J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

“Paddocks Coach was shut out of Boston”

We left Sarah Deming and her family on the morning of 21 Apr 1775 at the house of the Rev. William Gordon in Roxbury, relieved that the British army had not attacked that site as feared.

Nevertheless, Deming and her female companions decided they had to get farther away from the siege lines. Her description of those efforts includes some more familiar names:
Miss Sarah Mason & I took our stand in turns, & sometimes together, at or without the door to try if we could get any conveyance to Dedham, which was six miles farther from Boston. At last we lit on a one horse Cart, & the driver was willing to take us all in, & carry us to [Dr. Nathaniel] Ames’s.

We toss’d in our bundles, & one of us had clim’d into the Cart, when Capt. [Lemuel] Child of the Peacock [tavern] came by, & told us that [Adino] Paddocks Coach was shut out of Boston, & he would engage it for us, to carry us as far as we would—that it was at but a quarter of a mile distant from us, & we should be more comfortable in that than in a cart—Out of which our things were then taken, & we began to see & acknowledge a kind providence.
“Paddocks Coach” wasn’t coachmaker Adino Paddock’s personal vehicle, I believe. Rather, in his yard near the Common he hosted a “genteel Berlin Coach, commodious for six Persons,” which Isaac Wendell offered to drive “in Town or out, on moderate terms” in a 9 Jan 1772 Boston News-Letter advertisment. That vehicle was now stuck outside the British lines, and the coachman was taking the best fares he could find.

Deming continued:
Mr. Gorden was abroad we knew not where—but he was coming for us. He knew we wish’d for nothing so much, in our deplorable circumstances as to be gone from his hospitable house. He had been to see, & comfort as well as he could, Mrs. [Josiah?] Waters & her children—He had found Paddocks Coach drawn by only two horses, & had agreed with his man to take us all in, together with Mrs. Gorden whom he was to call for at Mrs. Havens, & carry us to Providence for 12 Dollars. This agreement was made before Capt. Child came up to the Coach-man. But the business was done just as he appeared only Mr. Gorden had aded Mrs. Waters & her family to our company.
The minister gave Deming and her company midday dinner at his house before they set off for safety. At one point on the journey, Deming wrote, they
were now 12 in number; drawn by two horses; viz 9 within the Coach, consisting of Mrs. Gorden, Miss Mason, Mrs. Waters within two months of lying in (She is since delivered of a daughter) her three children, & fat maid, Sally & myself—without [i.e., outside] a man on the box with ye driver, & Lucinda behind
Lucinda, we recall, was Deming’s enslaved maid.

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