Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A day in Massachusetts (and a history lesson)

Last Saturday, Jonathan and I went down to Massachusetts to go to the Boston temple (in Belmont) and spent a few hours in Lexington and Concord, which is less than 5 miles from the temple.
We LOVED it!!!  Here are a few pictures and things we learned.

                       The temple grounds are spectacular and the inside is also beautiful.
The temple is 45 miles away and takes about an hour to get there.  Saturday AM is a great time to go:)

Our first stop after the temple was in Lexington.  This is the statue honoring the militia in the green where the first colonists were killed on April 19, 1775 by the British troops (as the small militia was retreating).
This is the oldest war monument in the country honoring the 8 men killed in Lexington on April 19, 1775.

 This was our very interesting tour guide.  We took a 90 minute tour on a trolley to see all the highlights of Lexington and Concord.
This was at the North Bridge outside Concord where the minute men first fired against British troops when they saw the British starting to burn the town of Concord.  A small contingent of British were guarding the North Bridge when the "shot heard round the world" was fired by someone and the war officially began.

                                  The Alcott home where Louisa wrote Little Women

I couldn't get good pictures because we just drove by on the trolley, but we went past the houses of the Alcotts (where Louisa wrote Little Women and the movie was filmed), Nathaniel Hawthorne,  Henry David Thoreau and some others I can't recall.  They all lived close to each in Concord and Walden Pond is only a mile away.  The Transcendentalist School sits just behind the Alcott home.

A History Lesson
Here a few notes I took from our tour.  Now I know as much as local 4th graders:)

The British troops (700 I think) came to Lexington and Concord from Boston on April 19, 1775 to seize weapons and ammunition that the colonists had gathered and hidden. 

Lexington had militia (unpaid volunteers--the town wasn't big enough to pay them).  Concord had minute-men who were compensated for their time away from work (farms). The town militia and minute-men already existed to protect the town from the French and Indians.

Paul Revere came to Lexington first to warn the town that the troops were coming.  He shouted "The regulars are out" not "The British are coming" because they were all British back then.  He had two riding companions to accompany him to Concord, but Paul Revere was captured en route and later released.  William Dawes escaped when Revere was captured. The remaining rider, a physician named Samuel Prescott, was the one who made it to Concord to warn the minute-men, so they were prepared.  When Longfellow wrote his poem about Revere he didn't mention Dawes and Prescott, but only Revere because it was easier to find words that rhyme with Revere.

At the North Bridge in Concord there were 95 British men guarding the bridge while other troops were burning a battery and buildings in Concord.  The minute men gathered on the hill above the bridge and saw the fire.  After one man asked "are we just going to watch them burn the town down" the minute-men charged down the hill and fired at the men guarding the bridge and chased them into town where the fighting grew.  First thing in the morning, the minute men were outnumbered 10 to 1 by the British.  More minute-men joined throughout the day until they outnumbered the British 5 to 1.

A few more tidbits:
If the British were wounded, they still had to get themselves back to Boston (about 15 miles away).  Surrender was not an option because they would be considered traitors.

The farmers at the time had to give any trees they fell with diameter wider than 24" to King George to be made into masts.  However, if a tree fell over in a storm it was called a "windfall" and the farmer could keep it.