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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Friday, April 12, 2013

New Book Profiles the Embattled Farmers of Lincoln

Lincoln is right between Lexington and Concord, and Lincoln militiamen were in the middle of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. But does the town get named in the battle? No! (Well, the battle’s name is plenty long already, and if we let Lincoln in, then Menotomy will want to be represented, too.)

The Lincoln Historical Society has just published Embattled Farmers, a comprehensive study of Lincoln’s Revolutionary War soldiers researched and written by local historian and reenactor Richard C. Wiggin.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe reported on Rick’s work:

In his research, Wiggin uncovered 55 new war heroes. He also outed some long-heralded “soldiers,” such as Levi Brooks, who was 12 when the war broke out, and never set foot on Battle Road the fighting on April 19, 1775.

“There is a myth of the Minutemen and then there is the reality of the Minutemen,” said Wiggin. “The reality is sometimes more interesting.”

Tracing stories like that of Jonathan Gage, a Lincoln soldier held prisoner on a British ship, drew him in, Wiggin said.

In his pension records, Gage describes his role in a skirmish, known as Young’s House, in 1780 outside New York City, and states he was never paid for service. Wounded by a sword to the head and a “bayonet to my body,” he nearly died. Such nuggets kept the project rolling.

“It brings it out. Now Jonathan Gage is a real person,” said Wiggin, a retired life sciences executive with a fascination for the Revolutionary War.
The official launch date of Embattled Farmers: Campaigns and Profiles of Revolutionary Soldiers from Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1775-1783 is, appropriately, on Patriot’s Day. That’s Monday, 15 April, with a reception at the Lincoln Public Library starting at 5:00 P.M.

Rick tells me that all Boston 1775 readers are welcome to that event, and I suspect we’d be especially welcome if we want a copy of the book (592 pages, $30 paperback, $45 hardcover). Embattled Farmers is on sale in Lincoln and neighboring towns, including Lexington and Concord, but I don’t have a link for ordering it over the web.


Robert S. Paul said...

Lexington and Concord had better P.R. is all.

Anonymous said...

I very much admire people who take upon themselves the job of ferreting out facts and personalities of long ago, and making them come to life. Congratulations to Mr. Wiggin and you. Also, I'm wondering where the cool cover art came from. -- Thanks, Joe Bauman, Salt Lake City

J. L. Bell said...

The cover of Embattled Farmers shows part of the big mural in the Lexington visitor center of Minute Man National Historical Park. (The parking lot for that building is in Lincoln.)

Unknown said...

As an avid family historian with ancestors living through some of these events I find this information to be really fascinating. I think it is great that historians are revisiting historical events and searching for the truth, because I do believe that the true stories are the best!