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 23, 2017

Talking About Revolutionary Massachusetts This Week

From midnight to 1:00 A.M. on Wednesday, 26 July, I’m scheduled to be interviewed by Bradley Jay on his radio show, Jay Talking. That will be on WBZ, 1030 AM.

[CORRECTION: It turns out that when I agreed to be on the show on 26 July, the producer was thinking that’s the date when I’d show up at the studio for a show to be broadcast on 27 July. So the conversation will actually happen early on Thursday.]

(Assuming, that is, that the U.S. Constitution is still operative and we haven’t stumbled into any wars that will preempt regular programming. Hard to be confident these days.)

I understand that Jay is a fan of Revolutionary history. I expect we’ll talk about The Road to Concord, Gen. Washington in Cambridge, and other gossip I’ve collected over the years. But this will be a new experience.

On Saturday, 29 July, I’ll be one of the many speakers at History Camp Pioneer Valley, to be held at the Kittredge Center at Holyoke Community College. This is the second annual gathering of history enthusiasts sharing their research to be organized by the Pioneer Valley History Network.

My presentation will be “An Assassin in Pre-Revolutionary Boston: The Strange Case of Samuel Dyer.” Other presentations on Revolutionary history include “Resurrecting the Memory of Major Joseph Hawley of Northampton: John Adams’s Campaign for a Forgotten Patriot” by Morgan E. Kolakowski, “A Forgotten ‘HessianPrisoner in Brimfield during the Revolutionary War” by Larry and Kitty Lowenthal, “Early Black American Patriotism” by Adam McNeil, and “Pioneer Valley Gravestones (and some of the men who made them), c. 1650-1850” by Bob Drinkwater.

As of today there are still a few slots available for History Camp Pioneer Valley.


Credo2065 said...

I'm curious about this photograph of the gun, which isn't identified (perhaps a person who knows more Massachusetts history than I do would recognise it); how did it come to have that hole in it? It seems to me to be in a curious place. I'm not much educated in matters of artillery, but if the gun had burst upon firing it, I would have expected the rupture to be in the breech... Can you enlighten me?

J. L. Bell said...

That photo shows the “Adams” three-pounder when it was displayed in the chamber atop the Bunker Hill Monument. It’s now ina display case in the climate-controlled lodge at the bottom of the monument.

As I discuss in The Road to Concord, the “Adams” was brought out from retirement for a militia company’s gunnery practice in the 1820s and burst. Brass or bronze cannon tended to burst less catastrophically than iron guns, which was one reason they were more desired in the eighteenth century. I can’t speak to the physics that caused that particular damage, only that that’s how the militia company sheepishly returned the gun to the state.