The Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution has published Melvin H. Bernstein’s essay “Setting the Record Straight: The Worcester Revolt of September 6, 1774” on its website. A shorter version appeared last month in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
This essay discusses the organized uprising to close the Worcester County courts before their September 1774 session, effectively ending royal government in the region seven months before the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The local populace demanded that men holding royal commissions refuse to act under them as long as Parliament’s Coercive Acts remained in effect.
Bernstein advocates a regional commemoration of the 1774 uprising next year on its 240th anniversary:
Taking note of the odd revolutionary historical vacuum that persists in Worcester, a local initiative was launched in 2012 to organize a commemorative day for September 6, 1774, to be held on that date in 2014. The initiative encompasses the following core group of revolutionary, historical and cultural organizations: Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Worcester Daughters of the American Revolution, Preservation Worcester, and the Worcester Historical Museum.Cambridge could likewise commemorate the massive uprising four days earlier, later named the “Powder Alarm.” That came to a head on Cambridge common and at the house of Lt. Gov. Thomas Oliver on the Watertown road. Worcester County men were also part of that event, though it doesn’t show up in the essay. That militia mobilization warned Gen. Thomas Gage that the rural population was largely united against him, prompting him to rescind his optimistic call for new legislative elections. Together those and similar demonstrations elsewhere in Massachusetts produced a largely peaceful de facto change in government leading to the Provincial Congress.
The First American Revolution as part of the American Revolution Round Table, which he chairs. Another meeting of that group is coming up on at 7:00 P.M. on Monday, 4 February, in Lincoln. The topic will be Samuel A. Forman’s biography, Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty, with the author on hand to discuss his work. Seating is limited, so anyone hoping to attend should contact Melvin Bernstein about the possibility of reserving a place.