterwards disappointed, there not being enough 
for the whole. . . . '-^^rson's reg't overtook us, and after 
drinking some punch we ^^arch'd on, and at about sunset 
arriv'd at Man's in Wrentti.,rn, where we met with much 


difficulty to procure a supper, after which I went to bed with 
my son, and slept very well. 

August 8th, 1775. In the morning we ate breakfast at 
Man's, after which we march'd forward to Head's in Wal- 
pole, where we drank some punch and marched forward to 
Cheney's in Walpole, where our men are now cooking a 
dinner. . . . After dinner we marched forward to Gay's 
where we made a little stop and Capt. Wheat overtook 
us from Norwich ; then we marched on so far as Ames' in 
Dedham, where we lodged in a very good bed and paid well 
for it. 

9th. In the morning I walked down to the burying place 
below the meeting-house. I also see about 300 riflemen pass 
by Ames' — we also went by them at Whiting's, and marched 
into Roxbury before them. We arrived at the sign of the 
sun about 1 1 o'clock, where the company staid till next day. 

This night was the first of Cordilla and I lodging like sol- 
diers, we having hitherto on our march lodg'd in good beds, 
tho' H^cost us dear, but now we are come where money will 
not readily command all the conveniences of life. Yet 
through the clemency of a Divine Providence every one in 
health may be in some measure comfortable. 

The loth. Sc3*i}etime before noon we marched on to the 
ground assigned us"for incampment. Capt. Riley's Com- 
pany was the only oneincamped before us. The rest of this 
day taken up in pitching^ur tents, etc. The night follow- 
ing was very stormy ; it thundered, lightened and rained all 
night, and was very tedious iW the first of the campaign. 

The nth. In the morning\f,t. Jona. Brewster and Jo. 
Williams came to our tent. I w^ with 'em over to Parsons' 
reg't, where we lit of Capt. Whea\and went up to the meet- 
ing-house and see the guard relieve^ then went with them, 
Sergt. Haskel and Corpl. Brewster, tbwn to Dorchester, and 
after obtaining liberty of Col. Felbws went over on to the 
Neck and down on to the Lo.ver Point near Castle Wm. 
While on Dorchester Neck jve had a very fine prospect of 


the town of Boston and also of the ships in the harbor, 
which make an appearance like a dry cedar swamp. 

The I2th. In the morning I went down to see the guards 
relieved, and then went out on the left hand of the neck down 
on to the marsh where I had a fine prospect of the Common 
in Boston, where the regulars are incamped. About one 
o'clock Asa Chapman came here for some things I bro't 
him from his grandfather. Cordilla and I went with him up 
to Brookline Fort and on our way lit of one Lt. Sprague of 
the Rhode Islanders with whom we crossed the ferry and 
went up to Prospect Hill. . . . Cordilla and I then came 
back to Cambridge, went into one of the colleges up to the 
3d loft, and after viewing that a little came down street a 
little where we see the greatest curiosity of the whole day 
(viz.) an old gent with a very gray beard 14 inches long 
handsomely comb'd down under his chin. . . . After cross- 
ing the ferry came home to our camp where we arrived 
about daylight in. The old Tory dog had got away the 
door I stole to lodge on. 

14. At prayer time in the morning the regulars in Bos- 
ton and also the ships in the harbor began a mighty firing 
which lasted most of the forenoon. 

i6th. After breakfast I took a walk up to Brookline 
cedar swamp, where I found me a very pretty cedar staff. I 
came back through an orchard back of Genl. Ward's quar- 
ters, where the inhabitants were gathering pears, and while 
I was talking with the people the regulars fired two shot on 
our new intrenchment, on which I hurried a little toward 
home, but the fire not continuing I made a little stop at an 
intrenchment just above a grist mill. I then went up toward 
the Grand Parade, where I lit of Rant Rose, and went with 
him to see the Indians shoot arrows at coppers. 

The i8th. In the morning early I went up to Governor 
Bernard's house with Corp. Spears and Cordilla to get some 
timber for repairing our tent, and it was with some difficulty 
that I obtained it. 


Sunday, Augt. 20, 1775. ... I went up to the old 
meeting-house, where I wrote several of the foregoing pages, 
and am now writing on the breast of the front gallery, which 
is a very convenient place for writing. It is a very large 
house with a high steeple. It stands on an eminence in fair 
view of the regulars' lines, and has had many balls thrown at 
it. The bell is taken down, the windows all taken out and 
boarded up except the pulpit window, the pews all torn 
down, and great destruction made inside of the house. 




The foregoing extracts from the parsonage 
diary, yet extant, afford the reader, not only a 
glimpse into the busy life of the minister, but also 
present a realistic view of the burdens and anxie- 
ties of the patriots during the time that the seat 
of war was confined to Massachusetts. He has 
seen the intimacy between neighboring ministers, 
and noted the hospitality of the parsonage. He 
has become particularly interested in the minister 
of Concord, Rev. William Emerson, and is pre- 
pared to turn to another parsonage, and there con- 
sider the footsteps of the patriots as they centre 
about the — 


Here, as at the Burlington parsonage, a digres- 
sion is made to consider the history of the place. 

Probably no other homestead of New England 
supplies the warp and woof of such a brilliant 
fabric of history as the old manse of Concord. 

The green lawn that extends in front and on 
either side of the manse was once the site of 


an Indian village, evidence of which, in the line 
of arrows and spear-heads, the searching plough- 
share has often brought to light. 

The village was abandoned, and the scattered 
remnant of the tribe had built their wigwams 
elsewhere, before the sale of the " six miles 
square " by Squaw Sachem and others to the 
" English undertakers." 

The site of the old Indian village was included 
within the twelve lots of six hundred and sixty 
acres recorded as belonging to James Blood, Sen. 
and Jun., in 1665. 

The Bloods are said to have come to Concord 
in 1639. James Sen. died in 1683, and his wife 
Ellen nine years earlier. James Blood, Jun., mar- 
ried Hannah, daughter of Oliver Purchiss of 
Lynn, in 1657. They lived in a primitive dwell- 
ing on these acres, and had four children, only 
one of whom, Sarah, survived her parents. 

James Blood, Jun., was the fourth deacon in the 
Concord church; he died Nov. 26, 1692, having 
outlived his wife fifteen years. 

Sarah Blood, who was born March 5, 1659, mar- 
ried William Willson of Concord in 1686, and at 
the death of her father succeeded to the owner- 
ship of the estate. He was town clerk from 1710 
to 1718 ; was chosen one of the selectmen in 
1700, and held the office eighteen years; was 
representative to the General Court in 1702, and 
in seven subsequent years. His wife Sarah died 


in 1 71 7, and he in 1745, leaving a second wife, 
Hannah Price.__ 

The property remained in the family until 
about the time of the death of Rev. Daniel Bliss, 
the associate of Whitefield and other ardent 
preachers, which occurred in May, 1764. It was 
then purchased by the Bliss family. 

The solemn pomp and funereal splendor at- 
tendant upon the burial of Rev. Daniel Bliss was 
still a theme for conversation, and the people 
were enjoying a sort of mournful satisfaction 
because they had maintained their dignity among 
the towns and churches by furnishing rings and 
gloves at the funeral of their deceased minister, 
and the town had assumed the burial charges 
of £66 13J. /i,d.\ when steps were taken to secure 
a pastor to fill the vacancy. 

Rev. William Emerson was called to the posi- 
tion. He married Phebe Bliss, the daughter of 
his predecessor in the ministry of the town, in 
August, 1766, and established a home in the 
house so well known as the Old Manse. It was 
erected for Rev. Mr. Emerson and his bride, and 
here they lived in the full enjoyment of a Colo- 
nial parsonage during his ministry of ten years. 
Theirs was the peace and comfort of the beautiful 
home, which stood in the midst of the town, — his 
parish, — being cheered and encouraged by the love 
and esteem of his people. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes says of him, " The 


Rev. William Emerson, grandfather of Ralph 
Waldo, was an excellent and popular preacher, 
and an ardent and devoted patriot. He preached 
resistance to tyrants from the pulpit ; he en- 
couraged his townsmen and their allies to make 
a stand against the soldiers who had marched 
upon their peaceful village ; and would have taken 
a part in the fight at the bridge, which he saw 
from his own house, had not the friends around 
him prevented his quitting his doorstep." 

He took this stand in the face of the opposition 
of his brother-in-law, Daniel Bliss, who was an 
avowed Tory, and still living in the village. 

On Aug. 1 6, 1776, Rev. Mr. Emerson left his 
family, this beautiful home, his church and people, 
by their consent, to join the army at Ticonderoga 
as chaplain. He was discharged by General Gates 
after about two months of service, because of de- 
clining health, and died at Rutland, Vt., en route 
for his home, at the age of thirty-three years, 
where he was buried with military honors. His 
people described his virtues at length on a memo- 
rial stone set upon Burial Hill in 1826. It con- 
cludes thus : 








There were left at the Manse, besides the 
widow of the patriot, their four children. Wil- 
liam, their only son, born in 1769, and Mary 
Moody Emerson, a daughter, and namesake of 
her grandmother, became well known in the 
world, the latter through the portrayal made by 
her nephew, Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

William, the son and namesake of the "patriot 
priest" and "high son of liberty" of Concord, 
was graduated at Harvard College in 1789, settled 
as minister in Harvard in 1792, and in 1799 as 
minister of the First Church in Boston. In 1796 
he married Ruth Haskins of Boston. He died in 
181 1, leaving five sons, of whom Ralph Waldo 
was the second. 

In November, 1778, Rev. Ezra Ripley was or- 
dained as minister at Concord; and two years later 
he married the widow of his predecessor, Phebe 
Bliss Emerson, and took up his abode at the 
Manse, where he continued to live during his 
ministry of more than sixty years. 

Hence appears the proof of the accuracy of 
Hawthorne's statement in " Mosses from an Old 
Manse:" "A priest had built it; a priest had 
succeeded to it ; other priestly men from time to 
time dwelt in it ; and children born in its cham- 
bers had grown up to assume the priestly char- 

While pursuing his studies at Harvard College, 
Ezra Ripley was styled, " Holy Ripley," because 


of his superior moral and religious character. 
These traits, most commendable, especially for 
one of his profession, dominated his entire life. 
He received the honorary degree of doctor of 
divinity from Harvard College some years before 
his death. The excellent judgment of Dr. Rip- 
ley, with other rare qualities, led many pastors and 
churches to call him to sit in councils. He was 
called upon in the latter part of his life to take 
part in a council called at Bedford ; it was when 
the conflict between the liberal and old faith 
broke out in that town as it did throughout New 
England. The session was delayed till late into 
the night, and then adjourned to the following 
day. Not expecting to be delayed so long, the 
reverend doctor, who wore a wig by day, was 
without a necessary reclining garment, — a night- 
cap, — hence he awaited the dawn while sitting in 
his chair. Dr. Ripley died about 1840; and the 
estate, although having come by his wife, de- 
scended to the Ripley heirs. Dr. Ripley gave 
the battle-ground to the town some years before 
his death, and before patriotic sentiment had 
aroused the interest of later years. But his pro- 
phetic wisdom foresaw the day that has already 

During an interim of the occupancy of the Ripley 
family was that brief, interesting, and well-known 
experience of Nathaniel Hawthorne, which alone 
would have given the estate unending notoriety. 


In July, 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne and So- 
phia Peabody were married at the home of Dr. 
Peabody in Boston, and sought the seclusion of 
the vacant parsonage at Concord as a desirable 
place for the full enjoyment of each other. They 
occupied the Manse four years, during which time 
their daughter Una was born. They then left it 
for Salem, Mass., where Mr. Hawthorne entered 
upon a position at the Custom House. The 
owners now took possession of the Old Manse. 
Rev. Samuel Ripley, son of the Concord minister, 
resigned a long pastorate" at Waltham, and set- 
tled here with his family. 

Mr. Hawthorne describes the preparations for 
the retiring minister thus : " Carpenters next 
appeared, making a tremendous racket among the 
out-buildings, strewing the green grass with pine 
shavings and chips of chestnut joist, and vexing 
the whole antiquity of the place with their discord- 
ant renovations. Soon, moreover, they divested 
our abode of the veil of woodbine which had crept 
over a large portion of its southern face. 

"All the original mosses were cleared unspar- 
ingly away ; and there were horrible whispers 
about brushing up the external walls with a coat 
of paint, — a purpose as little to my taste as 
might be that of rouging the venerable cheeks 
of one's grandmother." With the exception of 
that "vexing of antiquity," a bay-window on the 
east end of the house (which the writer watched 


in formation), the present external appearance of 
the Old Manse and its surroundings is not unlike 
that so vividly described by the " first lay occu- 
pant." "Between two tall gate-posts of rough- 
hewn stone we beheld the old parsonage, termi- 
nating the vista of an avenue of black ash-trees." 

Some of the ash-trees have been replaced by 
other varieties, but the lines bordering the avenue 
are well kept. 

A scattering remnant of the orchard, planted 
by Dr. Ripley in his old age, still remains. Al- 
though discouraged by his neighbors in the plant- 
ing of the orchard. Dr. Ripley lived to enjoy its 
fruits; and Hawthorne reluctantly feasted upon 
its luscious apples and pears, sharing the bounty 
with EUery Channing, Henry Thoreau, and others 
of kindred tastes. 

In the rear of the Manse is seen the place 
where, according to tradition, a boy was chop- 
ping wood for the clergyman on the morning of 
April 19, 1775, and after the battle went with his 
axe in hand to the field of carnage, and finding a 
wounded British soldier, used his blade in finish- 
ing his misery. 

Near this place the river winds along as slug- 
gishly as when Hawthorne and his odd visitors 
pushed out in their boat upon its smooth surface. 
The interior of the Manse presents very much of 
the appearance of the old parsonage. 

The study of the Rev. Ezra Ripley is a small. 


square room, with elaborate wainscoting, and beams 
of oak crossing the ceiling. 

The huge fireplace is still there, before which 
more than three thousand sermons were probably 
penned by Dr. Ripley ; but the chair in which the 
minister sat and wrote has found a place in the 
collection of the Concord Antiquarian Society. 

It was in this room that the ghost used to 
appear, according to Hawthorne ; but as no per- 
turbed spirit has been reported as lifting the latch 
since his stay at the Manse, it is reasonable to 
explain that apparition as the vivid imagination 
of the author. 

Opposite the study is a large room containing 
many modern adornments, and used by the 
present occupant (1891), a representative of the 
third generation of Ripleys, as a parlor. 

A door from the parlor leads to the ancient 
dining-room, where old-time feasts were spread 
according to the most approved plan of the par- 
sonage, Very many of the old-time ministers 
of New England have feasted and chatted in this 
room, as may be inferred from the diary of Rev. 
Mr. Marrett already quoted. 

The big kitchen, where the oaken beams show 
no sign of attempted disguise, and the modern 
cooking-range stands as an apology for the once 
spacious fireplace, had a peculiar charm for me 
when in boyhood I made my regular entrance to 
the Old Manse by the kitchen-door, but in later 


life received a cordial welcome from the same 
lady at the front entrance. 

The Old Manse, with its gambrel roof, is 
thought to have been the first house in the vil- 
lage built with two stories, making the old Colo- 
nial parsonage suggestive of the standing of its 
honored occupant. 

In the apartment over the dining-room, Ralph 
Waldo Emerson, grandson of the first minister in 
possession, wrote " Nature " and many of his best 
poems, during a sojourn at the ancestral dwell- 
ing with his grandmother's family. In the same 
room Hawthorne wrote " Mosses from an Old 
Manse," in the first chapter of which he gives a 
vivid description of it. 

" The study had three windows, set with little 
old-fashioned panes of glass, each with a crack 
across it. The two on the western side looked, 
or rather peeped, between the willow branches 
down into the orchard, with glimpses of the river 
through the trees. The third, facing northward, 
commanded a broader view of the river, at a spot 
where its hitherto obscure waters gleam forth 
with the light of history. It was at this window 
that the clergyman who then dwelt in the Manse 
stood watching the outbreak of a long and deadly 
struggle between two nations. He saw the irregu- 
lar array of his parishioners on the farther side of 
the river ; he awaited in an agony of suspense 
the rattle of the musketry. It came, and it needed 



Window of Old Manse 

but a gentle wind to sweep the battle smoke 
around his quiet house." 

The first Sunday-school of Concord had its be 
ginning in 

Manse, and in the 
very room 
made fa- 
mous by so 
many great mi 
While in the prepa- 
ration of " The Rise 

and Progress of the Sunday-school in America," 
I was cordially received at the Manse by a grand- 
daughter of Rev. Ezra Ripley, who communicated 
thq facts. 

Miss Sarah Ripley, daughter of the minister, 
conducted a school in this house. She had day 
pupils from various families of the village, and 
others from different towns, who boarded in the 
family. Rev. Mr. Ripley conducted the instruc- 
tion in the Latin language and higher branches. 

Miss Ripley was an energetic, persevering 
woman, and besides caring for an invalid mother, 
conducted the day-school, giving added instruc- 
tion in moral and religious truth. She thus laid 
the foundation for the Sunday-school of the town. 

" The room," said Miss Ripley, " in which the 
school had its sessions, and which Ralph Waldo 


Emerson later occupied, has ever since been 
known in the family as the schoolroom." 

It is more than two centuries since the name 
of Emerson was first connected -^vith the history 
of Concord. Rev. Joseph Emerson, son-in-law of 
Concord's 'early minister, fled from Mendon to 
this town when that village was destroyed by the 
Indians during Philip's war. 

It is one hundred and thirty years since Rev. 
William Emerson, great-grandson of Rev. Joseph, 
took up his abode in this house, and became the 
pastor of the twelfth church formed in the colony. 

The name has received added lustre with each 
succeeding generation, and the voice of Rev. 
William's grandson has been heard as far as the 
shot fired — 

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood." 

In the Tenth Regiment of the royal army that 
constituted a part of the participants in the April 
raid of 1775 was a sturdy young native of Lon- 
don. Having attained the age of thirty years, he 
was too thoughtful to regard the acts of General 
Gage as did many of his associates ; but he was 
in the service of the king, and must do his duty. 
He met with Provincials, both Tories and patriots, 
during his stay in Boston, and enjoyed their so- 
ciety. In fact, the dull routine of camp-life would 
have been much more monotonous had it not been 


for the New England people whom he frequently 
met. He noticed the struggles of many families 
to exist during the severe weather of the winter 
of 1775, and frequently expressed sympathy for 
them in their deprivations. The tears of a faith- 
ful mother mourning over her situation did not 
call from this thoughtful young man, as from 
many, the harsh words, " Give up your rebellious 
ideas, and swear allegiance to our king ; " but the 
careworn expression of this woman reminded the 
soldier of his mother across the Atlantic, as she 
bade her son farewell when he set out for America, 
and he could but give expression to his sympathy 
for the sufferer. The bright eyes of a young lady 
of the family riveted hip attention ; he detected 
the youthful bloom of her cheeks growing pale 
through the weeks of anxiety, and did not fail 
to cheer her by his smile. He accompanied this 
young lady to the Old South Meeting-house on 
the last anniversary of the Massacre before the 
beginning of hostilities. They both noticed 
the thoughtfulness of Samuel Adams in giving 
the best seats to the officials known to be his 
enemies. They listened to every word uttered 
by the fearless Warren ; and when the speaker 
dropped his silk handkerchief over the uplifted 
hand, in which were the bullets intended to 
frighten him, the eyes of these young people 
met in an expression of sympathetic admiration 
for the. graceful act of the orator. 


Had these young people given expression to 
their sentiments when leaving the meeting-house 
that night, they would have found that they were 
not at variance. Despite all his efforts to con- 
ceal his feelings, the young soldier's comrades 
detected them, and were soon aware of the real 
situation. They took pleasure in hurling at him 
their sharpest taunts, and placarded his barrack 
as " The lodgings of the besieged heart," "Caught 
in Provincial meshes," and annoyed the young 
man in many ways, while he vainly tried to pre- 
sent a cheerful appearance. After being de- 
tained some days by extra duties in the camp, the 
anxious soldier stole out from his quarters, and 
made haste to the street and door where he had 
last seen the object of his growing affections. 
To his surprise all evidence of life had departed, 
the shutters were closed, the doors barred, and 
no light flickered from any window. His shrill 
whistle only brought an answering echo from the 
shed in the rear. He turned sorrowfully away, 
revolving in his mind the thought, could it be 
that this family had been driven to such a state 
of desperation as to leave their home and go into 
a country town, as so many had done .'' He then 
wished he had made bold to tell her his inmost 
feelings, but believed that his silence had led her 
to the conclusion that he was in full sympathy 
with the movements of the officials, and was only 
waiting for an opportunity to kill her people. He 


would not go back to camp without using every 
possible means for ascertaining where the family 
had gone. He inquired of every one whom he 
met in the neighborhood, first for the name of 
the young lady who had lived there ; even this he 
had failed to learn, she was so reticent and dis- 
trustful of the soldier. " Mary ? " was the prompt 
reply of one, given in an interrogative manner. 
" Yes, Mary. Where is she .'' " said the young 
soldier, not knowing that he had then received a 
correct answer, for evasive means were so often 
resorted to in order to prevent gratifying the 
enemy in the town. " Gone to Concord," was 
the honest reply of one who knew all about the 
hardships of that family ; but the readiness of the 
answer led the inquirer to doubt the truthfulness 
of it, and he went back to his quarters with a 
sorrowful heart. Those bright eyes were before 
him wherever he went. When on the duty of a 
guard at night, he fancied their tearful presence ; 
and when trying to while away an hour in his 
berth, he fancied the same company. When sit- 
ting on his couch, with his face buried in his 
hands, this soldier was found by a comrade who 
had no sympathy for him, but thrust darts into 
his troubled soul by crying out, "Here he is. 
Sam has surrendered, captured by a Boston 
maiden." With a show of bravado the soldier 
rushed out, and tried to shake off the spell that 
was upon him. The absence of one whom he 


longed to have love him served to recall one in 
his distant home whose love he knew was sure. 
It was his sister, and Mary was her name. She 
had pressed a parting kiss upon his lips when he 
left the old home. It was the remembrance of 
her, and of his faithful mother, that first prompted 
him to turn an interested glance towards the 
home of sorrow in Boston, into the secrets of 
which he now so much wished he had penetrated. 

As the spring days brought out the buds of the 
trees on the Common, and recalled the birds from 
their winter quarters, this soldier longed to return 
to his home, where he knew there were anxious 
hearts waiting for him ; he regretfully thought of 
his indifference toward those who had so often 
manifested affection at the old hearthstone, and 
made many silent resolves to be more dutiful in 
the future, should he ever return to his native 
shore. He recalled the sternness of his father, 
who in the midst of his tears at parting had bid- 
den him not return to his door until he had either 
subdued or killed the rebels in America. 

Various were the emotions that filled the hearts 
of the British soldiers wh.en the order was given 
for a march into the country under cover of the 
night. The confinement and dull routine of camp- 
life had become irksome in the extreme, and all 
were glad to have a change. Many, in fact, longed 
to have a skirmish with the Yankees, wanted to 
show them how to fight, believing that it would 


require but the slightest effort to subdue the 
whole. At first they were as antic and frisky as 
a farmer's cattle when let loose in spring after the 
winter's confinement in and about the barns ; but 
they soon began to feel the burden of the march, 
and derived their impetus from anticipated success 
at the end of the route. They had not gone far 
before it was generally understood that they were 
bound for a town called Concord. "We'll show 
them it's Conqiiered they are before we leave 
them," and kindred sentiments, were whispered 
from man to man as they passed silently along. 
Marching without music was no pleasure to the 
British regulars ; but the novelty of it, and the 
anticipation of surprise, cheered them on, until 
they began to hear from every side the sound 
of bells and an occasional discharge of a musket. 
These caused the officers to shake their heads 
with an expression of unpleasant apprehensions, 
and set peculiar emotions astir in the minds of all. 
Coming into the village of Menotomy, they saw 
occasional lights flitting about in houses ; and at 
one they made bold to knock in a most imperative 
manner. Their inquiry as to why they were 
up so early was quickly met by a woman, who 
said, " Making herb drink for my sick husband." 
They passed on without pausing to learn that it 
was bullets that she was making, and possibly 
herb drinks as well. Foreign tea was not in 
order in the homes of the patriots. 


One there was in the ranks whose greatest am- 
bition was to reach Concord. He was ready to 
respond to an order for a " double-quick," think- 
ing not of military stores, but of another and to 
him more precious object. 

As they approached Lexington village, they 
heard the beat of a drum in the distance, the 
first indication of martial music of that mornins:. 
The careless words, " We'll soon silence that," 
passing down the ranks, met with no approval from 
one of the number ; his only hope was that he 
might peacefully gratify his own personal ambi- 
tion. There was no joy in the heart of the young 
soldier when the order came to fire upon the Pro- 
vincials at Lexington. His musket was discharged 
into the air, if at all, where it could do no damage 
to any one, lest it might carry sorrow to a heart 
which he believed throbbed in sympathy with his. 

" Fall in and march on " were welcome orders 
to the soldier whom we have kept in mind. 
Over the hills they go as if nothing had happened. 
"What's a little Yankee blood.'' enough rebels 
left," were thoughts that found expression with 
many a thoughtless servant of the king. Tramp, 
tramp, on they go, meeting with no resistance ; 
the only semblance of mockery came from the 
gobble of the turkey-cocks, roused to spread their 
wings in strutting indignation by the bright coats 
of the soldiers. With the sun upon their backs 
already removing the chill of the midnight fog, 


they march into the village of Concord, but no 
longer to make their undisturbed progress. There 
was confusion on every side, while the sound of 
the fife and drum in the distance bespoke the 
hastening march of the yeomen. 

While breaking open the barrels of flour, and 
committing other depredations, the privates were 
acting out the feelings expressed by an officer 
when stirring his brandy at the town bar. But 
they little realized that they were thus adding 
fuel to the flame that was heating the Yankees' 
blood to that degree that would tell upon the 
army of the king. 

" There's no life in you, Sam," said more than 
one comrade to the young man, who had no appar- 
ent interest in the work of destruction enjoyed by 
some to the fullest extent. He had no death-deal- 
ing shot for the yeomen, either at the bridge or in 
the return to the village ; but ere he had passed 
the meeting-house, a yeoman's bullet struck him 
down. Weary, discouraged, and thinking of home, 
possibly of the frowning face of his father and 
the careworn countenances of mother and sister, 
he made no effort to rise and reassert himself. 

" Too far gone to take back with us " was the 
decision of the hastily impanelled jury. 

With no show of vindictiveness, the wounded 
and abandoned soldier was taken up by those who 
had already suffered at the hands of the enemy, 
and carried into the dwelling of the village sur- 


geon, Dr. Minot. He was not alone in his mis- 
ery; others were there, who in turn were being 
served by the good doctor and his assistants. One 
high in rank had just been taken away with a horse 
and chaise which the enemy had appropriated to 
their use. These had been left by a farmer, who 
had galloped into town, and dismounted for more 
effective service upon his feet. In their haste 
the soldiers had only time to say " Poor Sam," as 
they left the doctor's house, and started towards 
Boston. While the doctor had been devoting him- 
self to the more hopeful cases, the one supposed 
to be mortally wounded was revived by the faith- 
ful care of the young lady in the home ; and when 
the skilful hands of Dr. Minot were at liberty to 
serve the last patient, he was in a more hopeful 
condition than when he was brought into the 
house. When giving directions to his assistant, 
the doctor addressed her as Mary ; this brought 
open the eyes of the wounded soldier, and he 
fixed them upon her who was so quietly standing 
at his side. 

It was not many days before the faithful doc- 
tor, in dressing the wounds of his patient, confi- 
dently said, " You'll live ; you are in a fair way to 
recover." To this the encouraged soldier replied,' 
" But not to go back to the army to fight against 
such friends." It was some weeks before Dr. 
Minot discovered the remedy that was working 
so effectually. No patient of his had ever made 


And other records show that to this couple, 
made wretched arid also happy by the war, there 
were born other children. Before the infuriated 
father across the Atlantic was willing to forgive 
his son for turning his back on the king, there 
was made a record in Concord thus : — 

" Mr. Samuel Lee died August 6, 1790, aged 45." 

The mother and sister in that distant home of 
luxury were not permitted to welcome back the 
object of their affection, neither was the son per- 
mitted to feel the touch of their devoted hands ; 
but the few years of his life in Concord were 
made happy by her who silently loved him when 
sitting by his side in Old South Meeting-house in 
March, 1775, and whose affection went out to 
him when a bleeding soldier of the king he was 
brought into the home of Concord's good physi- 
cian and surgeon, Dr. Minot. 

Neither the widow nor children of Samuel Lee 
were benefited by the great estate across the 
ocean, but they made a prosperous record in Con- 
cord and elsewhere. On May 25, 1794, Mary Lee 
became the wife of Joseph Hoar, married by Rev. 
Ezra Ripley. The children of Samuel Lee and 
Mary Piper may be traced to honorable positions 
in the country. Rufus, born in 1788, married Mary 
Hallowell of Southborough, who was two years 
younger. Of their children, Charles, who was born 
in Watertown in 1826, and his sister Mrs. Anna 


L. Goodnow are both now living in Waltham. 
From these grandchildren of the couple who 
were brought together by sorrow, I have gathered 
the more substantial facts of this story, supplying 
some missing links from the general history of 
the times in which they lived together in America. 

Says Mrs. Goodnow, " It is one of the ungrati- 
fied longings of my life to penetrate the hidden 
secrets of the Lee family in the ancestral home 
in England, where wealth and luxury abounded. 
We have but few reminders of our grandfather ; 
his silver knee-buckles worn into battle were 
treasured by us for many years, but have now 
disappeared. His sword, which he laid down in 
peace at Concord, is treasured there with many 
other reminders of those soldiers who went out of 
Boston to Concord with no desire to kill, but were 
in the obedience of the government. 

Other children of Samuel Lee made homes else- 
where. Samuel, the namesake of the soldier and 
father, was lost with his only son on the St. 
Lawrence River during the 1812 war. 

For more than a century the unwilling subject 
of King George III. has slept in an unmarked 
grave in old Concord, perchance by the side of 
the very yeoman whose well-directed shot laid 
him low, and became the circumstance of his life 
which brought him the greatest joy. 





Some familiar facts are repeated because of their 
bearing upon the movements of the patriots in 
other towns. 

Leaving Lexington, the British troops pro- 
ceeded along the six or seven miles of road 
towards Concord unmolested, disturbed only by 
the ominous sound of church-bells and signal- 
guns that fell upon their ears from the surround- 
ing towns. 

The gallant Prescott, with the imprint of his 
sweetheart's lips still fresh upon his ruddy cheek, 
had given the alarm ; Amos Melvin, the guard on 
duty at the Court House, had discharged his gun 
and rung out the town bell " with the earnestness 
of speech." It was between one and two o'clock 
in the morning. The committee of vigilance, the 
guard, the militia, the minute-men, and citizens 
generally, rushed from their beds, and were early 
seen in the village. 

One of the first to appear was the Rev. William 
Emerson, armed with his gun. He had preached 
resistance, and stood ready to practise it. This 


act of the faithful pastor, together with his death 
while in the service of his country the following 
year, led the faithful sentinel of that April morn- 
ing to name his two sons born after that event, 
Emerson and William Melvin. 

Major John Buttrick, across the river, nearly a 
mile away, had been aroused by the signals, and 
called his son John, a lad of sixteen years, and a 
fifer in the company of minute-men. " Load your 
pistols ; take your fife, and we'll start for the vil- 
lage," were the prompt orders from patriot father 
to patriot son. 

It was a bright moonlight night, which enabled 
every one to hasten in his movements. 

Messengers were off in all directions, among 
them one towards Watertown, and another towards 
Lexington, to get any tidings of the movements of 
the enemy. Reuben Brown reached Lexington 
in time to catch a glimpse of the army, and left 
just before the outrage. Major Buttrick's first 
inquiry of the excited messenger, " Did they 
fire bullets .'' " revealed his anxiety in regard to 
the nature of the charge for the muskets of his 

Colonel James Barrett, a member of the Provin- 
cial Congress and Superintendent of the Public 
Stores, was directing the removal of ammunition, 
etc., to places of safety, a portion of which had 
been taken to other towns the previous day. 

Minute-men were stationed as guards at the 


North and South Bridges, on the Lincoln road, 
and in the centre of the town. 

In case of alarm they were to meet at the 
tavern kept by Amos Wright, where later in the 
day Major Pitcairn, stirring his brandy, said, " I 

mean to stir the d Yankee blood as I stir 

this, before night." This he did, to his and Old 
England's sorrow. 

Captain Brown, with his minute-men, paraded 
on the Common. Ammunition was dealt out to 
them and other companies from the Court House 
magazine. Then they marched out from the vil- 
lage a short distance, towards Boston, were joined 
by the minute-men from Lincoln commanded by 
William Smith, captain, Samuel Farrar and Sam- 
uel Hoar, lieutenants. The Bedford men, two 
companies, seventy-seven men, were early on the 
ground ; and other towns were as prompt in their 
response, notably so Acton, with its brave men. 

It was just before seven o'clock when the Brit- 
ish were seen marching towards Concord village. 

A band of Concord, Acton, and Lincoln men 
under Captain George Minot took a stand on the 
hill near the liberty-pole; but being met by the 
company that went to spy out the enemy, who 
reported that the British were in sight, they 
joined them and fell back, taking another stand. 
There the men "formed into two battalions." 
When scarcely located in their new position 
they saw " the British troops at the distance of 


a quarter of a mile advancing with the greatest 

This was the time for the most judicious action. 
The beloved pastor, Rev. William Emerson, said, 
" Let us stand our ground. If we die, let us die 
here." It was Colonel Eleazer Brooks of Lincoln 
who said in reply, " No ! It will not do for us to 
begin the war." 

There was yet no organization of any sort 
with the Americans. There were scarcely men 
enough to organize ; but Major Buttrick saw the 
necessity of this as the numbers increased, and he 
went to Lieutenant Joseph Hosmer, then in com- 
mand of one of the companies, and requested him 
to act as adjutant. " My company will be left 
alone if I do," he said. " It must be so, then," 
replied Buttrick; "you must go." Hosmer be- 
came adjutant, and an organization was com- 

Colortel Barrett, returning from the removal of 
the stores, and hearing various conflicting reports 
of the doings at Lexington, addressed a few firm 
and impressive words to the men. He charged 
them not to fire a shot unless the British fired 
first. Seeing that the British had entered the 
village a few rods away. Colonel Barrett ordered 
the Americans to take a new stand, and await 
re-enforcements. They were coming from various 
directions. Minute-men and militia from Chelms- 
ford, Carlisle, Littleton, Westford, Billerica, Stow, 


and other towns, were early in the ranks. While 
on Punkatasset Hill, about a mile, north of the 
meeting-house, they saw the smoke rising from 
the centre of the town. Major Buttrick said to 
them, " Men, if you will follow me, we will go 
now and see what they are about." But they did 
not move until their numbers were very much 
increased; and then they went down to the high 
land in front of Major Buttrick's house, where 
they could see the British guards at North Bridge 
and in the village. They were met at the cross- 
roads by the Acton minute-men in command of 
Captain Isaac Davis, who said in leaving his 
home, " I have a right to go to Concord on the 
king's highway, and I intend to go if I have to 
meet all the British troops in Boston." Upon 
arriving with his forty men, he proceeded at once 
to Adjutant Hosmer, and " with the fire of battle 
in his eye, and big drops of perspiration rolling 
down his manly face from his hurried march, re- 
ported his company ready for duty." He was 
given a position to the right of the other minute- 
men, and to the left of the Concord companies. 

The British were in the town. Six companies 
entered on the ridge of the hill to drive away the 
minute-men. The grenadiers and marines came 
by the main road, and halted on the Common. 

They made their post of observation on Old 
Burial Hill. From this place they saw the rap- 
idly increasing army, and their need of haste if 


they expected to accomplish the object of their 
morning march. 

The North and South Bridges must be seized if 
possible, to prevent other companies of the Pro- 
vincials from entering the town. This they en- 
deavored to do. Colonel Smith remained in the 
centre of the village. Captain Lawrence Parsons 
was sent with six companies of light infantry, 
comprising about three hundred men, to take pos- 
session of North Bridge, and thence to the place 
where military stores were secreted. Ensign 
D'Bernicre, the spy, was given him as a guide. 
Three of these companies, under command of Cap- 
tain Lawrie, were placed on guard, one at the 
Bridge, and the other two on the hill in front of 
the Old Manse. While here they called at houses 
for food and drink, which were not refused them 
by the families of the patriots. 

The other three companies, under the command 
of Captain Parsons, proceeded to Colonel Barrett's 
house to destroy the- stores. While there two 
companies arrived from Sudbury, under command 
of Captains Aaron Haynes and John Nixon. 
The latter was subsequently a general in the Con- 
tinental army. Lieutenant-colonel Ezekiel Howe 
was with the Sudbury men. They were directed 
to the North Bridge, to reach which they must 
pass Colonel Barrett's house. Upon noticing the 
British about there, Colonel Howe exclaimed, " If 
any blood has been shed, not one of the rascals 


shall escape." The Sudbury men followed in the 
pursuit of the British to Charlestown. 

While Captain Parsons was out on his expedi- 
tion, another detachment of one hundred men, 
under Captain Munday Pole, was ordered to take 
possession of the South Bridge, and destroy such 
property as he could find secreted in that locality. 
He stationed a guard at the bridge, and another 
at Lee's Hill, while the others visited the homes, 
meeting with women whose management will be 
described in another volume. Captain Pole's de- 
tachment was startled by the guns at the North 
Bridge, and they hastened back to the centre of 
the town. 

While the British forces were thus divided and 
engaged, the Americans held a council of war on 
the highest point of land where they were as- 
sembled. There were in the number consulting. 
Colonels Barrett, Robinson, Pierce and Brooks ; 
Major Buttrick ; Captains Davis, Brown, Miles, 
Barrett, and Smith, with prominent citizens. While 
their deliberations were going on, they could see 
the smoke and flames of destruction rising at the 
centre, and they thought the whole village was on 
fire. It was with that sight in view, the energetic 
Hosmer exclaimed, "They have set the village on 
fire ! Will you let them burn it down .?"' 

They resolved to march to the middle of the 
town to defend their homes, or die in the attempt. 
To do this they must cross the bridge. There was 


a guard of about two hundred men under Captain 
Lawrie, about a mile away was Captain Pole with 
one hundred more, and Captain Parsons liable to 
return at any moment with three companies from 
Colonel Barrett's. The British could concentrate 
over eight hundred thoroughly drilled men in a 
very short time ; while the Americans numbered 
about five hundred, who in a military estimate 
could not be called much other than an " armed 

In the excitement of the hour, Captain Smith 
of Lincoln volunteered to dislodge the enemy at 
the bridge with his singlci company. Captain 
Davis of Acton at the same time uttered the 
memorable words, " I haven't a man that's afraid 
to go." 

The minute-men having bayonets were given 
the advance position ; and the Acton men, under 
Captain Davis, were given the right in the march 
to the bridge. Colonel Barrett gave the order to 
march to " the bridge, and pass the same, but not 
to fire on the king's troops unless they were fired 
upon." They wheeled from the right, Luther Blan- 
chard and John Buttrick, the young fifers, playing 
the "White Cockade,'' advanced to the scene of 
action, and placed themselves in an exposed posi- 
tion on the rough, narrow highway. The Acton 
minute-men, true to their captain's word, passed 
in front, and marched toward the bridge. In files 
of two abreast the Concord minute-men, under 


Captain Brown, pushed forward, coming next into 
position. These companies were followed by 
those of Captain Miles and Barrett ; the former 
marched to the battlefield with the same serious- 
ness and acknowledgment of God which he always 
felt on going to church. Then came the Acton 
militia under Lieutenant Simon Hunt. Those 
from Lincoln and Bedford fell in under the direc- 
tion of Colonel Barrett, who continued on horse- 
back, giving orders to volunteers as they came in 
from other towns. 

The road being narrow and somewhat obstructed 
by large stones, etc., it was impossible to form 
many men in battle array, even if they had been 
drilled soldiers. 

Major Buttrick took command of the Ameri- 
cans in the forward movement. He was accom- 
panied by Lieutenant-colonel Robinson : thus they 
marched to the scene of conflict. 

The British, scattered about in groups on the 
west bank of the river, formed and recrossed, and 
were joined by the men who were on the hill near 
by. The attempt of the British to destroy the 
bridge called from Major Buttrick the order to 
march in a quick step. This caused the enemy 
to cease the destruction which might be the means 
of injury to Captain Parsons's detachment when 
returning to the centre. 

The British fired two or three guns, probably 
a signal for the distant detachments to return. 


When the Americans were within a few rods of 
the bridge, one of the regulars, a sharpshooter, 
stepped from the ranks and fired, evidently at 
Major Buttrick or Colonel Robinson. The ball 
slightly wounded Luther Blanchard, the fifer of 
the Acton company, and Jonas Brown, a Concord 

Then followed a volley, by which Captain Isaac 
Davis and Private Abner Hosmer of Acton were 
killed, a ball piercing the heart of the former, and 
another the head of the latter. Ezekiel Davis, 
brother of Isaac, was slightly wounded. Joshua 
Brooks of Lincoln was struck by a ball that cut 
through his hat and drew blood on his forehead. 
The appearance was like that of a cut from a 
knife, and "I concluded," said Private Baker, 
"that the British were firing jackknives." 

It was at this juncture that Major Buttrick, 
jumping from the ground, exclaimed, " Fire, fel- 
low-soldiers ! For God's sake, fire ! " discharging 
his own gun at the same moment. 

" Fire ! fire ! " was heard down the line, the 
caution against being the beginners of the war 
was now without force. The privilege to finish 
it was for the Americans. 

The order was readily obeyed. In a few mo- 
ments the British broke and fled in great confu- 
sion. Two British soldiers were killed, and a full 
dozen were wounded. 

The black-handled and brass-hilted sword of 



one of the British officers was captured among 
other things. It bears this inscrip- 
tion: "X° RG'. C^ VI. No. lo." 

The two British soldiers killed at 
the bridge were buried where they 
fell, by the Americans. The spot 
was for a long time marked by two 
rude stones only, but later received 
a more fitting recognition. 

One hundred and twenty years 
have served to efface almost all traces 
of the struggle. A bullet-hole made 
in Elisha Jones's house, now the 
residence of Hon. John S. Keyes, 
is still visible, and attracts the eye 
of the tourist. 

Other incidents will be noticed 
under other subjects, or in connec- 
tion with the story of other homes 
where important events occurred. 

X5 ««w^x'> 




The names of Barrett and Buttrick are confus- 
ing to the student of history not familiar with the 
town of Concord. Both homesteads are now in 
possession of the descendants of the heroes of the 
Revolution, and are here described. 

The Barrett homestead is about two miles from 
Old North Bridge, and having a mill in connec- 
tion with it, and being the home of Colonel James 
Barrett, was one of the objective points of the 
British visitation. 

The name of Barrett has been prominent in the 
history of Concord for two hundred and fifty-five 

Humphrey Barrett came to Concord from Eng- 
land about 1640, and was the head of the large 
and influential family. He died in 1662, and his 
wife died one year later. 

In the record of divisions, a sort of proving of 
claims, etc., made in 1663, there are eleven lots, 
containing 316 acres, credited to Humphrey Bar- 
rett. This owner was doubtless Humphrey 2d, 
who had succeeded to the grant, which passed 
to his son Joseph (captain), and then to his son 
Humphrey, and to Humphrey of the fifth genera- 


tion, and then to Abel B. Haywood. A legacy of 
five hundred dollars to the ministerial fund of the 
town of Concord keeps the name of Humphrey of 
the fifth generation before the people of the pres- 
ent time. 

Positive proof of the exact date of the first 
appearance of the family at the Barrett estate of 
Revolutionary fame is not at hand. The above- 
named registry gives it as property of Richard 
Temple in 1663 (5 lots, or 291 acres). It is ap- 
parent that Benjamin, son of Humphrey 2d, born 
in 1681, located here, with his wife Lydia Minot, 
to whom he was married in January, 1704, and 
that their eight children were born here. Benja- 
min died in 1728 ; and the farm was later divided 
into three, each of which was occupied by Barretts. 

Colonel James, the third son of Benjamin, born 
in 1710, inherited the homestead, and built the 
house of Revolutionary interest. He married 
Rebecca Hubbard in 1732, and their nine children 
were born at this house. 

At the opening of the Revolution, their son 
James was established, with a large family, in one 
of the three homes ; and his older brother, Deacon 
Thomas, born 1707, was occupying the other home 
with his large family. 

These, with the mill, made up a Barrett settle- 
ment, of much importance at that time, and re- 
mained in the family many years ; but at present 
only the original homestead remains in the name. 


Colonel James Barrett was a leading figure dur- 
ing the opening year of the struggle for liberty. 
In 1768 he was chosen a representative from Con- 
cord, and honored by a re-election on each suc- 
ceeding year until 1777. He was a prominent 
member of many of the conventions, and also of 
the Provincial Congress. He was placed in charge 
of the military stores deposited at Concord, and 
was active in gathering and manufacturing army 
supplies. He was made colonel of the regiment 
of militia organized in March, 1775, and was in 
command on April 19. 

When the alarm of the march of the British 
reached Colonel Barrett's home, the family made 
haste to secure the stores that were on the estate. 
Cannon were dismounted, placed in the field near 
the house, and covered by turning furrows over 
them ; while the new gun-carriages were taken to 
a place of safety in the rear of the home, known 
to this day as Spruce Gutter. 

Colonel Barrett's duties were twofold on that 
eventful morning. He not only had to look after 
the stores, which he well knew to be the main 
object of the morning excursion, but he had to 
see to the gathering of his regiment. It was 
while he was engaged with the latter that the 
regulars, under Captain Parsons, marched to the 
Barrett farm, directed, doubtless, by Daniel Bliss, 
the Tory of the town. They committed many 
depredations, and were foiled in many attempts 


by the shrewdness of a woman. They pulled 
Deacon Thomas Barrett, brother of Colonel 
James, from his house by the hair of his head, 
but gave him up upon his own plea of old age 
and inability to do harm. 

These brothers died within three months of 
each other in 1779, without fully realizing the im- 
portance of their proceedings on April 19, 1775. 

The old house still stands, and serves the de- 
scendants of the hero of that day ; and the mill 
grinds for other purposes than the preparation of 
food for the army. 

The Barrett house of to-day is very much the 
same as in 1775. The end door through which 
the soldiers of the king passed still swings on 
the time-honored hinges, and the doorstone is the 
same as when pressed by the feet of the enemy. 
In the flooring of one room may be seen a place 
where a board has been inserted to fill a hole said 
to have been made by the fall of a cannon-ball 
during the haste of that morning. It was in this 
room that Colonel James Barrett mustered in the 
soldiers after his appointment to ofifice. 

One of the British soldiers, named Thorpe, who 
aided in searching the house on that memorable 
morning, deserted from the king's army, visited 
the Barrett home, and was later employed on the 
farm, where he fully appreciated that food which 
he so hastily sampled in the absence of the mas- 
ter of the house. 


After the death of Colonel James Barrett, this 
farm went to his son Peter, who was twenty years 
of age at the time of the invasion. He married 
Mary Prescott of Danvers, and had seven chil- 
dren. During the years of Peter's possession, 
the farm was mortgaged ; and had it not been 
for another famous patriot the estate would have 
been lost to the Barrett family. Roger Sher- 
man, the patriot of- Connecticut, whose name 
appears upon the Declaration of Independence, 
having married a sister of Peter's wife, came to 
the rescue, and saved the historic estate. 

After the death of Peter, in 1808, his son Pres- 
cott came into possession. He was born in 1788, 
married twice, and had ten children, of whom 
George is the present owner. He represents the 
seventh generation of the family. The spinning- 
wheel and flax-wheel which were kept humming 
in busy preparations for the soldiers are still in 
the family possession ; the pewter tableware from 
which the soldiers lunched is scattered throughout 
the families ; while Peter's clock, exchanged for 
neighbor Joseph Clark's cow, is now owned in 
that family by Mr. Tower. 


This IS of interest from the fact that the But- 
trick family dates back to the beginning of civil- 
ized life in Concord. 


William, the head of the family, was born in 
England about 1617. He was a co-worker with 
Rev. Peter Bulkeley, Hon. Thomas Flint, and 
others of that little company who pushed out 
from tide-water, and began that settlement at 
Musketaquid (Concord) in 1635. 

In the record of 1635, twelve lots of 215 acres 
are credited to William Buttrick. The homestead 
of the present comprises a portion of that terri- 
tory, and is one of the very few estates that have 
never been sold out of the family name in the his- 
toric town. 

William Buttrick had a share of the "Com- 
mons " in the first allotment, where he established 
his home on the southerly slope of the hill, be- 
yond the river, to which his meadows extended. 
Here his descendants of the seventh generation 
enjoy a prosperous home, and cherish the acres of 
their illustrious ancestors. 

In the course of family descent and settlement 
of estates, divisions of the original territory have 
necessarily been made ; but a good portion re- 
mains, and every visitor to the Old Battleground 
treads upon a portion of the Buttrick farm, which 
was given by Stedman Buttrick, and on which 
the Minute-Man stands. 

It was Deacon Jonathan Buttrick, of the third 
generation, whose memory is perpetuated by the 
epitaph upon his gravestone. He died March 
23, 1767, aged "]•], and "was followed to the 


grave by his widow and tlairteen well-instructed 
children." Four of these sons and several grand- 
sons were in arms on the morning of April 19, 
1775, for the Colonial cause. 

BuTTRicK Homestead 

The sixth son of Deacon Jonathan Buttrick 
was John, who was in command at the battle of 
Concord, and was the " hero of the fight." He 
led the gallant band to meet the invading enemy 
at North Bridge. 

His words of command, uttered within sight of 
his own hearthstone and in the presence of his 
anxious family, are too familiar to need repeti- 


tion here. Major John's son and namesake, then 
nineteen years of age, was a fifer in the battle 
of Concord ; and Jonas, too young to enter the 
ranks, viewed the memorable scene from behind 
a buttonwood-tree that stood near the present 

Major John Buttrick divided his estate between 
his sons John and Jonas. The latter occupied 
the site of the present dwelling, where his son 
Stedman maintained the family integrity, and 
transmitted estate and good name to the present 
owners, who occupy the old homestead, and con- 
tinue the enviable reputation of the fathers. 

In the last will of Major John Buttrick is a 
good example of the manner in which the head of 
the family, one hundred years ago, provided for 
his wife in her years of widowhood. Besides giv- 
ing her the use of his dwelling, he provided that 
his sons should " bring into my wife and their 
mother, loo pounds of beef, well fatted ; six 
bushels of Indian corn ; six bushels of rye, ground 
into meal if she desires it ; one bushel of malt ; 
one bushel of salt ; one barrel of cider ; one bar- 
rel of good winter apples ; two pounds of tea; 14 
pounds of sugar ; six pounds of candles ; together 
with two silver dollars yearly, and a sufficiency of 
sauce of every kind at all seasons of the year ; 
and firewood cut fit for the fire sufficient for one 
good fire, and carried into the house. 

" In case of sickness or indisposition of body. 


to provide for her necessaries in such case, also 
keep one cow summer and winter for my wife, 
and drive and fetch said cow from pasture in the 
summer; and she shall have a horse with suitable 
tackling to ride when and where she pleases." 

No costly monument marks the resting-place of 
him who led the Provincials at Old North Bridge, 
but thousands of patriotic tourists annually seek 
out the humble grave, and read : — 






Having wi£k patriotic firmness shared in the dangers which led to 
American Independence, he lived to enjoy the blessings of it, and 
died May 16, 17^1, aged bo years. Having laid -doivn the sword 
with honor, he resumed the plough with industry ; by the latter to 
maintain "what the former had won. The virtues of the parent, 
citizen, and Christian adorned his life, and his worth was acknowl- 
edged by the grief and respect of all ranks at his death. 




It was in the autumn of 1858 that I made my 
first visit to Old Concord ; and having intrusted 
my all (four dollars), the result of a season's 
labor, to the safe keeping of the savings-bank, I 
descended the steps of that, to me, pretentious 
building, went out on to the "milldam," and 
looked around. To a boy of less than ten years, 
and those spent in close application upon a rocky 
farm, even a glimpse into Concord of those days 
was a revelation hardly dreamed of. 

"There are 'queer people' over there in that 
town," said my grandmother when putting a bit 
of lunch into my pocket "lest I be faint." I was 
thus prepared to take some observations in that 
line. I was anxious to see some of those people, 
peculiar to Old Concord, whom the unapprecia- 
tive of the world designated as "queer people." 

To have heard my own voice in asking a ques- 
tion would have so frightened me as to have cast 
a shadow forever over the memory of that first 

People, not unlike those familiar to me, came 



and went, as I stood at an unobserved corner; 
and I began to conclude that the " queer people " 
must all be hermits, and had retired for the day 
from the gaze of the world, when my attention 
was attracted to 
a group of boys 
apparently listen- 
ing to an old man 
addressing his 
conversation to 
them. Having a 
liking for old peo- 
ple, and believ- 
ing that the cen- 
tral figure of the 
group must be 
one of those 
strange charac- 
ters, preaching a 
strange doctrine, 
that I had been 
faithfully warned 
against, I quietly made my way towards him. 
"Sure enough," thought I, "here is one of 
them." Queer enough to look at ! He was a 
little old man, with a wrinkled, russet face, bor- 
dered by a few stray bristles that had escaped the 
razor's search. His hat was a sort of half apology 
for an ancient bell top. His outside garment was 
a loose frock of a mixed bluish color, that covered 

EiulNezer IIl'bb.\rd 


his bowed figure from his ears to his feet that 
were encased in a pair of stout cowhide brogans. 
Queer as he looked, it was nothing in comparison 
to what he was saying, according to my youthful 

He was unmindful of the new member of his 
audience, who compared well with the trim little 
youngsters giving heed to the message being de- 
livered with vehemence of temper. " I tell ye, 
boys, that monument ■ stands where the enemy 
was. Queer piece of business to put up a monu- 
ment where Gage's rascals stood when they killed 
our men." This was the burden of the old man's 
message, repeated with variations, and with as" 
much earnestness as though he was giving ex- 
pression to a new idea. 

One bystander, who might have been regarded 
as a young man, caused a little departure from 
the main line of the old man's thought by saying, 
"Tell me, Uncle Ebby, where did the British find 
the flour.'" — "Out there where that meeting- 
house stands ; 'twas there in my grandfather's 
malt-house, and out beyond in Wheeler's building 
too ; over there was the mill, you know," was the 
old man's reply, together with a sweeping gesture 
with his cane towards the bank from which I had 
just come. 

With this the old man moved on a piece, took 
new bearings from a high board fence, and con- 
tinued, "British.? Yes, them British redcoats," 


Striking the ground with his hickory cane in the 
way of emphasis. 

" They came out here, destroyed all they could 
get, tried to burn the town, robbed the folks, and 
killed what they could, till we drove them off ; 
and then these folks went and put up a monument 
where the rascals stood." 

With this utterance the old man moved on, 
scuffing his feet with rage, and turned into his 
yard, closing the gate after him. 

" Did you help drive the British off .'' " cried 
out a little fellow in the earnestness of honest 
inquiry, as the old man withdrew from his audi- 
ence. The question, which brought no reply, 
was not unreasonable ; in general appearance the 
speaker might well have passed. for one who with- 
stood the enemy at Old North Bridge. 

My neighbor's familiar team came in sight ; 
and I retired from the group with as little cere- 
mony as I joined it, and was soon on the way to 
my home, five miles away. I returned to my peo- 
ple, holding my bank-book tightly clasped in my 
hand as evidence of my being a person of prop- 
erty. I was also enjoying the satisfaction of 
having seen one of the "queer people," and the 
consciousness of having listened to some of their 
strange sayings. But this being in violation of 
the oft-repeated injunction of my grandmother to 
shun all such heretics, I did not dare to ask such 
questions as my curiosity prompted. 


Barber's " History of Massachusetts " was one 
of the few books possessed by my grandparents, 
to which I was often directed ; and I made haste 
to verify the words of the strange man by refer- 
ring to this reliable volume as soon as opportunity 
permitted. Turning to the article on Concord, in 
the description of the monument I read, " Here, 
on the 19th of April, 1775, was made the first for- 
cible resistance to British aggression. On the 
opposite bank stood the American militia. Here 
stood the invading army ; and on this spot the 
first of the enemy fell in the war of the Revolu- 
tion, which gave independence to these United 
States. In gratitude to God, and in the love of 
Freedom, this monument was erected, a.d. 1836." 

With this unquestionable evidence, I made 
haste to declare my belief in the man whom I had 
met, and my faith in others who I was told were 
different in manner, and had strange ideas about 
the future life. 

My first lesson in patriotism had been taken. 
The " queer man " had made a convert. Boy- 
like, I lost no opportunity for ascertaining the 
name of the stranger who had so impressed me, 
and learned that he was Ebenezer Hubbard, or as 
many, in a half-familiar, half-derisive manner, 
called him, "Uncle Ebby." 

Some years passed before I had occasion to 
again visit the old town, and then it was in the 
line of business and at regular intervals. In the 


meantime I had become better prepared to appre- 
ciate tiiat which was making the town of Concord 
famous the world over. 

My footsteps soon turned to an ancient burial- 
place of the town, frequented by many who were 
prompted by a commendable sentiment. While 
there engaged in the effort to decipher the epitaph 
on a mossgrown slab, I was startled by approach- 
ing footsteps. An aged man was coming down a 
winding path which entered the more trodden way 
near where I was laboring in attitude most hum- 
ble. I perceived him to be the same old man 
whose words still rang in my ears. His mo- 
rose countenance deterred me from making any 
advances towards him which my inclination 
prompted. I longed to assure him that 'he had 
one sympathizer, but, like many older than myself 
let an opportunity slip by, when by word or ex- 
tended hand I might have lightened a burden. 

Being curious to ascertain the object of the old 
man's visit to a place familiar to every old resident 
of the town, I turned aside into the byway, and 
traced his footsteps, expecting to find them lead 
to the grave of some hero who in his life had en- 
tertained sentiments like those so freely expressed 
by the visitor, — some grave that served as an 
altar to .him, where he rekindled the fire of patri- 
otism, and from which he returned to the village 
with new resolutions to redress the wrong that 
burdened his mind. 


My most careful searching among the moss- 
grown slabs revealed no such sepulchre ; but I 
fancied that the last visitor to the locality of the 
Gun House must have paused at an unpreten- 
tious slab, which told of a young life that closed 
with the last century. Could there be any senti- 
ment of a nature indicated by the circumstances 
wrapped up in the old man ? was the thought 
with which I returned to the village and to duty. 

It was not long before I met Ebenezer Hub- 
bard at his own threshold. My taste had often 
led me to scan closely the ancient estate in the 
very heart of Concord. The old dwelling with its 
" lean-to," the time-worn well-sweep, the little 
shop near by, all surrounded by broad fields en- 
closed in part by a forbidding fence, appealed 
to my sentiment and curiosity. 

The aged owner apparently was not entirely 
averse to me, and as opportunity permitted I ob- 
tained from him the key which unlocked the 
outer door of his hidden self. 

The homestead was originally the estate of 
Robert Merriam, one of the three brothers who 
came with the very early settlers to that town, 
and having spent his years as a trader, and served 
his fellow-men as town clerk, commissioner, repre- 
sentative, and deacon, died in 1681, soon followed 
by his wife, Mary Sheafe. 

They left the estate to a cousin, Jonathan Hub- 
bard, who married Hannah Rice of Sudbury. 



Thus began a family possession of almost two 
hundred years, when the death of the last resi- 
dent, Ebenezer, brought it to an end. The old 
house was doubtless erected by Robert Merriam, 
and had seen more than two centuries of service 
when it was destroyed. 

Hubbard House 

It was in its original grandeur when the town 
took a hand in the seizure and expulsion of 
Andros, and the change from Colonial to Provin- 
cial government took place. It was old when 
the Revolutionary period began, and in and about 
the house occurred incidents that tended to de- 
velop-and foster a spirit of patriotism. It was in 
a storehouse on this farm that Gage's men de- 


stroyed flour that had been secreted for army use. 
From here went members of the Hubbard fam- 
ily into the war, after being in service on the 
19th of April. David, son of Jonathan, went with 
General Arnold in his expedition to Quebec, 
and afterwards served under General Gates with 
other Concord men. He was discharged from 
the army of General Gates in November, 1776, on 
account of ill health. At one time he was a 
corporal in Captain Miles's company of Colonel 
Reed's regiment. He married Mary, daughter of 
Deacon Thomas Barrett, and thus became con- 
nected with a noted family of the Revolution. 

David Hubbard and young wife started out 
into the wilderness to establish a home in south- 
ern New Hampshire, and became active in the 
interests of the town of Hancock soon after its in- 
corporation. Here Ebenezer was born, in 1782. 

The town being named for John Hancock, one 
of the original proprietors, the boy Ebenezer 
Hubbard became early interested in him as an 
influential man of the Revolution ; and he did not 
lose his admiration for the patriot, although 'his 
townsmen were disappointed in not receiving 
substantial aid from the wealthy merchant whom 
they had complimented. 

Ebenezer saw the rude meeting-house erected, 
and though young had a share in the welcome 
extended to Rev. Reed Paige, who became the 
first minister. 


The entire environments of Ebenezer Hubbard 
during the most impressionable period of his life 
were hard and severe. Self-denial was necessarily 
practised at every turn. He saw the meeting- 
house paid for, and the minister's salary provided, 
by means of barter. He had most naturally ac- 
quired habits of frugality before leaving his native 
town, which he did at the age of about ten years. 

Born of parents who were ardent patriots, and 
in a town that had recognized the valuable ser- 
vices of one of the early patriots of Massachu- 
setts, the boy Ebenezer was well established in 
the principles of the colonists before he took up 
his abode at Concord with his grandfather, whose 
name he bore. 

Here the fireside tales of ''j6 assumed a double 
reality, and the old home around which the en- 
emy had trodden became sacred to him. He 
boasted that John Hancock, when presiding in 
his oiificial capacity over the Provincial Congress, 
had been entertained in the room which he oc- 

In the practice of the habits early acquired, 
together with the additional advantages of the 
schools of Concord, the boy developed into man- 
hood, gradually adding to the estate which he 

His mother, as Mrs. Nutting, made the home a 
place of delight to him for a while, until shadows 
fell across his pathway, and all light seemed to 


be darkness about him. He had a mechanical 
taste, and spent much time in the seclusion of 
his little workshop, near to the back door of his 

The question of the erection of a monument to 
commemorate the events of April 19, 1775, met 
with his hearty approval, and the patriotism of 
his youth reasserted itself. It seemed as though 
the void of his life was to be partially met when 
the granite shaft was decided upon ; but when it 
was located, in 1836, there was no bound to his 
indignation. From that time till his death, he 
continued to reiterate his disapproval of the act 
in the language that he was using when I first 
met him. 

When the Trinitarian church was formed, in 
1826, Mr. Hubbard gave the land for the erection 
of the meeting-house. It occupies the site of the 
building where the flour was stored which Gage's 
men scattered over the fields until there was the 
appearance of a light fall of snow. 

Far be it from any one to impugn the motives 
of the donor in this gift of a portion of his ances- 
tral homestead for so good a purpose ; but the act 
being so contrary to his ordinary habit, and so 
regretful to him in after years, it seemed to have 
been actuated by an acrimonious spirit in some 
direction. In later years no obstacle seemed to 
be too hideous for him to place within range of 
the meeting-house. As time advanced, and age 


crept on, his natural characteristics strengthened, 
the thoughtless acts of the careless irritated him, 
and there were but few in whom he placed any 
confidence. An aversion for the gentler sex, in- 
dividually and as a class, seemed to dominate his 
life. At times he had the service of a family in 
his dwelling; but in the last of his days he lived 
alone, placing but little confidence in any one. 

The writer was one of the few who had a tem- 
porary place in his esteem. In the little shop, 
and also in the rude kitchen, Mr. Hubbard, when 
past fourscore years of age, repeated to his new 
friend the one known burden of his heart. 'Twas 
the same that I had already heard from his lips. 
It did not seem like the act of an old man in his 
dotage, inflicted upon young and old in season 
and out of season, but rather the bubbling of a 
pent-up stream from a deep-seated fountain of 

"Justice will never be done in my day," were 
the words of conclusion, as he regretfully shook 
his aged form and turned to other subjects. 

On Oct. 3, 1 87 1, a bright autumn morning, I 
entered the gate, walked up the pathway strewn 
with the most richly tinted foliage that had fallen 
during the night, and into the door unannounced 
as was my custom. In the little dingy kitchen of 
the '' lean-to," in an old straight-back chair, sat 
the form of Ebenezer Hubbard, his staff still 
erect, but the hand of the owner had loosened 


its grasp upon this support and upon all of this 
world's possessions. 

The proper authorities came, and in the name 
of the law performed those services which affec- 
tion failed to do. The old saddle-bags gave up 
their long-hidden load of gold and silver coin, the 
family Bible its well-worn scrip ; and the hoarded 
wealth being gathered from all its hiding-places, 
the aged form was borne to the Town Hall, where 
the rite of sepulchre was performed, and then 
consigned to a grave in Sleepy Hollow. None 
could have been more beautiful for situation, but 
very different from his desire, which might have 
been granted had he been able to so control a 
certain characteristic of his nature as to intrust 
to another the key to the inner secret of his 
blighted life. A clause in the last will of Mr. 
Hubbard reads thus : " I hereby order my execu- 
tor aforesaid to procure, if possible, a burial-lot in 
the middle burying-ground in said Concord, on 
the northerly side of the road leading from the 
centre of said Concord to Bedford, and opposite 
the Gun House, or if my said executor cannot 
procure such burial-lot there, then in any other 
burying-ground in said Concord to procure a suit- 
able lot, and on such burial-lot to erect a suitable 
monument, with an inscription thereon, and to 
fence said burial-lot, the expense not to exceed 
two thousand dollars ; and it is my express wish, 
if circumstances will permit, that the remains of 


my beloved mother, buried at Groton . . . and of 
my brother Silas B. Hubbard, buried in the State 
of Illinois, should be removed ... to my said 
burial-lot, and there buried beside my body." 

The possible requests were carried out. An 
imposing granite monument tells the simple story 
of mortality. 

The winding pathway through the ancient bur- 
ial-ground terminates not at a little mossgrown 
slab near the Gun House, but is lost in the con- 
tinual passing of the curious of the world. 

A few weeks after the close of the life at the 
old homestead, a clergyman of Concord returned 
to his people and pulpit to regretfully learn that a 
service which Mr. Hubbard had requested of 
him, an almost entire stranger, had of necessity 
been performed by another. This request was in 
keeping with much of the life that had closed. 

The minister was a lone star, and of a nature 
which seemed to meet the wants of one about to 
sink beyond the western horizon. In the fulfil- 
ment of his promise. Rev. Mr. Rogers opened the 
closed door, and let the world look for a moment 
at a heart pierced in early youth by Cupid's dart. 

The one well-known desire of Ebenezer Hub- 
bard was not gratified in his lifetime, but that 
which was denied him was brought about in part 
through a provision of his will. 

" I order my executor to pay the sum of one 
thousand dollars towards building a monument in 



Statue of Minute Man, Concorh 

said town of 
Concord on the 
spot where the 
Americans fell, 
on the opposite 
side of the river 
from the pres- 
ent monument, 
in the battle 
of the 19th of 
April, 1775." 

He also in- 
trusted a friend 
with the sum of 
six hundred dol- 
lars towards the 
erection of a 
bridge across 
the river, at the 
place where the 
famous Old 
North Bridge 
"arched the 

he so much cov- 
eted for a pub- 
lic purpose was 
deeded to the 
town by Mr. 


Stedman Buttrick, who thus dedicated to the cause 
of Uberty the ground on which his grandfather 
stood when in command of the Americans he 
uttered the memorable words, " Fire, fellow- 
soldiers! for God's sake, fire!" 

Other gifts were made ; and on April 19, 1875, 
the completed work was unveiled to the world ; 
and thus was Ebenezer Hubbard's longing grati- 
fied, but too late for him to enjoy. 

The patriotism of Mr. Hubbard was also mani- 
fested in gifts of one thousand dollars each to the 
poor and to the public library of Concord, and also 
of his native town, Hancock, N.H. 

To the value of the early impressions received 
during his life with the struggling settlers of 
Hancock, Mr. Hubbard testified through the gift 
of one thousand dollars to the Bible Society of 
Massachusetts, incorporated in the year 18 10. 

The death of Ebenezer Hubbard marks the 
beginning of a new epoch in the development of 
Old Concord. With the close of his life there 
terminated two centuries of Hubbard posses- 
sion. This farm was a most desirable location 
for building purposes. The broad acres, coveted 
by many, were purchased by a syndicate of pro- 
gressive citizens. The ancient dwelling was 
taken down, the unsightly obstacles removed, and 
a broad avenue cut through the farm, on which 
have been erected some of the best residences of 
the town. 



The old elms which mark the site of the old 
house, and the new street through the farm, are 
all that remind the people of to-day of the little 
old man, Ebenezer Hubbard. 

liATTLii Monument at Cci.nlurd. 




Acton was one of the first towns to respond 
to the midnight alarm. It affords no more fitting 
place to-day from which to tell its story than the 
old Faulkner residence, where glowed the watch- 
fires of patriotism long before the Revolution. 

The recurring attacks by the Indians necessi- 
tated the erection of houses for safety, to which 
the scattered settlers might flee. 

The ancient home of the Faulkner family at 
South Acton is one of those garrisons, or strong 
houses, of the territory originally included in Old 

The first of the Faulkner name in this country 
was Edmond, who came to Salem, and thence to 
Andover, which latter place he bought of an In- 
dian chief for twenty gallons of rum and a red 

The records of Andover show him to have been 
the leader in founding the church there in 1645. 
He was then a selectman, and was town clerk in 
1 674-5. 

During King Philip's war, in 1676, his house 
was burned, and his cattle were killed. The mar- 



riage of Edmond Faulkner with Miss Dorothy 
Robinson, Feb. 4, 1647, was the first recorded 
in Andover, the ceremony being performed by 
John Winthrop. The first born of this mar- 
riage, F"rancis, married Abigail, daughter of Rev. 
Francis Dane of that town. She was one of the 
unfortunates of two centuries ago who were ac- 

Faulkner Residence 

cased of witchcraft. She was tried, and con- 
demned to death, but escaped the gallows. 

Ammiruhammah, son of Francis and Abigail, 
and grandson of Edmond and Doroth^', was the 
first settler in the present town of Acton. He 
built the house, which has seen nearly two centu- 
ries of existence. It has the impress of age upon 


it, and it deepens as one turns for a careful look. 
The huge chimney confronts you at once ; it is 
nine feet square, and is the centre of strength of 
the structure. The solid oak timbers, fully eigh- 
teen inches square, are apparent at every corner ; 
the gashes made by the woodman's axe are as 
plainly visible as when they were hewn in the 

The room on the left of the front door is of 
peculiar interest : its casements of brick were 
built to keep out the bullets of the enemy. One 
hundred people may be accommodated in this 

The house was for many years the seat of jus- 
tice. Colonel Francis Faulkner was the magis- 
trate, and in this large room the courts were held. 
In the top of the door leading to the "living- 
room " may be seen two small round openings, 
through which anxious friends viewed the tribunal 
when Colonel Faulkner was on the bench. 

The garret of this ancient dwelling is a curios- 
ity-shop. No "vendue" has ever been held, hence 
the accumulation of foot-stoves, warming-pans, 
handirons, tin ovens and bakers, settles, spinning- 
wheels, loom-reels, etc. 

The window-glass, of diminutive size, is the 
very same through which five generations of the 
Faulkners have reviewed the scenes without, none 
of which caused more anxiety than those of April 

I9> 1775- 


During the Revolution, Colonel Faulkner was 
the leader of the town in military affairs as well 
as in legal and civic. The highway ended at his 
house ; and to reach the dwelling one must cross 
the stream, Great Brook as it was called by the 
early settlers. The noise of one crossing the 
bridge had long been the signal of a caller. 

Francis Faulkner, Jun., was lying awake early 
on the morning of April ig, 1775, and listening to 
the clatter of a horse's feet. Suddenly he leaped 
from his bed, ran to his father's room, and cried 
out, " Father, there's a horse coming on the full 
run, and he's bringing news ! " 

The horseman turned across the bridge and 
up to the house, and shouted, " Rouse your min- 
ute-men, Mr. Faulkner, the British are marching 
on Concord ! " And away he went to spread far- 
ther the news. 

Without stopping to dress, the colonel fired 
three times, as fast as he could load and fire the 
old musket. 

The alarm sent out from Concord through the 
timely notice of Dr. Prescott was early circulated 
throughout Acton. 

A horseman galloped to the home of Captain 
Joseph Robbins, and without dismounting banged 
on the corner of the house, and cried out, " Cap- 
tain Robbins ! Up ! Up ! The regulars have 
come to Concord!" John, a son, was out of his 
garret bed in an instant, and soon on the back of 


his father's old mare headed for the house of Cap- 
tain Davis, who commanded the minute-men, and 
thence on to Deacon Simon Hunt's, who was first 
lieutenant in the West company of militia, and 
commanding officer in place of Captain Faulkner, 
who had just been promoted colonel of the Mid- 
dlesex regiment. 

The Acton companies were not long in gath- 
ering, and were soon on the road to Old North 

Although they had a most inadequate idea of 
what was before them, there were sad partings at 
many homes. 

The Acton minute-men proved the truth of 
the words of their captain, " I haven't a man 
that's afraid to go." 

The events of that day seem comparatively re- 
cent when we gather the accounts from one who 
had them from the lips of a participant. The 
living son of a man who served at Concord 
and Bunker Hill is Luke Smith of Acton. He 
was the youngest of thirteen children, and, like 
Joseph of old, the child of his father's old age. 
Solomon Smith, like Jacob the Jewish patriarch, 
had a favorite. It was Luke, his last-born, who is 
the last to tell his father's story. " Sitting upon 
my father's knee," he said, " in the full enjoyment 
of the blessings of liberty, I received from him 
this account of the eventful day of history : " — 

"The 19th of April, never to be forgotten, was 



a bright, crisp morning. The sun had been up a 
full hour and a half. We were drawn up in line 

when I heard the 
word of command 
for which we were 
anxiously waiting, 
' March ! ' How 
those words still 
ring in my ears ! 
I.uke Blanchard 
was our fifer, and 
Francis Barker 
was the drummer. 
To the tune of the 
• White Cockade ' 
we left the town. 
We were too much 
in haste for many 
parting words. A 
few did run back to say a word to wife or parent. 
"We followed the road for a while, and then left 
it and struck through the woods, a short cut to 
Concord. We passed Barrett's mill before coming 
to Old North Bridge. How indignant we were 
when we first caught sight of Captain Parsons's 
detachment, with axes, breaking up the gun-car- 
riages, and bringing out hay and wood, and set- 
ting fire to them in the yard. 

" We had a good mind to fire upon tlie red-coated 
soldiers of King George there and then ; but we 

Luke Smith 


trusted our captain, and waited for his orders. 
When I heard him say to Colonel Barrett, " I 
have not a man who is afraid to go," my heart 
beat faster than the drum of our company ; but 
how my feelings changed when I saw Isaac Davis 
fall, and Abner Hosmer by his side ! I then 
thought of the widow at home, whom a few hours 
before I had seen Isaac so tenderly leave." 

Captain Isaac Davis and Private Abner Hosmer 
fell, killed by the first volley from the enemy. 

At Fisks Hill, in Lexington, James Hayward of 
Acton was mortally wounded. A tablet there, and 
a monument at Acton, tell to all people the story 
of the part taken by the patriots of that town, 
whose footprints will never be effaced. 









He died on the following day. 

While his life was ebbing away, he said to his 
father, "Hand me my powder-horn and bullet- 
pouch. I started with one pound of powder and 
forty balls. You see what I have left ; I never 
did such a forenoon's work before." 


The powder-horn, with the hole made by the 
bullet that caused his death, is safely kept in that 
town to-day ; and the shoe-buckles on which are the 
stains of the blood of Captain Isaac Davis, and also 
his musket, are still held as precious memorials. 
' In October, 1851, a granite monument was 
erected to the memory of Acton's soldiers, and 


under it repose the remains of the three brave 

On the monument is the following: : — 













Oti the morning of that eventful day the Provincial officers had 
a council of war near the Old North Bridge in Concord ; and as 
they separated^ Davis exclaimed, " I haven^t a man that is afraid 
to go I " and immediately marched his company from the left to the 
right of the line, and led in the first organized attack upon the 
troops of George III. in that memorable war, which, by the help of 
God, made the thirteen colonies independeitt of Great Britain, and 
gave political being to the United States of America, 

Acton, April ig, iSji." 

The sum of two thousand dollars towards the 
erection of the monument was granted by the 
State legislature, and expended under the direc- 
tion of Governor George S. Boutwell. 

The act was passed through the efforts of Rev. 
James T. Woodbury of Acton. His speech is 
worthy the study of every patriotic son of our 

Hon. George S. Boutwell gives the following 
interesting information regarding the action of 
Acton before the United States republic was 
declared : — 

"While I was engaged in the preparation of the address 
which I delivered at the dedication of the Acton monument, 
Oct. 29, 1851, I called the attention of Mr. Webster to the 
resolution of the town of Acton of June 14, 1776, in the 
words following, and which I incorporated in my address : — 

"The resolution contained these words: 'The many 
injuries and unheard of barbarities which the Colonies have 
received from Great Britain confirm us in the opinion that 
the present age will be deficient in their duty to God, their 
posterity, and themselves, if they do not establish an Ameri- 
can republic. This is the only form of government we wish 
to see established.' 


" In my letter to Mr. Webster I enclosed a copy of the 
foregoing resolution ; and in reply, under the date of Oct. 16, 
1851, he said, ' The resolutions of the town of Acton of the 
14th of June, 1776, are very remarkable. The general idea 
of some union among the several Colonies, each acting 
under its separate government, is known, of course, to have 
prevailed. The meeting at Albany is proof of this, and 
other evidences also to the like effect are spread through our 
history. But the inhabitants of Acton, with a far-seeing 
sagacity, by the resolution referred to, carried that opinion 
much farther, and to a much more important result. They 
appear to have contemplated, not a confederacy or league 
between the States, but one government, that is to say, an 
American republic for them all. I am not aware of any vote 
or declaration by any body of citizens to the same or a simi- 
lar effect of an earlier period.' 

" It may be true that in the later days of active and care- 
ful investigation earlier evidence of a like declaration may 
have been found, but such evidence has not come under my 






Who was Captain Isaac Davis 1 Wlio was Ab- 
ner Hosmer.'' Who was James Hayward .■■ And 
what was Concord fight 1 What did they fight 
for, and what did they win } These were Massa- 
chusetts Province militiamen, not in these good, 
quiet, piping times of peace, but in 1775, at the 
very dark, gloomy outbreak of the American 

Let us turn back to the bloody annals of that 
eventful day. Let us see, as well as we can at 
this distance of three-quarters of a century, just 
how matters and things stood. 

General Gage had full possession of this city. 
The flag that waved over it was not that of " the 
old pine-tree ; " nor that one, with that beautiful 
insignia over your head, sir, with the uplifted 
right hand lettered over with this most warlike, 
and, to my taste, most appropriate motto in a 
wrongful world like this, " Ense fietit placidam, sub 
libertate quietem." No, no ! It was the flag of 
that hereditary despot, George the Third. 


And if there had been no Isaac Davis or other 
men of his stamp on the ground on that day, the 
flag of the crouching lion, the flag of Queen Vic- 
toria, due successor to that same hated George 
the Third, first the oppressor, and then the un- 
scrupulous murderer of our fathers, — yes, I know 
what I say, the unscrupulous murderer of our 
fathers, — would still wave over this beautiful 
city, and would now be streaming in the wind 
over every American ship in this harbor.. Where, 
in that case, would have been this legislature ? 
Why, sir, it would never have been ; and my con- 
scientious friend from West Brookfield, instead of 
sitting here a good " Free-Soil " man as he is, 
would have been called to no such high vocation 
as making laws for a free people, for the good old 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, voting for Rob- 
ert Rantoul, Jun., or Charles Sumner, or Hon. 
Mr. Winthrop, to represent us in a body known 
as the United States Senate, pronounced the most 
august, dignified legislative assembly in the civil- 
ized world. Oh, no! Far otherwise! If per- 
mitted to legislate at all, it would be done under 
the dictation of Queen Victoria ; and if he made 
laws, it would be with a ring in his nose to pull 
him this way and that, or with his head in the 
British lion's mouth, — that same lion's mouth 
which roared in 1775, showing his teeth and lash- 
ing his sides at our fathers. 

This city was in full possession of the enemy, 


and had been for several months. General Gage 
had converted the house of prayer, the Old South 
Church, — where we met a few days since, to sit, 
delighted auditors, to that unsurpassed Election 
Sermon, — into a riding-school, a drilling-place for 
his cavalry. The pulpit, and all the pews of the 
lower floor, were, with vandal violence, torn out, 
and tan brought in ; and here the dragoons of 
King George practised, on their prancing war- 
horses, the sword exercise, with Tory ladies and 
gentlemen for spectators in the galleries. 

At the 19th of April, 1775, it was not " Ense 
petit placidam, sub libertate quietem." " Stib liber- 
tate ! " It would have been rather " sub vili ser- 
vitio ! " ■ — szeb anything rather than liberty under 
the British Crown. 

Information had been received from most re- 
liable sources that valuable powder, ball, and other 
munitions of war, were deposited in Concord. 
General Gage determined to have them. Concord 
was a great place in '75. The Provincial Con- 
gress had just suspended its session there of near 
two months, adjourning over to the loth of May, 
with Warren for their president, and such men as 
old Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, 
and James Otis as their advisers. Yes, Concord 
was the centre of the brave old Middlesex, con- 
taining within it all the early battlegrounds of 
liberty, — Old North Bridge, Lexington Common, 
and Bunker Hill, — and was for a time the capital 


of the Province, the seat of the government of 
the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. 

And Concord had within it as true-hearted 
Whig patriots as ever breathed. Rev. Mr. Emer- 
son was called a " high son of liberty." To con- 
tend with tyrants, and stand up against them, 
resisting unto blood, fighting for the inalienable 
rights of the people, was a part of his holy reli- 
gion. And he was one of the most godly men 
and eloquent ministers in the colony. He actu- 
ally felt it to be his duty to God to quit that most 
delightful town and village, and the most affec- 
tionate church and people, and enter the Con- 
tinental army, and serve them as a chaplain of a 

What a patient, noble-hearted, truthful, loyal, 
confiding, affectionate generation of men they 
were ! And remember, these were the men, ex- 
asperated beyond all further endurance by the 
course of a deluded Parliament and besotted min- 
istry, who flew to arms on the 19th of April, 1775. 
These were the men who then hunted up their 
powder-horns and bullet-pouches, took down their 
guns from the hooks, and ground up their bay- 
onets, on that most memorable of all days in the 
annals of the Old Thirteen Colonies, — nay, in the 
annals of the world, — - which record the struggles 
that noble men have made in all ages to be free ! 

Yes, to my mind, Mr. Speaker, it is a more 
glorious day, a day more full of thrilling incidents 


and great steps taken by the people to be free, 
than even the Fourth of July itself, 1776. 

Why, sir, the 19th of April, '75, that resistance, 
open, unorganized, armed, marshalled resistance 
at the Old North Bridge, that marching down in 
battle array at that soul-stirring air which every 
soldier in this house must remember to this day, 
for the tune is in fashion yet, — I mean " The 
White Cockade," — ^was itself a prior declaration of 
independence, written out not with ink upon paper 
or parchment, but a declaration of independence 
made by drawn swords, uplifted right arms, fixed 
bayonets ground sharp, cracking musketry, — a 
declaration written out in the best blood of this 
land, at Lexington first, and finally all the way 
for eighteen miles from Old North Bridge to 
Charlestown Neck, where those panting fugitives 
found shelter under the guns of British ships of 
war, riding at anchor in Mystic River ready to 
receive them ; a declaration that put more at 
hazard, and cost the men who, made it more, after 
all, of blood and treasure, than that of 1776. 

It cost Davis, Hosmer, and Hayward, and hun- 
dreds of others equally brave and worthy, their 
hearts' blood. It cost many an aged father and 
mother their darling son, many a wife her hus- 
band, many a Middlesex maid her lover. 

Oh, what a glorious, but oh, what a bloody day 
it was ! That was the day which split in twain 
the British empire, never again to be reunited. 


What was the battle of Waterloo ? What ques- 
tion did it settle ? Why, simply who, of several 
kings, should wear the crown. 

Well, I always thought ever since I read it 
when a boy, that if I had fought on either side it 
would have been with Napoleon against the allied 
forces. But what is the question to me, or what 
is the question to you, or to any of us, or our 
children after us, if we are to be ruled over by 
crowned heads and hereditary monarchs .■' What 
matters it who they are, or which one it shall be } 

In ancient times three hundred Greeks, under 
Leonidas, stood in the pass of Thermopylae, and 
for three successive days beat back and kept at 
bay five million Persians, led on by Xerxes the 
Great. It was a gallant act ; but did it preserve 
the blood-bought liberties of Greece .' No. In 
time they were cloven down, and the land of 
Demosthenes and Solon marked for ages by the 
footsteps of the slaves. 

We weep over it, but we cannot alter it. But 
not so, thank God, with "Concord Fight;" and by 
" Concord Fight," I say here, for fear of being 
misunderstood, I mean by " Concord " all the 
transactions of that day. 

I regard them as one great drama, scene first 
of which was at Lexington early in the morning, 
when old Mrs. Harrington called up her son Jona- 
than, who alone, while I speak, survives of all 
that host on either side in arms that day. He 


lives, blessed be God, he still lives ! I know him 
well, a trembling, but still breathing memento of 
the renowned past, yet lingering by mercy of God 
on these " mortal shores," if for nothing else, to 
wake up your sleeping sympathies, and induce 
you, if anything could, to aid in the noble work 
of building over the bones of his slaughtered 
companions-in-arms, Davis, Hosmer, and Hay- 
ward, such a monument as they deserve. Oh, I 
wish he was here, I wish he only stood on yonder 
platform, noble man ! 

" Concord Fight " broke the ice. " Concord 
Fight," the rush from the heights at North 
Bridge, was the first open, marshalled resistance 
to the king. Our fathers, cautious men, took 
there a step that they could not take back if 
they would, and would not if they could. Till 
they made that attack, probably no British blood 
had been shed. 

If rebels at all, it was only on paper. They 
had not levied war. They had not vi et armis 
attacked their lawful king. But by that act they 
passed the Rubicon. Till then they might retreat 
with honor, but after that it was too late. The 
sword was drawn, and had been made red in the 
blood of princes, in the person of their armed 

Attacking Captain Laurie and his detachment 
at North Bridge was, in law, attacking King 
George himself. Now they must fight or be eter- 


nally disgraced. And now they did fight in good 
earnest. They drew the sword, and threw away, 
as well as they might, the scabbard. Yester- 
day they humbly petitioned. They petitioned no 
longer. Oh, what change from the 19th to the 
20th of April ! 

They had been, up to that day, a grave, God- 
fearing, loyal set of men, honoring the king. 
Now they strike for national independence ; and 
after seven years of war, by the help of God, they 
won it. They obtained nationality. It that day 
breathed into life ; the Colony gave way to the 
St^te ; that morning Davis and all of them were 
British colonists. They became by that day's re- 
sistance, either rebels doomed to die by the halter, 
or free, independent citizens. If the old pine-tree 
flag still waved over them unchanged, they them- 
selves were changed entirely and forever. 

Old Middlesex was allowed the privilege of 
opening the war, of first baptizing the land with 
her blood. God did well to select old Middlesex, 
and the loved and revered centre of old Middle- 
sex, namely. Concord, as the spot, not where this 
achievement was to be completed, but where it 
was to be begun, and well begun ; where the 
troops of crowned kings were to meet, not the 
troops of the people, but the people themselves, 
and be routed and beaten from the field, and what 
is more, stay beaten, we hope, we doubt not, to 
the end of time. 


And let us remember that our fathers, from the 
first to the last in that eventful struggle, made 
most devout appeals to Almighty God. It was 
so with the whole Revolutionary War. It was all 
begun, continued, and ended in God. Every man 
and every boy that went from the little mountain 
town of Acton, with its five hundred souls, went 
that morning from a house of prayer. A more 
prayerful, pious. God-fearing, man-loving people, 
I have never read or heard of. If you have, 
sir, I should like to know who they are, and where 
they live. They were Puritans, Plymouth Rock 
Puritans, men who would petition and petition 
and petition, most respectfully and most courte- 
ously, and when their petition and petitioners, old 
Ben Franklin and the rest, were proudly spurned 
away from the foot of the throne, petition again ; 
and do it again for more than ten long, tedious 
years. But after all they would fight, and fight 
as never man fought ; and they did fight. 

When such men take up arms, let kings and 
queens take care of themselves. When you have 
waked up such men to resistance unto blood, you 
have waked up a lion in his den. You may kill 
them, — they are vulnerable besides on the heel, 
— but my word for it, you never can conquer 

At Old North Bridge, about nine o'clock in the 
forenoon, on the memorable 19th of April, 1775, 
King George's troops met these men, and, after 


receiving their first fire, fled. And the flight still 
continues, — the flight of kings before the people. 

Davis's minute-nien were ready first, and 'were 
on the ground first. They were an dite corps, 
young men, volunteers ; and give me young men 
for war. They were to be ready at a moment's 
warning. They were soon at Davis's house and 
gun-shop, and they waited here till about fifty had 
arrived. While there some of them were pow- 
dering their hair, just as the Greeks were accus- 
tomed to put garlands of flowers on their heads 
as they went forth to battle; and they expected 
a battle. They were fixing their gun-locks, and 
making a few cartridges ; but cartridges and car- 
tridge-boxes were rare in those days. The accou- 
trements t)f the heroes of the Revolution were 
the powder-horn and the bullet-pouch, at least of 
the militia. 

And Concord Fight, with all its unequalled and 
uneclipsed glory, was won, by the help of God, 
by Massachusetts militiamen. Some were laugh- 
ing and joking to think that they were going to 
have what they had for months longed for, ■ — ■ 
a "hit at old Gage." But Davis was a thought- 
ful, sedate, serious man, a genuine Puritan, like 
Samuel Adams ; and he rebuked them. He told 
them that in his opinion it was " a most eventful 
crisis for the colonies ; blood would be spilt, that 
was certain. The crimsoned fountain would be 
opened ; none could tell when it would close, nor 


with whose blood it would flow. Let every man 
gird himself for battle, and not be afraid, for God 
is on our side. He had great hope that the coun- 
try would be free, though he might not live to see 
it." The truth was, and it should come out, 
Davis expected to die that day if he went into 
battle. He never expected to come back alive 
to that house. 

And no wonder that after the company started, 
and had marched out of his lane some twenty 
rods to the highway, he halted them, and went 
back. He was an affectionate man. He loved 
that youthful wife of his, and those four sick chil- 
dren, and he thought to see them never again ; 
and he never did. There was such a presenti- 
ment in his mind. His widow has often told me 
all about it ; and she thought the same herself. 
And no wonder he went back, and took one more 
last, lingering look of them, saying — he seemed 
to want to say something; but as he stood on that 
threshold where I have often stood, and where, 
in my mind's eye, I have often seen his manly 
form, he could only say, " Take good care of the 
children ; " the feelings of the father struggling 
in him and for a moment almost overcoming the 
soldier. The ground of this presentiment was 
this. A few days before the fight, Mr. Davis and 
wife had been away from home of an afternoon. 
On returning they noticed, as they entered, a 
large owl sitting on Davis's gun as, it hung on the 


hooks, — his favorite gun, the very gun he carried 
to the fight, a beautiful piece for those days, his 
own workmanship, the same he grasped in both 
hands when he was shot at the bridge, being just 
about to fire himself, and which, when stone 
dead, he grasped still, his friends having, to get it 
away, to unclinch his stiff fingers. 

Sir, however you may view this occurrence, or 
however I may, it matters not. I am telling how 
that brave man viewed it, and his wife, and the 
men of those times. It was an ill omen, a bad 
sign. The sober conclusion was, that the first 
time Davis went into battle he would lose his life. 
This was the conclusion, and so it turned out. 
The family could give no account of the creature, 
and they knew not how it came in. The , hideous 
bird was not allowed to be disturbed or frightened 
away ; and there he stayed two or three days, sit- 
ing upon the gun. , 

But mark, with this distinct impression on his 
mind, did the heart of that Puritan patriarch 
quail } No ; not at all, not at all. He believed 
in the Puritan's God, — the Infinite Spirit sitting 
on the throne of the universe. Proprietor of all. 
Creator and Upholder of all, superintending and 
disposing of all, that the hairs of his head were 
all numbered, and not even a sparrow could fall 
to the ground without his God's express notice, 
knowledge, and consent. He took that gun from 
those hooks with no trembling hand or wavering 


heart ; and with his trusty sword hanging by his 
side, he started for North Bridge with the firm 
tread of a giant. Death ! Davis did not fear to 
die. And he had the magic power, which some 
men certainly have, — God bestows it upon them, 
— to inspire everyone around them with the same 
feeling. His soldiers to a man would have gone 
anywhere after such a leader. After about two 
miles of hurried march, they came out of the 
woods only a few rods from Colonel James Bar- 
rett's, in Concord, and halted in the highway, 
whether discovered or not (this road came into 
the road by Barrett's, some twenty rods from Bar- 
rett's house), looking with burning indignation to 
see Captain Parsons and his detachment of British 
troops with axes break up the gun-carriages, and 
bring out hay and wood, and burn them in the 

They had great thoughts of firing in upon them 
then and there to venture. But Davis was a mil- 
itary man ; and his orders were to rendezvous at 
North Bridge, and he knew very well that taking 
possession of North Bridge would cut off all re- 
treat for this detachment of horse, and they must 
be taken prisoners. 

In a few minutes more he wheeled his company 
into line on the high lands of North Bridge, tak- 
ing the extreme left of the line, — that line being 
formed facing the river, which was his place, as 
the youngest commissioned officer present in the 


regiment, — a place occupied a few days before 
by him at a regimental muster of the minute-men. 

A council of war was immediately summoned by 
Colonel James Barrett, and attended on the spot, 
made up of commissioned officers and Commit- 
tees of Safety. The question was, What shall 
now be done .-' The Provincials had been talking 
for months — nay, for years — of the wrongs- they 
had borne at the hands of a cruel motherland. 
They had passed good paper resolutions by the 
dozens. They had fired off their paper bullets ; 
but what shall now be done? Enough had been 
said. What shall now be done } What a mo- 
ment ! What a crisis for the destinies of this 
land and of all lands, of the rights and liberties 
of the human race ! Never was a council of war 
or council of peace called to meet a more im- 
portant question, one on the decision of which 
more was at stake. Their council was divided. 
Some thought it best at once to rush down and 
take possession of the bridge, and cut off the re- 
treat of Captain Parsons ; others thought not. 

Here were probably found in battle array over 
six hundred troops, standing there under arms. 
Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn were in plain 
sight, with their red coats on, their cocked-up hats 
and their spyglasses, inspecting from the old 
graveyard hills the gathering foe ; for they came 
in from all directions, suddenly, unaccountably, 
like the gathering of a summer thunder-cloud. 


Of course it was admitted on all hands that they 
could take possession of the bridge, but it was 
to be expected that this skirmish must bring on a 
general engagement with the main body in the 
town. The Provincials would be in greater force 
by twelve o'clock m. than at nine. And if the 
whole British army of eight hundred men should 
take the field against them in their present num- 
ber, most undoubtedly the men would run, — they 
never would " stand fire." Their officers thought 
so ; their officers said so on the spot. They gave 
it as their opinion, and it is probable that no 
attack at that hour would have been made had 
it not happened that, at that moment, the smoke 
began to rise from the centre of the town, — 
all in plain sight from these heights, — the smoke 
of burning houses. And they said, Shall we 
stand here like cowards, and see Old Concord 
burn .'' 

Colonel Barrett gave consent to make the at- 
tack. Davis came back to his company, drew 
his sword, and commanded them to advance six 
paces. He then faced them to the right, and at 
his favorite tune of "The White Cockade" led 
the column of attack towards the bridge. By the 
side of Davis marched Major Buttrick of Concord, 
as brave a man as lived, and old Colonel Robin- 
son of Westford. The British on this began to 
take up the bridge ; the Americans on this quick- 
ened their pace. Immediately the firing on both 


sides began. Davis is at once shot dead, through 
the heart. The ball passed quite through his 
body, making a very large wound, perhaps driving 
in a button of his coat. 

His blood gushed out in one great stream, fly- 
ing, it is said, more than ten feet, besprinkling 
and besmearing his own clothes, these shoe- 
buckles, and the clothes of Orderly Sergeant 
David Forbush, and a file leader, Thomas Thorp. 
Davis when hit, as is usual with men when shot 
thus through the heart, leaped up his full length 
and fell over the causeway on the wet ground, firmly 
grasping all the while, with both hands, that beau- 
tiful gun ; and when his weeping comrades came 
to take care of his youthful but bloody remains, 
they with difficulty unclutched those hands now 
cold and stiff in death. He was just elevating to 
his sure eye this gun. No man was a surer shot. 
What a baptism of blood did those soldiers then 
receive ! The question is now. Do these men 
deserve this monument, — one that shall speak .? 

Davis's case is without a parallel, and was so 
considered by the Legislature and by Congress 
when they granted aid to his widow. There 
never can be another. 

There never can be but one man who headed 
the first column of, attack on the king's troops in 
the Revolutionary War. And Isaac Davis was 
that man. Others fell, but not exactly as he fell. 
Give them the marble. Vote them the monu- 


ment, one that shall speak to all future genera- 
tions, and speak to the terror of kings and to the 
encouragement of all who will be free, and who, 
when the bloody crisis comes to strike for it, 
"are not afraid to go." 

Acton Monument 

At the base of the Acton monument may be 
seen the rude gravestones that stood in the an- 
cient burial-ground seventy-five years before their 
removal to their present location. 

Their quaint epitaphs, chiselled before the 


result of the sacrifice was realized, are of inter- 
est, in that they tell the story before time had 
afforded an opportunity to arouse the sentiment 
of later days. 














Is there not an appointed time to man upon ye earth ? are not 
his days also like the days of an hireling? As the cloud is con- 
sumed and vajiisheth away, so he thatgoeth down to the grave shall 
come up no more.- He shall return no more to his house, neither 
shall his place inirw him any more. — Job vii. i, 9, 10. 





APRIL igTH, 1775, 







APRIL I9TH, 1775, 


This monument may unborn ages tell 

How brave Young Hayward, like a hero fell. 

When fighting for his countrie's liberty 

Was slain, and here his body now doth lye, 
He and his foe were by each other slain. 
His victim'* s blood with his ye earth did stain ; 

Upon ye field he was with victory crowned. 
And yet must yield his breath upon that ground. 
He express^ t his hope in God before his death. 
After his foe had yielded up his breath, 
O may his death a lasting witness lye. 
Against Oppressors'* bloody cruelty. 


A most interesting relic of the Civil War is 
the eagle " Old Abe," that is now in the State 
House at Madison, Wis. But the eagle of Con- 
cord Fight is equally valuable as a relic ; and the 
circumstances attending its presence at Old North 
Bridge, and preservation for one hundred and 
twenty years, are more fascinating than any told 
by the Greeks of the phoenix, the bird of fable 
that rose from its own ashes. 

The eagle went to Concord on the morning of 
April 19, 1775, with the Acton men, and was in 
the form of a bosom-pin represented above. 


It may seem almost fabulous that the soldiers 
of that day went forth to battle decked in jewels. 
But we must remember that it was the citizens 
who responded to the alarm, going forth to battle 
as citizens. 

We have unmistakable evidence that not only 
the Provincials, but also the regulars, wore such 

Eagle of Concord Fight 

ornaments into the battle of one hundred and 
twenty years ago. 

Living in the enjoyment of luxury, as many 
of the British army were at that time in Boston, 
and at first regarding the movements out of town 
on the night of April i8 as a holiday excursion, it 
was not strange that they wore gold watches and 
bosom-pins, and had an abundance of coin in their 


A ring is still treasured by the descendants of 
the Provincial who gave relief to a British soldier 
when on his retreat from Concord. It was given 
by the wounded enemy to the one who assisted 
him, not because of Tory senti'ments, but from a 
feeling of humanity. 

The cues of the British officers who fell in 
Lincoln, and were there buried in a common grave, 
were tied up with broad ribbons. Rev. Mr. Wood- 
bury has already told us that some of Captain 
Isaac Davis's men spent the time, while waiting 
for others to assemble, in powdering their hair, 
and fixing themselves for a fine appearance. 

How that may have been we cannot prove now. 
But certain is it that Abner Hosmer wore in 
battle a silver pin representing the eagle. This 
was not taken from his body, but was buried with 
him. The reason of this may probably be as- 
signed to some superstition that was entertained 
by the sorrowing family. 

After seventy-five years, the remains of Davis, 
Hosmer, and Hayward were disinterred, and 
placed beneath the monument on Acton Com- 
mon. When the grave of Hosmer was opened, 
this bosom-pin was discovered, and taken by one 
of his family connections, and when scoured re- 
vealed the familiar initials. 

It seems a most remarkable fact that after 
three-quarters of a century there should come 
evidence from the grave that the bird selected 


as our national emblem was then present at the 
opening scene of that war which gave us a nation. 

From this it is natural to conclude that the 
eagle was not adopted for our national emblem 
in 1785 so much because of its nativity here, as 
because of its having been used from the very- 
early times on heraldic devices. It was accounted 
one of the most noble bearings in heraldry. 

How long this silver eagle had been in the 
Hosmer family cannot be determined ; but it is 
supposed that it was given by the father, Jona- 
than Hosmer, to his much-loved son on his 
twenty-first birthday. 

Abner was one of three sons of his family who 
were in the war. The second gave up his life ' at 

The father, a deacon in the Acton church, was 
a third member of the family to die for his coun- 
try. Too aged and feeble to go to Concord, when 
the news of the battle reached Acton, this man 
went out a short distance to learn the particu- 
lars. There he heard that his son Abner was 
one who had fallen at the bridge. He returned, 
and entering his house uttered groans of lamenta- 
tion in substance like those of David of old. O 
my son Abner, my son ! my son Abner ! would God 
I had died for thee, O Abner, my son, my son ! 




- ■-, ■ ■ :.-i.J,.:Z::,-^^, 


















I^l^^dr ^^k 










On the opposite side of Concord is the town of 
Bedford, in an interesting manner bearing the 
same relations to it as does the town of Acton. 
They were originally parts of Concord, and there 
were many ties that bound them together at the 
time of the Revolution. Their families were con- 
nected by n\arriage, and they were very jealous 
of the honor of the mother town. It required 
but the slightest warning to arouse them. 

The alarm at Bedford was received probably be- 
fore it reached Concord. Two messengers were 
despatched at once from Lexington to notify the 
Bedford people. 

The town contains several homesteads that are 
identified with the early events of the Revolu- 
tion. Homes through which sounded the alarm- 
ing cry, " To arms ! the redcoats are coming ! " 
still echo the voices of the same families. Sit- 
ting by the same fireside, the occupants cherish 
the firearms, and tell the story as they have heard 
it from their grandsires who faced the enemy. 


Prominent among these historic dwellings is 
that of the Page family. Seven generations of 
patriots of this name have possessed and occupied 
this estate. 

The spirit of patriotism was cradled in this 
home as in but few others. 

While sitting as a guest about the family 
hearthstone, I received from Captain Cyrus Page 
of the sixth generation much of the information 
which follows. For two hundred and eight years 
the family have been in possession. About ten 
years after the landing of Governor John Win- 
throp, a large tract of unexplored territory was 
granted to Cambridge to encourage those settlers, 
and prevent their removal, following Mr. Hooker 
and his company to Connecticut. The church 
stood first in importance ; and the benefit of this 
grant was to go to the church, and college so inti- 
mately associated with it, at Cambridge. In 1652 
the grant was allotted to the settlers. Mr. Ed- 
ward Oakes received three hundred acres. This 
he sold to George Farley and others. Farley 
sold to Timothy Brooks. 

It was during Brooks's possession and occu- 
pancy as a residence that the first military tinge 
is given to the homestead. At the opening of 
King Philip's war, the owner was directed to secure 
his family at Garrison " No. 10," that was near by. 
Brooks sold to George Grimes, of whom the estate 
was purchased in 1687 by Nathaniel Page. 


It did not require the presence of a garrison 
house to arouse the military spirit of this first 
Page settler in the territory about Shawsheen, 
which later fell to Bedford in the incorporation of 
1729. He had already been active in the "Three 
County Troop," ' and he had been commissioned 
by Governor Dudley as sheriff of Suffolk County. 
The military spirit 
was fostered in this 
home, and trans- 
mitted from father 
to son, becoming 
manifest in a read- 
iness to take up 
arms for the pro- 
tection of home 
and country dur- 
ing the wars that 
succeeded King 
Philip's, before the 
Revolution. Na- 
thaniel Page 1st 
died in 1692, when the town was suffering from the 
desolating assaults of King William's war. Sons 
and grandsons there were to perpetuate the family 
name and patriotism. One of them was a colonel 
in the French and Indian war, and several were 
in the ranks. 

The midnight alarm of April i8th was first 

1 See flat; of minute-men in this volume. 

Cyrus Page 



received at this house. It met with a ready re- 
sponse from Christopher, the sergeant of the 
minute-men, and Nathaniel, the cornet, or flag- 
bearer. Two others also responded. They be- 
longed to the company of militia, and all were at 
Concord Fight. 

Says Captain Cyrus Page, " Our people were 
not surprised when the messenger reached this 

Fitch Tavern 

house. They had seen Gage's men several times 
riding about the town, and were kept familiar 
with the movements in Boston. The frequent 
drillings of the minute-men were good opportu- 
nities for exchanging ideas, and there was no 
home that was not in a state of expectancy. My 
grandfather's account was : ' We had agreed at 
the last drilling to meet, in case of alarm, at 
the tavern in the centre of the town, kept by 


Jeremiah Fitch, sergeant of the militia company. 
The horseman banged on the house and cried 
out, " Up, Mr. Page, the regulars are out." We 
were not long in our preparations, and were soon 
at the tavern, where some had already gath- 
ered, and others soon appeared. Our captain 
lived fully two miles away from the village, but 
he was on hand. 

" ' Captain Willson had received a report from 
Boston on the previous afternoon ; it was brought 
by his brother-in-law,Thompson Maxwell, a native 
of Bedford, but then a resident of Amherst, N.H. 
He made trips between Amherst and Boston for 
the conveyance of merchandise, and stopped at 
Willson's when on the journey. Maxwell had 
served in the French and Indian war, and was 
well known by leading men of Boston as a trust- 
worthy patriot. One of his trips was made in 
the month of December, 1773. After unloading 
his freight, he went to John Hancock's warehouse 
to load for his return trip. While there, Han- 
cock asked him to drive the team to his stable, 
where it would receive care, and then call at his 
counting-room. He did so, and was there let into 
the secret of destroying the tea, and was invited 
to join the enterprise. He did so, assisted in the 
midnight business, and the next day drove home 
as " any honest man would." 

'"He was on another trip in April, 1775, and 
on his way home had stopped at Willson's. They 


sat up unusually late, discussing the condition of 
things. Maxwell had detected some unusual 
movements that day which led them to be more 
anxious about the future. They retired at a late 
hour, and were scarcely asleep when the alarm 
reached the Captain's home. 

" ' Maxwell accepted an invitation from his 
brother-in-law, and they both made haste to the 
village. Our company of minute-men, numbering 
twenty-six, were all assembled. Many had left 
their homes without any food, and refreshment 
was served at the tavern in a most informal man- 
ner. This done. Captain Willson gave his order: 
" Come on, my brave boys ; this is a cold break- 
fast, but we'll give the redcoats a hot dinner. 
We'll have every dog of them before night." On 
we went, little realizing what was before us. The 
town's company of militiamen, fifty strong, was 
also on the way. They had met at the home of 
their captain, John Moore, a half mile out from 
the village on the Concord road. 

" ' Circumstances favored an early response 
from the Bedford men ; and we should have been 
remiss in our military obligations, and unmindful 
of our filial relations, if we had not reached Con- 
cord among the first companies, which we did. 
We assisted in secreting the stores, and were 
anxiously awaiting reports, when we saw the army 
approaching. That was a sight never to be for- 
gotten, those brilliantly attired soldiers, moving 


in perfect martial order, in solid phalanx, with 
their bayonets glistening in the morning sun. 
We went on over to the other side of the river, 
and there fell in, according to the orders of Col- 
onel Barrett, and marched down to the bridge. 
We had a share in the engagement which imme- 
diately followed, but fortunately received no injury. 
Whether we did any, or not, is a question that we 
could not positively answer. In our pursuit of 
the retreating enemy we were not so fortunate. 
When near Brooks's tavern, just across the line in 
Lincoln, there was a severe engagement, and our 
brave Captain was killed, shot through his body. 
A comrade, Job Lane, was severely wounded. 
Some of us returned home bearing the dead and 
wounded, while the majority continued in the pur- 
suit, going into camp at Cambridge. The place of 
the dead Captain was filled by Lieutenant Edward 
Stearns. Those who went home soon started with 
the loads of provisions which had been prepared 
during the day, and reached their tired and almost 
famished companies where they had lain down for 

" ' Being so near home, we were continually in 
receipt of provisions, and fared better than many 
who were in camp during the command of Gen- 
eral Artemas Ward ; but two of our young men, 
Solomon Stearns and Reuben Bacon, died, as a 
result of the fatigue of the 19th, and the expo- 
sure that followed. Theirs was the fate of a good 


many whose homes were farther away from the 
seat of war. Timothy Page remained in contin- 
uous service until the battle of White Plains, 
where he was killed. A comrade, Moses Fitch, 
was wounded at the same time." 

This story of Nathaniel Page, repeated by his 
grandson at the old home, is only one of many 
from the same source, all of which are substanti- 
ated by indisputable evidence. 

Says Captain Page, " There is another home on 
the Concord side of this town where the foot- 
prints of the patriots are as plainly to be traced 
as they are at my ancestral dwelling." This is 
the Davis estate. It has been in the family 
almost two centuries. It was purchased by Sam- 
uel Davis in 1696. The conveyance being " In 
the eighth year of the Raine of our Souvereign 
Lord William the third, by the Grace of God, 
over England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, 
King and defender of the faith." The homestead 
has passed through six generations, in each of 
which has been found the name of Eleazer. The 
military spirit was early kindled at that hearth- 
stone. Three of the family went from this home- 
stead with Lovewell, in his famous expedition of 
1724-5 in pursuit of the Indians, to the wilderness 
of Maine ; one, Josiah, lost his life, and Eleazer 
was maimed for the remainder of his days. Two 
were in the French and' Indian war, where Paul 
lost his life in 1763. 


At the opening of the Revolution, Eleazer was 
second lieutenant of the minute-men, and soon 
promoted to iirst lieutenant. His commission, 
still kept, is evidence of his honorable career on 
April 19. He was in service with the company, 
and his sword has been faithfully kept in the 
house to which it was brought after that day's 
experience. His musket, used in the Continental 
army, is also treasured. Both being most tangi- 
ble evidence of the patriotism which moved the 
hearts of the occupant of this home at the open- 
ing of the Revolution, and where rare specimens 
of good citizenship have been found in each suc- 
ceeding generation. 

When at Lexington we were tracing the foot- 
prints of the illustrious patriots, guests at the 
parsonage, we made the acquaintance of Madam 
Clark, wife of the minister. In our circuitous 
course we have now come to the Bedford par- 
sonage, of an earlier date, from which the min- 
ister's daughter went to become a minister's 
wife, and as such the entertainer of Hancock 
and Adams. 

Although no longer a parsonage, this, the most 
notable house of the town of that time, was a 
centre of patriotic influence. 

The owner of to-day proudly opens the door, 
and bids a cheerful welcome to the guest, who is 
shown the room in which the town's Committee 
of Correspondence and Supplies held their numer- 


ous meetings. From this house went John Reed, 
the town's representative to the first two Provin- 
cial Congresses, and to numerous conventions 
where men of judgment, inspired by patriotism, 
■were wont to meet to devise ways and means for 
carrying on the struggle for liberty. Here were 
discussed the questions which were later public 
actions of the voters, such as, "to encourage the 
produce and manufactures of this Province, and- to 
lesson the use of superfluities ; " " not to use 
any tea till the duty is taken off ; " " to suspend 
all commercial intercourse with Great Britain till 
the said act shall be repealed ; " "not to buy, pur- 
chase, or consume, or suffer any person by, for, or 
under us, to purchase or consume, in any manner 
whatever, any goods, wares, or merchandise, which 
shall arrive in America from Great Britain, and 
to break off all trade, commerce, or dealing with 
those who do it, and to consider them as enemies 
to their country ;" "June 17, 1776, voted. That we 
will solemnly engage with our lives and fortunes 
to support the colonies in declaring themselves 
independent of Great Britain." ^ The master 
of this house not only served on the various 
committees incident to the above votes, but 
shouldered his musket in a campaign to Rhode 

' The above votes were in substance the action of the towns in 



When but a child, I found something congenial 
to my taste in the habits of an old man whom the 
townspeople familiarly called Uncle Leander. 

It was not a benignant smile which sometimes 
lights up the faces of the aged as they approach 
the sunset of life, nor was it any special attention 
shown by this man to the youth of the village. 
In neither way was he made particularly attrac- 
tive to the many. But to me alone of all the 
children of the town who passed Uncle Leander's 
door on the way to school, was this man compan- 
ionable. This was because of his efforts to stay 
the ravages of time in the Old Burial-Ground. 

I had seen him on several occasions with a pail 
of whitewash, and a brush in hand, passing about 
among the leaning slabs, and here and there ap- 
plying his liquid coating. 

I was quite sure that some wise purpose actu- 
ated him in his repeated visits to this sacred 
enclosure. My resolve to inquire into this pecu- 
liar work was often of no avail, because of my 
failing courage when I neared the gate whose 
slats I had so often heard flapping in the breeze. 
In fact, I had an early aversion for the ancient 
sepulchres, because of false stories told me of the 
rude designs there seen on many stones. But 
the results of the old man's work recommended 


his acts to me, and I at length mustered courage 
to interview him. My first question met with no 
reply until Uncle Leander had stepped to an old 
moss-covered stone, from behind which he took a 
long tin trumpet, which he placed in his ear, turn- 
ing the larger end of • the conical tube to my 
mouth, and indicating that if I would fathom the 
fourscore years that separated us, I must do it 
through this instrument. This I did, and met 
with a most cheerful reply. In fact, the old man 
manifested pleasure that one so young should 
have any interest in his work, and in the Old 
Burial-Ground, where were resting almost all of 
those with whom he began life, and had for a long 
time journeyed. 

" This preparation of lime," said he, " prevents 
the moss from gathering, and keeps the epitaphs 
in a legible condition." 

Having observed that he discriminated in his 
work of prevention, I ventured to again penetrate 
his dull ear and learn the cause. The question 
brought a smile to the aged face ; and he said, 
" Come with me, and I will show you." Passing 
to the centre of the yard, he paused at an erect, 
well-kept slab, and said, " Read that," which I 
did aloud, — 



APRIL I9TH, A.D. 1775, 



My venerable guide stood by me in the attitude 
of a listener; but he knew it all, and needed not 
to hear my voice. " My wife's uncle," said he; 
" a Bedford patriot, who was killed on the first 
day of the war." Taking up his pail and brush, 
he led the way to another section ; paused, and 
leaned over a modest slab with seeming affection. 
This I read as before, — 





" My father's first love," said Uncle Leander. 
" My father, John Hosmer, was engaged to be 
married to her, a most beautiful young lady. 
When the Lexington alarm was sounded, he left 
home, and did his duty that memorable day, and 
returned safely, staying long enough to bid a 
tender farewell to his betrothed, cheering her at 
parting with the promise of a speedy return when 
he should claim her as his bride. He occasionally 
received some carefully prepared dainty from her 
hand, delivered by a teamster who brought food 
and other supplies to the camp. At length there 
came a time when neither word nor package 
reached him, and in an anxious mood he lay down 
in his camp for a night's rest. But harrowing 
dreams disturbed the soldier's slumber, and he 
awoke by a call to duty with a vivid impression 
that the object of his affection had died. So firmly 



fixed was the impression, that he obtained a leave 
of absence for a few days, and made haste to 
Bedford. As he approached the weather-beaten 
dwelling through a bridle-path, he detected un- 
usual movements, and soon learned the painful 
reality of his dream. As chief mourner, the 
young soldier followed the object of his blighted 

affections to this 
grave, and sorrowfully 
returned to answer his 
country's call. 

" The years of war, 
when death in its most 
trying forms was a 
common occurrence, 
did not efface from 
his memory the scenes 
of his early years. 

"Although sur- 
rounded by a large 
and prosperous family, my father never forgot 
his first love, but conducted his children and 
grandchildren to this grave, and here told them 
the story which has led me to keep the stone 
erect, and safe from the ravages of time." 

Among other objects of the old man's care was 
the stone on which I read, — 



WHO DIED SEPT. 27TH 1807, 


I Ha?-G 1 i«s the 
laqdyofGailoy I 


Tombstone of Galley Fasset 


Glory with all her lamps shall burn^ 

To watch the Christian 'i sleeping clay. 
Till the last trumpet cause his urn 
To aid the triumph of that day. 

" He was captain of the Bedford militia," said 
my guide; "was over to Concord Fight, and also 
in the Continental army. He was one of the 
wealthy of the town, as this stone indicates, by 
its size and style." 

To the graves of Solomon Stearns and Reuben 
Bacon, he led me, pausing only to say, " Fell sick 
in camp, and died just before the battle of Bun- 
ker Hill. Brave patriots they.'' Lieutenant Ed- 
ward Stearns's grave was near by, and the stone 
was one that Uncle Leander kept in order. " He 
took Captain Willson's place at the fight," said 
the faithful guide. Lieutenant Moses Abbott's 
gravestone was another that had received the 
attention of this man with the pail and brush. 

" Moses Fitch," said he as we hastened on, 
"wounded at White Plains," at the same time 
drawing the brush across the smooth surface of 
an unusually tall slab. " He was deacon, had a 
little better stone than some ; deacons were then 
people of distinction, you know." 

Reaching over to an irregular row in the rear, 
my guide said, " Solomon Lane," at the same 
time applying his brush ; " he was at Concord, 
with scores more who are now all free from the 
tumult of war." 


Stumbling over mounds and depressions, alike 
suggestive of the early and later time, we came 
to a row of stones of a size and design indicative 
of the standing of the family in the town. "They 
selected this corner of the yard," said Uncle 
Leander, " because it was very near the old res- 
idence." The inscription was easily read be- 
cause of the fresh coating of whitewash. It was 
" Erected in memory of John Reed, Esq., who 
died Nov. 20, 1805, in the 75th year of his age." 
"A member of the first and second Provincial 
Congresses, of the Committee of Inspection, and 
also of the Convention that met to frame a consti- 
tution." So well had my guide classified the pa- 
triots of the town in their various departments 
of service, that he readily pointed out the other 
stones marking the graves of the Committee of 
Inspection, each of which had received the careful 
attention of his hand. They were Moses Abbott, 
already mentioned ; Thomas Page, who died July 
31, 1809, aged 76 years ; Ebenezer Page, who de- 
parted this life June ye 9th, 1784, aged 47 years 
and 6 days ; and Edward Stearns, whose grave we 
had already visited. My guide confessed to hav- 
ing become puzzled over the many stones erected 
to the memory of the Pages. As they all had been 
identified with the military interests of the town, 
he had given each stone the same treatment, and 
proceeded to make known to me the result of his 
study in this direction. He read, " Cornet Na- 


thaniel Page, who died March 2, 1755, aged "jS 
years," and remarked, " He must have been the 
Nathaniel of the second generation, who was in 
the Indian wars." The next to notice, and in 
order of generation, was " Nathaniel Page, who 
died April 6, 1779, aged "jS years." Here my 
guide thoughtfully remarked in passing, " Too 
soon to realize the result of his experience at 
Concord, which was hard indeed for him, then 72 
years of age." He next led the way to a stone 
on which I read, " Cornet John Page, who died 
Feb. 18, 1782, aged "jQ years," and remarked dur- 
ing my reading, unheard by him, " He was a very 
tall man, who made the regulars tremble. He was 
at Lexington on the eventful morning, and aided 
in capturing several prisoners. He was also at 
Bunker Hill." As the next generation in order, 
my guide selected the following inscription, " Mr. 
Nathaniel Page, who died July 31, 18 19, aged "jj 
years," remarking, " He carried the old flag with 
the minute-men to Concord Fight." The dif- 
ficulty of making any inquiry led me to accept all 
the remarks of my venerable friend, which I later 
proved to be well authenticated. The next of the 
name was found to be, " Nathaniel Page, who 
died Aug. 30, 1858, aged 83 years." To this my 
guide remarked, " Born in the harvest-time fol- 
lowing the fight at Concord, too late to have a 
part in the Revolution ; but he was on hand in 
18 1 2, and was always ready to take part in the 


' Cornwallis^ when we celebrated the surrender of 
that General to Washington." Having made out 
the successive generations, Uncle Leander made 
haste to call my attention to the stones marking 
the graves of Sergeant Christopher Page of the 
minute-men, and William Page of the militia, and 
paused to say, " Here ought to be a stone to 
the memory of Timothy Page, who was one of 
the militia at Concord, and was killed at White 

So faithfully had this aged man studied these 
modest memorials, that he led me to the graves 
of other Bedford patriots, where, now that my 
guide has passed away, I read, " Lieut. John Mer- 
riam. Sergeant James Wright, Lieut. Eleazer Da- 
vis, Fifer David Lane," all of the militia who 
served in the opening of the war, also " James 
Lane, Jr., 3d, Oliver Reed, Jr., Samuel Lane, Is- 
rael Putnam, Jr., Samuel Bacon, Samuel Davis, 
Thaddeus Davis, William Maxwell, Samuel Meads, 
Samuel Merriam, David Fitch, Abijah Bacon, 
Ziba Lane, Josiah Davis, John Lane, Joseph 
Hartwell, Thomas Bacon, John Fitch, Samuel 
Lane, Jr., Job Lane, Jr., Matthew Pollard, 
Stephen Lane, Oliver Pollard, Jr., John Reed." 

Of the minute-men indicated by my guide, and 
later verified, I read, " Sergeant Ebenezer Fitch, 
2d Lt. Timothy Jones, Joseph Meads, Jr., Reuben 
Bacon (before mentioned), Oliver Bacon, drum- 
mer, Jonas Gleason, David Bacon, David Reed, 


Nathan Bacon, Elijah Bacon, Lieut. William Mer- 
riam, Matthew Fitch." 

By the time we had gone the rounds of the 
Revolutionary list, my guide had become so 
aroused with the spirit of the days when these 
men left their homes at the midnight call, that 
he could not refrain from seeking out a very 
ancient stone, on which I read, — 



NOV. YE 2D, 1756, 


He also directed me to a space, apparently vacant, 
which he thought was reserved in memory of 
Nathaniel Merriam, who died in his Majesty's 
service at Lake George, in September, 1758. 

This faithful old man had thus adopted a method 
of marking the graves of the soldiers of the Rev- 
olution many years before any organization had 
sprung up to do it. The whitewashed slabs 
throughout that enclosure indicated the resting- 
place of a good share of the seventy-seven men 
from Bedford who were seen at Concord in the 
hottest of the fight. 

Halting near the centre of the enclosure, my 
faithful guide repeated the effort made many 
times before this day, to straighten up one of the 
most ancient stones, but which as often settled 
back to its long accustomed position. While 


thus engaged, Uncle Leander seemed to have for- 
gotten his youthful companion, and meditated in 
a half audible manner, " Dea. Israel Putnam, died 
November ye 12th, 1760." When, having fully 
satisfied himself of the difficulty of changing the 
habit of anything, even a gravestone, which had 
followed its own inclination for more than a 
century, the old man turned about, and shouted, 
" Here, boy, let me tell you about this. In a half- 
charmed, half-frightened state of mind, I stepped 
forward, and gave heed to the narrative, while my 
eyes were seemingly riveted to the rude carvings 
before me. " Brave man," said he, " Israel Put- 
man was a relative of General Israel, who faced 
the wolf and the British as well. He settled over 
opposite here in 1721, and was one of the promi- 
nent founders of this town. He gave the land 
for this burial-place, and might well have this 
central location himself. He was the first deacon 
of the church and a leading citizen." Having 
discharged his obligation to the memory of one 
who took the first steps towards the incorporation 
of the town of Bedford, my guide turned about, 
and, placing his trembling hand upon a stone 
near by, said, " This marks the grave of Jonathan 
Bacon, whose daughter Sarah became the wife of 
Israel Putnam. Hence you see their close re- 
lation in death is suggestive of their intimacy 
in life." I must confess that it was only the 
main fact that was intelligible to me in my youth, 


the minor points having later become realities 
to me. 

Jonathan Bacon, " a principal inhabitanc," was 
the leader in the formation of the church and 
town, and one whose years gave him the prece- 
dence in the entire enterprise. Another stone 
which was the object of the old man's care made 
up an interesting trio. On it I read, "Doc. John 
Fassett, died January 30th, 1736, aged 66 years." 
" He was the first resident physician, famous for 
bleeding and blistering. If he had lived a few 
years longer, there might not have been so many 
of those little stones as you see over there." With 
this remark, accompanied by a wise shake of his 
gray locks, Uncle Leander moved on, keeping a 
sure grasp upon his pail and brush, of which he 
occasionally made use. Halting before a sunken 
memorial, he said, "This triple stone, and that 
one over yonder, suggest the ravages of a throat 
distemper which brought sorrow to a good many 
families in this town and throughout the coun- 
try." By careful examination I found that my 
guide was doubtless right ; for I there learned that 
within ten days, in the year 1754, Mr. Christopher 
and Mrs. Susannah Page parted with three little 
children, and that many other little mounds were 
made in that burial-ground during the same time. 
Coming to the north-east corner of the enclosure, 
my guide said, " This was the African reservation, 
the place where the family slaves were buried, 


and the paupers as well." This locality was con- 
spicuous for the absence of memorial stones ; the 
levelling hand of time had failed to obliterate the 
mounds that lay in methodical rows, each mould- 
ering heap as suggestive of mortality as though 
dignified by the sculptor's hand and the motto, 
"Memento mori." 

"A good many old slaves lay there," said my 
guide, flourishing his brush as though he would 
like to wipe out that part of the annals of the 
town, and that peculiar chapter in the history of 
the New England colonies. In passing along, my 
oracle did not fail to express his contempt for one 
who had lived in the community, — "a miser," 
said he, " lived to be almost a hundred, but how 
much better was the town for his having lived in 
it .' " A flourish of his brush, and a thump upon 
the stone, gave emphasis to the old man's indig- 
nation. Leading on to another locality, my guide 
directed my attention to a stone of which he re- 
marked, " Queer old minister, that Penniman, — a 
sort of a Tory he was ; thought he was doing his 
duty by staying at home and praying on the 19th 
of April, 1775, when all his parishioners were up 
in arms." While the old man gave vent to his 
feelings in regard to the minister of the town dur- 
ing the Revolution, I was endeavoring to remove 
the lichen which hid the inscription ; for the old 
man's whitewash brush had not been applied 
here, any more than it had been on the stone last 


noticed. My surprise at not finding the sepulchre 
of the minister brought forth the exclamation, 
" Oh, no ! that parson was hurried off ; but he has 
left us a record of his peculiarities in the inscrip- 
tions which you read there on the stones at the 
graves of his children." 

WHO DIED DEC. 22, I79O, 

Ak ! now no notice do you give 
Where yoti are and how you live ! 
What ! are you then bound by solemn fate^ 
To keep the secret of your state ? 
The alarming voice yozi will hear. 
When Christ the yttdge shall appear. 
Hannah ! from the dark lonely vatilt. 
Certainly, sooji and suddenly you^ll come, 
When Jesus shall claim the treasure from the tomb. 

On the stone at the grave of Molly, who died in 
1778, at the age of 3 years, 6 months, 3 days, is to 
be read, — 

Ah ! dear Polly, must your tender parents mourn. 
Their heavy loss, and bathe with tears your urn. 
Since now no more to us you must retttrn. 

The diverted attention of my guide led him to 
be unusually free with his wash ; and seeing the 
pail was empty, he thoughtfully leaned over to 
me, raised his trembling voice, and said, "I sha'n't 
be here long to attend to these patriots' graves. 



You boys must do it ; for if it iiad not been for 
sucli men and women as lay here, we should be 
crouching beneath the paw of the British lion 

Stone at Grave of 

Captain Jonathan Willson in Bedford 

(the same design is seen at top of the stone erected 

to the memory of 

Captain Isaac Davis at Acton) 




[An address delivered by the author, April ig, 1895.] 

Every event of the Revolution, though inci- 
dental and comparatively trifling, should be gath- 
ered up and put in enduring form, in order that 
the rising generation may have a just appreciation 
of the heritage to which they are born, and which 
they are bound to m.aintain and protect. 

Monuments and statues have been erected in 
liberal numbers, especially since the centennial 
year. Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hill have 
become familiar to every schoolboy, while the 
entire route from Old North Church to Old North 
Bridge has been indicated by enduring tablets. 

But while these greater things have engrossed 
our attention, the smaller, equally significant, have 
been lost from view. 

Not until a comparatively recent date has the 
flag of the minute-men been known to be in ex- 
istence. It matters not whether we are descend- 
ants of the brave men who were in the opening 
scenes of the Revolution, or whether we perpet- 
uate those who were in the Continental army. 



we must be interested in the slightest detail of 
that day when was " fired the shot heard round 
the world." 

Fla(; of the Middlesex Regiment of the RIilitia of the 
Colony of Massachusetts Bay. Carried by Nathaniel 
Page in the Company of Bedford Minute-men at Con- 
cord Fight, April ig, 1775 

When Emerson penned the beautiful lines, — 

" By the rude bridge th:it arched t]ie flood, 
llieir flag to April's breeze unfurled," 


he had no thought that the " embattled farmers" 
had a flag. It was a poetical figure. Surprised 
indeed must he have been, when delivering the 
address at the unveiling of the Minute-Man in 
1875, to rest his eyes upon the only banner 
carried a century earlier in the heat of that strug- 
gle which his pen has so beautifully portrayed. 
It proved his poetic thought to have been tinged 
with double reality. 


" By the rude bridge that arched the flood, 
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, 
Here once the embattled farmers stood. 
And fired the shot heard round the world. 

The foe long since in silence slept ; 
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps ; 
And Time the ruined bridge has swept 
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps. 

On this green bank, by this soft stream, 
We set to-day a votive stone; 
That memory may their deed redeem. 
When, like our sires, our sons are gone. 

Spirit, that made those heroes dare 
To die, and leave their children free. 
Bid Time and Nature gently spare 
The shaft we raise to them and Thee." 

Written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and sung at the dedication of the gran- 
ite shaft erected in 1836. 

The historic bridge was demolished when the original road was abandoned. 
A rustic bridge was built at the same place preparatory to tlie centennial cele- 
bration, 1875. (See story of "A Concord Patriot " in this volume.) This bridge 
was partly carried away by a spring flood, but has been more strongly built. 


The minute-men of Bedford had a flag ; but I do 
not presume to assert to any one, much less to 
the Sons of the American Revolution, that it was 
a flag planned for this service. We know too 
well how the yeomen soldiers were organized for 
service to think of their making any such prep- 
aration. Neither Hancock with his abundant 
wealth, nor Adams with his abounding patriot- 
ism, had thought of any standard for the little 
companies that were being drilled for a moment's 
warning. They were too busily engrossed with 
the weighter matters of the time. 

When Adams from the heights of Lexington 
saw in that gorgeous April sunrise a figure of the 
future glory of America, it was with no thought 
that the flag of the future republic was to be 
spangled with the galaJc-y of the heavens. 

But in the old town of Bedford was the stand- 
ard destined to be the flag of the minute-men 
of that town. 

Like many another important event of history, 
this was not the result of any preconcerted action. 
Neither were the bloody scenes at Lexington 
Common and Old North Bridge, which have been 
subjects for the admiration of all patriots, of every 
clime, for more than a century. 

A local company of cavalry was raised in this 
colony in 1659, just before the restoration of 
Charles II. It comprehended Essex, Suffolk, and 
Middlesex in Massachusetts. It was known as 


the "Three County Troop." This remained in ex- 
istence until 1677, or possibly later. It is certain 
that it was in active service during King Philip's 
war. The formation of this company of cavalry 
leads to the conclusion that there must have been 
a standard, cornet as it was then termed, "upon 
which arms were emblazoned." 

With the fact of the cavalry company thor- 
oughly established, and with the ancient standard 
before us, we naturally conclude that our " Flag 
of the Minute-men " was the cornet of the "Three 
Country Troop." In the way of corroborative 
evidence I would cite an entry said to be in a 
herald painter's book of the time of Charles I., 
which Mr. Whitmore says is preserved in the 
British Museum. 

It is as follows : — 

Work Done for New England — 

For painting in oyel on both sides a Cornett 

one rich crimson damask, with a hand 

and sword, and invelloped with a scarf 

about the arms of gold, black, and silver, £i os. 6d. 
For a plain Cornette stafFe with belte, 

boote and swible at first penny .... 100 

For silk of crimson and silver fringe and for 

a Cornett string . i 1 1 o 

For Crimson Damask no 

£^ 2s. dd. 

It is certain that the herald painter's bill made 
almost two hundred and twenty-five years ago 


identifies our flag. No modern detective could 
ask for more definite description. 

The " belte, boote and swible " are gone. The 
silver fringe is also missing ; but I have the word 
of Madam Ruhamah Lane, late of Bedford, when 
past her ninetieth year : " I took that silver 
fringe from that old flag when I was a giddy girl, 
and trimmed a dress for a military ball. I was 
never more sorry for anything than that which 
resulted in the loss of the fringe." 

Hon. Jonathan A. Lane of Boston, son of the 
venerable woman above quoted, told me that he 
had the same story from his mother's lips when 
she was in the prime of life. 

The presence of the flag in Bedford is easily 
accounted for. 

Nathaniel Page, referred to in the chapter im- 
mediately preceding this, was the first of the fam- 
ily in possession of the flag. He was a military 
man, connected with the " Three County Troop " 
as cornet or bearer of the standard. This was 
a position held by several generations of his 
descendants in later military organizations, as 
witness their ancient gravestones. 




The ancient standard was brought to Bedford 
by Nathaniel Page, when he settled in Shawsheen 


(Bedford) ; and being in the- house, it was taken 
by Nathaniel Page 3d, a Bedford minute-man, and 
borne to Concord, and there waved above the 
smoke of that battle, " the first forcible resist- 
ance to Bi'itish aggression." 

The Page family, as already shown, owned the 
same house which they occupied for many gene- 
rations, and which is still in the family. From the 
ancestor who hastily seized that flag, and hastened 
to Concord with the minute-men of Bedford, has 
come the story to generation after generation. 
Madam Lane, already quoted, had the story of 
the standard-bearer, her father, from his own lips. 
Mr. Appleton, of the Massachusetts Historical So- 
ciety, says, " It was originally designed, in 1660- 
70, for the Three County Troop of Middlesex, and 
became one of the accepted standards of the 
organized militia of the State, and as such it 
was used by the Bedford company. In my opin- 
ion this flag far exceeds in historic value the 
famed flag of Eutaw and Pulaski's banner,^ and 

1 Count Pulaski, a Polish officer, was appointed a brigadier in 
the Continental army on Sept. 15, 1777, just after the battle of 
Brandywine, and was given the command of the cavalry. This he 
resigned, and later organized a corps of cavalry. 

Pulaski visited Lafayette while wounded and a recipient of the 
care and hospitality of the Moravian sisters, at Bethlehem, Pa. 
His presence and eventful history made deep impression upon the 
minds of that community. When informed that he was organiz- 
ing the corps of cavalry they prepared a banner of crimson silk 
for him. It was beautifully wrought with various designs, and sent 
to the Count with their blessings. 


in fact is the most precious memorial of its kind 
of which we have any knowledge." 

" The Flag of the Minute-men," issued by the 
author of this book in 1894, is thus indorsed: — 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
Executive Department, 

Boston, April i, 1895. 
Dear Mr. Brown, — 

Your " Souvenir " is a worlc of art, admirably planned 
and executed. I congratulate you on the work. 
Truly yours, 

F. T. Greenhalge. 

Concord, Mass., April i, 1895. 
Mr. Abram English Brown, Bedford. 
My dear Sir, — 

I have read with great interest your Souvenir, and note 
with peculiar pride " The Flag of the Minute-men," which is 
now so valuable, as being the identical flag carried at " Con- 
cord Fight." As the years roll on this flag will be more and 
more valued by the patriotic people of our land. 
Sincerely yours, 

Edwin S. Barrett, 

President oftlie Massachusetts Society of the Sons 
of the A nterican Revolution. 

Pulaski received the banner with grateful acknowledgments, 
and bore it gallantly through many a martial scene, until he fell 
in conflict at Savannah in the autumn of 1779. 

His banner was saved by his first lieutenant, who received 
fourteen wounds. It was taken to Baltimore, and kept until 1824, 
when it was carried in the procession that welcomed Lafayette to 
that city. It was later given to the Maryland Historical Society. 


April, 1895. 

" The Flag of the Minute-men, April 19, I775-" Its origin 
and history by Abram English Brown is one of those invalu- 
able historical records, that, once lost, is lost for all time. It 
is due to the indefatigable, painstaking care of the author 
that the patriotic effort was put forth whereby the old flag is 
now held in public trust, — the sacred emblem of freedom 
and truth, and that equality that gives "to every man the 
right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It is a 
book for every member of a patriotic society to own — this 
little history of the first flag of our country. 

Mrs. Daniel Lothrop, 

Recent of Old Concord Chapter Daughters of the 

A merican Revolution. 

President of National Society of Children of the 

American Revolutimt. 

After the experience of April 19, 1775, tlie flag 
was kept in the Page garret, seldom seen by any 
one, and by none appreciated, until on the morn- 
ing of April 19, 1875, a century's dust was shaken 
off the damask folds, and it was carried by the 
Bedford delegation in the procession at Concord, 
and there unfurled again by the rude bridge. 
After the service of that day it was returned to 
the same hiding-place, and there remained ten 
years longer, when it was brought out by Captain 
Cyrus Page, who was the embodiment of the 
military zeal of his ancestors, and by him pre- 
sented to the town of Bedford, on Oct. 19, 1885, 
the anniversary of the surrender by Cornwallis to 



cupid's heirloom 

WHAT a bustle there was in the 
old Fitch home of Bedford on 
the morning of April- 19, 1775 ! 
Before the first note of the robin 
was heard in the orchard in the 
rear of the house, lights were seen flitting about 
from room to room, and long before the sun 
appeared above the horizon three stalwart young 
men were bidden a hasty farewell by mother and 
sisters, and made a quick step to the village. 

" Be sure and get something warm at Jere- 
miah's," was the loving request of the mother, an 
afterthought expressed at the door when the boys 
were beyond the hearing of the loving mother's 
voice. Jeremiah was the eldest son of the family, 
who had set up the business of a tavern-keeper in 
the village ; and being sergeant of the minute- 
men of the town, it had been agreed that, in case 
of alarm, the company should assemble there. 

John and Matthew, the twins of the family, 
reached Jeremiah's a full half-hour before Moses 
did. They started together; but he could not 
refrain from running across the meadows to say 


a last word to Rachel, a neighbor's daughter, for 
whom he had a tender interest. 

Although glad to see him, she would not detain 
the young man, being fully aware of the alarm 
that had already called her father. Lieutenant 
Edward Stearns, and his eldest son, Solomon, 
from the home. Rachel was the eldest of the 
three daughters of the home ; she was a rosy- 
cheeked lass, already promised to be the wife of 
Moses, who was three years her senior. 

Despite the anxiety in both homes during that 
day, there was more than ordinary activity with 
those who were left. Rye pancakes were prepared 
by the peck, while the great iron kettle which 
hung from the crane was filled and emptied many 
times in the process of cooking salt pork and vege- 
tables for the absent men. 

Rachel, with her two sisters, Susannah and 
Alice, lost no time in the manufacture of bullets 
and cartridges. Thus the day of anxiety wore 
away in the homes, while the absent ones had 
scarcely time to think of home. 

With the dead and wounded was brought the 
message that the able-bodied would not be home 
that day, and the order to send the provisions 
down toward Boston where it was supposed the 
enemy would be held. It fell to the women and 
few men remaining in the town to bury the brave 
Captain Jonathan Willson, while the immediate 
family of Job Lane cared for him, in whose body 


was yet hidden the well-aimed bullet of the 
enemy. The return of Lieutenant Stearns after 
three days brought tidings from the absent, but 
no relief to Rachel, who now learned that her 
brother Solomon and lover Moses had decided 
to remain on duty indefinitely. But the brave 
of either sex spent no time in idle lamentation. 
Between cooking, spinning, and knitting every 
moment was occupied ; and not a day passed but 
some one in the town took a load of provisions 
to the Cambridge camp. Moses Fitch received 
a double share ; not only did the package from his 
home contain the bountiful evidence of the soli- 
citude of mother and sisters, but in the Stearns 
bundle was always sure to be found some re- 
minder of Rachel's love. 

Scarcely had a month elapsed before exposure 
and fatigue began its destructive work. One after 
another of the young men were brought to their 
homes to languish and die ; among these was Solo- 
mon Stearns. Then, as not before, did the brave 
heart of Rachel grow faint. She saw but l'"tle 
prospect of her lover's ever returning to redeem 
his promise made months before, and renewed 
with a fond embrace on the morning of April 19. 
These lovers had secretly agreed that their mar- 
riage should be solemnized by the use of a 
ring. This was a great innovation upon family 
custom ; for both families were strong Congrega- 
tionalists, and shared in that contempt for any- 


thing that savored of the Church of England, and 
especially now that the king was making an at- 
tempt to rob them of what liberties they had 
enjoyed. The prospect of their marriage was poor 
indeed. Moses felt it to be his duty to continue 
in the service, and Rachel was too much of a 
patriot to say anything against it. 

The evacuation of Boston brought cheer to 
many homes. By some it was thought to be the 
end of the difficulty, and the triumph of the 
Colonial cause ; but it soon became apparent that 
fighting was to be done elsewhere. While the 
seat of war had removed from Massachusetts Bay, 
there was yet to be fighting, and Massachusetts 
men must be in it. When Rachel was plying her 
spinning-wheel with renewed courage, there came 
the call for a seventh campaign. This time eight 
men must go from Bedford to New York, and 
Moses Fitch was of that number. The distance 
made it harder for Rachel to bear ; but she was 
a patriot, and willingly made the sacrifice of com- 
fort, fearing only that she might be called upon 
to make a greater sacrifice. She could no longer 
send the little dainties to camp, and thus comfort 
herself by cheering the one whom she had loved 
from the days when they had together gone to 
the little school on the hill, half-way between 
their respective homes. Then, whatever troubled 
one brought a shadow over the other's face ; and so 
it had been down to the time when their greatest 


trouble was their country's sorrow. She kept the 
little wheel going, and week by week added new 
pieces to her store of fine linen, while with her 
own hands she tended the fresh crop of flax. 

It was into the month of November before 
the sad tidings were received from the battle of 
White Plains, fought on the 28th of the previous 
month. Not since the 19th of April of the pre- 
vious year had such sorrow filled the hearts of 
the people of this little town. Timothy Page had 
been killed and Moses Fitch wounded. Rachel 
was now ready to enter the service as a nurse ; 
but being denied this privilege, she set to work 
in the preparation of bandages and lint for the 
use of the army surgeons. Months wore away, 
during which occasional messages brought the as- 
surance that the wounded patriot would recover, 
and soon be able to return to his home. At 
length in an unexpected hour he appeared, with 
one arm hanging useless at his side. With a 
reasonable expectation of ultimate recovery, the 
young man endured the privation, with the aid 
and sympathy of those who loved him. With 
little prospect of either pay or pension, these 
young people went on with their plans. When 
the soldier's pay came, it was in the form of the 
Continental currency, more bulky than valuable ; 
but all this could not deter them from their one 

Rachel belonged to the " Daughters of Lib 



erty," and was resolved to be led to the marriage 
altar in a gown of her own manufacture. To this 
Moses was agreed ; but one purpose was to be 
carried out, no matter how great the self-denial 
in other directions. Rachel was to have a wed- 
ding-ring. There was no stipulation as to quality, 
unless the empty purse of her lover was to make 
one. The wounded patriot _disposed of a good 

Continental Currency 

share of his depreciated currency, and secured the 
ring, all unknown to Rachel, who had a secret 
plan to drop a bit of her slowly accumulated coin 
into the empty purse before this long anticipated 
day arrived. Before the sounds of war had fully 
ceased, the day was set when the friends of Moses 
and Rachel should assemble, and witness the cere- 
mony by which the attachment of childhood was 


to be consummated in marriage. It was just 
here that a new difficulty arose. The Rev. 

Mr. , the only parson of the town, had leaned 

too strongly towards the Tory sentiment to be 
invited to unite these young patriots in the bonds 
of wedlock. To fail to do it would be a great 
breach of propriety; but he who had said, when 
the regulars were on the march to Concord, "You 
go and fight, and I will stay here and pray," could 
not be invited to this service. To use the ring 
and omit the minister would not be in the line of 
good Congregationalism ; but it was in the time 
of war, and this seeming contradictory act must 
be explained by each guest and interested neigh- 
bor for himself. 

It was on Thanksgiving Day, 1782, that Moses 
Fitch, in his homespun suit, led Rachel Stearns, 
in a dress of her own manufacture, to the mar- 
riage altar. While the " Squire " of the town 
made the service legal, Moses placed the ring 
upon Rachel's finger, with no priestly intervention. 

Thus two of the most noted families of that 
locality were brought together. The founder of 
each came in the Winthrop immigration, being 
of that stock which gave to New England its 
grandest characteristics. 

The ring consisted of a modest jewel in a set- 
ting of gold. It was a simple thing ; but it meant 
much to her as she received it from the soldier, 
wounded in the struggle for liberty. In faqt, it 


spoke to her of his blood, poured out on the field 
of battle. It has ever since been a talisman to 
the generations that have succeeded this happy 
couple. To Moses and Rachel, thus happily 
united, there were born Solomon, Lucy, Moses, 
Elijah, Rachel, Joel, and Nathan, — six of whom 
are represented in most useful lives to-day. But 
to the namesake of the mother it was early de- 
cided that the wedding-ring should descend, and 
that it should be delivered on the day of her 

Although the mother ceased to wear the ring 
two years before the marriage of the daughter, 
yet on Feb. i8, 1819, Rachel second, in appearing 
at the marriage altar, wore the envied ring that 
had glistened in her youthful eyes as she twirled 
it on the finger of her mother, while she listened 
to its story from her whose fondling embrace was 
not forgotten. 

Through the years of this second family posses- 
sion the sacred obligation of the ring was kept in 
mind. That it was the birthright of the Rachel 
was a family truth. None but boys looked upon 
the precious link of family connection, as by their 
mother, Rachel, they were taught to revere the 
memory of those through whose marriage the 
sacred link had been welded. A niece had now 
appeared, who bore the name for the third genera- 
tion ; and on March 26, 1868, the golden band with 
its glistening jewel was duly transferred. The 


difficulty of carrying out to the letter the early 
pledge was here again met ; for Rachel third had 
not responded to Cupid's darts, when the second 
proud owner could wear the ring no longer. 

Upon the finger of a skilful dressmaker the tal- 
isman was now seen for many years, as she plied 
the needle in the wealthiest families of Boston. 

Though deaf to all lovers' whispered words, she 
bore the name of Rachel, and claimed the prize. 
Again the letter of the rule was violated, and more 
rudely than before. Competition had failed at the 
baptismal font, and no generation of the name of 
her for whom Jacob served so long now rose to 
claim the ring. 

It was by Sarah that the ancient race was per- 
petuated, so the family council decided that the 
one bearing this biblical name should be the 
owner in the fourth generation. 

Hence, a Middlesex bride of 1893 wore to the 
marriage altar the ring which sacredly links the 
present with the past, and which gave not a little 
tinge of sentiment to the new relation entered 
upon by one of the favorites of modern society. 

Were this all, it were sufficient to arouse feel- 
ings of envy in the minds of others of the family 
circle ; but the happy bride by this act of mar- 
riage became the possessor of a contingent legacy. 
Rachel the third, whose skilful hand long bore 
the precious heirloom when exercised in adorning 
the brides of the palatial mansions of Boston and 


vicinity, studiously kept aloof from all matrimonial 
alliances herself, but she thoughtfully offered a 
prize upon the marriage rite. 

In her last will and testament, probated in 
September, 1888, is the following clause: "To my 
sister I give and bequeath my Japanese jewel-case 
and my silver spoons, and I direct her to give the 
same to the first of my nieces that shall be mar- 
ried, on her wedding day." 

There were six nieces who shared in the accu- 
mulated wealth of the third Rachel, either of 
whom might be the fortunate legatee. There 
was no apparent competitive struggle for the 
jewels, but a stray quiver from Cupid's bow was 
the means of the one who had the ancient heir- 
loom becoming the rightful legatee under the will 
of the last Rachel. 

No woman of New England descent has a more 
commendable pass into the Daughters of the Rev- 
olution than she who wears the ring that was the 
price of the blood of a Middlesex hero. 





The people of Lincoln were more closely allied 
with their neighbors in Concord than those of 
either town that had formed parts of the original 
settlement. Until within about ten years of the 
beginning of trouble with the mother country, a 
part of the town had been included in the "six 
miles square." They had been recognized as a 
separate municipality only about a score of years 
when open hostilities were begun. Her sons were 
well schooled in the art of war, having done faith- 
ful service in the interests of the king. Within 
a year of its incorporation Lincoln was engaged in 
active preparation for war; and nearly a score of 
the able-bodied men had their poll-taxes in the 
county rates for the year 1755 abated, "they be- 
ing in His Majesty's service in the defence of His 
dominions in North America." Two were killed 
at the battle of Lake George, Sept. 8, 1755, others 
were in the expedition to the eastward in the dis- 


charge of their country's service, and through the 
protracted troubles with the French and Indians 
the town was well represented. 

The same patriotism that prompted these peo- 
ple to fight for the king was their impelling 
motive when George III. turned his sceptre 
against them, and their experience had fitted 
them for the hardships before them. 

Early in the business transactions of the young 
town stands the record of March 15, 1770: 
" Voted, that we will not purchase- any one article 
of any person that imports goods contrary to the 
agreement of the merchants of Boston ; " and in 
answer to the circular letter of February, 1773, 
they make the following record : " We will not 
be wanting in our assistance according to our 
ability, in the prosecuting of all such lawful and 
constitutional measures as shall be thought proper 
for the continuance of all our rights, privileges, 
and liberties, both civil and religious ; being of 
opinion that a steady, united, persevering con- 
duct in a constitutional way, is the best means, 
under God, for obtaining the redress of all our 

Among the notable families of Lincoln that did 
valiant service in the Revolution, and which are 
yet represented in the place, is the Farrar family, 
still occupying the old estate, on which are two 
dwellings that echoed the voices of anxious people 
on the 19th of April, 1775. Miss Mary B. Farrar, 



my informant, with others at the old home, repre- 
sent the sixth generation in possession. The 
first family dwelling was built by George Farrar 
about 1692, and hence has sheltered the family 
almost two centuries. About the time of setting 
up his home at this place, a part of Concord, he 
was urged to settle farther to the interior of the 

Farrar Homestead, Lincoln 

country, and was offered one-half the present 
township of Southborough for two cents per acre, 
and went to see it ; but on his return said it was 
so far in the wilderness it would never be in- 
halDited. This pioneer, who lived until 1760, and 
his wife one year longer, was succeeded by a son, 
Samuel, who was born in 1708. Through his mar- 
riage with Lvdia Barrett of Concord, the family 


became joined with one of historical interest. He 
lived to see the promise of liberty well-nigh veri- 
fied, when he was succeeded by his son and name- 
sake, Samuel, who was born in 1737, and whose 
marriage with Mary Hoar in 1772 made the in- 
terests of these towns more intimate. He was 
distinguished in the Revolution, and ever since 
appears in the records as "Captain." He attained 
the age of ninety-two years, dying in 1829. The 
family succession was continued by James, son of 
Captain and Deacon Samuel, who began life at 
this old home in the year of the Declaration of 
Independence, for which his father nobly fought. 

The marriage of James Farrar, first with Nancy 
Barrett, and later with Mary Fiske Hoar, contin- 
ued and strengthened interesting family history. 

The second James, born in 1820, kept the 
record unbroken, and aided in maintaining the 
family integrity. He married Adeline Hyde in 
1845 ; 3-iid their children occupy the old dwelling, 
which they sincerely cherish, as does another 
branch of the family, occupying another dwelling 
of much historical interest. Judge Timothy 
Farrar, who died in 1847, aged one hundred and 
one years and seven months, said of his birthplace, 
when asked as to its age on his centennial, " You 
must ask some one older than I ; it was an old 
house as long as I can remember." 

Samuel Farrar, with his wife, Lydia Barrett, 
both advanced in years, and their son, Samuel, 


with Mary Hoar, his wife, were all living on 
the old homestead at the opening of the Revolu- 
tion. The home was but a short distance from 
the village of Concord, and the reader can ipagine 
that whatever affected the people of the mother 
town touched the vital interests of thesp families 
in Lincoln. 

The geographical situation of Lincoln favored 
a strong alliance with Concord. The main road 
from Charlestown, through Lexington to Con- 
cord and Groton, passed through the northerly 
part of Lincoln ; hence the travel between the 
lower towns and those of importance in Middlesex 
county, farther inland, was naturally through Lin- 
coln. Soldiers from Gage's army had been fre- 
quently seen passing up and down this road ; and 
if an invasion was made, it was expected to be 
over this direct route. In the north-easterly part 
of the town, near Lexington line, and not far 
from Bedford, dwelt Mr. Josiah Nelson, an ardent 
patriot, with whom arrangements were made to 
extend an alarm in case of danger. Nelson was 
awakened in the night of the i8th of April by 
the noise of horsemen passing up the road. He 
rushed out half-dressed to ascertain the cause of 
the passing, and instead of information was given 
a blow with a sword, gashing his head, and was 
told that he was a prisoner. He was immediately 
surrounded by a party of British scouts and To- 
ries, who acted as guides ; after detaining him a 

CAPTURE OF Paul pevppe ag 

while the scouts left him in charge of the Tories, 
who knew him well as an honored citizen, and they 
soon released him, with an order to go into his 
house and extinguish the light. They threatened 
to burn his house over his head if he gave any 
alarm, or showed any light. But this did not cause 
the patriot to shrink from duty. After dressing 
himself and his wound, he started to keep his 
promise to the Bedford neighbors, a little north 
of his home. This alarm, sounded in the extreme 
south part of Bedford by Nelson, explains the 
readiness with which the minute-men and militia 
of that part of Bedford reported at Jeremiah 
Fitch's tavern in Bedford Centre when the alarm 
from Lexington was first given in the opposite 
part of the town. 

It was not far from Nelson's home that Paul 
Revere, on his midnight ride, was captured, and 
thus prevented from going to Concord, as the 
poet describes him, unless it was by proxy. 

" It was two by the village dock 
When he came to the bridge in Concord town. 
He heard the bleating of the flock, 
And the twitter of birds among the trees, 
And felt the breath of the morning breeze 
Blowing over the meadows brown." 

(The town of Lincoln has taken action towards the erection of a monu- 
ment where Revere was captured.) 

Captain William Smith of the minute-men lived 
on this road, and to him the alarm must have 


come at a very early hour. He mounted his 
horse, and made haste to spread the alarm, and 
then pushed on to Concord, reaching there with 
a part of his company about seven o'clock in the 
morning. He was directed by a field-officer to 
parade his men on the hill, which he did, leaving 
his horse at the tavern. The horse was later ap- 
propriated by the enemy to carry away one of 
their wounded. When the British were in pos- 
session of North Bridge, Captain Smith offered, 
with his company, to endeavor to dislodge them. 

Leaving Captain Smith and such of his com- 
pany as received the alarm in time to join him in 
the morning at Concord, I will now invite the 
reader to join me in listening to the story of Mrs. 
Samuel Hartwell as told by her grandson, who had 
it repeatedly from her lips. Says Mr. Hartwell, 
" It was my good fortune to have a grandmother 
live in the full possession of her faculties until she 
attained almost a century of life. The happiest 
days of my youth were those spent at her fireside, 
listening to her experiences on the day long to be 
remembered. She said : ' Your grandfather, who 
was sergeant, left the house, joining the neighbors 
as soon as the alarm reached us. I did up the 
chores at the barn, and cared for the children as 
well as I could in my anxiety. When thus occu- 
pied, a colored woman who lived near us came in 
to spread the news of the approach of the British, 
but was afraid to go farther; so I said, " If you will 


take care of my baby, I will go and give the warn- 
ing." I started for a neighbor's house, glancing 
down the road, and saw such a sight as I can 
never forget. The army of the king was coming 
up in fine order, their redcoats were brilliant, and 
their bayonets glistening in the sunlight made a 
fine appearance ; but I knew what all that meant, 
and I feared that I should never see your grand- 
father again, although I then knew nothing of 
their bloody work at Lexington. 

'"I saw an occasional horseman dashing by, 
going up and down, but heard nothing more until 
I saw them coming back in the afternoon, all in 
confusion, wild with rage, and loud with threats. 
I knew there had been trouble, and that it had 
not resulted favorably for that retreating army. 
I heard the musket-shots just below, by the old 
Brooks Tavern, and trembled, believing that our 
folks were killed. Some of the rough, angry 
soldiers rushed up to this house and fired in ; but 
fortunately for me and the children, the shots went 
into the garret, and we were safe. How glad I 
was when they all got by the house, and your 
grandfather and our neighbors reached home 

The scenes that followed the alarm, when it 
reached other homes in the town, were in some 
respects like those at the home of Samuel Hart- 
well. Says Mr. Farrar, a grandson of Captain 
Samuel of the company of militia, and the owner 


and occupant of one of the Farrar dwellings on 
the old homestead, " My grandfather was on his 
way to mill in the early dawn when he heard of 
the trouble. Throwing his saddle-bags containing 
the grist over a wall, he made haste to rally his 
men, and went on to Concord." 

The people, here as elsewhere, had become so 
alarmed by premonitions of evil that this morn- 
ing's intelligence was enough to cause them to 
believe that neither life nor property was safe 
within the range of the invading army. Says 
Mr. Farrar, "The Concord families living near- 
est to our home fled this way for safety, and 
with my grandmother and others of the family left 
this house, and took refuge in ' Oaky Bottom,' 
a retired piece of forest land about one-half mile 
in the rear of the house, still known by that name 
in our community. Grandmother in her haste 
had sufficient self-possession to think of the cattle 
tied in the barn. These she let loose, desiring to 
save them from the flames that she expected 
would be kindled by Gage's army. She took her 
babe, Samuel (the third), in her arms, the large 
family Bible, a loaf of bread, and a looking-glass, 
with what little silver she had, and bade farewell 
to the old dwelling, never expecting to gather 
her family about her again beneath that ancestral 
roof. Every little while they would venture out 
far enough to look over the hill to see if the 
soldiers had set the house on fire." To appre- 


ciate the situation of these people and others, the 
young patriot needs to place himself in thought 
back to that April morning, having in mind the 

Samuel Farrak, "the babe Samuel" 

many real threats and the more unwarranted 
alarms that had emanated from the army at Bos- 
ton. "The babe Samuel," said Mr. Farrar, 
"grew and became a distinguished man. He was 


one of the trustees of Andover Seminary, and 
president of the bank for many years." His 
picture taken at the age of ninety years appears 
on page 223. The silver and the looking-glass, 
for some time hidden in a ditch, were safely re- 
turned to the home, and were long used in the 
family. The old Bible with its well-worn leaves, 
which long since left the vellum covers, is kept in 
a glass case in the room from which it was so 
hastily yet reverently taken. 

While all the precaution taken by the Farrar 
family proved to be unnecessary, too much was 
not taken in the other part of Lincoln through 
which the enemy passed ; for at more places than 
the Hartwell house, already mentioned, there were 
left indelibly stamped the signs of the vengeful 
acts of the enemy. 

The soldiers of the town met one another at 
the scene of action at Concord ; and it was one of 
them, Eleazer Brooks, whose calmness in the time 
of danger prevented the determined patriots from 
the rashness of attack, by saying, " It will not do 
for us to begin the war." In the most severe 
contest of the retreat, the Lincoln men were in 
their own town, many of them on their own farms, 
where they were familiar with every linoU and vale. 
Says Mr. William F. Wheeler, "The retreating 
column re-entered the town soon after noon. 
From the foot of Hardy's Hill, the first consider- 
able ascent on the returning march, to the foot of 


the next hill, the road is the dividing line between 
Concord and Lincoln. At the south-west corner 
of the tanyard, the line of the town leaves the 
road and turns northward. Eastward from the 
tanyard the road ascends a steep acclivity, and 
bends northward also. To reduce the grade of 
the hill, and get material for the repairs of the 
road, an excavation had been made in the brow 
of the hill. Through this excavation the road 
passed ; and on the easterly side of the road was 
a dense forest, which afforded a covert for the Pro- 
vincials, while the curves of the road exposed the 
British to a raking fire from front and rear. It was 
here that the refreat first became a rout — here 
that the trained warriors of England's haughty 
king first paled in wild dismay, and then fled in 
dire confusion before an impromptu army of en- 
raged and embattled farmers." Hard fighting was 
done on Lincoln soil. Near the brow of the hill 
eight British soldiers lost their lives. It was here 
that Captain Jonathan Willson of Bedford, Daniel 
Thompson of Woburn, and Nathaniel Wyman of 
Billerica were killed. Two more British soldiers 
lost their lives on Lincoln soil. 

Some of the women of the town were not so 
disconcerted as to fail to plan for the needs of the 
men who had so hastily left their homes. Know- 
ing that the men would probably pass down the 
highway on their return, these women prepared a 
lunch of hasty pudding and milk at the home of 


Leonard Hoar. "This," said Mrs. Farrar, "was 
hastily served on extemporized tables of barrels 
and boards by the roadside." 

Although Mrs. Samuel Hartwell had good rea- 
son for entertaining vindictive feelings towards 
the invading army, her actions proved that her 
better nature soon prevailed. She said, " I could 
not sleep that night, for I knew there were British 
soldiers lying dead by the roadside ; and when, on 
the following "morning, we were somewhat calmed 
and rested, we gave attention to the burial of 
those whom their comrades had failed to take 
away. The men hitched the oxen to the cart, and 
went down below the house, and gathered up the 
dead. As they returned with the team and the 
dead soldiers, my thoughts went out for the wives, 
parents, and children away across the Atlantic, 
who would never again see their loved ones ; and 
I left the house, and taking my little children by 
the hand, I followed the rude hearse to the grave 
hastily made in the burial-ground. I remember 
how cruel it seemed to put them into one large 
trench without any coffins. There was one in a 
brilliant uniform, whom I supposed to have been 
an officer. His hair was tied up in a cue." For 
more than a century this common grave remained 
unmarked, until the people of the town, consider- 
ing the events of that day with a forgiving spirit, 
have within a few years erected a memorial stone 
over the resting-place of the unknown dead. 


Among the many simple gravestones in the old 
burial-ground of this town is one that has stood 
for more than a ccntur^^ ^ 
It marks the resting- 
place of a A'oung soldier 
whii was with the com- 
pany at Old North 
Bridge and in 
the later trials 
of that April 
day of 1 775, 
and who died 
on the 15 th 
of the follow- 
ing August. 
For a full cen- 
tury this gray 
slab received 
no more notice than did scores of others standing 
there like sentinels, reminding the thoughtful of 
the brave }'eomen soldiery of Middlesex. Dving 
childless and unmarried, the only family associa- 
tion at this grave is tJiat of earlier generations. 

Who shall say it was a mere accident that the 
name of Abraham Garfield and the family hero- 
ism did not perish when this }'outig patriot's life 
came to an end in the town of Lincoln .' 

'' There's a diviiiily that shapes our ends." 

The young man Garfield not only had a part in 

Lrxro[_x ]\I(>NuMr,NT 



that engagement which fixed the status of the 
colonies as that of rebellion, but he was one of 
eight men of the town who on the fourth day 
succeeding the fight swore to an affidavit before 
a magistrate. 

Garfield Headstone 

Lexington, April 2t,. 1775. 
We, John Hoar, John Whitehead, Abraham Garfield, Ben- 
jamin Munroe, Isaac Parker, WilHam Hosmer, John Adams, 
Gregory Stone, all of Lincoln in the Coiuitv of Middlesex, 
Massachusetts Bay, all of lawful age, do testify and sav, that 
on Wednesday last, \ve were assembled at Concord, in the 


morning of said day, in consequence of information received 
tiiat a brigade of regular troops was on their marcii to tlie 
said town of Concord, who had killed six men at the town of 

About an hour afterwards we saw them approaching to 
the number, as we apprehended of about 1,200, on which we 
retreated to a hill about eighty rods back, and the said troops 
then took possession of the hill where we were first posted. 
Presently after this we saw the troops moving toward the 
North Bridge, about one mile from the said Concord meet- 
ing-house ; we then immediately went before them and passed 
the bridge, just before a party of them, to the number of 
about two hundred, arrived ; they there left about one-half 
of their two hundred at the bridge, and proceeded with the 
rest toward Col. Barrett's, about two miles from the said 
bridge ; and the troops that were stationed there, observing 
our approach, marched back over the bridge and then took 
up some of the planks : we then hastened our march toward 
the bridge, and when we had got near the bridge they fired 
on our men, first three guns, one after the other, and then 
a considerable number more ; and then, and not before (hav- 
ing orders from our commanding officers not to fire till we 
were fired upon), we fired upon the regulars and they 
retreated. On their retreat through the town of Lexington 
to Charlestown, they ravaged and destroyed private prop- 
erty, and burnt three houses, one barn, and one shop. 

It required the sublimest courage to place one's 
signature to that paper, for it was an admission 
under oath of having been a leader in the fight. 
It not. only admitted, but justified, the act of firing 
on the troops of the government. It seemed 
almost equivalent to putting the executioner's 
noose around one's neck. But to such men prin- 


ciple was of more importance than life. It was 
not only a means adopted for vindicating them- 
selves before the government in England, but it 
was necessary that the truth of that fight accom- 
panied by proofs that could not be questioned 
should be laid before the people of the colonies, 
in order that they might be roused to rebellion 
and revolution. 

The patriots of 1775 not only did the deed, but 
shouldered the responsibility. 

Real history has the glow of romance when one 
pauses to consider that one of the signers with 
Abraham Garfield was John Hoar, who became 
the great-grandfather of Senator George F. Hoar, 
presiding officer of the convention which nomi- 
nated James Abram Garfield for the Presidency. 

Solomon Garfield, brother of Abraham, and 
great-grandfather of the twentieth President of 
the United States, was, like his brother, born in 
Concord, now Lincoln, and was fully imbued with 
the spirit that actuated the men of Lincoln, al- 
though he had some years earlier set up his home 
elsewhere. The Lexington alarm reached him at 
his home in another town, thirty miles away from 
the family seat ; but it met with a patriot's re- 
sponse, and he was soon on the way to the bloody 
scenes. Little more is known of him, save that he 
came out of the war having been impoverished by 
the loss of property, which was the occasion of his 
seeking a home elsewhere. The family moved to 


New York, >vhere one of their sons, Thomas Gar- 
field, was married. It was on the latter's farm, in 
December, 1799, that a son, Abram Garfield, was 
born. Though far away from family scenes, this 
branch of the family did not fail to remember the 
Lincoln patriot, who, like Joseph of old, was sleep- 
ing in the sepulchre of the fathers. The Garfield 
family became united with another of a like spirit, 
— ■ the Ballous. The marriage of the namesake 
of the Lincoln patriot with Eliza Ballou resulted 
in offspring, the youngest of whom was destined, 
not only to bear the name of the New England 
son, but to reanimate the scenes of the past. 

The fabric of history begun in Massachusetts 
and completed in Ohio reveals some strong and 
brilliant threads in the ancestry of the martyred 
President of these United States. 

The Roman chariot has found its place in liter- 
ature, but the New England emigrant wagon has 
failed of enduring notice. Yet the lives of richly 
attired occupants of the former cannot be com- 
pared with those who, clad in the coarse garments 
of their own manufacture, were jostled across the 
country in the latter. The emigrant wagon, with 
its jaded horses, its muddy white cover, its much 
confused load of household articles, and its sad- 
eyed and forlorn but determined occupants, must 
be recognized in the combination of circumstances 
that resulted in reproducing a Massachusetts pa- 
triot in the daughter State of Ohio. 


Said Senator George F. Hoar: "To Lincoln be- 
longs a large share in the fame of the great sol- 
dier who cleared Kentucky of rebellion, and was 
the right arm of Thomas at Chickamauga. No 
person was more ready to recognize this relation 
than President Garfield himself. Several times 
in the course of the spring of 1881 he said to me, 
' I want you next summer to take me to Lincoln.' 
I had two letters from him in the last few days of 
June, one sent from the White House at twelve 
o'clock, noon, June 30, less than two days before 
he was shot, arranging to reach Concord on the 
nth of July, 'to spend,' as he says, ' a few hours 
amid the scenes of our national and family his- 
tory ! ' . . . As you well know, he was setting out 
on his journey when the bullet of the assassin 
laid him low." 

Thus it not only appears that it was the sons 
of the Middlesex patriots of '75 who so readily 
responded at their hearthstones to the call of 
'61, but from new and distant homes went out 
those in whose veins flowed kindred blood to that 
poured out on the soil of Lexington and Concord. 

The interest manifested on the 19th of April 
by the Lincoln people was not abated, only as 
distance from the scenes of action prevented a 
general participation, and time afforded prepara- 
tion for organized service. The town was repre- 
sented by more or less of its citizens during the 
entire war, and large numbers were found in some 


campaigns. Sixty men are credited with five days' 
service and forty miles of travel in March, 1776, 
being called down for the fortifying of Dorchester 
Hills. This service was a plan of General Wash- 
ington's to bring things about Boston to a climax, 
and was extremely gratifying to all who partici- 
pated, as it was soon followed by the evacuation 
of the town, the possession of it by the Provin- 


cials, and the return of many patriots to their 
abandoned homes. The Lincoln soldiers, like 
many others, took their ox-teams with them to 
aid in the work. "When in service on the hills," 
said Mr. Farrar, " we were obliged to manage 
our oxen in silence, depending upon the prick of 
our bayonets to urge them along rather than our 
ordinary means of forcing them." 

To one familiar with the citizens of this town 



after the lapse of a century and a quarter, when 
the events that tried men's souls have become 
subjects of tradition and history, it is apparent 
that many of the heroes of 1775 are still rep- 
resented on the same farms where the plough- 
shares were left in the unfinished furrows. A 
notable instance is found in the Hartwell family. 

Garfield Footstone 

Samuel Hartwell, already mentioned, was not 
only in service on the 19th of April, but was a 
quartermaster at White Plains, N.Y., in 1776, 
in service at Cambridge in 1778, and at Rhode 
Island in 1779 and 17S0. The same name has 
been prominent during all the )'ears since tliat 
patriot's service; and in 1S95 the name Samuel 


Hartwell is borne by a grandson of the hero of 
'75, who is evincing tlie principles of good citi- 
zenship. Among the patriots of '75 still repre- 
sented in the town in families of the same name 
are Baker, Haynes, Weston, Wheeler, Brooks, and 
Flint ; the last two being descended from the 
first settlers of Concord. 




This town has individuality denied to many. 
It is the only one of the name on this side the 
Atlantic. Being a very early settlement, the 
people were inured to hardship. 

The nearness of the Indians, and their cruelty 
in various localities, kept these settlers in a state 
of anxiety and watchful preparation. Garrisons 
were erected in various localities. They were 
somewhat relieved by the labors of the Apostle 
Eliot with the nearest tribes, who in a measure 
elevated them from savage warfare. 

But the people of Billerica did not escape the 
ruthless hand of the red men. It was in 1695, at 
midday, that they swept down upon the northern 
part of the settlement, and killed or captured fif- 
teen. Others perished at different times. This, 
together with the ordinary hardship attending a 
new settlement, prepared the people for later 

These pioneers, like many of New England, 
were of sterling worth, — 

"That neither gave, nor would endure, offence," 


They came to build up a Christian community, 
and laid their foundations broad and deep. Some 
of the early settlers are still represented there by 
their descendants, who occupy the same lands. It 
was the same blood, heated in the effort to pro- 
tect the log cabin from the savages, that, cours- 
ing in other veins, was fired to action by the 
oppressive measures of King George III. 

Among the first pulsations of civilized life in 
this town was that of the location of the Dudley 
Farm, a grant of one thousand acres to the 
deputy governor in 1637. It was upon this land 
that the Hill and Farley families made very early 
settlements; and a greater portion of their early 
tilled lands is in the possession of their descend- 
ants, after more than two and a quarter centu- 
ries. With the former family the surname has 
not changed. 

Ralph Hill, the pioneer, appears in the business 
transactions of the town in 1654. His house was 
made a garrison in Philip's war, and around it 
cluster the earliest actions of the people in regard 
to resistance to George III. 

As in other towns, the minister here was an 
acknowledged leader, and Ralph Hill was a willing 
follower. To an appeal from the Boston Com- 
mittee, the town responded on June 6, 1774, in 
a lengthy statement, concluding thus : " That, as 
it would be an Indellible Disgrace and a Violation 
of the Sacred Obligation we are under, to God, 



to our Country, to ourselves, and to Posterity, for 
us tamely and Pusillanimously to give up these 
invaluable Liberties, virhich our worthy Ancestors 
purchased for us at Such Vast Expense of Blood 
and Treasure, We are Determined to use our 
utmost efforts to maintain them, and not part 
with them at a Cheaper Rate than they were at 
first Obtained." 

fflJL^fti... .. . >ijffiB^S 




■ Ji-^^JBIH^MB 

^P J 



V "^S 

-f m^tsuMi^^^ 

gPp ^'^"'IIk 



Hill Humesthaij, Billerica 

To these resolutions the name of Ralph Hill is 
attached as one of a committee. He was also on 
the Committee of Correspondence. 

The town not only adopted such measures as 
did other towns in the Province, but in some 
respects were more positive. They say, "As 
every method ought to be pursued which ma\' 
tend to promote the arts and manufactures of 


the Country, especially that of wool, The Inhabi- 
tants of this town shall not Kill any lambs for 
the markett till after the first Day of August next ; 
and also that no one ought to sell any to any 
Butcher or Petty Chapman, at any time whatever." 

" Voted, That the Inhabitants of this Town will, 
on the Death of a friend or Relative, Conform 
to the 8th article of the American Association, 
and go into no further mourning than such as is 
therein Recommended, and will entirely Dis- 
continue the Giving of any Gloves whatever at 

The ruthless treatment of a Billerica citizen by 
Gage's men in Boston (before explained in this 
volume) had served to so arouse the people that 
they were ready to march at the slightest notice. 
At the Ralph Hill homestead, the facts are 

" The message probably reached the town by 
two o'clock on the morning of the 19th. It came 
by the way of Woburn, to the home of the Ditson 
family, one member of which had been the recent 
sufferer in Boston. As might be supposed, they 
lost no time in arousing the people. A possible 
opportunity was at hand to avenge the insult, and 
they made haste to improve it. Two, at least, of 
the family were early on their way to Concord, 
bent on dealing out to Gage's troops something 
more lasting in its effects than tar and feathers, 
which they had so liberally used on March 8th." 


There were citizens of this town who had more 
than mere local military distinction, such as the 
leaders of the minute-men were then enjoying. 

Colonel Thompson and Lieutenant Stickney 
were early in motion. Ebenezer Bridge, captain 
of the minute-men, was quick to respond. Mus- 
kets and accoutrements were hastily made ready 
and donned. There were the alarm-list, the train- 
band, and the minute-men, all gathered at the 
Common for muster and orders, and were soon off 
towards Concord. There were veterans also, as 
volunteers in the ranks. They went by the way 
of Bedford, there falling in by the "Old Oak," 
where Billerica, Reading, and other soldiers halted 
near Fitch's tavern with the Reading men, when 
they received added impulse and all made haste, 
meeting the enemy, when on their retreat, at 
Merriam's Corner. 

"This was our first shot at them," said Mr. 
Hill ; " and we lost no time for the rest of the 
day. Two of our men were wounded." 

" We had met the king's army in action, and 
come off victorious, despite the boasts of the 
enemy and all Tory predictions," continued our 

The manner in which the army that began to 
assemble at Cambridge was fed, clothed, and 
nursed is without parallel. Each colony made 
separate provision for its troops, — enlisting men, 
establishing their pay, supplying them with pro- 


visions, and appointing and commissioning their 
officers. Companies were going and coming pretty 
much at their own will. Indeed, soldiers were 
straggling up and down the roads. They had no 
uniforms ; and their firearms were such as they 
chanced to possess, but which they knew how to 
handle to advantage. There could not be other 
than disorder, for there was no authority vested in 
any one as commander-in-chief. General Ward, 
who early responded from his home at Shrews- 
bury, did his best; but in a state of desperation, 
he wrote, five days after tjie battle, to the Provin- 
cial Congress : — • 

" Gentlemen : — My situation is such, that, if I have not 
enlisting orders immediately, I shall be left alone. It is im- 
possible to keep the men here, except something be done. 
I therefore pray that the plan may be completed, and handed 
to me this morning, that you, gentlemen of the Congress, 
issue orders for enlisting men." 

While this was the state of things without, 
there was great unrest within, the town of Boston. 
General Gage, shut up with his army, was fearful 
that the enraged country would sweep down upon 
the town, and destroy him and his army. Arrange- 
ments were made between General Gage and the 
selectmen, by which people could leave the be- 
sieged town ; but, when he saw them going in 
large numbers, he regretted the step, realizing 
that the presence of women and children would 


stay the hand of the destroyer outside. Gage 
then began to fail to keep his part of the obliga- 
tion. He appointed guards to examine all trunks, 
boxes, beds, and everything to be carried out ; 
and every possible method for harassing the 
patriots who preferred to leave was adopted. 

In the meantime, the distressed tone of General 
Ward's letter was not without its good effect. 
In Massachusetts, the Provincial Congress assem- 
bled at Concord resolved that an army of thirty 
thousand was necessary for the defence of the 
country, and resolved to raise, as this colony's 
proportion, thirteen thousand six hundred troops ; 
and General Artemas Ward was appointed com- 

The New Hampshire troops that had responded 
to the Lexington alarm assembled at Medford, 
where the field-officers held a meeting, and advised 
the men to enlist in the service of the Massachu- 
setts colony, and recommended Colonel John Stark 
to take charge of them until the whole could be 
ratified by the Provincial Congress of New Hamp- 

Connecticut was prompt in its action on the 
receipt of the alarm, and also in organizing its 
army. They voted to raise six thousand men. 

The Rhode Island Assembly immediately voted 
to raise fifteen hundred men, and put them in 
command of Brigadier-General Nathaniel Greene. 
This was known as " the Rode Island Army." 


Thus was gathered the " great American army," 
consisting of about sixteen thousand men. Each 
colony was providing for its own, " the only ele- 
ment of uniformity being the common purpose 
that called them together." 

General Ward did have authority to command 
the New Hampshire forces as well as those of his 
own colony. 

Each colony was drawing its supplies from its 
several towns, and hence the patriots had both 
duties at home and in the army. Billerica was not 
remiss in this respect. It was there voted " to 
provide Blanketts for those persons in this town 
that have Inlisted into the provincial service." 
They also ordered members of an old militia com- 
pany to be " Ready on any occasion to take their 
part in any Burthen." A committee was chosen 
to provide straw for the army at Cambridge,- " to 
purchase 60 hogsheads of salt and ten hogsheads 
of Molasses, for a new stock." This was bought 
at Beverly. Their extremity appears when they 
record the purchase of a pair of shoes, an old coat, 
and a pair of stockings for a soldier. One man 
was set to work "to fix 5 Bayonets;" another to 
make " 7 Cataridge Boxes for the minute-men." 
Together with such minute preparations, out of 
their straitened circumstances they were ready 
" to take care of and provide for the Donation 
persons that come from the towns of Boston and 


It is not strange that death should step in to 
prevent many of these people from ever returning 
to their homes. In the burying-ground given by 
Ralph Hill to the town of Billerica may be seen 
a stone on which is read the following : — 








SHE DIED JULY 28tH, 1 776, AGED 80 YEARS. 

" The sweet remembrance of the just 
Shall flourish when they sleep in. dust." 

The other Billerica homestead already referred 
to is that of the Jaquith family. It joins the Hill 
estate, and here early and later patriots have been 
quick to respond to their country's call. 

The farm was purchased by George Farley in 
1653. Upon it was erected a commodious and 
substantial dwelling, which was a stronghold in 
Philip's war, 1676. The story of this old home 
in times of peace and war is given by the oldest 
living representative, Susan (Jaquith) Abbott, now 
venerable with the crown of ninety-eight years. 
Said this interesting woman, " I am of the eighth 
generation of our family born on this estate ; and 
as there are two more in which I take pleasure 

MA'S. .-IflBOrr'S STOA'V 


here, it appears that ten generations of our family 
have already enjoyed the homestead. 

" It was my grandfather, Joseph Jaquith, who 
joined the patriots on the arrival of the message 

Susan (Jaquith) Ahuutt 

from Ix-xington. He was ploughing in 'The Old 
Field' in the rear of our home when the word of 
danger reached him. He hastily unhitched his 
o.\en from the plough, ran for the house, took his 
gun from the wall over the door in ' Aunt Abigail's 


room,' saying, ' The redcoats are coming. He 
was not a member of an organized company pre- 
vious to the alarm, but started off as many others 
did at the call of need. When he returned with 
other Billerica soldiers, there was but little mili- 
tary precision ; their guns were slung over their 
shoulders in an easy-going manner." 

This patriot and many others are buried in the 
South Burying-Ground, near the grave of the Bos- 
ton lady who fled to this town for safety. 

Since the organization of the Sons of the American Rev- 
olution began its work, the Jaquith sepulchre has received 
patriotic attention by one of the number, Charles E. Abbott, 
who has honored his own name in honoring the memory of 
a worthy ancestor and patriot of Billerica. 

The patriots of this town were in service at the 
battle of Bunker Hill, in the redoubt under Pres- 
cott. Its captain of the 19th of April had been 
made a colonel, and Lieutenant Jonathan Stickney 
was in command. The Billerica men did not suf- 
fer as much as many ; but the first soldier killed in 
that battle was Asa Pollard,^ who was buried on 
the field. His name, and also that of Samuel 
Hill, who was killed, appear on the memorial 
tablets at Charlestown. Others perished as a 
result of that day's battle. 

' The Pollard school at Billerica is a fitting memorial of its citi- 
zen who gave up his life at Bunker Hill, 







" In the village of Menotomy, as in no other 
place on that AjDril day, the footprints of the pa- 
triots were indelibly stamped in their own blood 
and that of their enemy," said Mrs. Sophronia 
Russell in 1894, when in her eighty-eighth year 
she reviewed the sad experiences of her own 
family and that of the Russells, with their neigh- 

This may be attributed to the location and the 
hour of the day. It was in the direct line of 
march of the enemy, and sufficient time had 
elapsed for the towns at a distance to respond 
to the early alarm. The various routes taken 
converged at this village. 

Through the main road Gage's troops, in com- 
mand of Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, made their 
stealthy midnight march ; and over the same route 
they fought their way through a sheet of fire 
back to the protection of their ships of war. 

The outward march, intended to be silent, is 



remembered in Menotomy by only a few trifling 
incidents. Three of the Committee of Safety and 
Supplies, before alluded to, viz., Elbridge Gerry 
and Colonels Orne and Lee,i had stopped for the 
night at Black Horse Tavern. They were aroused 
soon after midnight to see the highway filled with 
British regulars. When the centre of the column 

Russell House, MENOT(:iMV 

reached the tavern, the light of the moon revealed 
the sly movements of an officer and file of soldiers 
coming towards the house. The trio of anxious 
guests understood that movement ; and, although 
half-dressed, they made their escape through a 
rear door, and sought the shelter of the corn 

1 Lee took cold from ihe exposure of that night, and died on 
May lo following. He was buried at Marblehead. 



Stubble of the previous harvest. Having searched 
the house in vain for the coveted rebels, the soldiers 
went out and joined their comrades on the march 
into the countr\'. 

The centre of Menotomy being away from the 
line of Revere's midnight ride, there was but little 
stir among the people when the regulars passed 

Russell Store, Menotomy 

out ; but it was not long before they were aware 
of the march. 

Lieutenant Smith, of Captain Locke's company, 
upon going to his door was asked by a soldier for 
a drink of water. This he refused, asking in turn, 
"Why are }'ou out at this time of night .-' " This 
and other similar incidents were enough to set an 
expectant people in action. 

250 Beneath old kooe trees 

Among the buildings standing and presenting 
much of the same appearance as in 1775 are the 
Russell dwelling and store ; and no family is more 
favorably situated for retaining the account of 
those trying scenes than the Russell family. At 
the old home and store it has been my privilege 
to gather the story of Menotomy from the lips of 
those who had it from their grandparents, who 
participated in the bloody work of April 19, 1775. 

The name of Russell appears in the list of the 
first settlers of that part of Cambridge known 
in the Revolution as Menotomy ; incorporated in 
1807 as West Cambridge, and later changed in 
name to Arlington. 

In 1732 William Russell headed a petition for 
better accommodations for the settlers in the 
north-west part of Cambridge. 

In 1762 the name is prominent among those 
who secured the forming of a new parish by the 
name of Menotomy. It was named after the 
Indian river that flowed from Spy Pond brook 
into the Mystic. 

The first to establish the store in Menotomy 
was Thomas, son of Jason, who was born in 1751, 
in the old Russell house. 

Jason, the father, was of the third generation 
from; William the immigrant. He married Eliza- 
beth Winship in 1740, and set up a home in the 
Russell dwelling. That he was a man of promi- 
nence, and had negro slaves, is apparent from the 


records of the church, which say that Kate, his 
negro child, was baptized on March 17, 1754, at 
three months of age. 

Thomas was one of a large family of children. 
He set up business for himself at the Russell 
store in 1773, married Anna Whittemore in the 
following year, and was well established as the 
only merchant of that village at the opening of 
the Revolution. He left his home and merchan- 
dise to shoulder the " king's arm," and serve as a 
friend of the colonial cause. Says Thomas H. 
Russell of the fourth generation of the merchants 
of the family, " On returning to this place of busi- 
ness, my great-grandfather, Thomas, found that 
the British soldiers had entered the store, helped 
themselves to what they wanted, destroyed much, 
and after drinking all the rum they could, had left 
the taps open, expecting to thereby empty the 
hogsheads ; but a member of the family was 
watching the enemy, and foiled the plan of de- 
struction. But," continued Mr. Russell, " the 
damage to this store and the loss of merchandise 
were as nothing when the trials of that day were 
summed up in the village, and especially in our 
family." Menotomy, like many other towns, had 
the good fortune of being led by a patriotic min- 
ister. Rev. Samuel Cook was fearless in de- 
nouncing the tyranny of the king, and ready to 
espouse the cause of the Province whenever oppor- 
tunity presented itself. 


Benjamin Locke and his company of minute- 
men were early to respond to the alarm. They 
assembled on the green by the meeting-house, 
and marched on to the aid of those who had 
charge of the stores at Concord. The women 
and children were sent away to places at a dis- 
tance from the Concord road. Many people hid 
their silver and other valuables, expecting that the 
army when returning would be given over to mur- 
der and plunder.! 

" The morning wore away quietly enough. 
Towards noon the road was again glittering with 
British bayonets. Smith's appeal for aid had been 
answered. Lord Percy was sent at the head of 
three regiments of infantry and two divisions of 
marines — in all about twelve hundred men — 
to re-enforce the first detachment. Marching out 
through Roxbury, he was delayed for a little while 
at Brighton Bridge, until the planks which had 
been taken up could be replaced. Then he kept 
on through Cambridge and Menotomy without 
further hindrance." 

The wagons of supplies and provisions which 
followed met with great difficulty in crossing 
the bridge, and were delayed so that they were 
obliged to make their course unattended by the 
army. The news of their approach preceded 
them to Menotomy; and the old men, "exempts," 

1 A silver cup was recovered after the evacuation of Boston, and 
is now treasured among the parish valuables. 


'■At this Si'ut, Armi, igTn, 1775, the Or.r> JTen 
OF JIen'jtumy Caftureij a Convoy of Ek^hteen 
SoLiJiEKS WITH Supplies, on its Wav t.i join the 
British at Lexington." Page 253 


determined to capture them, and thus aid the 
cause for which they were not able to shoulder 
the musket and march. About a dozen of them 
met at Cooper's Tavern. If they were not led 
by a minister, there was one in their number. 
Rev. Phillips Payson of Chelsea, who was foremost 
in this bold act. They secreted themselves be- 
hind a breastworlc of earth and. stones opposite 
the meeting-house, and when the wagons arrived 
they ordered a halt and surrender. The drivers 
whipped up their horses, but it was of no use. 
The old men fired, killing some of the horses, one 
or two men, and wounding others. The drivers 
and remaining soldiers fled, leaving the supplies 
with the people of Menotomy. This was a bold 
act, perpetrated by the "exempts" without the 
knowledge of the affair at Lexington or Concord. 
They had fired at the king's army on the king's 
highway, without regard for the oft-repeated in- 
junction, " Let them begin the war." The little 
group of invalids had a task before them, — they 
must remove the wagons and everything that 
would betray them to the returning enemy. Says 
Mrs. Sophronia Russell, " When I was a child I 
went with my father down to Spring Valley, near 
where now is the residence of J. T. Trowbridge, 
and saw the bones of the horses as they lay 
bleaching in the sun." 

All traces of the convoy of supplies were out 
of sight when the regulars returned, and the men 


of Menotomy had the satisfaction of knowing that 
they had captured the first supplies during the 
war. They never ceased telling this story as long 
as they were able to meet at Russell's store, where 
the more sorrowful experiences of the day were 
often repeated by some member of the family 
which met with the greatest loss. Said Thomas 
Russell, " My grandfather, who was a non-com- 
batant, would not go away for refuge as others 
were doing. He was one of the principal citizens 
of the village, being fifty-eight years of age, and 
in possession of a large tract of real estate. He 
was lame, and had difficulty in getting about, so 
he decided to stay at his own house, which stood 
near the highway. When friends urged him to 
leave it, he replied, ' An Englishman's house is 
his castle,' and he decided to stand his ground. 
Meanwhile a number of Americans, mostly from 
Danvers, had taken up a position in the rear of 
his house, and within a walled enclosure, which 
they strengthened by piling up bundles of shin- 
gles. There were other men behind trees on the 
side of the hill. 

"When the retreating enemy reached the plains 
of Menotomy they were better situated to do their 
deadly work, for the Americans were less pro- 
tected by heights on either side. Our people were 
well arranged to meet the enemy if they came in 
the highway ; but they did not anticipate a flanking 
guard, which came suddenly upon their ambuscade, 


and, after a moment of most savage fighting, drove 
our men in the enclosure down towards the road, 
where their complete destruction seemed inevi- 
table, as the main body of the enemy was before 
them. Closely pursued, they entered our house. 
Grandfather was shot at his own door, and then his 
body was stabbed through and through with the 
bayonets of the infuriated enemy as they rushed 
in, killing everybody they could reach. Eight 
Americans escaped to the cellar, where they pro- 
tected themselves by firing up the stairway. One" 
of the enemy was killed in attempting to continue 
his pursuit to the cellar ; but after plundering the 
house, the rest left, and went on their way. Our 
house," said Mr. Russell, " was a sad place that 
night. In the south room were laid the bodies of 
twelve of the dead, grandfather among them, bear- 
ing the marks of two bullet wounds and eleven 
bayonet stabs. They had seemed to vent their 
rage upon him. The Americans had observed 
little or no order in the fighting of the morning ; 
and now the enemy, finding themselves con- 
fronted by fresh troops from either side as they 
advanced, observed but little military order. 
They plundered houses, besides our store ; en- 
tered the meeting-house ; carried away the com- 
munion service from the house of Deacon Joseph 
Adams ; damaged the home of the minister, and 
so on, to Cooper's Tavern, which had not been en- 
tirely abandoned. They burst open the door, and 


there lound two of the old men, who were un- 
armed, and had only come up to the tavern to 
get a mug of flip and the news. Neither age 
nor helplessness deterred the infuriated mob ; for 
Gage's army was little else at that time. 

" The old men were at once despatched with 
blows and bayonet thrusts ; but the keeper and 
his wife, Benjamin and Rachel Cooper, having es- 
caped to the cellar, were passed unharmed. The 
sworn testimony of the tavern-keeper and his wife 
is : ' The king's regular troops, under the com- 
mand of General Gage, upon their return from 
blood and slaughter which they had made at Lex- 
ington and Concord, fired more than one hundred 
bullets into the house where we dwell, through 
doors, windows, etc. ; then a number of them en- 
tered the house where we and two aged gentlemen 
were all unarmed. We escaped for our lives into 
the cellar. The two aged gentlemen were imme- 
diately most barbarously and inhumanly murdered 
by them, being stabbed through in many places, 
their heads mangled, skulls broke, and their brains 
out on the floor and walls of the house.' 

" Not less than twenty-two Americans were 
killed on that April afternoon in Menotomy, 
and fully twice as many of the enemy perished. 
Two of our men were taken prisoners ; one, Seth 
Russell, was a member of our family. They re- 
mained in captivity until the exchange of June 
6 was made at Charlestown." Many of the dead 


were carried back to their own towns ; but twelve 
of them, including the three Menotomy men, were 
buried here. So urgent were their country's needs, 
that the village people had no time for funeral 
rites ; and the carpenter was too busy to make the 
coffins, so these martyrs were committed to a 
common grave with their clothes for shrouds. 

Above this grave was afterwards placed a single 
slate gravestone. This now stands beside a monu- 
ment of more recent erection, on which is read: — ■ 



BY gage's bloody TROOPS 

ON YE I9TH OF APRIL, 1/75, ^TAT, 59. 






Dr. Warren and General Heath were active on 
the plains of Menotomy, directing and encoura- 
ging the Americans. " A ball struck a pin from 
the earlock of the former ; but his life was spared 
for another bloody conflict, when it was yielded 
up in the cause of freedom." 

From a poem printed in Boston in 1781 the 
following is taken : — 

" Again the conflict glows with rage severe, 
And fearless ranks in combat mixt appear. 
Victory uncertain ! fierce contention reigns. 
And purple rivers drench the slippery plains ! 


Column to column, host to host oppose, 
And rush impetuous on their adverse foes; 
When lo ! the hero Warren from afar 
Sought for the battle, and the field of war. 
From rank to rank the daring warrior flies. 
And bids the thunder of the battle rise. 
Sudden arrangements of his troops are made. 
And sudden movements round the plain displayed. 
Columbia's Genius in her polished shield 
Gleams bright and dreadful o'er the hostile field! 
Her ardent troops, enraptured with the sight, 
With shock resistless force the dubious fight; 
Britons, astonished, tremble at the sight, 
And, all confused, precipitate their flight." 

The scenes that have been enacted in the store 
would furnish material for a thrilling narrative. 
It was there that the distressed colonists as- 
sembled to talk Over their grievances, after pla- 
cing in the grave a few rods away the father 
of the proprietor, his two neighbors, and nine 
other comrades in death. The descendants of 
Jason Russell, who have served in that store, 
could not look to the southward from the busy 
counter without seeing the memorial of this brave 

Turning to the venerable member of the family 
with whose general remark this section was in- 
troduced, I was shown a Bible that belonged to 
the widow of Jason Russell. In it is written : — 

" Purchased with money given her by some unknown 
friend in England, in consideration of the loss of her be- 



loved husband, on the igth of April, 1775, who was in- 
hiimanl)- murdered by the British troops under the command 
of Gen. Thomas Gage, to tlic eternal infamv of the Biitish 

Sri}'s Mrs. Russell, " Some of the delights of 
my earlv life were the visits to my uncle, Jona- 
than Harrington, 
at Lexington. He 
was the last sur- 
vivor of the bat- 
tle of Lexington, 
living until 1854. 
By tlie open fire 
he and Aunt Sally 
would sit and tell 
the story over and 
over again. He 
would cry out as 
his mother did 
when rushing to 
his room, ' Jona- 
than, you must get 

Mrs. SoPHRONiA Russell 


! The regulars are coming; something must 

be done!' 

" Uncle Jonathan lived to see the sentiment 
o-row in the country until he was sought out by 
men from all lands, and became a hero indeed. 
When the veterans failed to come to his door, 
their descendants rose up to honor him. 



*' ' The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, 
Sat by his fire, and talk'd the night away, 
Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done, 
Shoulder'd his crutch, and show'd how fields were won. 

Leaving the Russell home and store, I turned 
my steps to the residence of Mrs. Pamelia Fisk, 
who began life with the opening of the nineteenth 
century. To her, a native of Lexington, the 
experiences of April 19, 1775, are as great a re- 
ality as is the fir- 
ing upon Sumter 
to the middle-aged 
man of to-day. 
Says Mrs. Fisk, 
" My two grand- 
fathers fought at 
Lexington, and 
my grandmothers 
were eye-witnesses 
to the butchery. 
They told me so 
much of their trials 
and sufferings at 
that time that I 
have felt as though 
I was almost a participant in the fight myself." 
No sentiment gilds the narrative as it falls from 
her lips ; she has it as it was told to her when in 
childhood she played on the smooth field where 
" they poured out their blood like water before 

Mrs. Pameli.\ Fisk 


they knew whether it would fertilize the soil of 
freedom or of bondage." 

Mrs. Fisk is a granddaughter of Francis Brown 
and of Edmond Monroe of Lexington. Her pa- 
ternal grandmother was Mary Buckman, who lived 
• at the old Buckman tavern. So on all sides she 
inherits the blood of true patriots, and has heard 
the story from their own lips. 

" Grandfather Brown," she says, " told me this 
story: 'I was out here near the meeting-house 
at the very early hour of two o'clock, and an- 
swered the roll-call of our company, and in response 
to the order of Captain Parker loaded my gun 
with powder and ball. I heard the discussion as 
to the safety of Hancock and Adams. I went 
back to my home, and waited until half-past four 
o'clock, when I heard the alarm-guns and the 
drum beat to arms, and I was again on the 

" ' The order not to fire unless fired upon de- 
terred me and all of us from having a shot at the 
British soldiers as they came up the road. I parti- 
cipated in the early action ; and, having cared for 
our dead and wounded neighbors, I was in the 
afternoon attack, when I was wounded by a ball, 
which entered my cheek, passed under my ear, 
and lodged in the back of my neck, where it re- 
mained nearly a year.' " Mrs. Fisk said, " I used 
to put my finger on those scars, as he told me just 
how the ball went. We needed no fairy-tales in 


our youth ; the real experiences of our own people 
were more fascinating than all the novels ever 

The Whittemore home is one of the residences 
of old Menotomy which remains as a reminder 
of the day of peculiar trials. Says Lewis Down- 
ing Whittemore, " Here my ancestors made an 
early settlement, having numerous representatives 
actively engaged in the opening Revolution. The 
home has not been without a representative of 
the family and name since Samuel, born in 1696, 
of the third generation in this country, located 
here. He inherited the old homestead, situated 
nearer Boston, and exchanged it for the present 
well-known estate about 1730. There were two 
dwellings on the farm in 1775 occupied by the 
family; on the northerly side of the highway lived 
my great-great-grandfather, Samuel Whittemore, 
and on the opposite side his son Samuel was 

" Among those who manifested great bravery 
and courage on April 19, 1775, was Samuel the 
elder, then in his eightieth year. 

The following narrative appeared in an obituary 
notice of the Columbian Sentinel oi Feb. 6, 1793: 

"Died at Menotomy, the 2d instant, Capt. Samuel Whit- 
temore, MX. 96 years and 6 months. The manly and moral 
virtues, in all the varied relations of a brother, husband, 
father, and friend, were invariably exhibited in this gentle- 
man. He was not more remarkable for his longevity and his 


numerous descendants (his progeny being 185, one of which 
is the fifth generation) than for his patriotism. When the 
British troops marched to Lexington, he was 79 years of 
age, and one of the first on the parade ; he was armed with 
a gun and horse-pistol. After an animated exhortation to 
the collected militia to the exercise of bravery and courage, 
he exclaimed, ' If I can only be the instrument of killing 
one of my country's foes, I shall die in peace.' The prayer 
of this venerable old man was heard ; for on the return of 
the troops he lay behind a stone wall, and discharging 
his gun a soldier immediately fell ; he then discharged 
his pistol, and killed another ; at which instant a bullet 
struck his face, shot away part of his cheekbone ; on which 
a number of the soldiers ran up to the wall, and gorged their 
malice on his wounded head. They were heard to exclaim, 
'We have killed the old rebel.' About four hours after, he 
was found in a mangled situation; his head was .covered 
with blood from the wounds of the bayonets, which were six 
or eight ; but providentially none penetrated so far as to de- 
stroy him. His hat and clothes were shot through in many 
places ; yet he survived to see the complete overthrow of his 
enemies, and his country enjoy all the blessings of peace 
and independence. His funeral will be held to-morrow at 4 
o'clock p. M. from his house at Menotomy, which his rela- 
tives and friends are requested to attend." 

Among the family treasures of to-day are the 
cartridge-box and bayonet used by Captain Sam- 
uel Whittemore, when at the age of almost four- 
score years he responded to the Lexington alarm. 

" In my great-grandfather's family," said my 
informant, " were two sons, Jonathan and Josiah, 
aged thirteen and eleven years respectively. Be- 
ing too young to shoulder a musket if there had 


been an extra one beneath the old roof, these boys 
fled with others from their home upon the approach 
of the retreating army, but injudiciously perched 
upon a rail fence at a distance, with no thought 
of being detected ; but they were seen by a strag- 
gling soldier from the regulars, who discharged 
his musket at them. They were uninjured, but 
so much frightened that they instantly fell from 
the fence, one exclaiming, ' I'm shot.' They 
made haste to the forest beyond, and, becoming 
bewildered, wandered about until they reached 
Watertown, where, on the following morning, 
they were taken in charge by a friend of the fam- 
ily, who returned them safely to their despairing 
parents." One of them is represented by a grand- 
daughter in the old home ; and the other is repre- 
sented by a grandson, who, while treasuring the 
military equipments, delights in telling this story. 


(In tracing the movements of the patriots 
through Cambridge, it is well to bear in mind that 
Brighton was at that time " Little Cambridge," 
and the Somerville of to-day is a comparatively 
recent incorporation ; hence Charlestown was the 
adjoining township.) 

The setting sun of April 19 saw Cambridge 
transformed to a theatre of war. For nearly a 
year it was given over to the use of the American 


army. Although it was the assembled patriots, 
many of whom were not far from their own homes, 
the town suffered by the unavoidable devastations 
of war. The fences, forest-trees, fruit-trees, and 
orchards for a mile around the camp were taken 
and burned for fuel by friendly hands in a state 
of desperation. 

In early winter the straitened condition of 
the camp was relieved through an act of the au- 
thorities, by which the patriots in the neighbor- 
ing towns were required to deliver at camp a 
specified number of cords of wood per day. The 
records of the different towns attest to the cheer- 
ful manner in which their people met the demand. 
Roxbury, Dedham, Milton, and Dorchester de- 
livered three cords per day to the Roxbury wing 
of the camp ; Lexington five, Bedford four, Lin- 
coln three and a half, to Prospect Hill wing ; 
Newton and Weston six, Needham five, Waltham 
four. Concord and Natick three, to Cambridge. 

Hay and other supplies were provided in a sim- 
ilar manner. 

The daily coming and going of the teams kept 
the towns within a radius of a dozen miles in 
touch with the life of the camp. Many a box of 
goodies from a mother's larder brought cheer to 
the boys, with a loving message from the anxious 
at home ; and many a son, prostrated by the depri- 
vation of camp-life, was borne home by the team- 
sters to languish and die, filling patriots' graves 


to-day as truly as though they had fallen at Lex- 
ington, Concord, or Bunker Hill. 

The evacuation of Boston relieved Cambridge 
of the camp, and made it possible for Harvard 
College to return to its own buildings. Many 
patriots returned to their deserted homes ; but the 
Loyalists, of which Cambridge had a good share, 
found no sympathizing hearts to welcome them 
back to familiar scenes. 

Before the barracks had been removed from 
Prospect and Winter Hills, the surrender of Bur- 
goyne occurred ; and in November, 1777, his army 
of prisoners were lodged in these old apartments. 
The superior position of officers was recognized 
by their allotment to dwelling-houses, where they 
were kept under guard. 

Several houses that witnessed the scenes of 
camp-life still remain in Cambridge, chief among 
which, for its pre-Revolutionary reminders, is 
the dwelling on Linnehan Street, nor far from 
the college buildings. 

In my tour about Cambridge, seeking for hid- 
den footprints, I happily came upon this dwelling, 
which had witnessed the vicissitudes of more than 
a century before the Revolution. Its plain sim- 
plicity is in striking contrast with the famous 
Vassall house, and it is a forcible reminder of 
the more common life of the majority of the 

While the house in its well-kept condition offers 


many attractions to the antiquarian, a face seen 
through the narrow pane was much more attrac- 
tive. It was that of Mrs. Charlotte Holden, who 
in her ninety-eighth year, in the enjoyment of 
her faculties, told the old story as she received 
it while resting her youthful head upon her 
mother's bosom she listened to the recital of what 
she witnessed at Concord. "My mother," said 
Mrs. Holden, " was Hepsibah Buttrick, daughter 
of Joseph, who, with his brother, Major John But- 
trick, not only acted the part of patriots at Con- 
cord, but did much to infuse that spirit into the 
camp-life of Cambridge." 

I would that any who thoughtlessly enjoys the 
blessings of liberty might be aroused. to a keen 
sense of his obligation to become a good citizen 
through this woman's recital of the sacrifices 
made to give every true American a share in the 
glorious heritage of freedom. Said Mrs. Holden : 
"I am one of three sisters whose united ages are 
two hundred and eighty-five years. We are grand- 
daughters of one of the " thirteen well-instructed 
children of Samuel Buttrick of Concord." 

After thoughtfully noting this woman's confir- 
mation of the narrative already received, I turned 
to consider with her a few incidents connected 
with this locality. 

The route through Cambridge by which the 
enemy made haste to protection was not the same 
as they had taken under cover of the night, nor 


that which the re-enforcements took at midday. 
In the hasty return they took the route that winds 
around Prospect Hill. Their situation was critical 
when they entered this part of Charlestown. 
Their progress was hindered by their burden of 
wounded comrades, whom they disliked to leave 
to the untried mercy of the patriots, while a 
strong force was advancing from Roxbury, Dor- 
chester, and Milton. Seven hundred of the Essex 
militia, under Colonel Pickering, threatened to cut 
them off altogether. The Americans followed 
closely upon the enemy, reluctant to obey the 
order of General Heath to cease the pursuit be- 
yond Charlestown Common. 

The dinner provided for the " men-folks " in 
the homes throughout the near towns came to the 
hungry men as they ceased the pursuit, and in 
time to revive many who, regardless of self, had 
fought their way from Old North Bridge with 
little or no refreshment. General Heath placed 
suitable guards, and conducted the weary troops 
to Cambridge, where they "were ordered to lie on 
their arms." 

The power of imagination fails when one at- 
tempts to recall the scenes that must have passed 
before the sleepless eyes of many who, having 
thrown themselves down in the open field, sought 
nature's sweet restorer. From their beds in peace- 
ful homes they had sprung, made a hasty march, 
faced the enemy, pursued them through a deadly 


fire, and now waited for they knew not what on 
the morrow's dawn. 

The continual arrival of men, together with the 
novel labor of fitting up a camp, furnished variety 
for a few days ; but this soon wore away, and noth- 
ing but the spirit of real patriotism could have 
deterred them all from returning to their homes, 
in the absence of military restraint and discipline. 

The fight through Cambridge to Charlestown 
Common was not without its sad results to Cam- 
bridge families. On North Avenue, near the 
easterly end of Spruce Street, three were killed, 
— John Hicks, Moses Richardson, and William 
Marcy. It was claimed that Hicks was a mem- 
ber of the Tea- Party of Dec. 16, 1773. He left 
his home early in the morning ; and, not returning, 
his wife sent a son of fourteen years to look for 
him. He found him lying by the side of the road 
dead ; Marcy and Richardson were near him. The 
boy procured assistance ; and the bodies were lifted 
into a rough wagon, and taken home. Here, as in 
Menotomy, circumstances did not favor funeral 
rites ; and the three were hastily buried in one 
grave. It is said that a son of Moses Richardson, 
standing b}', was too tender hearted to see the 
earth thrown directly upon their faces ; and, getting 
into the trench, he spread the large cape of his 
father's coat over his face. A neat Scotch granite 
monument stands over the grave. The inscription 
is this : — 









APRIL 19, 1775. 


In the afternoon of the 20th, General Arte- 
mas Ward arrived in Cambridge, and, being the 
senior general officer, became commander-in-chief. 
Other officers having arrived, a council of war was 
immediately held. 

Anxiety and deep planning were now the por- 
tion of the leaders, culminating in the battle of 
Bunker Hill, where Colonel Thomas Gardner, an 
honored citizen of " Little Cambridge," received a 
mortal wound. He had honorably discharged the 
duties of many offices, both civic and military. 
When his superior officer, the Tory Brattle, fled to 
Boston, he was promoted to the command of his 
company. He responded to the Lexington alarm, 
and soon after enlisted a regiment for the Con- 
tinental army, of which he was commissioned as 
colonel about two weeks before the battle of 
Bunker Hill. 

Colonel Gardner lingered about two weeks after 
the battle, dying on the day which is remembered 
by Washington's taking command of the army. 


Of the line of fortifications that extended across 
Cambridge, there is but little remaining. The 
" three-gun battery " which commanded the river 
down to Lechmere's Point has been carefully pre- 
served. It was restored in 1858 as nearly as pos- 
sible to its original state, enclosed by an iron 
fence, within which three cannon given by the 
United States are mounted. This memorial is fit- 
tingly known as Fort Washington. The site of 
Fort Putnam at East Cambridge presents nothing 
of the appearance of a fortification, but bears an 
enduring monument, — the Putnam School. 

The use to which houses in Menotomy were 
hastily put is apparent from the journals of indi- 
viduals, as well as from the traditions of families, 
especially that of the Russell family. Says my 
venerable informant : — 

" In the confused companies of the British when on tlieir 
retreat, was seen a horse and chaise in which was being car- 
ried one of their officers, who proved to be Lieutenant Edward 
Hull of the British Forty-third Regiment. He was wounded 
at North Bridge, and was being conveyed back to Boston. 
The horse was not so swift as the men ; and, falling in the rear, 
the officer received a second wound. It was near the Samuel 
Butterfield dwelling, and he was carried into the house 
vacated by the affrighted family. Upon the return of the lady 
of the house, she found her rooms occupied. There was a 
wounded Provincial, besides Lieutenant Hull. They were both 
in one room, each having been placed upon a bed by their 
respective comrades. How much interchange of sympathy 
there was we do not know, but Mrs. Butterfield could not with- 


hold her sympathetic attention from both. She ministered 
to friend and foe alilce ; saw the former recover, and return to 
his family at Framingham. But notwithstanding the care of 
the good woman, together with that of nurses, and supplies 
sent out from Boston with a flag of truce, the young officer 
died in about two weeks ; and, according to 'Cnt. Salem Gazette 
of May 5,. 1775, 'His remains were next day conveyed to 
Charlestown, attended by a company of Provincials and several 
officers of distinction, and there delivered to the order of 
General Gage.' " 

He was the first British officer who lost his hfe 
in the war, and was probably buried on Copps 

While receiving the best of care at the Butter- 
field home, he was visited by Rev. Dr. McClure, a 
prominent clergyman, who kept a journal, a frag- 
ment of which has come to light, and is of great 
interest, not only to the people of Menotomy, but 
to all interested in the events of that time. 


. . " that it was flattened on one side by the ribs as if 
it had been beaten with a hammer. He was a plain, honest 
man, to appearance, who had voluntarily turned out with his 
musket at the alarm of danger, as did also some thousands 
besides, on that memorable day. [Doubtless Mr. Hem- 
enway of Framingham.J In the same room lay mortally 
wounded a British officer. Lieutenant Hull, of a youthful, 
fair, and delicate countenance. He was of a respectable 
family of fortune in Scotland. Sitting on one feather-bed, 
he leaned on another, and was attempting to suck the juice 
of an orange which some neighbor had brought. The phy- 


sician of the place had been to dress his wounds, and a 
woman was appointed to attend him. 

" I observed that he had no shirt on, and was wrapt in a 
coating great-coat, with a fur cap on his head. I inquired 
of tlie woman wliy he was tlius destitute of clotliing. He 
answered, 'When I fell, our people [the British] stripped me 
of my coat, vest, and shirt, and your people of my shoes and 
buckles.' How inhuman ! his own men ! I asked him if he 
was dangerously wounded. He replied, ' Yes, mortally ; " 
that he had received three balls in his body. His counte- 
nance expressed great bodily anguish. I conversed with him 
a short time on the prospect of death, and a preparation for 
the solemn scene ; to which he appeared to pay serious at- 
tention. He lived about a week ; and the people conveyed 
his body in a coffin to Charlestown ferry, where I happened 
to be present, and a barge from the Somerset took it to 

" Not far from this house lay four fine British horses ; the 
people were taking oif their shoes. One informed me that a 
wagon loaded with provisions was sent from Boston for the 
refreshment of the retreating army, under an escort of six 
grenadiers. They had got as far as this place, when a num- 
ber of men (ten or twelve) collected, and ordered them to 
surrender. They marched on, and our men fired, killed the 
driver and the horses ; when the rest fled a little way and 

" Another wagon sent on the same business was also 
taken that day. It was strange that General Gage should 
send them through a country in which he had just kindled 
the flames of war, in so defenceless a condition. Saw three 
regulars in beds in a house in Cambridge ; one of them mor- 
tally wounded. Conversed with them on their melancholy 
situation. One of them refused to answer, and cast upon 
me a revengeful look. Perhaps he was a Papist, and his 
priest had pardoned his sins. The houses on the road of 
the march of the British were all perforated with balls, and 


the windows broken. Horses, cattle, and swine lay dead 
around. Such were the dreadful trophies of war for about 
twenty miles. I hovered around Boston several days. Very 
few of the inhabitants were permitted to come out. Having 
some things in Boston which I wished to have sent round 
to Marblehead, I wrote to my brother-in-law, Capt. Henry 
Hunter, who with my sister Hunter were there, to send 
them ; and having obtained a permit from the colonel com- 
manding our militia at Roxbury, to go to the British guards 
on the Neck, I went within call, and waved my hat for per- 
mission to enter, when Davis, a Boston Tory, and inspector of 
those who came out, came towards me, but refused to take 
the letters which I passed towards him. He said General 
Gage had given orders that there should be no communica- 
tion between town and country. I got my letter in, how- 
ever, the same day." 





There are many houses in New England still 
cherished because of their association with the 
opening Revolution ; among them is one from 
which went the organizer of that volunteer army 
of April 19, 1775. It is in the town of Shrews- 
bury, and is known as the Ward homestead. It 
may be seen to-day in much the same condition as 
when General Artemas Ward rushed to the front 
door upon seeing in the distance on the king's 
highway a galloping steed, "bloody with spurring 
and dripping with sweat," and heard from the 
excited rider, " To arms ! To arms ! the war's 
begun ! " 

This house has never passed out of the family 
possession ; and the great-grandchildren cross the 
same threshold which their illustrious ancestor 
trod when after hasty preparations he mounted 
his horse and galloped off to Cambridge, reaching 
there with the gathering volunteers on the day 
following the experiences at Lexington, Concord, 
and Cambridge. 


Artemas Ward, famous as scholar, soldier, and 
jurist, was born in Shrewsbury, Worcester County, 
in 1727. He was a graduate of Harvard College, 
and for some years a teacher of distinction. 

He married a great-granddaughter of Rev. In- 
crease Mather, and settled in the house which 
has ever since been a family dwelling of peculiar 

Ward Homestead 

interest. It was first looked upon by the people 
of the county as a place of justice, young Ward 
having been commissioned one of his Majesty's 

In this house the expounder of the law had his 
ofifice ; and many an offender was from its narrow 
apartments sent to the whipping-post, stocks, or 
pillory. Ward, being of an ambitious turn of 


mind, devoted a second apartment to a store, and 
there dealt out rum, molasses, broadcloth, and 
that combination of necessaries found at that 
time in all well-regulated stores. 

The rum, says a descendant and present occu- 
pant, was bought by the barrel in Boston of 
Joshua Winslow, and the cloth of John Hancock, 
the affluent merchant, who inherited his uncle's 
famous mart of trade, with much other property. 

Dealing out rum in one room, and meting out 
justice in another, seem like contradictory em- 
ployments ; but both were profitable, and regarded 
as equally honorable in those days. 

Young Ward was made captain of the first 
military company raised in the town, and this 
dwelling was the headquarters of the militia. He 
was raised to the rank of major in the Third Regi- 
ment in 1755, and three years later was made 
lieutenant-colonel in the regiment of footmen 
under command of Colonel Williams that set out 
for the invasion of Canada in May of 1758. 

Colonel Ward kept a journal during this cam- 
paign. It is held by his family at the old home, 
and is full of interest. In it he wrote : — 

Ajtg. 9. "News from Rogers that he had got forty scalps 
and two prisoners ; he lost 20 and had 50 men wounded : two 
brought into Fort Edward that was scalped, but alive. Ye 
truth is they gave ye enemy a good drubbing this time." 

20. " This day news came to' headquarters from a letter 
from Gov. Hutchinson of ye surrender of Cape Breton, that 
it surrendered ye 26 of July last,'' 


The Ward family treasure a bayonet and other 
military trappings of that expedition in which 
their illustrious ancestor acted a creditable part. 

In 1763 this popular man of the Province was 
given the commission of colonel, and regularly 
conducted the training required in all towns at 
that time. He had urged his men to fight for the 
king against the French, but now showed them 
their duty to prepare to resist the encroachments 
of George III. 

The royal governor, Francis Bernard, in his 
luxuriant living at Boston, heard of the disloy- 
alty of Colonel Ward, and sent a messenger to 
this house with a letter. The colonel was not at 
home, but was found at the meeting-house su- 
perintending workmen. The mounted agent of 
Bernard handed the letter to the leading man of 
the town. 

The scarlet-coated messenger aroused the curi- 
osity of the workmen ; and they paused to learn 
the nature of the message, which Colonel Ward 
read aloud : — ■ 

Boston, June -^o, 1766. 
To Artemas Ward, Esq. 

Sir, — I am ordered by the Governor to signify to you 
that he has thought fit to supersede your commission of 
Colonel in the regiment of militia lying in part in the County 
of Worcester, and partly in the County of Middlesex, and 
your said commission is superseded accordingly. 

I am, sir, your most ob't and humble serv't, 

Jno. Cotton, Deputy Secretary. 



» »* 

Not to be disconcerted in such a manner, the 
young officer manifested the gentleman and pa- 
triot by replying thus : — 

" Give my compliments 
to the governor, and say 
to him that I consider 
myself twice honored, but 
more in being superseded 
than in being commis- 
sioned, and " (holding up 
the letter) "that I thank 
liim for this, since the 
motive that dictated it is 
evidence that I am, what 
he is not, a friend to my 

As the governor's mes- 
senger rode away the 
people shouted, " Colonel 
Ward forever ! " 

Artemas Ward added 
to a good literary educa- 
tion a practical training 
in law, and also a thor- 
ough military discipline. 
He was an ardent Whig, 
and did not withhold his 

opinions on the state of government, although he 
knew his free expression must result in the dis- 
approval of the Loyalist leaders in the Province. 

Gener..\l Ward's Sword 


His sentiments were approved by his towns- 
men, who sent him to act as governor's council- 
lor; but the enraged minion of King George III. 
would not accept him as an adviser, and ordered 
him to retire. 

He was then sent as a representative to the 
General Court, where he acted according to his 
belief. He went from his home to the Provincial 
Congress, which held their first session at Salem 
Court House. Before their adjournment to the 
meeting-house of Concord, they chose a commit- 
tee of thirteen "to consider what is necessary to 
be done now for the defence and safety of the 

Colonel Ward was one of this committee, and of 
the Committee of Safety raised to regulate the 
militia. The Provincial Congress selected Arte- 
mas Ward as one of the general officers; and it 
was doubtless through his advice that Worcester, 
so near his home, was selected as one of the 
places for the deposit of the materials for an army. 
During the winter of 1774-5 he directed the 
movements of the patriots near his home, and 
also attended the meetings of the Congresses. At 
the adjournment on Saturday the 15th of April, 
General Ward left Concord for his home, John 
Hancock for his lodgings at Lexington, and 
others for other homes in the vicinity. 

The associations and experiences for months 
had kept General Ward familiar with the move- 


ments of the British in Boston ; and he, with 
his townsmen, were well prepared for the mes- 
sage which called him from his home on the 

Despite the proclamation of Governor Gage, 
that all rebels taken in arms should be brought 
to the gallows, General Ward was found on duty 
at Cambridge, April 20, when as the senior gen- 
eral officer he relieved General Heath, and became 

He established his headquarters at the house 
of Jonathan Hastings, now known as the Holmes 

Even an army of volunteer patriots required 
discipline, and General Ward found it difficult to 
bring order out of the condition into which the 
unrestrained volunteers naturally fell. On the 
19th of the following month the Provincial Con- 
gress issued his commission as commander-in- 
chief of the Massachusetts forces. 

The Congress of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay to the 
Honorable Artemas Ward, Esquire, greeting: — 

We, reposing especial trust and confidence in your cour- 
age and good conduct, do by these presents, constitute and 
appoint you, the said Artemas Ward, to be general and 
commander-in-chief of all the forces raised by the Congress 
aforesaid for the defence of this and the other American 

You are therefore carefully and diligently to discharge 
the duty of a general in leading, ordering, and exercising 


the forces in army, both inferior officers and soldiers, and to 
keep them in good order and discipline, and they are hereby 
commanded to obey you as their general ; and you are your- 
self to observe and follow such orders and instructions as 
you shall from time to time receive from this or any future 
Congress or House of Representatives of this colony, or the 
Committee of Safety, so far as said committee is empowered 
by this commission to order and instruct you for the defence 
of this and the other colonies ; and to demean yourself 
according to the military rule and discipline established by 
said Congress, in pursuance of the trust reposed in you. 
By order of the Congress. 

Dated 19th May, a.d. 1775. 

Jos. Warren, 

Pres. pro iem. 

The army met by General Ward at Cambridge 
was enough to excite the laugh which they re- 
ceived from the British soldiers. Some of them 
were dressed in the long-tailed linsey-woolsey 
coats and breeches which had been spun and 
woven in farmhouse kitchens ; some.wore smock 
frocks like a butcher, also of home manufacture ; 
some wore suits of British broadcloth, so long 
used for Sunday clothes that they were the worse 
for wear ; and every variety of dress and fashion 
figured in these motley ranks. 

This tatterdemalion army had gone out with 
the idea of fighting the British on the first day, 
then and there to settle the whole matter. 

General Ward's first order after leaving his 
peaceful home at Shrewsbury was issued at Cam- 


bridge on the 20th, "That 9. captain, one lieu- 
tenant, two sergeants, and fifty-two rank and file 
march immediately to bury the dead and take 
care of the wounded." 

Love had prompted the Americans along the 
route to care for their dead and wounded, and of 
necessity many of the enemy had received Chris- 
tian attention. 

The distance did not prevent correspondence 
between the Shrewsbury home and the headquar- 
ters of their honored citizen at Cambridge. When 
the poor were sent out of the besieged town of 
Boston, thirty-two found homes among the neigh- 
bors of General Ward. 

Their arrival aroused the sympathy and curi- 
osity of the people who were left at home ; and 
a son of General Ward, with a boy companion, 
set out and walked to Cambridge, reaching there 
on the unfortunate day of the battle at Charles- 

The General was not well pleased to see his son 
there at that time, for the battle was already be- 
gun. His look of disapproval, and " How is this, 
Tommy .' " struck the boy as not propitious for a 
long visit ; and "You must go right back," settled 
the matter. It was the order of thc'commander- 
in-chief, and must be obeyed ; and so these sons of 
soldiers, who were brought up to obey in times 
of peace, turned their backs on the camp and 
all they had walked so far to see, and set their 


faces homeward, even though the balls from the 
Lively and Somerset, men-of-war in the harbor, 
were flying over at the intrenchments on Bunker 
Hill, and the redcoats would soon march up the 
hill to their death. The rattle of musketry 
reached their ears, and the flames of burning 
Charlestown were in sight, when they turned to 
look back after they were well out of town. They 
had seen the camp, and had heard the noise of 
battle ; they had that to remember ; and they 
could remember also that like good soldiers they 
had obeyed orders. 

General Ward's authority did not extend at first 
beyond the colony of Massachusetts, but later was 
extended to the command of the New Hampshire 
forces. The affairs were in a very precarjous sit- 
uation when the Continental Congress appointed 
George Washington to be commander-in-chief of 
all the forces, and he took command at Cambridge 
on July 3. 

Washington arranged the army into three grand 
divisions, each consisting of two brigades, or 
twelve regiments, in which the troops from the 
same colony, as far as practicable, were brought 

The right wing, under Major-General Ward, 
consisted of two brigades, commanded by Gen- 
erals Thomas and Spenser, and was stationed at 
Roxbury and its southern dependencies. The left 
wing was placed under the command of General 


Lee, and consisted of the brigades of Sullivan 
and Green ; the former was stationed on Winter 
Hill, the latter upon Prospect Hill. The centre 
station was commanded by General Putnam, and 
consisted of two brigades, one of which was com- 
manded by Heath, and the other by a senior offi- 
cer of less rank than that of brigadier. Thomas 
Mifflin, who accompanied Washington from Phil- 
adelphia as aid-de-camp, was made quartermaster- 
general. Joseph Trumbull, son of the patriot 
governor of Connecticut, was appointed commis- 
sary-general ; and upon Joseph Reed of Philadel- 
phia was bestowed the post of secretary to the 
commander-in-chief. In a short time Reed re- 
turned to Philadelphia, and was succeeded in office 
by Robert H. Harrison, a lawyer of Maryland. 

General Ward was now in charge of the forces 
at Roxbury, where he directed the movements of 
the patriot army. 

It would naturally be expected that the people 
of Shrewsbury, neighbors and friends of General 
Artemas Ward, would make liberal sacrifice to 
aid the cause of the patriots, which they most 
cheerfully did. 

In the preparations for war being made at Cam- 
bridge, it was found that the number of firelocks 
was not equal to the number of enlisted men ; 
and a call was made upon the towns to forward 
any in their possession to Watertown, where they 
would be duly paid. Twenty-two were sent from 


Shrewsbury ; and there were found in that town 
five barrels of powder, which, with the exception 
of one-half of a barrel, were sent off to the army. 

A large number of the citizens were soon found 
at Cambridge, following in the footsteps of their 
beloved fellow-citizen from that remote town. 
They were with their honored townsman, and of 
the army that threw up the fortification at Dor- 
chester Hills, the work of which General Howe 
said, " The rebels' have done more in one night 
than my whole army would have done in a 

In a correspondence which passed between 
Generals Washington and Ward at this time, 
there is allusion to the plan of filling barrels with 
sand to roll down upon an advancing enemy. Of 
this Washington writes : " As I have a very high 
opinion of the defence which may be made with 
Barrels from either of the Hills, I could wish you 
to have a number over. Perhaps single Barrels 
would be better than linking of them together, 
being less liable to accidents. The Hoops should 
be well nailed, or else they will soon fly and the 
casks fall to pieces." 

After the evacuation, came the entry of Wash- 
ington to the dilapidated town of Boston. When 
the cornmander-in-chief was preparing to go with 
most of his army to New York, he wrote to Gen- 
eral Ward, asking him to remove into Boston (if 
he were not afraid of the small-pox), and to take 


command of the five regiments to be left there 
for the defence of the town, direct the erection 
of works, and attend to matters in general. 

He took command as requested, and found the 
town in a state of confusion, disorder, disease, 
and poverty. His task to restore order, and 
cleanse, fortify, and defend the place, was most 
discouraging. He wrote to John Hancock in the 
autumn of 1776: "I had everything to do, and 
nothing to do with." 

General Ward escaped the fearful scourge, 
small-pox; but not so fortunate were all his towns- 
men, as a gravestone in Granary Burying-Ground 
bears witness. 




FEBRUARY YE 1ST, A. DOM. 1 776, 


While stationed in Boston, General Ward re- 
ceived a letter from John Hancock, which speaks 
for itself, and reminds us of that bold act of the 
people, by which the 4th of July became an occa- 
sion of joy to all Americans. 

Philadelphia, /?//k, 6, 1776. 

Sir, — The enclosed Declaration of Independence, I am 

directed to transmit to you with a request that you will have 

it proclaimed at the head of the Troops under your command 

in the Way you shall think most proper. I have only time 


to add, that the importance of it will naturally suggest the 
Propriety of proclaiming it in such a manner, as that the 
whole army may be fully appraised of it. 
I have the honor to be, sir. 

Your most obed. and very h'ble ser. 

John Hancock, 


The reading of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence was ordered in every department of the 
army and in every town in the colonies.^ It was 
the minister who read it, generally, in the towns ; 
and the public reading was followed by a record 
of the immortal document being made in the 
town's book by the clerk. 

If the patriot of to-day would put himself in 
touch with the patriots of 1776, let him visit 
the old meeting-house at Sandown, N.H., or at 
Rocky Hill in Salisbury, Mass., or at Rockingham, 
Vt., in either of which he will see the meeting- 
place of the people in its primitive simplicity, as 
when the minister from the high pulpit unrolled 
the scroll, and read to his congregation the act of 
the Continental Congress, to the support of which 
they had pledged their lives and fortunes. 

I have stood in each of these rude meeting- 
houses until I have seen rise up in fancy from 
the great square pews the whitened head of the 

1 The Declaration of Independence was first read in Boston 
amid great rejoicing from the balcony of the Town House on 
July 18, 

KocKV IIiLL Church, Salisbury. Page 2,SS 


aged father, extending his form in earnestness, 
with hand raised behind his ear to enable him to 
catch the words as they fell from the minister's 
lips. I have seen the mother in sable mantle 
bow her head in cheerful assent, while she wiped 
away the tears from eyes that would not cease 
their weeping since the loss of a noble son at 
Bunker Hill. I could read in the tell-tale counte- 
nance of some half-persuaded Tory, " Let them 
maintain it if they can." From the upper gallery 
I have detected the shining face of a negro slave, 
ready to smile assent to what he saw gave pleas- 
ure to his master in the pew below, little realizing 
that it meant ultimately freedom to himself. I 
have stood outside when the congregation, having 
sung " Praise God from whom all blessings flow," 
have come out, gathered in groups, and discussed 
the grave questions of the hour. 

At the close of the year 1776 General Ward's 
duties in the army ceased, through his resignation 
occasioned by ill health ; but his service as a pa- 
triot was not over. In the following year he was 
elected president of the Executive Council of the 
colony, and in 1779 appointed a member of the 
Continental Congress. 

The method of travel of the patriots of the 
Revolution is seen in the manner in which Gen- 
eral Ward set out from his home on the i6th 
of May, 1780, for Philadelphia, to take his seat in 
Congress. He was accompanied by Daniel New- 


ton of the same town, who went with him as 
servant, each on horseback, the horses being pur- 
chased for the trip ; the expense of the journey 
being ;^204i.5o in old currency. In the follow- 
ing year Mr. Samuel Adams being in Philadelphia, 
and wishing to return to Massachusetts, young 
Newton was sent as his escort, who returned 
immediately, and accompanied General Ward back 
to his Shrewsbury home. My acquaintance with 
the family warrants me in extending an invitation 
to my readers to accompany me to the home of 
the famous patriot and of the generations who 
have succeeded him. 

The old homestead retains much of its colonial 
grandeur and distinction. Standing away from the 
village, surrounded by ample grounds, it suggests 
in a limited manner the home of Washington at 
Mt. Vernon, or of Lee at Arlington, with the 
Potomac for their highway. 

Here are the hand-made window-sashes and 
heavy blinds, the great locks and hinges on the 
doors, and the hospitable fireplace, around which 
the general sat with his family as he told them of 
the experiences of camp-life, as well as of Bunker 
Hill, of which he made the simple record, " The 
battle is going on at Charlestown." There is 
the old wainscoting, each panel of which seems to 
serve as the background for a picture of colonial 

If there was any feeling of dislike for Washing- 


ton when he superseded the 'noted patriot of 
Shrewsbury, it all passed from the breast of Gen- 
eral Ward when the Father of his Country visited 
that town in 1789. He was entertained at the 
Farrar Tavern, then in its full glory as a hostlery. 
The room is still indicated where the general sat 
and drank his wine, while those of inferior rank 
stood up to the bar and drank together after the 
more common social manners of the time. 

A souvenir of that trip made by Washington 
is preserved. It is a silver quarter of a dollar, and 
was obtained in the following way, says the histo- 
rian, a descendant of General Artemas Ward. 

" When it became known that the hero of the 
Revolution was to pass this way, the school-chil- 
dren received an extra lesson in making their 
manners, that they might greet the chieftain with 
proper respect ; and so it happened that as General 
Washington was riding by in his carriage drawn 
by two bay ho.rses, preceded by his guard on dap- 
ple-gray horses, his attention was attracted to 
a row of children on each side of the road, the 
boys on one side making their bows, and the 
girls sweeping their graceful courtesies on the 

"The outriders in their uniforms, bright with 
scarlet cloth and gold lace, were so splendid that 
the children hardly noticed the stopping of the 
carriage, until a gentleman in plain brown dress 
alighted, and Washington himself stood before 


them, speaking to every child, and shaking hands 
with the older ones. 

" A daughter of the tavern-keeper was among 
them ; her expectations of seeing some wonderful 
being were disappointed when the tall man plainly 
dressed appeared before her; and she turned 
her back, refusing her courtesy to the ' Father of 
his Country,' exclaiming, ' He is nothing but a 
man ! ' 

"This amused Washington, who, calling her to 
him, presented her with a silver quarter." 








Before undertaking to trace the footprints of the patriots of Groton, 
it may be well to consider a movement which may throw much light 
upon the acts of the men of this town. 

The midnight ride of Paul Revere, made fa- 
mous by the poet Longfellow, was not the first 
ride taken by that patriot in the interest of the 
colonial cause. 

He rode out to Lexington on Sunday the i6th 
of April with a message from Dr. Warren to the 
noted guests at the parsonage, they having left 
Concord on the previous afternoon at the adjourn- 
ment of the Congress. The message was doubt- 
less to the effect that the movements of Gen- 
eral Gage indicated some decided action in the 
near future. Having delivered his message with 
promptness, Revere returned in the afternoon, 
when, before crossing the river from Charles- 
town, he made the arrangement with Colonel 
Conant for hanging the signal lanterns, 

"One if by land, two if by sea;" 


a plan doubtless matured in his mind during his 
return trip from Lexington. 

While the Provincial Congress had adjourned on 
the 15th to meet again the. next month, the Com- 
mittees of Safety and Supplies, which had con- 
trol of the military matters, etc., had not reached 
a final adjournment. They held a meeting on 
Monday following, and, it is inferred, began the 
session before the arrival of John Hancock from 
Lexington, who, doubtless actuated by the Sab- 
bath message, secured a vote to send the cannon 
away to places of safety. 

A vote is recorded, "That the four six-pounders 
be transported to Groton, and put under the care 
of Colonel Prescott."- 

Another vote, "That the two committees ad- 
journ to Mr. Wetherby's " (The Black Horse) at 
Menotomy, at ten o'clock, explains the presence of 
a trio before mentioned, early driven from their 
lodgings on the night of April 18-19. 

Agreeable to the votes of the committee, the 
cannon were sent to Groton on Tuesday the i8th, 
arriving there late in the afternoon, at the very 
time the British troops in Boston were preparing 
to take their midnight march in search of them 
with other supplies. 

Having introduced this preliminary in order to 
make clear some of the movements of the Groton 
patriots, we now turn to consider the town's part 
in the memorable events. 

QroToi^ patriots 295 

Groton and Pepperell were territorially one in 
the early days, and their military relations were 
somewhat mixed at the time of the Revolution. 
The popularity of Colonel Prescott, whose home 
was at Pepperell, led many outside of his town to 
desire to be in the ranks under his command. 
There were four companies from these two towns 
early in the pursuit of the enemy on the 19th ; 
while it is claimed that several patriots preceded 
the companies, and were at Concord in time to 
engage in the fight at the bridge. I give the 
story of Captain Aaron Corey, as told to me by 
William W. Wheildon, a noted historian, who had 
it from Mr. Wright, a grandson of Captain Corey. 
" My grandfather told me, that • on the day be- 
fore the Concord Fight, April 18, while I was 
ploughing in my field, some distance from the 
middle of the town, I received notice of a meeting 
of the minute-men, which, of course, demanded 
immediate attention. It was in the afternoon 
towards evening when I received the notification. 
I at once unhitched my plough, drove my oxen 
home, took down my gun and belt, told my wife 
Molly that I was going away and could not tell 
when I should come back, and that she must take 
care of the oxen. I then hastened to the middle 
of the town, and joined my comrades who had 
-assembled there. 

'"The circumstance which had led them to call 
the meeting was the arrival of some brass cannon 


from Concord. Of course the presence of these 
immediately gave rise to discussion and specu- 
lation as to the reason for their being sent to 
Groton from Concord. Various suggestions were 
made, the most prominent of which was a propo- 
sition that the company should march at once to 
Concord ; but this when put to vote was deter- 
mined in the negative, most of the members pre- 
ferring to wait for further intelligence. 

"'This conclusion was not satisfactory to all of 
us, and some determined to go at once. There 
were nine of us who started that evening. We 
travelled all night, carrying lighted pine torches 
a part of the way, and we reached Concord at 
an early hour of the morning [probably through 
Acton]. We entered one side of the town some 
hours before the British troops entered upon the 
other. We all went and got some breakfast at 
Colonel Barrett's house, which was later visited 
by the British troops in search of the cannon, 
ammunition, and stores, most of which had been 
fortunately removed the day before to places of 
safety. After getting something to eat, we pro- 
ceeded toward the centre of the town, and soon 
joined the men of Concord, and finally were in 
the ranks of the minute-men at or near the North 
Bridge, where the fight with the British troops 
occurred. We kept with the minute-men, and fol- 
lowed the retreating troops to Lexington and 


"After telling me this story," said Mr. Wright, 
" my grandfather gave to me an old powder-horn 
which he had used during the war, saying, ' I took 
this from a British soldier who had been shot 
on the retreat to Lexington, and whose body was 
lying by the roadside in Lincoln.^ Some of the 
other men took off his boots and some of his 
clothes.' The powder-horn," said Mr. Wright, 
"was quite a nice piece of work, and held just 
one pound of powder. It had a peculiar stopper 
(probably a spring snapper like some now known) ; 
and at the large end, on the under side (when 
hung over the shoulder), was engraved the Eng- 
lish coat-of-arms, and on the upper side what 
they called the British ensign. The bottom of 
the horn was made of brass, saucer-shaped, with 
a hole half an inch in diameter in the centre 
serving as a tunnel to pour in the powder, with 
a wooden stopper. After using the powder-horn 
in many hunting excursions, it was finally lost in 
the burning of a house." 

Dr. Samuel A. Green, a distinguished son of 
Groton, has done much to perpetuate the record 
of some of the patriots who have been identified 
with his native town. From his record I gather 
the following facts : Although not a native, James 
Sullivan added lustre to the honor of Groton. 
He was born in the district of Maine, on April 

1 The dead soldier was probably one of those buried in Lincoln 
graveyard. See Lincoln. 


22, 1744, and spent his early years there. He 
was a member of three Provincial Congresses 
from Biddeford, during the years 1774 and 1775, 
and was a member of the General Court from the 
same town during the two succeeding years. On 
March 20, 1776, he was appointed a judge of the 
Superior Court of Judicature, which position he 
held for six years. He went to Groton in 1778, 
to locate with his family in order to get away 
from the seacoast. In August of the same year 
he was chosen by the voters of Groton as a dele- 
gate to the convention for framing the Constitu- 
tion of Massachusetts. In February, 1782, he was 
chosen, by a joint convention of both branches 
of the General Court, a delegate in the place of 
Samuel Adams to the Continental Congress, then 
in session at Philadelphia. He represented the 
town of Groton in the House of Representatives 
for thirteen years, and Medford for twelve years. 
He was speaker of that body for thirteen years, 
the longest term of service in that capacity ever 
held by one person. He was elected the seventh 
governor of the State in 1807, and died in office 
on Dec. 10, 1808. 

The town of Groton is notable for its many 
time-honored residences, but there is none around 
whose hearthstone so many of the heroes of the 
Revolution have gathered to smoke the pipe in 
peace as have assembled around the blazing fire 
at " Groton Inn." 


The guest of to-day, when crossing that well- 
worn threshold, can have no adequate idea of the 
dignified step of the man in clerical robes who 
went in and out this door at the times of peculiar 
trial in the colonies. It was then the parsonage ; 
and here Rev. Samuel Dana resided with his 
family, honored and beloved by his people, until 
the political troubles of the Revolution began to 
crop out. His sympathies were with the crown, 
while those of his people were equally strong on 
the other side. The minute-men, knowing their 
pastor's sentiments, invited the Rev. Samuel Web- 
ster, pastor of the church at Temple, N.H., to 
preach to them at Groton. His sermon, delivered 
Feb. 21, 1775, was full of patriotic sentiment, and 
doubtless served to widen the gap between the 
pastor and people at Groton. Rev. Mr. Dana, firm 
in his conviction of duty, preached a sermon from 
his pulpit early in the spring, which together 
■with other Tory acts led to his dismissal from the 
church and town. 

The vacated parsonage was occupied by Captain 
Jonathan Keep, and kept by 'him as a tavern dur- 
ing the latter part of the Revolution. Here the 
broken soldiers were wont to assemble, and tell 
how fields were won, while the crackling ilames 
rolled up the chimney, and the oft -repeated three- 
penny glass of grog served to rekindle the fire of 
patriotism in the breasts of the heroes of Bunker 
Hill, Bennington, or Valley Forge. 


The old parsonage, enlarged from time to time, 
has been kept as a tavern for the greater part of a 
century. The old soldiers long ago ceased to con- 
gregate beneath that ancient roof ; but their noble 
deeds are still rehearsed at the cheerful fireside, 
and the old musket occupies a familiar place on 
the wall. 


The geographical situation of Charlestown ren- 
dered the circumstances of her patriot citizens 
peculiarly trying. Separated from Boston by 
the narrow channel of the Charles River, and 
that continually traversed by a ferry, made the 
two towns practically one settlement. Every 
public movement of the Charlestown people was 
detected by Governor Gage, who through the aid 
of the Loyalists knew the entire workings of this 
near neighborhood. But even this did not deter 
the patriots from decided action, each step be- 
ing in harmony with that of their sympathizers 
in Boston. The Stamp Act infuriated them ; the 
massacre in King Street called out their indigna- 
tion, and they went in large companies over the 
ferry to see. the blood of the victims that cried 
out to them from the ground, " Avenge thy 
brothers' death." The question of the tea seemed 
to disturb the entire social element of the town. 
This, as no previous question, disturbed the patri- 
otic women. The sociability of the exhilarating 

charlestown's distress 301 

cup was nevertheless set aside to some extent. 
A substitute for green and bohea was quite com- 
monly introduced in the colonies. It was an herb 
known as Labrador, of which immense quantities 
grew all over New England. It was advertised 
as of superior flavor to the imported tea. 

In 1768 the inhabitants of Charlestown unani- 
mously agreed to use no more tea. They gath- 
ered up the stock in hand, and burnt it in the 
public square at midday. 

One of the Daughters of Liberty of this town, 
while in a store in Boston, made selection of vari- 
ous articles which she desired to purchase, and 
then asked if they sold tea ; being told that they 
did, the patriot refused to take any of the articles. 

A man who carted to Marblehead some chests 
of tea that had been imported contrary to rules 
was immediately visited by the indignation of his 
townsmen, who were assembled with him at a 
husking frolic. The nearness of the Charlestown 
people seemed to make them more determined in 
many respects than were the patriots in the dis- 
tant towns. 

In order to encourage the production and man- 
ufacture of woollens, the people unanimously 
agreed not to eat or even suffer any lamb to be 
dressed in their families till the first of August. 

The proclamation of Governor Gage forbidding 
town meetings did not deter the patriots of this 
town, so near to his headquarters, from holding 

302 S£NEArfI OLD ROOF Tr££S 

their meetings, in which they took most positive 
action. But the records fail to give evidence of 
the military preparation that was made elsewhere 
in the colonies. They had, however, a way of 
their .own, which was adopted on Dec. 2, 1774, 
when the engine companies of the town, three 
in number, voted to join in one body as exempts, 
and prepare themselves for action. They chose 
their officers, and voted " that every man be pro- 
vided with a good gun and bayonet, with an iron 
ramrod." Any one failing to do this within one 
month was to be punished by paying three shil- 

The enforcement of the Boston Port Bill was as 
trying to the people of Charlestown as to their 
neighbors in Boston. Here rents declined, the 
stores were closed, travel was suspended, and dis- 
tress from want and threatened outbreaks settled 
down upon the people. They were entitled to 
share with Boston in the donations made by the 
country towns for their relief, the committee be- 
ing directed to apply seven per cent of the amount 
that poured in from near and far to the relief of 
the people of Charlestown. 

Notwithstanding the distress of the patriots, 
they would not render assistance to the Loyalists, 
even though they were offered liberal compensa- 
tion for services. Mechanics refused to labor in 
building the barracks for Gage's army. One who 
for years had mowed his Tory neighbor's hay now 


refused — "the honest scythe would not cut Tory 
grass," and another's oxen " would not plough 
Tory ground." 

Many citizens of the town abandoned their 
homes, as did Boston people, and sought shelter 
with friends in the country towns ; but there were 
many who were forced to remain, and suffer from 
want of the necessities, when ordinarily they were 
classed among the " well-to-do " people enjoying 
the luxuries. 

The other colonies were prompt and liberal in 
sending aid, so much so as to receive the thanks 
of the Provincial Congress, passed on Nov. 30, 
1774. The towns of Connecticut were particu- 
larly favorable towards Charlestown, and rehdered 
her people material aid, and tendered letters of 

Aid came from various localities in that colony. 
How much of it was due to the perseverance of 
Israel Putnam we may not know; but such records 
appear as the following from New Britain : " A 
committee was appointed to take in subscriptions 
of Wheat, Rye, Indian Corn, and other provisions, 
and to transport the same to the Town of Boston, 
to be distributed by the Select Men to those who 
needed help in consequence of the blockade of the 

The call upon the towns of Massachusetts of 
Dec. 6, 1774, was sent to the ministers, who 
made the appeal to their people, and the responses 


were sufficient to satisfy the distressed town that 
others were not unmindful of them. A letter 
dated Charlestown, Jan. 14, 1775, reads: — 

" While servile placemen, pensioners, and expectants are 
employing their venal pens in support of a system of tyranny, 
the honest yeomanry of this Province are joining our com- 
passionate brethren," etc. 

On one January day of 1775, the inhabitants of 
Lexington sent sixty-one loads of wood and some 
money as a present to the poor sufferers by the 
Boston Port Bill ; and says a record extant, " On 
Thursday last the first and third Parishes of Read- 
ing sent twenty-seven loads of wood, some money 
and grain." 

These recorded donations were only a few of 
the many that came from the towns not far away 
in Massachusetts ; and, in fact, the towns of south- 
ern New Hampshire were prompt in responding 
to the calls of their distressed brethren, — the 
patriots of Boston and" Charlestown. These acts 
were not without some signs of merriment on the 
part of the giver, and receiver as well. 

While I have looked in vain for a dwelling of 
pre-Revolutionary days in Charlestown (the flames 
of June 17 having swept them away), I have 
been gratified in meeting those who tell the story 
of that town, as they have had it from those who 
participated in the trying scenes. Mr. William P. 
Jones of Boston says, " My grandmother, Mercy 


Tufts Boylston, lived at the Neck. She had not 
fled from the town as very many did, but remain- 
ing with other patriots saw what in days of peace 
she loved to describe. ' I saw long processions of 
teams coming in from the country loaded down 
with donations. The merrymaking of the team- 
sters, and the grotesque figures displayed on 
some teams, plainly showed that " it is more 
blessed to give than to receive." On one of the 
sleds loaded with wood from Reading was hoisted 
the Union flag with the following inscription in 
the centre : — 

" To the "worthy inhabitants of Boston and Charles- 
town : — 

" Ye noble patriots, constant, firm, and true, 
Your country's safety much depends on you. 
In patient suffering, greatly persevere ; 
From cold, from famine, you have naught to fear. 
With tender eye the country views your woe ; 
With your distress will her assistance grow. 
Or if (which Heaven avert) some fatal hour 
Should force you from your homes by tyrant power. 
To her retire, — with open, generous heart. 
All needful aid and comfort she'll' impart ; 
Gladly she'll share the wealth by Heaven bestown. 
With those for her who've sacrificed their own.'" 

Said Mrs. Boylston, " Our people would not 
allow the teamsters to return to their homes 
without being entertained at some tavern where 
the landlord was an avowed patriot. Many dain- 


ties were sent with the teams to families who 
were connected by ties of blood or friendship, and 
thus the sad and anxious days of the winter- of 
1774-5 were passed. 

" A committee of distribution was kept busy in 
trying to make a just division of the patriotic do- 
nations from the country. At a meeting held on 
April 5, forty-three of the remaining inhabitants 
were relieved, and an adjournment for two weeks 
was made. They were to meet on the 19th of 
April, at five o'clock p.m.; but when the time 
arrived," said Mrs. Boylston, " there were other 
things of more importance that demanded their 
attention, and but few of the people of Charles- 
town were remaining to call for aid. The town, 
throughout the day, presented a scene of intense 
excitement and confusion. Although Revere's 
trusted friends resided on that side of the Charles, 
the stealthy march of the enemy was known at a 
distance hours before the patriots of Charles- 
town received the alarming news. While all 
was in confusion in towns a dozen miles' away, 
the schools of Charlestown were holding their 
regular session. Rumors were received in the 
forenoon of the events at Lexington, but no cer- 
tain intelligence reached the town until Dr. War- 
ren galloped down from the scenes of blood that 
he had witnessed on the road. It was then that 
the schools were dismissed, and excited citizens 
gathered in groups in the streets. Many of the 


men went out with their firearms into the field, 
women and children alone remaining. General 
Gage sent a message to Hon. James Russell, to 
the effect that he was aware that armed citizens 
had gone out to oppose hrs Majesty's troops, and 
that if more went he would lay the town in ashes. 
It was possible to quiet the excitement in a meas- 
ure, until the report came that the Cambridge 
Bridge had been taken up, and consequently the 
return would be made through Charlestown. It 
was then that the few remaining people made 
haste to leave. Rumors not so well founded had 
so often been received, and given rise to needless 
anxiety, that some of the people discredited this, 
until they heard the report of muskets in the road 
above the town, when they made haste towards 
the Neck. Some got across the Mystic at the 
ferry, and more ran along the marsh towards Med- 
ford. The dread reality was apparent at about 
sunset. The troops came in haste and confusion 
into the town. The first of her sons to be sacri- 
ficed was a boy, Edward Barber, who was stand- 
ing in a house, and was there shot. He was my 
cousin," said Mrs. Boylston, " and would have es- 
caped if our people had obeyed orders. We were 
told that no harm would befall us if the army was 
not fired upon. A careless, excited negro dis- 
charged his musket, and the return fire killed the 
inoffensive boy. Later, there was killed James 
Miller, who was a native of the town, born in 


1709. His wife was Sarah Lane of Bedford. 
She liad fled to her people, the patriots of that 
town, where she received the sad news of the 
death of her husband, who had thought that duty 
required him to stand by the town in her time of 
distress. After the army passed through the 
town, the inhabitants who were near turned back 
to seek their homes. The cry that ' the British 
are massacring the women and children,' started 
from the shooting of the Barber boy, created a 
panic. Some remained in the street speechless 
with terror. The army, however, offered no vio- 
lence to the people, but prevailed upon them to 
go to their homes, where they would be safe, ask- 
ing in return of them cold water, which they 
freely received. The officers flocked to the tav- 
ern in the Square, and got such refreshments as 
they could secure. With the night there came 
quiet, save from the wounded and disabled, many 
of whom were carried across the river during the 
night in boats belonging to the warship Somerset, 
that was hauled into Charles River on the 14th, 
and now lay between the ferryways. My observa- 
tions of the returning troops," said Mrs. Boylston, 
"were made from beneath an archway in our 
cellar, to which we retreated upon seeing the 
approaching army." 

The rest of the story of Charlestown during the 
hostilities in Massachusetts is familiarly known to 
all. The footprints of her patriots were lost in 


the ashes that alone remained to remind the sor- 
rowing people of their once happy homes. It was 
enough that her green hill should become the 
sepulchre of hundreds of human beings, without a 
slaughter of her own sons. 

In the Essex Calendar for the year 1776, in 
the month of June, among the events set against 
the corresponding date of previous years, we 
read : — 

17th. Bloody bat. of Charlst. where were k. & w. 324 
provincials, 1450 regulars ; there were destroyed in 
Ch. by the latter, i meeting-house, 350 dwelling- 
houses and 150 other buildings. 

Chaplain in Washington 'j army at Cambridge. 

" Tell us a story of Bunker Hill," said a group 
of bright-eyed children, as they gathered around 
their grandfather. Rev. Joseph Wheeler, in his 
home in Worcester. 

The story which they received is now repeated 
by one of the group, H. W. Wheeler of that city. 
" My ancestor. Rev. Joseph Wheeler, was minis- 
ter of the church in Harvard, Mass., from the 
year 1759 to 1768, when impaired health com- 
pelled him to give up the pastoral office. 

"But he continued to live in the town until 1781, 
when he removed to Worcester, where he resided 
till his death, in 1793. Although not the acting 
clergyman of the town of Harvard during the try- 


ing years that preceded and covered the Revolu- 
tion, Mr. Wheeler had the confidence of the 
patriots of that town, and being regarded as a 
man of superior judgment, was chosen their 
representative in many important conventions. 

" He was chairman of the Committee of Corre- 
spondence of that town, and also moderator of the 
town-meeting which assembled on Feb. i8, 1773, 
for the purpose of considering the 'present situa- 

" As might be expected, Mr. Wheeler was a 
member of the first and third Provincial Con- 
gresses, and represented Harvard in the General 

" Although not able to endure the exposure of 
a soldier's life in the camp during the siege of 
Boston, he desired to aid his countrymen, being 
a firm patriot ; and he early responded to the call 
from Cambridge, and after General Washington 
arrived was chaplain to the commander-in-chief." 

The story to the anxious children from the hon- 
est lips of Rev. Joseph Wheeler was as follows : 
" When the order was given by General Artemas 
Ward to Colonel Prescott to go with a body of 
men to Bunker Hill, to throw up the fortification, 
I went with others to plan out the works. When 
the breastwork was completed, we stood under an 
apple-tree discussing the situation and prospect. 

" It was at the early dawn of the 17th of June ; 
our situation was on a slope of the hill toward 


Boston. While standing there engaged in con- 
versation, we were perceived by the men on one 
of the British warships lying in the channel 
opposite, and were made a target for one of their 

"The discharged ball went over our heads, and 
buried itself in the earth a short distance away. 
I marked the spot where it fell, not thinking of 
what was soon to follow. 

"In the passage of the ball through the air, a 
shoot was cut from a limb of an apple-tree near by, 
and, dropping, fell near my feet. I picked it up 
and took it away with me, and later made of it a 

"This," says Mr. Wheeler, "has been handed 
down in the family as the Bunker Hill Cane, and 
is now carefully cherished by one of the descend- 
ants living in Connecticut." 

" But how about that cannon-ball aimed at you, 
grandpa," said one of the listeners. 

"Oh," said the minister, "after the battle and 
the destruction of the town, I went sorrowfully 
back, found the place, and dug it out of the earth, 
and here it is. Let me see you lift it." 

They all tried, and many failed, and so have 
many of his descendants since that day. 

The ball is to-day owned by one of the many 
who proudly trace their lineage back to the good 
minister of Harvard, and it is kept as a pre- 
cious memento in a home in the city of Boston. 







The town of Woburn, at first known as Charles- 
town Village, was among the very early settlements 
of the colony. Among the first to begin the Eng- 
lish settlement there was James Thompson, who 
with his wife and children came to New England 
in the Winthrop emigration of 1630. James 
Thompson was one of the first board of selectmen 
of Woburn, 1644. From that time to the present 
the name of Thompson has been prominent in all 
that pertains to the welfare of the town. 

They were found among the most decided pa- 
triots at the beginning of troubles with the mother 

Early in 1774 the town erected a house for the 
safe keeping of their stock of ammunition, and 
procured an additional stock, " consisting of two 
barrels of powder, and bullets and flints in pro- 
portion, for the use and benefit of the town." 

When the memorable alarm was given in the 
town, it met with a ready response. But two days 


before the outbreak the people had taken action 
for organizing a company of minute-men, and con- 
sequently could not have been under very good 
military discipline, only as they had been drilled 
in the customary manner of playing soldier, or 
had caught the military spirit from those who had 
done service in the earlier wars. 

When but a child, moved by curiosity, to meet 
a centenarian, I went with many people to the 
home of Mrs. Betsey Taylor in the town of Bur- 
lington, Mass. ; and among others of the aged 
woman's personal reminiscences I gathered that 
of April 19, 1775. She was then a child of eleven 
years. " A messenger sent by Captain Joshua 
Walker, who commanded the military company of 
Woburn precinct, came to my father, Mr. Jonathan 
Proctor, the drummer of the company, to beat an 
alarm as soon as possible, for the redcoats were 
on the move." 

The manner of spreading the alarm in the pre- 
cinct we may infer was the same as that which 
called the people to action in the main part of 
Woburn; and turning to the old Thompson home- 
stead, to the ancient hearthstone in North Woburn, 
we listen to the story of the movements of that 
family, as now related by Rev. Leander Thomp- 
son, a grandson of one who participated : " Sam- 
uel, Daniel, and Abijah Thompson were sons 
of Samuel and Ruth (Wright) Thompson. They 
were all born in North Woburn, in a house still 


standing, and still occupied by a great-grandson 
of Samuel. When the Revolutionary War com- 
menced they were all married, and had young 
families around them. Daniel lived about one 
mile from the others, on the road to Woburn 
Centre. On hearing in the early morning of 
April 19 of the march of the British towards 
Concord, the family tradition is, that he instantly 
sprang upon the bare back of his horse, and ran 
with speed to rouse the people of North Village. 
Only one man of those he met hesitated ; and 
when that one asked him if he were not too hasty, 
and exposing himself to great danger, he instantly 
replied, ' I tell you that our tyrants are. on their 
march to destroy our stores, and if no one else 
opposes them, I will.' Immediately hurrying away 
to the scene of action, he boldly took his position, 
and poured his fire into the ranks of the British. 
On the retreat of the enemy, he took a station 
near the road, stepping behind a barn to load ; 
then advancing around a corner of the building, 
he fired diagonally through the platoons of the 
enemy, thus making every shot effectual. A gren- 
adier who watched his movements was so enraged 
that he ran around the corner of the barn, and shot 
him dead on the spot while he was in the act of 
reloading his gun. 

"Tradition says that a well-directed ball from 
another Woburn gun prevented the grenadier 
from ever rejoining his comrades. It has ever 


been supposed that the avenger was one of the 
brothers of Daniel Thompson, and that the Brit- 
ish gun for many years was treasured in the 
Thompson family. 

" The two brothers of Daniel whora^he particu- 
larly desired to arouse had immediately seized 
their muskets, and hurried away also to the 
scene of action. Samuel, the eldest of the three, 
charged his boy Jonathan, fifteen years of age, as 
he left, to be a good boy, and take good care of 
his mother. But the father had hardly more than 
gone before the boy borrowed an old musket and 
a horn of powder, and taking, without the knowl- 
edge of the family, the leaden weights of the 
scales, ran them into bullets at a neighboring 
shop ; and thus armed and equipped, he, too, set 
off for Concord. He arrived at the scene of 
action just as the enemy began their retreat. 
Noticing that the method of annoyance employed 
by his countrymen was that of gaining the head 
of the retreating column by a circuitous route, 
and then from a favorable position previously 
chosen pouring their shot among the ranks till 
all had passed, he did the same. In one of these 
circuits, to their mutual surprise, he met his 
father, who at once exclaimed, ' Why, Jonathan, 
2lx& you here.? Well, take care of yourself. Your 
Uncle Daniel has been killed. Be prudent, my 
son, and take care of yourself.' Father and son 
then each pursued his way. The son followed 


the retreating enemy to Menotomy, from which 
place he crossed over to Medford, where with 
others, all of whom, were excessively fatigued, he 
sought repose in a barn, reaching home safely 
early the following morning. 

"Abijah, the youngest of the three brothers, 
also immediately hastened from home to the 
scene of action, in which he bore a conspicuous 
part till he was deputed tp convey the sad news 
of Daniel's death to his distracted family in 

" The two brothers who survived the conflict, 
and also the boy of fifteen years, were subse- 
quently regular soldiers of the Continental army, 
and after the declaration of peace became highly 
enterprising, useful, and respected citizens of 

The Thompsons were among the many patriots 
who without military order made haste across the 
towns, and intercepted the enemy below " Mer- 
riam's Corner." 

Of the many, Daniel Thompson, already men- 
tioned, and Asahel Porter, whose name appears 
on the Lexington monument, were all who per- 
ished on that day of the Woburn men. Three 
others were wounded. 

Rev. Leander Thompson also says, "Asahel 
Porter and Josiah Richardson set out for Boston 
market during the night of April i8; and when 
near Menotomy, the present town of Arlington, 


being on the route the British had taken, they 
were halted by the enemy, deprived of the horses 
they rode, and forced to accompany their captors 
to Lexington as prisoners of war. They were 
released just as the firing on the Common began, 
on condition that they were to leave without 
making themselves conspicuous by running, un- 
der penalty of being shot. Porter disobeyed, and 
after walking a few steps began to quicken pace, 
and was shot dead. His body was found by Amos 
and Ebenezer Locke as it lay by the side of a 
stone wall." 

The Salem Gazette of that period affords a 
glimpse of the sorrow that followed the memora- 
ble 19th in Woburn. 

" Same day [Friday, April 21], the remains of Messrs. 
Asahel Porter and Daniel Thompson of Woburn, who also 
fell victims to tyranny, were decently interred at that place, 
attended to the grave by a multitude of persons, who assem- 
bled on the occasion from that and the neighboring towns. ■ 
Before they were interred, a very suitable sermon and 
prayer was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Sherman." ^ 

Standing by the grave of Daniel Thompson, 
with naught to recall the multitude who gathered 
about the open grave save the leaning, moss- 
grown slabs, I copied the following, while the 
eye moistened from sympathy for the widow and 
children : — 

1 Brother of Roger Sherman of Connecticut. 





1775, AGED 40 YEARS. 

Here, Passenger, confined, Reduced to dust. 

Lies what was once Religious, wise and just. 
The Cause he engaged did animate him high. 

Namely, — Religion and dear Liberty, 

Steady and warm in Libertie's defence. 
Tru£ to his Country, L.oyal to His Prince, 
Though in his Breast a thirst for glory fir'd. 

Although he's gone his name Embalmed shall be 

And had in Everlasting memory. 

The name of Asahel Porter is read, not only on 
the Lexington Monument, but on a marble slab 
erected at his supposed grave;, on the centennial 
of his death, by Post 33, G. A. R., of Woburn. 

The patriots of to-day, appreciating the bless- 
ings of liberty, turn aside from the busy scenes of 
the modern city of Woburn to her ancient burial- 
ground, and there seek out the graves of two 
brave men who so early fell victims of tyranny. 

Sylvanus Wood, alluded to in our Lexington 
story in this volume, was another prominent pa- 
triot from Woburn. His narrative, given under 
oath, was, in brief, that he lived with Deacon 
Obadiah Kendall, about three miles from Lexing- 
ton. The bell of that town aroused him at an 
early hour; and, fearing there was trouble, he 
arose, took his gun, and with Robert Douglass 
made haste to Lexington, where he found the 


company assembled. By invitation of Captain 
Parker, he (Wood) and Douglass also joined in 
the ranks, shared in the experience at the Com- 
mon, and hastened on to Concord, after assist- 
ing in carrying the dead into the meeting-house. 
When near Viles's Tavern in Lexington he cap- 
tured a British soldier as prisoner. 

William Tay, Jr., made oath to a statement of 
his experience. He claimed to have been in the 
throng of countrymen who pursued the enemy to 
Charlestown. While nearing the latter place, he 
and others were passing a house, and were fired 
upon by three of the enemy who were hiding 
there. He with his party returned the fire, killing 
two of the British, and capturing the third by 
seizing him bodily, and cuffing him until he gladly 
surrendered. He claimed that he was deprived 
of his just credit by some other American, who 
carried away the military equipments of the trio 
of the enemy, and thus he lost the evidence of 
what he had bravely done. 

The most notable patriot of the town was Colo- 
nel Loammi Baldwin. His military service began 
as early as 1768, when, in his twenty-fourth year, 
he is credited as enlisting in His Excellency's 
Troop of Horse Guards, in command of Colonel 
David Phips. By this it seems he was not en- 
tirely without experience when he was called into 
service as a patriot of Woburn. Extracts from 
the diary of such a man cannot fail to interest and 


instruct every one who has a just appreciation of 
the republic which Colonel Baldwin did so much 
towards successfully establishing : — 

1775, April 19. Wednesday. This morning a little be- 
fore break of day, we were alarmed by Mr. Stedman's Ex- 
press from Cambridge. Informed us that the Regulars were 
upon the move for Concord. We mustered as fast as pos- 
sible. The Town turned out extraordinary, and proceeded 
toward Lexington. I rode along a little before the main 
body, and, when I was nigh Jacob Reed's I heard a great 
firing; proceeded on, — soon heard that the Regulars had 
fired upon Lexington people, and killed a large number of 
them. We proceeded on as fast as possible and came to 
Lexington, and saw about 8 or 10 dead and numbers wounded. 
. . . We proceeded to Concord by way of Lincoln meet- 
ing-house, . . . ascended the hill, and pitched and refreshed 
ourselves a little. . . . The people under my cpramand and 
also some others came running off the East end of the hill 
while I was at a house, and we proceeded down the road, and 
could see behind us the Regulars following. We came to 
Tanner Brook at Lincoln Bridge, and then concluded to 
scatter and make use of trees and walls for to defend us, and 
attack them. We did so and pursued on, flanking them, till 
we came to Lexington. I had several good shots. The 
enemy marched very fast, and left many dead and wounded 
and a few tired. I proceeded on till coming between the 
meeting-house and Buckman's Tavern with a prisoner before 
me, when the cannon began to play, the balls flew near me, 
I judged not more than 2 yards off. I immediately retreated 
back behind the meeting-house, and had not been there ten 
seconds before a ball come through the meeting-house near 
my head. I retreated back towards the meadow, north of 
the meeting-house, and lay and heard the balls in the air 
and saw them strike the ground. 


It is inferred that lie was then an officer. We 
later find that he enlisted in the regiment under 
command of Colonel Samuel Gerrish, and was pro- 
moted to the office of lieutenant-colonel on June 
16. On the memorable 17th he was designated as 
the field-officer of the main guard. 

He was stationed for a time at Chelsea, and 
writes his wife from there on March 6, 1776: — 

" I have had much to do, constantly keeping a party on 
Noddle's Island for spies to discover all the movements of 
the enemy.'' 

A clause in this letter furnishes evidence, in ad- 
dition to that of General Ward, of the preparations 
of the patriots for an attack, which was prevented 
by the evacuation of Boston on the 17th of March, 
the letter being dated eleven days before it : — 

" Our works on Dorchester Hills are completing as fast as 
possible. The enemy's ships are all drawn up in line of 
battle before them, but are very quiet at present.'' 

Colonel Baldwin was commissioned as such on 
Jan. I, 1776. His regiment was known as the 

He was ordered to follow General Washington 
to New York. The route taken is indicated by 
a letter from the colonel, under date of April i, 
1776, at Grafton, Mass. He writes, — 

" I have this moment received orders to alter the route, 
and go to Providence, R.I." 


Two days later, he writes from Providence that 
he is quartered with his regiment in the college. 
On the 6th he reports to his wife, — 

' ' I have this moment arrived at Norwich, after a march of 
eight days. . . I have just received orders to continue my 
march to New London, where I expect to embark for New 

April lo brings a letter to his wife from New 
York, in which he gives his impressions of the 
place, etc. On the 19th he sums up the service 
of a full year in the army. On the 28th of April 
he writes : — 

" I know not when we shall leave New York ; we go into 
tents this week. The encampment for my regiment is laid 
out near the Jews' burying-ground, joining the northerly 
part of the city. The army is healthy. I have just i-eturned 
from hearing the last of two of the best sermons (I think) 
that I ever heard in my life, preached this day to my regi- 
ment and some others, at Dr. Rogers's meeting-house, the 
afternoon sermon preached by the doctor himself." 

July 14, with other things, he writes : " General Heath is 
this moment come to camp. He informs me that a flag of 
truce from Lord How, newly arrived from England, brother 
of General How, with a packet, or single letter, directed to 
' George Washington, Esq.,' was rejected and sent back on 
account of the direction. I suppose the generals insist upon 
its being directed to ' His Excellency, George Washington, 
Commander-in-chief of the Army of the United States.' So 
we know nothing of the contents of the letter." 

Letters now begin to reveal the declining health 
of the colonel ; but he continues in service until 


the opening of the year 1777, during which time 
he notes many changes, among them being the 
battle of White Plains. 

Dec. 19, he reports to his wife from "Camp, 5 miles 
west of the Delaware, and 30 miles above Philadelphia." 
" If I were at home, I should think myself sick enough to 
keep house, but here feel myself in good spirits. ... On the 
3d inst. marched from Peekskill for King's Ferry. Very 
rainy all day. Crossed the river just before night. Pitched 
our tents in New Jersey, by the side of the mountains, took 
my lodgings in a common tent upon the wet ground ; very 
cold, there being no house to go to. In the night the rain 
increased, and the flood came down from the mountains, and 
ran in torrents among and through the tents, and almost 
washed them away. I had no bed nor blanket, except a thin 
piece of drugget." 

Colonel Baldwin lived in Woburn until Oct. 20, 
1807, when he was lamented by his townsmen 
and by all who knew him as a true patriot and 
good citizen. 

It is noticeable that the Battle of Bunker Hill 
was largely fought, on the side of the Americans, 
by men from a distance, the nearest towns being 
but sparsely represented. The evidence of Wo- 
burn's part is mostly incidental. Rev. Mr. Mar- 
rett, quoted at length in connection with the 
" Parson and Parsonage," recorded — that the 
day was Saturday, and " fair, and very warm and 
drying." The following day, Sabbath, he had a 


"very thin meeting," "the men gone down to the 
army on the alarm yesterday." On June 22, fol- 
lowing, the weather being fair and drying, in the 
morning the good minister of the precinct was 
"at home," but in the afternoon attended the fu- 
neral of Samuel Russell, aged twenty-one, belong- 
ing in the first, or old, parish, who had died, hav- 
ing been "mortally wounded in the battle at 
Charlestown." On the following 26th of the 
same month, he attended the funeral of George 
Reed, Jr., "who died of a fever, which was occa- 
sioned by a surfeit, or heat, he got in Charlestown 
fight on the 17th instant." 

The horrors of war were not confined to san- 
guinary action, or that which it inflicts upon the 
camp ; but the ravages of small-pox frequently ac- 
companied the movements of the army. It broke 
out in Woburn in the spring of 1775, when many 
died, and more suffered from the malady, which 
never failed to leave its loathsome effects. 

The home of Mr. Joseph Winn seems to have 
been the seat of this disease. Possibly a pest- 
house was established there, the location being 
at a distance from the general settlement. 

The Winn estate is one of the few in Woburn 
that has never left the possession of the family. 
For more than two hundred and fifty years the fam- 
ily has been represented at this place, the name 


being identified with the interests of the settle- 
ment in its entirety. The present home is on the 
border of the town of Burlington (Woburn pre- 
cinct), and is occupied by John Winn. It was 
built by Joseph, of the third generation, in 1734; 
and while subsequent generations have "vexed 
the antiquity " of the colonial residence, there is 
much remaining to keep green the memory of the 
family at the old homestead ; while the Woburn 
library, a gift from the late Bowers Winn, is a fit- 
ting monument to the whole family. 

The Winns were stanch supporters of the pa- 
triot cause. Deacon Timothy was a representa- 
tive for many years from Woburn to the General 
Court. Joseph Winn, the great-grandfather of 
John, the present owner, who is of the sixth gen- 
eration, was among the Woburn patriots who 
were early astir on the morning of April 19, 1775. 
The musket which served him on that day is a 
treasured reminder of the patriot ancestor, and 
is kept at the old homestead. 


To say that more than fifty by the name of 
Richardson are credited with service in the Rev- 
olution from the town of Woburn is sufficient 
evidence of the family location. Allowing that 
in some instances one may appear in several cam- 
paigns, there are still enough remaining to prompt 


the observer to think of that early settlement as 
Richardson-town. In the christening-record of 
this long list, a fine array of Bible- names appears. 
There are Jacobs many ; Zachariahs and Zadoks ; 
Calebs and Joshuas in faithful union ; Paul, Silas, 
and Barnabas closely allied ; Matthew, Mark, Luke, 
and John often repeated. So numerous are all 
these that it would require a skilful genealogist 
to decide to which generation an individual shall 
be assigned. Reference to the old burial-ground 
of 1642, " In which are buried the ancestors of 
Presidents Pierce, Cleveland, and Harrison," is 
of but little assistance ; for so strangely are these 
rudely carved slabs backed up to one another, 
that the most reverent visitor is inclined to 
the belief that some of these heroes must have 
given up life in a vain attempt to establish their 
identity, and their executors resorted to this 
method of giving them a post-mortem individual- 
ity, which they were denied in life. Even a frown 
seems to cloud the grim death's head on the rude 
stone at the grave of " Ye Reverend Mr. Jabez 
Fox," tottering as it is in the midst of this confu- 
sion of Richardsons. But even here military au- 
thority seems to assert itself, as we read on a 
well-kept slab occupying a slight elevation : — 






I had a word of approval upon my lips for the 
authorities of this early settlement, because they 
did not follow the example of some, and rob 
these ancient sepulchres of their identity, by 
arranging the rude memorials in parallel rows, 
when I chanced to observe a stone that brought 
forth a word of approbation for a branch of the 
Richardson family that had dared to face the 
reverend Mr. — — at the baptismal basin, and say 
that the child should be called Ichabod. 

This stone itself stands as direct evidence of the 
fallacy of the superstitious members of the family, 
who hid their faces when the minister laid his 
hand upon the little head of three days, and sol- 
emnly said, " Ichabod, I baptize thee in the name 
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
Ghost." That their prediction, "won't live long," 
uttered with subdued voice when leaving the meet- 
ing-house, was not verified is apparent from the 
stone : — 





One departure from the list of family names 
did not prove disastrous ; and when Ichabod first 
had lived prosperously for forty years, they ven- 
tured to repeat the act, and Ichabod, with Sarah 
his wife, carried their first born to the altar, and 
there had the seal of the covenant placed upon 


him, and his name declared to be Ichabod. " Such 
wrong-doing may be forgiven once or twice," 
thought some of the kin, " but persistence in it 
must bring trouble." It was in January, 1771, 
that the record of the birth of the third Ichabod 
was made. That he had the cradle unmolested 
when the Revolution broke out was ominous to 
the family prophets, who kept well prepared for 
the worst. When the alarm of April 19, 1775, 
called scores of the family from their peaceful 
homes, among whom was Ichabod, it was a fore- 
gone conclusion that he would' never return ; but 
when the Richardsons returned alive, and it was 
two of their neighbors who fell, there was occa- 
sion for the exercise of sympathy in another direc- 

The roar of the cannonading of Bunker Hill, 
distinctly heard in the Woburn homes, caused the 
ominous wag of many a head ; but the safe re- 
turn of Ichabod brought joy and thanksgiving to 
reunited families. Some thoughtfully pondered 
over the familiar clause of Scripture, " visiting the 
iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the 
third and fourth generation of them that hate 

Ichabod Richardson, the father, was now 
twenty-eight years of age. It seemed apparent 
that every able-bodied man must enter the service 
of the colonies, or all must become slaves of the 
haughty King George III. Ichabod "did a turn" 


in the besieging army at Cambridge; but the dull 
routine of camp-life was too monotonous for him. 
He had always felt a longing for the sea. When a 
boy, he had stolen many times away from home, 
down to the shores of the Mystic, and watched 
the movements of the sailors on the small craft 
that came up to the town ; in fact, he had been to 
the top mast himself, and become quite familiar 
with the terms so freely Used by the sailors. Burn- 
ing with indignation for the oppression that was 
heaped upon the people, and with an ardent desire 
to serve the colonial cause, Ichabod decided to 
enter the service upon the water. He enlisted as 
a Provincial privateersman. The sorrow in the 
Richardson home at the parting was only such 
as cast its shadow over almost every patriot home 
in the colonies. There was no time to devote to 
tears, and the last hours were spent by the faith- 
ful wife in making the best preparations for the 
comfort of the husband and father. 

We may well imagine the inquiring words of 
little Ichabod, now past five years of age, as he 
saw the warm stockings rolled up, the best home- 
made blanket folded, and, with other comforts, 
made into a rude bundle. These strange prepara- 
tions served to amuse the child, while they brought 
sorrow to the wife and mother. Shouldering the 
tear-sprinkled bundle, Ichabod Richardson bade 
farewell to his young wife and son, and with a 
sorrowful but bold purpose set sail on a voyage 


of uncertainty. He was not out of sight of his 
native land before he was seized upon by peculiar 
emotions that had never disturbed his manly 
heart before. The devotion of wife, and clinging, 
childish affection of son, were to him now more of 
a reality than when he was in the immediate enjoy- 
ment of them. It was too late to turn back, un- 
manly to weep, he thought ; so he vainly tried to 
bury his sorrow in the hilarity of the life of the 
ordinary privateersman. He fancied an early 
return, when, loaded with bounty, he should sit 
down at home to share his luxuries with his loved 
ones. Theirs was a swift-sailing vessel, manned 
entirely by men from the towns about Woburn ; 
the voyage was a prosperous one, and they were 
soon cruising about the English Channel. Several 
richly laden vessels from British ports were dis- 
cerned, and pursued by the American privateer, 
but made good their escape. When the flush of 
immediate success was over, they espied one, and 
lost no time in the chase. They bore down upon 
her, and soon had her in their power. The Brit- 
ish vessel made a show of resistance, but was 
soon overcome, the crew surrendered as prisoners, 
and the rich freight was the property of the 
American privateersmen. They lost no time in 
making for the coast of France to find a safe 
refuge. They had scarcely time to realize that 
they were in possession of a rich prize, when a 
British man-of-war came upon them, and not only 


• recaptured the vessel so recently freighted at 
their own shore, but the American privateer as 
well. A few hours before they were in the jubi- 
lant possession of wealth, but now prisoners of 
war, in irons. Alas for Ichabod ! Now, as never 
before, the vision of that happy reunion faded 
from sight ; and all hope vanished when they were 
landed, and confined in an English prison. Icha- 
bod Richardson, with other American sailors, was 
committed to Forton prison, near Portsmouth, on 
June 26, 1777. He was one of a second company 
of like unfortunates who were confined at that 

The sorrow of that Woburn family was not 
alone on the part of the husband and father. 
Time dragged slowly in the home. The weeks 
of hopeful expectation lapsed into months of evil 
forebodings. When the north-east storm beat 
against the windows of the lonely home, it brought 
to the anxious wife and mother visions of a dis- 
mantled ship tossing about upon the angry waves 
of the restless ocean. Then the mother pressed 
the son more closely to her bosom in the vain en- 
deavor to lose herself in sleep. As the little boy 
prattled by her side in the warmth of the mid-day 
sun, Mrs. Richardson tried to comfort herself by 
detecting in him movements and developing fea- 
tures that reminded her of the absent one. As 
the separation was extended to years, the suspense 
culminated, to her, in the death of her husband. 


She patiently acquiesced in what she thought 
to be the will of God. She mourned Ichabod as 
dead, and taught her growing son to speak of his 
father as safe in the heavenly kingdom. There 
were those who, in the expression of their sympa- 
thy, did not fail to whisper to the neighbors, " I 
expected it." 

It was when the sorrow hung the most heavily 
over the home of Ichabod Richardson that his 
Cousin Josiah was called upon to part with his 
wife. The many relatives bowed submissively in 
this sorrow, regarding it as the loving act of a 
kind heavenly Father. The tears of Sarah, the 
supposed widow, were freely mingled with those 
of Josiah, now bereft of his companion. Thus 
they lightened each other's burden as they visited 
the old burial-ground together. The widow, for 
such she was regarded, felt her lot to be the most 
severe. She had not even the melancholy pleas- 
ure of the freshly made mound to remind her of 
the silent tenant ; and when the sorrowful husband 
performed the last duty by adding one more to 
the many gravestones in the yard, the widow 
wished her means would admit of her testifying of 
her love for Ichabod in the same manner. 

The months wore slowly away, and sorrow was 
depicted on two faces ; each saw the traces of the 
other's burden, and tried to lighten it. In promis- 
ing to be a father to the little boy, Josiah Rich- 
ardson was at length accepted as a husband in 


place of the supposed dead. The mother refused 
to have the name of Ichabod changed to that of 
Josiah. She regarded the name as the one strong 
tie that bound the memory of the past to that of 
the present. The name was much to her ; while 
the growing boy, so like his lamented father, was a 
comfort beyond expression. Josiah and Sarah 
Richardson lived happily together. The anticipa- 
tion of ultimate freedom from the oppressive yoke 
of George III. at length resulted in the reality, 
and they began to plan for more luxuriant sur- 
roundings, as the people in general did when re- 
lieved from the burden of a long and distress- 
ing war. Happily the declaration of peace was 
as far-reaching in its effects as that of war had 

Could Sarah Richardson in her anxiety have 
seen a journal later displayed by a Lexington man, 
she would have seen in a roll of prisoners com- 
mitted to Forton jail the name of her husband, 
and also that of the prizemaster, Mr. Hammon. 
Against some names she would have read " Run," 
while against others she would have seen the 
word " Dead." Short but expressive were the 
entries ; yet in the former instances there was 
left an occasion for hope, while in the latter all 
hope was abandoned. 

It would be useless to try to decide whether 
Ichabod or Sarah was the greater sufferer. He 
skulked about from place to place ; to be sure, pro- 


tected while within the bounds of France ; but it 
was not home to him, and he was but a hopeless 
wanderer, with not even the little bundle in his 
possession that had been wrapped together by 
loving hands. When in this forlorn state, the 
news of the declaration of peace reached him, 
and he lost no time in taking ship for America, 
accepting the most menial position, if thereby he 
could again see his native land. This wish was 
gratified, and Ichabod Richardson made haste to 
the town which he had left seven years before. 
He detected change on every side. The barracks 
of the enemy had been removed from Boston, and 
the Stars and Stripes were floating where before 
the British Lion had been displayed. 

Ichabod's inquiry for Sarah Richardson was 
as promptly answered as it was made. He saw 
faces that were still familiar to him, but received 
no recognizing smile in return. As he passed 
through the narrow roads of the town, he revolved 
in his mind what he would say when he met his 
faithful wife ; he tried to make up his mind how 
the little boy of five years, now a lad of twelve, 
would look. Occupied with such thoughts, he 
reached the house, stepped up, and pulled the 
familiar latch-string. The door swung open. The 
changes that seven years had brought to his once 
manly form were as apparent in those he left at 
home. Anxiety and distress had made deep fur- 
rows in the smooth brow, while the flush of the 



cheeks on which Ichabod pressed a farewell kiss 
had faded from sight. 

Seven years had changed the prattling, inno- 
cent child to a thoughtful youth, in whom was a 
striking resemblance of the long-lost father. 

The wife was Sarah Richardson still ; but when 
the table was spread for the thanksgiving meal, 
four plates were put upon it. Ichabod and Josiah 
Richardson exchanged many thoughtful glances. 
All refreshed themselves, and arose from the fam- 
ily board to decide whose wife Sarah should be. 

In law the second marriage was void, because 
neither death nor divorce had entered the early 
home ; but there were other matters to be con- 
sidered. Ichabod left some property when he 
bade his family farewell, and Josiah had added 
to it. Although both had but recently been war- 
riors, they decided that the difficulty should be 
amicably adjusted. Sarah decided in favor of 
Ichabod, the father of her son. They called in 
the assistance of the village magistrate, Josiah 
Johnson, Jr., the "squire" of the town, who pre- 
pared a legal document, to which the two husbands 
appended their names. 

The paper is styled " Ichabod Richardson and 
Josiah Richardson — Stipulation " : — 

" Whereas Ichabod Richardson of Woburn in the County 
of Middlesex, Commonwealth of Massachusetts shop joiner 
[carpenter] , about six or seven years since, (during the un- 
happy Difference between Great Brittian and America), the 


Colonies Inlisted him on board one of the American Priva- 
teers, leaving behind his wife Sarah, by which, he had Issue, 
one son, in which unlucky voyage he was taken Prisoner by 
the Brittians and was carried to Great Brittian and from 
thence to the East Indies, which occasioned him six or seven 
years absence ; without any the least notice to his said wife 
Sarah, of his being in the land of the living. During this un- 
certain interim the said Sarah in a desolate state, Josiah 
Richardson of said Woburn, blacksmith, being left a wid- 
ower, married the said Sarah. But so it happens at this pres- 
ent time, the said Ichabod is now returned and puts in his 
claim to his said wife Sarah, which by reason of their said 
son she preferres to live with in the future . . . and they the 
said Ichabod and Josiah, for the amicable settlement of the 
unhappy affair between them, stipulate as follows, namely — 
the said Ichabod on his part, on the penalty of one hundred 
pounds, lawful money, stipulates with the said Josiah, his 
heirs and executors to pay discharge, and Indemnify him and 
them from all demands of what nature so ever against the 
said Sarah, at and until the time of her intermarriage with 
the said Josiah, and from all for the future, and that he the 
said Josiah shall Retain all the goods by him, the said Josiah 
and the said Sarah, Procured since the time of their inter- 
marriage, during life. And he the said Josiah, on his part 
stipulates with the said Ichabod, his heirs and executors, on 
the penalty of one hundred pounds like money, to discharge 
the said Sarah from the obligations of such marriage, and to 
Restore all tlie goods she brought with her at that time. 

" In confirmation of all above written, they have here- 
unto interchangably set their hands and seals, this fifteenth 
day of February, one thousand seven hundred eighty three. 

{Signed) ICHABOD RICHARDSON (seal). 


Signed, sealed, and delivered \ 
in the presence of > 



Note. — Ichabod Richardson, son of Asa, was born in Woburn, 
March 3, 1747; married Sarah Wyman, June 6, 1770; had Icha- 
bod, born in 1771. She married Josiah Richardson March 19, 
1782. Ichabod Richardson died in Woburn, Feb. 5, 1792. Jo- 
siah Richardson died in Woburn, Nov. 12, 1801. 

[From George's Cambridge Almanack; or, The Essex Calendar /or the 
Year of oitr Redemption, 1776.] 

Narrative of the excursion and ravages of the king's troops, under the 
command of General Gage, on the 19th of April, 1775 ; taken with 104 
depositions to support the truth of it, and published by order of Congress. 

This concise and much-admired narrative is said to be drawn up by 

the revered and patriotic Mr. G n, of the third parish in Roxbury, 

together with an accurate list of all the Provincials who were killed, 
wounded, and missing in the action, including all that was lost on 
that day ; collected by authority ^ — 

"On the 19th of April, 1775, a day to be remem- 
bered by all Americans of the present generation, 
and which ought, and doubtless will be, handed 
down to ages yet unborn, in which the troops of 
Britain, unprovoked, shed the blood of sundry loyal 
American subjects of the British King in the field 
of Lexington. Early in the morning of said day, 
a detachment of the forces, under the command 
of General Gage, stationed at Boston, attacked 
a small party of the inhabitants of Lexington, and 
some other towns adjacent, the detachment con- 
sisting of about nine hundred men, commanded by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Smith. The inhabitants of 
Lexington and the other towns were about one 
hundred, some with and some without firearms, 
who had collected upon information that the de- 
tachment had secretly marched from Boston the 
preceding night, and landed on Phips's Farm in 


Cambridge, and were proceeding on their way with 
a brisk pace towards Coiicord (as the inhabitants 
supposed), to take or destroy a quantity of stores 
deposited there for the use of the colony ; sundry 
peaceable inhabitants having the same night been 
taken, held by force, and otherwise abused on the 
road, by some officers of General Gage's army, 
which caused a just alarm to the people, and a 
suspicion that some fatal design was immediately 
to be put in execution against them. This small 
party of the inhabitants, so far from being disposed 
to commit hostilities on the troops of their sover- 
eign, that unless attacked were determined to be 
peaceable spectators of this extraordinary move- 
ment, immediately on the approach of Colonel 
Smith with the detachment under his command 
they dispersed. But the detachment, seeming to 
thirst for blood, wantonly rushed on, and first be- 
gan the hostile scene by firing on this small party, 
in which they killed eight men on the spot, and 
wounded several others, before any guns were fired 
upon the troops by our men. Not contented with 
this effusion of blood, as if malice occupied their 
whole soul, they continued to fire until all this 
small party who escaped the dismal carnage were 
out of the reach of their fire. Colonel Smith, with 
the detachment, then proceeded to Concord, where 
a part of this detachment again made the first fire 
upon some of the inhabitants of Concord and the 
adjacent towns, who were collected at a bridge 


upon this just alarm, and killed two of them, and 
wounded several others, before any of the Provin- 
cials there had done one hostile act. Then the 
Provincials (roused with zeal for the Liberties of 
their country, finding life and everything dear and 
valuable at stake) assumed their native valor, and 
returned the fire, and the engagement on both 
sides began. Soon after which the British troops 
retreated towards Charlestown (having first com- 
mitted violence and waste on public and private 
property), and on their retreat were joined by 
another detachment of General Gage's troops, con- 
sisting of about a thousand men, under the com- 
mand of Earl Percy, who. continued the retreat. 
The engagement lasted through the day. Many 
were killed and wounded on each side, though the 
loss on the part of the British troops far exceeded 
that of the Provincials. The devastation com- 
mitted by the British troops on their retreat, the 
whole of the way from Concord to Charlestown, is 
almost beyond description, such as plundering and 
burning of dwelling-houses and other buildings, 
driving into the street women in child-bed, killing 
old men in their houses unarmed. Such scenes of 
desolation would be a reproach to the perpetra- 
tors even if committed by the most barbarous 
nations, how much more when done by Britons 
famed for humanity and tenderness. And. all this 
because these colonies will not submit to the iron 
yoke of arbitrary power." 



The following is a correct list of those Provin- 
cials who were killed, wounded, and missing in the 
action of the 19th of April, 1775, and the towns to 
which they respectively belonged ; — 

William Marcy. Jason Russell. 

Moses Richardson. Jabez Wyman. 

John Hicks. Jason Winship. 

C. Samuel Whittemore. 


Samuel Frost. 

Seth Russell. 



James Miller. 

C. Barber's son. 



Joseph Cooledge. 



D. Josiah Haynes. 

Asahel Reed. 


Joshua Haynes. 



Isaac Davis. 

James Hayward. 

Abner Hosmer. 


Luther Blanchard. 




Jonathan Willson. 


Job Lane. 


Asahel Porter. 

George Reed. 
Jacob Bacon. 

Henry Putnam. 

Daniel Thompson. 


WiUiam Polly. 



Noah Wiswell. 



Jonas Parker. 
Robert Munroe. 
Samuel Hadley. 
Jonathan Harrington. 
Isaac Muzzy. 

John Robbins. 
Solomon Pierce. 
John Tidd. 
Joseph Comee. 
Ebenezer Munroe, Jr. 


Caleb Harrington. 
John Brown. 
Jedediah Munroe. 
John Raymond. 
Nathaniel Wyman. 

Thomas Winship. 
Nathaniel Farmer. 
Prince Estabrook. 
Jedediah Munroe. 
Francis Brown. 



John Nichols. 

Timothy Blanchard. 




D. Aaron Chamberlain. 

C. Oliver Barron. 

C. Charles Miles. 
Nathan Barrett. 
Abel Prescott, Jr. 



Jonas Brown. 
George Minot. 


John Bacon. 
Elisha Mills. 
Amos Mills. 

Eleazer Kingsbury. 


Daniel Hemmenway. 



Elias Haven. 

Israel Everett. 



Daniel Conant. 

Henry Jacobs. 
Samuel Cook. 
Ebenezer Goldthwait. 
George Southwick. 


Nathaniel Chamberlain 
Jonathan Parker. 



Elijah Seaver. 


Isaac Gardner. 



Benjamin Pierce. 


Benjamin Daland. 
Jotham Webb. 
Perley Putnam. 



Nathan Putnam. Dennis Wallace. 

Joseph Bell. 



Reuben Kennison. 


Nathaniel Cleves. William Dodge. 

Samuel Woodbury. 

Abednego Ramsdell. William Flint. 

Daniel Townsend. Thomas Hadley. 


Joshua Felt. Timothy Monroe. 

Josiah Breed. 
Total. — Killed, 49; wounded, 39; missing, 5 = 93.