Historical Sketch of Lexington, MA
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THIS town was incorporated in 1712. The face of t.he town is rather rough and uneven, and the soil is not of the first quality for cultivation. There are, however, some good farms and extensive meadows on the branches of the Shawshine river, several of which rise in this town. In 1837. the value of boots and shoes manufactured in this place was $12,278; fur caps manufactured, 60,000; muffs and neck ties, 600: fur capes, 400; fur gloves, 1,000 pairs; value of these articles, $73,000; males employed, 25; females, 75; capital invested, $55,000. There was also an establishment for calico printing. Population, 1,622. Distance, 7 miles from Concord, 13 from Lowell, and 10 from Boston.

The following is a representation of the far famed spot where the first blood was shed at the opening of the great drama of the Revolution. The engraving is a western view from the Concord road, showing the Unitarian church, and the monument on Lexington green, or common. The monument is situated on a small elevation of ground on the western side of the green; a small schoolhouse stood on this spot at the time the British troops fired upon the Americans, on the memorable 19th of April, 1775. The church seen in the engraving stands on the same spot where the ancient church stood., which was taken down in 1794, when the present building was erected. The following is the inscription on the monument :— Sacred to the Liberty and the Rights of Mankind!!! - The Freedom & 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 Massachasetts, — To the memory of their Fellow Citizens —Ensign Robert Munroe, Messrs. Jonas Parker, — Samuel Hadley, Jonathan Harrington, Junr - Isaac Muzzy, Caleb Harrington, and John Brown — Of Lexington, and Asahel Porter of Woburn—Who fell on this field, the first victims to the—Sword of British Tyranny & 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 & their Country, — Was the Cement of the Union of these States then Colonies, & gave the spring to the Spirit, Firmness—And Resolution of their Fellow Citizens-They rose as one man to revenge their brethren's - B'ood, and at the point of the sword to assist & Defend their native Rights. - They nobly dared to be free!! The contest was long, bloody & affecting, - Righteous Heaven approved the solemn appeal; - Victory crowned their arms; - And the Peace, Liberty, & Independence, of the United-States of America, was their glorious Reward. - uilt in the year 1799.

The house seen between the church and the monument was in 1775 the public inn, kept by Mr. John Buekman; it is now the residence of Mr. Rufus Merriam. The Americans at the time they were fired upon were paraded, perhaps, four or five rods eastward of the monument, towards the barn seen in the engraving. In the extreme distance, on the right, is seen the tower of the Baptist church, on the Boston road. The village in the vicinity of the churches consists of about forty dwelling houses, most of which are situated south westward of the monument.

The following is a view of the ancient meeting house and other buildings, as they appeared in 1775. In the afternoon, oil their retreat, the British troops fired a cannon ball through this meetinghouse; it passed out through the pulpit window. The drawing was made from a large print, published by Mr. Amos Doolittle, of New Haven, Con., in 1775. Mr. Doolittle and Mr. Earl, who made the original drawing, were both members of the governor's guard at New Haven, which company, when the news of the bloodshed at Lexington reached New Haven, immediately volunteered their services, took up their march for Boston, and joined the American army investing that place. The company continued at Cambridge for a number of weeks before they returned. While here, Mr. Earl and Mr. Doolittle visited Lexington and Concord, and took a drawing of the buildings and surrounding scenery, particularly at Lexington, where the first blood was shed.

"At about 10 o'clock in the evening of the 18th, a detachment of British troops, consisting of grenadiers and light infantry, in all about eight hundred, embarked from Boston in boats, and landed at Lechmere Point in Cambridge, just as the moon rose. To prevent discovery, they took a bypath leading to the main road, which obliged them to wade through marshy places and water to a considerable depth.

"Governor Gage, by posting sentinels, endeavored to prevent the carrying intelligence of the embarkation of the troops into the country. But nothing of the kind could escape the notice of the vigilant and active General Warren and his compatriots. Colonel Revere and a Mr. Lincoln had been seasonably sent out of Boston, to give information to Hancock and Adams, and to others, of the movement of. the British troops, and what might be expected. Revere and Lincoln, one through Charlestown, the other through Roxbury, met at Lexington. They both brought written communications from General Warren, that a large body of the king's troops (supposed to be a brigade of twelve or fifteen hundred men) had embarked in boats, and gone over to Lechmere Point, and it was suspected they were ordered to seize and destroy the stores belonging to the colony, then deposited at Concord. The march of the British troops was silent and rapid. A little before 5 o'clock, A. M., they arrived at Lexington, near the neeting house, and in sight of the militia there collected."

Major Pitcairn, (who was afterwards killed at Bunker Hill,) led the van; he rode up, and, addressing the militia as rebels, ordered them to throw down their arms and disperse. This order, as far as it regarded the throwing down of their arms, appears not to have been obeyed. Pitcairn then fired his pistol, and, flourishing his sword, ordered his soldiers to fire. Eight of the Americans were killed; three or four by the first fire of the British, the others after they had left the parade. The following deposition of Mr. Wood, of Woburn, published in Rev. Dr. Ripley's "History of the Fight at Concord," gives a circumstantial account of this event.

I, SYLVANUS WOOD, of Woburn, in the county of Middlesex and, commonwealth ot Massachusetts, aged seventy four years, do testify and say, that on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, I was an inhabitant of Woburn. living with Deacon Obediah Kendall; that about an hour before the break of day on said morning, I heard the Lexington bell ring; and fearing there was difficulty there, I immediately arose, took my gun, and with Robert Douglass went in haste to Lexington, which was about three miles distant. When I arrived there. I inquired of Captain Parker. the commander of the Lexington company, what was the news. Parker told me he did not know what to believe, for a man had come up about half an hour before and informed him that the British troops were not on the road. But while we were talking, a messenger came up and told the captain that the British troops wee within half a mile. Parker immediately turned to his drummer, William Diman, and ordered him to beat to arms, which was done. Captain Parker then asked me if I would parade with his company. I told him I would. Parker then asked me if the young man with me would parade. I spoke to Douglass, and he said he would I follow the captain and me. By this time many of the company had gathered around the captain at the hearing of the drum, where we stood, which was about half way between the meeting house and Buckrnan's tavern. Parker says to his men. 'Every man of von, who is equipped, follow me; - and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.' Parker led those of us who were equipped to the north end of Lexington common, near the Bedford road, and formed us in single file. I was stationed about in the center of the company. While we were standing, I left my place, and went from one end of the company to the other, and counted every man who u-as paraded, and the whole number was thirtyeight and no more. Just as I had finished and got back to my place, I perceived the British troops had, arrived on the spot between the meeting house and Buckman's, near where Captain Parker stood u-hen he first led off his men. The British troops immediately wheeled so as to cut off those who had gone into the meeting house. The British troops approached us rapidly in platoons, with a general officer on horseback at their head. The officer came up to within about two rods of the center of the company, where I stood, the first platoon being about three rods distant. They there halted. The officer then swung his sword, and said, Lay down your arms, you damn'd rebels, or you are all dead men - fire. Some guns were fired by the British at us from the first platoon, hut no person was killed or hurt, being probably charged only with powder. Just at this time, Captain Parker ordered every man to take care of himself. The company immediately dispersed; and while the company was dispersing and leaping over the wall, the second platoon of the British fired, and killed some of our men. There was not a gun fired by any of Captain Parker's company within my knowledge. I was so situated that I must have known it, had any thing of the kind taken place before a total dispersion of our company. I have been intimately acquainted with the inhabitants of Lexington, and particularly with those of Captain Parker's company, and, with one exception, I have never heard any of them say or pretend that there was any firing at the Bntish from Parker's company, or any indivdual in it, until within a year or two. One member of the company told me, many years since, that after Parker's company had dispersed, and he was at some distance, he gave them 'the guts of his gun.'

"After the British had begun their march to Concord, I returned to the common, and found Robert Roe and Jonas Parker lying dead at the north corner of the common, near the Bedford road, and others dead and wounded. I assisted in carrying the dead into the meeting house. I then proceeded towards Concord with my gun, and when I came near the tavern in Lexington, now kept by Mr. Viles, I saw a British soldier seated on the bank by the road. I went to him, with my gun in readiness to fire, if he should offer to resist. I took his gun, cutlass, and equipments from him. I then proceeded with him towards Lexington, and meeting a Mr. Welch and another person, I delivered the prisoner to them.

"After Welch arrived in Lexington with the prisoner, I understood that another prisoner was taken by Mr. John Flagg, and that they were conducted to Burlington, and put under the care of Captain James Reed. I believe that the soldier who surrendered his gun to me was the first prisoner taken by the Americans on that day.

SYLVANUS WOOD."


"Middlesex, ss. June 17th, 1826. Then the above named Sylvanus Wood personally appeared, and subscribed and made oath to the foregoing affidavit.

"Before me, NATHAN BROOKS, Justice of the Peace."


The following is copied from an inscription on a monument in the Lexington grave yard.

Here lies the body of his Excellency William Eustiss, who was born at Cambridge, June 10th, 1753, and died in Boston, Feb. 6th, 1825. He served his country as a surgeon through the Revolutionary War. In her political affairs he subsequently took an active lead: he successively filled the distinguished places of Secretary at War of the United States, Envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at the Court of the Netherlands. Representative to the National Congress, and Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

To the honored and beloved memory of a Revolutionary Patriot, a servant of his country in its highest trusts, a friend to his country in its darkest hours, an eminent orator, a practical statesman., a dutiful son, an affectionate husband, this monument is erected by his mourning widow, Caroline Langdon Eustiss. He hastened to his country's service on the eventful morning of the 19th of April, 1775, and here, within the precincts hallowed by the blood which was shed that day, after an honorable and useful life, he rests in peace and hope, conformably to his last wish, by his mother's side.


FROM:
Historical Collections Relating to the
History and Antiquities of
Every town in Massachusetts with
Geographical Descriptions.
By John Warner Barber.
Worcester
Published by Warren Lazell.
1848

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