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, April 08, 2018

A Few More Local Patriots’ Day Events

Yesterday I listed the events surrounding Patriots’ Day that are scheduled to take place in Minute Man National Historical Park. I also linked to Battleroad.org, a website listing other events in the area.

But there are yet more local commemorations, some of which may not appear on either list. I’ve come to see that pattern as emblematic of deep New England culture. Even though the militia mobilizations of 1774-1777 were by definition mass evens, our communities often like to maintain our own traditions independent from coordinating authorities.

This afternoon, for example, the town of Tewksbury commemorates its response to the 1775 alarm with the “Tewksbury Line of March” starting at 1:30 P.M. The Tewksbury Militia and Minutemen, Billerica Colonial Minutemen, and Second Massachusetts Regiment will participate. Former Tewksbury Historical Society president David Marcus will narrate the event.

Attendees are invited to walk behind the reenactors along the militia companies’ original route along East Street, Lee Street, and Chandler Street to the town library, where there will be a musket salute. At around 2:45 P.M. guest speaker will then provide a Loyalist perspective on events.

On Sunday, 15 April, Arlington will be the scene of “The Fight at the Jason Russell House,” reenacting the skirmish that cost more than a dozen lives in 1775. Participating reenacting groups include the Menotomy Minutemen, the Danvers Alarum Company, Gardner’s Regiment, and the Acton Minutemen. The Jason Russell House is at 7 Jason Street (just off Massachusetts Avenue), and this event is due to start at noon.

That fight is scheduled to finish by 2:00 P.M. when the Arlington Patriots’ Day Parade will begin, starting at Massachusetts Avenue and Brattle Street and proceeding east along Mass. Ave. to the Walgreen’s in East Arlington. Expect bands, fire engines, reenacting units, and community groups to march by.

Finally, that Sunday evening in Lexington, History At Play will present “The House of Hancock,” a “fun-filled, Hamilton-style musical” about the rise of the Hancock family. John Hancock’s grandfather was the minister in Lexington for decades, and he spent some years of his youth there before returning for his fateful visit in 1775.

“Join John and Dolly Hancock, Sam Adams, and more as they plan a revolution,” says the show notice. This chamber musical will be performed in the Lexington Depot starting at 7:00 P.M. Tickets are $20 for Lexington Historical Society members, $25 for non-members, and $15 for children.

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