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Concord, Massachusetts, USA - 1848 - Concord

In the year 1635, Musketaquid was purchased of the Indians, and called Concord, on account of the peaceable manner in which it was obtained, as appears by the testimony of two settlers, William Buttrick and Richard Rice, and two Christian Indians of Natick, Jehojakin and Jethro. They unitedly testify and say, "That they were present at the making of the bargain for the town of Concord; that at the house of the Rev. Peter Bulkley, Mr. Simon Willard, Mr. John Jones, Mr. Spencer, and others, did purchase of squaw sachem, Tahattawan and Nimrod, a tract of land six miles square, the center being the place (or near) where the bargain was made. That said Willard and others did pay for said land in wampanpeague, hatchets, hoes, knives, cotton cloth, and chintz, to said Indians. And that Wappacowet, husband to squaw sachem, received a suit of cotton cloth, a hat, a white linen band, shoes, stockings, and a great coat on account of said bargain. That in the conclusion, the Indians declared they were satisfied, and that the English were welcome.”

The first settlement commenced in the fall of 1635, at which period (Sept. 3) the town was incorporated. “The first houses were built on the south side of the hill from the public square to Merriam's Corner, and the farm lots laid out extending back from the road across the great fields and great meadows, and in front across the meadows on Mill brook. This spot was probably selected because it contained land easy of tillage, and because it afforded the greatest facilities in constructing such temporary dwellings as would shelter the inhabitants from the inclemency of storms and winter. These huts were built by digging into the bank, driving posts into the ground, and placing on them a covering of bark, brushwood, or earth. The second year houses were erected as far as where the south and north bridges now stand." Many of the first settlers were men of acknowledged wealth, talents and education in their native country, and several were of noble families.

The following is from Johnson's "Wonder working Providence." This author being an inhabitant of Woburn, and often associated with the people of Concord, he had a good opportunity of being acquainted with the early history of the town.

"Upon some inquiry of the Indians, who lived to the North West of the Bay, one Captaine Simon Willard, being acquainted with them, by reason of his trade, became a chief instrument in erecting this towne. The land they purchase of the Indians, and with much difficulties travelling through unknowne woods, and through watery swamps, they discover the fltnesse of the place; sometimes passing through the thickets, where their hands are forced to make way for their bodies passage, and their feete clambering over the crossed trees, which when they missed they sunke into an uncertaine bottome in water, and wade up to their knees, tumbling sometimes higher and sometimes lower. Wearied with this toile, they at end of this rneete with a scorching plaine, yet not so plaine, but that the ragged bushes scratch their legs fouly, even to wearing their stockings to their bare skin in two or three hours. If they be not otherwise well defended with bootes or buskings, their flesh will be tome. Some of them being forced to passe on without further provision, have had the bloud tri*ie downe at every step. And in time of summer, the sun casts such a reflecting heate from the sweete ferne, whose scent is very strong, that some herewith have beene very nere fainting, although very able bodies to undergoe much travel. And this not to be indured for one day, but for many; and verily did not the Lord incourage their natural parts (with hopes of a new and strange discoverc, expecting every houre to see some rare sight never seen before), they were never able to hold out and breake through." "After some dayes spent in search, toyling in the day time as formerly said, like true Jacob, they rest them on the rocks where the night takes them. Their short repast is some small pittance of bread, if it hold out; hut as for driake they have plenty, the countrey being well watered in all places that are yet found out. Their further hardship is to travell sometimes they know not whither, bewildred indeed without sight of sun, their compasse miscarrying in erouding through the bushes. They sadly search up and down for a known way, the Indian paths being not above one foot broad, so that a man may travell many dayes and never find one." "This intricate worke no whit daunted these resoived servants of christ to go on with the worke in hand; but lying in the open aire, while the watery clouds poure down all the night season, and sometimes the driving snow dissolving on their backs, they keep their wet cloathes warme with a continued fire, till the renewed morning give fresh opportunity of further travell. After they have thus found out a place of aboad, they burrow themselves in the earth for their first shelter under some hillside, casting the earth aloft upon timber; they make a smoaky fire against the earth at the highest side. And thus these poore servants of christ provide shelter for themselves, their wives and little ones, keeping off the short showers from their lodgings, but the long raines penetrate through to their great disturbance in the night season. Yet in these poor wigwarns they sing psalmes, pray and praise their God, till they can provide them houses, which ordinarily was not wont to be with many till the earth, by the Lord's blessing, brought forth bread to feed them! their wives and little ones, which with sore labours they attain; every one that can lift a hoe to strike it into the earth, standing stoutly to their labours, and tear up the rootes and bushes, which the first yeare bears them a very thin crop, till the soard of the earth he rotten, and therefore they have been forced to cut their bread very thin for a long season. But the Lord is pleased to provide for them great store of fish in the spring time, and especially Alewives about the bignesse of a Herring. Many thousands of these they used to put under their Indian come, which they plant in hills five foote asunder, and assuredly when the Lord created this corn, he had a speciall eye to supply these his people's wants with it, for ordinarily five or six grains doth produce six hundred. As for flesh they looked not for any in those times (although now they have plenty) unlesse they could barter with the Indians for venison or rockoons, whose flesh is not much inferiour unto lambe. The toile of a new plantation being like the labours of Hercules never at an end, yet are none so barbarously bent (under the Mattacusets especially) but with a new plantation they ordinarily gather into church fellowship, so that pastors and people suffer the inconveniences together, which is a great means to season the sore labours they undergoe. And verily the edge of their appetite was greater to spirituall duties, at their first coming in time of wants, than afterward. Many in new plantations have been forced to go barefoot, and bareleg, till these latter dayes, and some in time of frost and snow; yet were they then very healthy more than now they are. In this wildernesse worke men of estates speed no better than others, and some much worse for want of being inured to such hard labour; having laid out their estate upon cattell at five and twenty pound a cow, when they came to winter them with in-land hay, and feed upon such wild fother as was never cut before, they could not hold out the winter, but ordinarily the first or second yeare after their coming up to a new plantation, many of their cattell died, especially if they wanted salt marshes. And also those, who supposed they should feed upon swines flesh were cut short, the wolves commonly feasting themselves before them, who never leave neither flesh nor bones, if they be not scared away before they have made an end of their meale. As for those who laid out their estate upon sheepe, they speed worst of any at the beginning (although some have sped the best of any now) for untill the land be often fed by other cattell, sheepe cannot live, and, therefore they never thrived till these latter days. Horse had then no better successe, which made many an honest gentleman travell a foot for a long time. and some have even perished with extreme heate in their travells. As also the want of' English graine, wheate, barley, and rie proved a sore affliction to some stomacks. who could not live upon Indian bread and water, yet were they compelled. to it till cattell increased, and the plowes could but goe. Instead of apples and pears, they had pomkins and squashes of divers kinds. Their lonesome condition was very grievous to some, which was much aggravated by continuall feare of the Indians approach, whose cruelties were much spoken of, and more especially during the time of the Pequot wars. Thus this poore people populate this howling desert: marching manfully on (the Lord assisting) through the greatest difficulties, and sorest labours that ever any with such weak means have done."

The soil of Concord is various, consisting of rocky, sandy, and moist land: but it is in general fertile. It contains no hills of consequence except Nassinutt, in the north west part of the town. Concord river passes through the central part of the town; the North or Assabeth river unites with the Concord or Sudbury river about half a mile N. W. of the center of the village. Concord is the half shire town of the county of Middlesex. The village contains two Congregational churches, a court house, jail, a bank, (the Concord Bank,) with a capital of $100,000, and about eighty dwelling houses in the immediate vicinity. There is in the town one cotton factory, an establishment for the manufacture of lead. pipes and sheet lead, one for carriages, and one for lead pencils, besides others for other articles. Concord is 13 miles south of Lowell, 30 north east of Worcester, and 16 north westerly of Boston. Population, 2,023.

The following is a south view of Col. Daniel Shattuck's residence in Concord, at the northern end of the wide street or common, m the central part of the village. A part of this building was erected during the revolutionary war, and used as a place of deposit for the public stores.

The general court has frequently held its sessions in this town, and in the year 1774 the provincial congress selected it as the place of their meeting. A considerable quantity of provisions and military stores being deposited here, Gen. Gage, who commanded the British troops at Boston, on the memorable 19th of April, 1775, sent a detachment to destroy them. The British troops, who took every precaution to march secretly to Concord, were discovered at a very early period. The church bell at Concord rung an alarm a little before 3 o'clock in the morning. After the British troops had fired on the militia at Lexington, they proceeded on to Concord. The following very interesting and circumstantial account of the proceedings at this place is extracted from the History of the Town of Concord, by Lemuel Shattuck, Esq., an octavo volume of 392 pages, published in Boston by Russell, Odiorne & Co., and in Concord by John Stacy, 1835.

"Guards were stationed at the north and south bridges, below Dr. Heywood's, and in the centre of the village. Jonathan Farrar was then commander of the guard. In case of an alarm, it was agreed to meet at Wright's tavern, now Deacon Jarvis's. A part of the company under Captain Brown paraded about break of day; and being uncertain whether the enemy was coming, they were dismissed, to be called together by the beat of drum. Soon afterward the minute men and militia, who had assembled, paraded on the common, and, after furnishing themselves with ammunition at the court house, marched down below the village in view of the Lexington road. About the same time a part of the minute company from Lincoln, who had been alarmed by Dr. Prescott, came into town, and paraded in like manner. The number of armed men, who had now assembled, was about one hundred. The morning had advanced to about seven o'clock; and the British army were soon seen approaching the town on the Lexington road. The sun shone with peculiar splendor. The glittering arms of eight hundred soldiers, 'the flower of the British army,' were full in view. It was a novel, imposing, alarming sight. What was to be done? At first it was thought best that they should face the enemy, as few as they were, and abide the consequences. Of this opinion, among others, was the Rev. William Emerson, the clergyman of the town, who had. turned out amongst the first in the morning to animate and encourage his people by his counsel and patriotic example. 'Let us stand our ground,' said he; 'if we die, let us die here!' Eleazer Brooks, of Lincoln, was then on the hill. 'Let us go and meet them,' said one to him. 'No,' he answered, 'it will not do for us to begin the war.' They did not then know what had happened at Lexington. Their number was, however, very small in comparison with the enemy, and it was concluded best to retire a short distance, and wait for reinforcements. They consequently marched to the northern declivity of the burying ground hill, near the present site of the court-house. They did not, however, leave their station till the British light infantry had arrived within a few rods' distance.

"In the mean time the British troops entered the town. The six companies of light infantry were ordered to enter on the hill and disperse the minute men whom they had seen paraded there. The grenadiers came up the main road, and halted on the common. Unfortunately for the people's cause, the British officers had already been made somewhat acquainted, through their spies and the tories, with the topography of the town, and the situation of many of the military stores. On their arrival they examined, as well as they could, by the help of spyglasses, from a post of observation on the burying ground hill, the appearance of the town, condition of the provincials, &c. It was found that the provincials were assembling, and that no time was to be lost. The first object of the British was to gain possession of the north and south bridges, to prevent any militia from entering over them. Accordingly, while Colonel Smith remained in the centre of the town, he detached six companies of light infantry, under command of Capt. Lawrence Parsons of his own regiment, to take possession of the north bridge, and proceed thence to places where stores were deposited. Ensign D'Bernicre, already mentioned, was ordered to direct his way. It is also intimated that tories were active in guiding the regulars. Captain Beeman of Petersham was one. On their arrival there, three companies, under command of Captain Lawrie of the 43d regiment, were left to protect the bridge; one of those, commanded by Lieutenant Edward Thornton Gould, paraded at the bridge, the other, of the 4th and 10th regiments, fell back in the rear towards the hill. Captain Parsons with three companies proceeded to Colonel Barrett's, to destroy the stores there deposited. At the same time Captain Mundey Pole, of the 10th regiment, was ordered to take possession of the south bridge, and destroy such public property as he could find in that direction. The grenathers and marines, under Smith and Pitcairn, remained in the centre of the town, where all means in their power were used to accomplish the destruction of military stores. By the great exertions of the provincials the principal part of the public stores bad, been secreted, and many others were protected by the innocent artifice of individuals. In the centre of the town the grenadiers broke open about sixty barrels of flour, nearly one half of which was afterwards saved; knocked off the trunnions of three iron twenty four pound cannon, and burnt sixteen new carriage wheels, and a few barrels of wooden trenchers and spoons. The liberty pole on the hill was cut down, and suffered the same fate. About five hundred pounds of balls were thrown into the mill pond and into wells.

"While the British were thus engaged, our citizens and part of our military men, having secured what articles of public property they could, were assembling under arms. Beside the minute men and militia of Concord, the military companies from the adjoining towns began to assemble; and. the number had increased to about two hundred and fifty or three hundred.

"Joseph Hosmer, acting as adjutant, formed the soldiers as they arrived singly or in squads, on the field westerly of Colonel Jonas Buttrick's present residence; the minute companies on the right and the militia on the left, facing the town. He then, observing an unusual smoke arising from the centre of the town, went to the officers and citizens in consultation on. the high ground near by, and inquired earnestly, 'Will you let them burn the town down?' They then, with those exciting scenes before them, deliberately, with noble patriotism and firmness, resolved to march into the middle of the town to defend their homes, or die in the attempt;' and at the same time they resolved not to fire unless first fired upon. 'They acted upon principle and in the fear of God.'

Colonel Barrett immediately gave orders to march by wheeling from the right. Major Buttrick requested Lieutenant Colonel Robinson to accompany him, and led them in double file to the scene of action. When they came to the road leading from Captain Brown's to the bridge, a part of the Acton minute company, under Captain Davis, passed by in front, marched towards the bridge a short distance, and halted. Being in files of two abreast, the Concord minute company, under Captain Brown, being before at the head, marched up the north side, till they came equally in front. The precise position, however, of each company cannot now be fully ascertained. This road was subject to inundations, and a wail was built with large stones on the upper side, in which posts were placed, connected together at their tops with poles to aid footpassengers in passing over in times of high water.

"The British, observing their motions, immediately formed on the east side of the river, and soon began to take up the planks of the bridge. Against this Major Buttrick remonstrated in an elevated tone, and ordered a quicker step of his soldiers. The British desisteci. At that moment two or three guns were fired in quick succession into the river, which the provincials considered as alarmguns and not aimed at them. They had arrived within ten or fifteen rods of the bridge, when a single gun was fired by a British soldier, the ball from which, passing under Colonel Robinson's arm, slightly wounded the side of Luther Blanchard, a fifer in the Acton company, and Jonas Brown, one of the Concord minute men. This gun was instantly followed by a volley, by which Captain Isaac Davis and Abner Hosmer, both belonging to Acton, were killed, a ball passing through the body of the tbrmer, and another through the head of the latter. On seeing this, Major Buttrick instantly leaped from the ground, and partly turning to his men, exclaimed, Fire, fellow soldiers, for God's sake, fire!' discharging his own gun almost in the same instant. His order was instantly obeyed; and a general discharge from the whole line of the provincial ranks took place. Firing on both sides continued a few minutes. Three British soldiers were killed; and Lieutenants Sunderland, Kelley, and Gould, a sergeant, and four privates, were wounded. The British immediately retreated about half way to the meetinghouse, and. were met by two companies of grenadiers, who had been drawn thither by 'the noise of battle.' Two of the soldiers killed at the bridge were left on the ground, where they were afterwards buried by Zachariah Brown and Thomas Davis, Jun.; and the spot deserves to be marked by an ever enduring monument. as the place where the first British blood was spilt, where the life of the first British soldier was taken, in a contest which resulted in a revolution the most mighty in its consequences in the annals of mankind. Most of the provincials pursued them across the bridge, though a few returned to Buttrick's wit.h their dead. About one hundred and fifty went immediately across the Great Field to intercept the enemy on their retreat at Merriam's Corner. From this time through the day, little or no military order was preserved. Every man chose his own time and mode of attack. It was between 10 and 11 o'clock when the firing at the bridge took place, and a short time after Captain Parsons and his party returned unmolested from Colonel Barrett's.

"By this time the provincials had considerably increased, and were constantly arriving from the neighboring towns. The British had but partially accomplished the objects of their expedition; the quantity of public stores destroyed being very small in comparison with what remained untouched. They observed, however, with no little anxiety and astonishment, the celerity with which the provincials were assembling, and the determined resolution with which they were opposed. Hitherto their superior numbers had given them an advantage over such companies as had assembled; but they now began to feel that their were in danger, and resolved, from necessity, on an immediate retreat. They collected together their scattered parties, and made some hasty provision for the wounded.

The designs of the enemy were now fully developed; and the indignation of the provincials was highly excited. Many of them were determined to be revenged for the wanton cruelties which had been committed. They had followed the retreating party between the bridge and the village, and fired single handed from the high ground, or from behind such shelter as came in their way; and thus began a mode of warfare which cost many a one his life.

"The king's troops retreated in the same order as they entered town, the infantry on the hill and the grenadiers in the road, but with flanking parties more numerous and farther from the main body. On arriving at Merriam's Corner they were attacked by the provincials who had proceeded across the Great Fields, in conjunction with a company from Reading, under command of the late Governor Brooks. Several of the British were killed, and several wounded; among the latter was Ensign Lester. None of the provincials were injured. From this time the road was literally lined with provincials, whose accurate aim generally produced the desired effect. Guns were fired from every house, barn, wall, or covert.

"An express was sent from Lexington in the morning to General Gage to inform him of what had happened there; and about 9 o'clock a brigade of about 1,100 men marched out under the command of the Right Honorable Hugh Earl Percy, a brigadier-general, consisting of the marines, the Welsh Fusiliers, the 4th, 47th, and 38th regiments, and two field pieces. This reinforcement arrived at Lexington about 2 o'clock, placed the field-pieces on the high ground below Monroe's tavern, and checked for about half an hour the eager pursuit of the provincials. During this time they burnt the house, barn, and other out buildings of Deacon Joseph Loring, the house, barn, and shop of Mrs. Lydia Mulliken, and the house and shop of Mr. Joshua Bond. By the aid of this reinforcement they were able to effect their retreat to Charlestown, though not without sustaining continual losses on the way. They arrived about 7 o'clock, having, during a day unusually hot for the season, marched upwards of 36 miles, and endured almost incredible suffering. All the provisions they had had were obtained by purchase or plunder from the people, their provision wagons having been taken by the Americans. Some of them were so much exhausted with fatigue, that they were obliged to lie down on the ground, their tongues hanging out of their mouths like dogs' after the chase.' Our militia and minute-men pursued them to Charlestown Neck, many of whom remained there during the night; others returned home.

"The damage to private property by fire, robbery, and destruction, was estimated at £274 16s. 7d. in Concord; £1761 is. 5d. in Lexington; and £1202 8s. 7d. in Cambridge.

"Of the provincials 49 were killed, 36 wounded, and 5 missing. Captain Charles Miles, Captain Nathan Barrett, Jonas Brown, and Abel Prescott, jr., of Concord, were wounded. Captain Isaac Davis, Abner Hosmer, and James Hayward, of Acton, were killed, and Luther Blanchard wounded. Captain Jonathan Wilson. of Bedford, was killed, and Job Lane wounded.

"Of the British, 73 were killed, 172 wounded, and 26 missing; among whom were 18 officers, 10 sergeants, 2 drummers, and 240 rank and file. Among the wounded were Lieutenant Colonels Francis Smith and Benjamin Bernard. Lieutenant Edward Hall was wounded at the north bridge and, taken prisoner on the retreat. He died the next day, and his remains were delivered up to General Gage. Lieutenant Edward Thornton Gould was also wounded at the bridge and taken prisoner on the retreat."

The following is a western view of the monument recently erected at Concord, at the place where the old north bridge of Concord crossed the river. It is constructed of granite, with the following inscription on the marble inlet :- "HERE, on the 19th of April, 1775, was made the first forcible resistance to British aggression. On the opposite bank stood the American militia. Here stood the invading army, and on this spot the first of the enemy fell in the war of the Revolution, which gave Independence to these United States. In gratitude to GOD and in the love of Freedom, this monument was erected A. D. 1836."

The monument stands a few rods westward of the public Toad, near the house of the Rev. Dr. Ripley, who gave the land for the above purpose. The entrance to the bridge was between the trees seen standing by the water's edge on each side of t.he monument. These trees were standing at the time of the Revolution. The two British soldiers who were killed at this spot were buried a few feet from the monument. The place is marked by two rough stones, seen on the left, by the two persons represented in the engraving.

The following inscriptions are copied from monuments in this town. The oldest monument is in the Hill burying ground, inscribed thus: "Joseph Merriam, aged 47 years, died the 20 of April, 1677."

Here lies Interred the Remains of the Rev. Mr. Daniel Bliss, Pastor of the Church of Christ in Concord, who Deceased the 11th day of May, Anno Doin: 1764, AEtatis suea 50.

Of this beloved Disciple and Minister of Jesus Christ it is justly observable, that, in addition to his natural and acquired abilities,he was distinguishedly favoured with those eminent Graces of the Holy Spirit (Meekness, Humility, and Zeal,) which rendered him peculiarly fit for and enabled him to go thro' the great and arduous work of the Gospel Ministry, upon which he entered in the 25th year of his age. The Duties of the various Characters he sustained in life, were performed with great strictness and fidelity. As a private Christian he was a bright Example of Holiness in Life and Purity in Conversation. But in the execution of ye ministerial office he shone with Peculiar Lustre,-a spirit of Devotion animated all his performances :-his doctrine drop'd as ye Rain and his lips distilled like the Dew :-his Preaching was powerful and Searching ;-and he who blessed him with an uncommon Talent in a particular Application to ye Consciences of men, crowned his skilful endeavours with great success. As ye work of the Ministry was his great Delight, so he continued fervent and diligent in y° Performance of it, till his Divine Lord called him from his Service on Earth to the Glorious Recompense of Reward in Heaven; where as one who has turned many unto Righteousness he shines as a star for ever and ever.

"His soul was of ye Angelic Frame,
The Same Ingredients, and the mould ye same,
Whom ye Creator makes a Minister of Fame."

In Memory of Capt. JOHN STONE, the Architect of that Modern and justly Celebrated Piece of Architecture, Charles River Bridge. He was a man of good Natural abilities, which seemed to be adorned with Moral Virtues and Christian Graces. He departed this life in the year of our Lord 1791, in the 63 year of his age.

This stone is designed by its durability to perpetuate the memory, and by its colour to signify the moral character, of Miss ABIGAIL DUDLEY, who died Jan. 4, 1812, aged 73.

The following, generally attributed to the pen of Daniel Bliss, Esq., has often been published and admired.

God wills us free ;-man wills us slaves. I will as God wills; God's will be done. Here lies the body of JOHN JACK, A native of Africa, who died March, 1773, aged about sixty years. Though born in a land of slavery, He was born free. Though he lived in a land of liberty, He lived a slave; Till by his honest, though stolen labours, He acquired the source of slavery, Which gave him his freedom: Though not long before Death, the grand tyrant, Gave him his final emancipation, And put him on a footing with kings. Though a slave to vice, He practised those virtues, Without which kings are but slaves.

Here lyes interred the remains of Mr. HUGH CARGILL, late of Boston, who died in Concord, January 12, 1799, in the 60th year of his age. Mr. Cargill was born in Bellyshannon, in Ireland, came to this country in the year 1774, destitute of the comforts of life; but by his industry and good economy he acquired a good estate; and, having no children, he at his death devised his estate to his wife, Mrs. Rebecca Cargill, and to a number of his friends and relations by marriage, and especially a large and generous donation to the town of Concord for benevolent and charitable purposes.

How strange, 0 God, who reigns on high.
That I should come so far to die,
And leave my friends, where I was bred,
To lay my bones with strangers dead.
But I have hopes when I arise
To dwell with thee in yonder skies.

Historical Collections Relating to the History... John Warner Barber, Worcester, Warren Lazell, 1848

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