Two weeks ago, we went to Lexington (Massachusetts, that is!)
We took the T (train) to the end of the Red line (about 10-15 minutes) and then took a local bus (about 20 minutes) to the town of Lexington.
According to their website, Lexington is the birthplace of American Liberty.
Why does Lexington, Massachusetts claim to be the site of the first shot of the American Revolution? According to the “First Shot” literature, there had already been a few clashes between American colonists and British soldiers. But the expedition of April 18–19, 1775 by British Redcoats aimed at seizing military supplies being accumulating at Concord, brought 800 redcoats from Boston. The small town of Lexington was directly in their route.
On Lexington Common (pictured above), Captain John Parker had gathered a small group of militiamen from the area. Then Major John Pitcairn of the Royal Marines commanded the Redcoats to advance, because he believed the militiamen were a threat and ordered them to put down their weapons. They ignored him and were commanded by Captain Parker to leave the green. Somewhere, a shot rang out. No one knows who fired it. Then, the Redcoats responded by killing eight and wounding 9. The militiamen of Lexington only fired a few shots and wounded one Redcoat. It was a quick skirmish, but had a lasting and dramatic effect- hence the birthplace of American Liberty.
We’ll be back to visit Lexington Common, but we wanted to give some info about what happened in Lexington.
The first place we visited (after getting coffee and a pastry- duh!) was the Hancock-Clarke House.
The Hancock-Clarke House was the home of the Reverend John Hancock and the Reverend Jonas Clarke – two ministers who served the spiritual and secular needs of Lexington for 105 years. The Reverend Hancock’s grandson John, a frequent visitor to this house, was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first Governor of Massachusetts.
On the evening of April 18, 1775, John Hancock and Samuel Adams, prominent leaders in the colonial cause, were guests of the Reverend Jonas Clarke in the parsonage. Fearing that they might be captured by the British, Dr Joseph Warren of Boston sent William Dawes and Paul Revere to Lexington with news of the advancing British troops. Arriving separately, they stopped to warn Hancock and Adams, then set off for Concord. Today Dawes is all but forgotten, but Paul Revere’s midnight ride has been immortalized by Longfellow.
We were the first vistors of the day. The two ladies weren’t quite ready for us, so they handed us a flyer about the herb garden outside and “kindly” asked us to visit the garden. It was pretty funny. Take a look at the herb garden below:
They came back out a few minutes later and told us they were ready. We purchased our tickets and watched a 10 minute video about the role of the house and that Paul Revere’s midnight ride came by the house.
Unforutnately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but we learned a lot about the history of the house by our guide. It was originally John Hancock’s grandfathers and was built in 1698 and is the back part of the house (behind Erica in the picture above) and the now “main” section was built in 1737. Later, in 1896, the house was going to be demolished (what?! why would they do that?) and the Lexington History Society purchased it.
We learned that it was moved across the street, and then some time later, it was moved back to the present day (and original) location.
We then walked to the Buckman Tavern, more to come!