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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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Capt. John Trull: “Stand trim, men.”

In 1888 Edward W. Pride’s Tewksbury: A Short History recounted the town’s response to the Lexington Alarm and added:
One of the Tewksbury men was Eliphalet Manning. One of Captain [John] Trull’s grandsons, Mr. Herbert Trull, often related that when a boy, on his way to Salem, he used to pass Manning’s door. Eliphalet would call out: “I fought with your grandfather from Concord to Charlestown. He would cry out to us as we sheltered ourselves behind the trees: ‘Stand trim, men; or the rascals will shoot your elbows off.’”
Solid advice for soldiers behind trees, but the habitual past tense means I can’t help but imagine this:

“Oh, lord, it’s old man Manning again. Quick, let’s cross over—too late, he’s seen us! Yes, good morning, sir! Yes, I remember. You tell me every—uh-huh. Uh-huh. ‘Elbows’! Haha. Yes, that’s a good one, sir. We have to be getting along…”

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