Lexington and Concord
Lexington was located eleven miles from Boston. It was a community of about seven hundred and fifty people in 1775. Lexington had been founded in 1642, originally known as Cambridge Farms. In 1691, the town formed its own parish. In 1692, a meetinghouse was built. In 1693, Muzzy's Tavern (later Buchman's) was licensed as a public house. In 1698, Reverend John Hancock arrived would minister to Lexington until his death in 1752. In 1711, land was purchased for a Common at the junction of the Concord, Bedford and Boston roads. In 1713, Lexington was incorporated. In 1714, a new and larger meetinghouse was built. In 1715, a schoolhouse was built..
In his fifty-four years as pastor in Lexington, Reverend Hancock had handled disputes and political issues in a way that conditioned the town to look to its religious leader as a valued advisor in temporal matters. In 1755, Reverend Jonas Clarke arrived at the age of twenty-four. He built on the legacy that Reverend Hancock had established and soon established himself at the center of the town's affairs.In 1765, it was Clarke who authored the town's protest of the Stamp Act. In 1774, the town began to make preparations for rebellion, elected a delegate for the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. The town also organized all the men over sixteen into an alarm list, militia and minutemen. They drilled and made preparations during the Winter of 1774-1775.
John Parker, a forty-five year old veteran of Rogers' Rangers of the French and Indian Wars was elected Captain. Lieutenant William Tidd was his chief aide. Robert Munroe, sixty-eight year old veteran who had carried the standard at Louisbourg and father-in-law of Tidd, was elected third-in-command, Ensign. Thirty-five year old Joseph Simonds was elected second ensign. Daniel Harrington, another son-in-law of Munroe, was clerk of the company. Francis Brown, who would later succeed Parker as commander, William Munroe, who was the proprietor of Munroe's Tavern and Ebenezer White were the sergeants of the company. Sixteen year old William Diamond was the drummer. There were one hundred and four men in the company of which there were twelve father-son combinations, one slave and two slave owners.
Concord was founded on September 12, 1635. It was located some sixteen miles from Boston and five miles from Lexington. In 1775, it was about twice the size of Lexington with a population of fifteen hundred. Unlike Lexington, which was dominated by Patriots, Concord had Tories who made their loyalties clear. Also unlike Lexington, the town's pastor enjoyed far less influence over public opinion. In 1774, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress began meeting there.
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