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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Saturday, May 05, 2018

A Discussion about Writing in Marlborough, 9 May

On Wednesday, 9 May, I’ll appear in the Friends of the Marlborough Public Library’s Author Series, discussing The Road to Concord, Colonial Comics: New England, this blog, and other writing.

Here’s a P.D.F. file of the flyer for this program. The host and interviewer for that evening will be Hank Phillippi Ryan, who’s won multiple awards as both a television reporter and a mystery novelist.

In this sort of event announcement I like to include some material relevant to the venue, so here’s a story about Henry Barnes (1724-1808), Marlborough’s most visible friend of the royal government. He actually held out in town until almost the last moment, as he later told the Loyalists Commission:
He issued out billeting orders for the Kings Troops in 1775 this made him very obnoxious & the Mob threaten’d to pull down his House. He thought himself in danger & went to Boston the 17th of April.
Even then, Barnes’s wife Christian “staid in the Country till the Octr. following.” But then she went into Boston as well, and they sailed for England on 26 December.

That left the Barnes household uninhabited. In November 1775, Henry Knox, about to leave for New York on a mission for Gen. George Washington, petitioned the Massachusetts General Court:
That your petitioner having been obliged to leave all his goods and house furniture in Boston, which he has no prospect of ever getting possession of again, nor any equivalent for the same, therefore begs the Honorable Court, if they in their wisdom see fit, to permit him to exchange house furniture with Henry Barnes, late of Marlborough, which he now has it in his power to do.
The legislators didn’t let Knox simply take possession of the Barneses’ furniture in Marlborough. But they did let him borrow it.

The event at the Marlborough Public Library will start at 7:00 P.M. It is free and open to the public.

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