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 14, 2019

Special Events for Patriots’ Day 2019

Many events happen annually on Patriots’ Day (weather permitting), but here are a couple of events scheduled for tomorrow that will occur this year only.

From 10:00 A.M. until noon, the Roxbury Historical Society will celebrate the reopening of the Dillaway–Thomas House. This building was started in 1750 as the parsonage for Roxbury’s first meetinghouse. During the siege of Boston, Gen. John Thomas used it as his headquarters.

When plans for a new school called for the house to be torn down, local preservationists rallied, so now the Timilty Middle School wraps around two sides of the building. The site is now an anchor of Roxbury Heritage State Park. The historical society has been working with the state to refurbish the site with “public amenities, new exhibits, and a public archeology laboratory.”

The Dillaway–Thomas House is at Eliot Square on Roxbury Street. The Patriots’ Day tours are free, as are the 9:00 ceremony leading to the National Lancers’ reenactment of William Dawes’s 18 Apr 1775 ride through Roxbury and the 11:30 trolley tour of the neighborhood’s historic sites by historian and politician Byron Rushing.

In the evening, the Concord Museum hosts William H. Fowler, Jr., speaking on “The Revolution’s Odd Couple: Sam Adams and John Hancock.” The partnership of Hancock and Adams was crucial to Massachusetts’s move to independence and, though they split personally and politically in the late 1770s, the two men were partners again as successive governors in the 1790s.

A charming storyteller and speaker, Fowler has written short biographies of each man. In fact, his book about Adams was what enticed me to plunge into researching local Revolutionary history twenty-odd years ago.

This talk is scheduled to start at 7:00 P.M. in the museum’s new events hall. Seats cost $10, or $5 for members. Register here. Fowler will be happy to sign copies of his books afterward.

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