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Minutemen of Lexington: Jonas Parker

Jonas Parker

Born February 6, 1722, killed on the Green on April 19, 1775

In honor of the upcoming Parker’s Prelude celebrations, the Lex250 Commission would like to shed light on the eight brave men who fought for American independence and died on April 19, 1774, at the Battle of Lexington. 

Jonas Parker was 53 years old when he was killed by British forces. 

He was a member of Captain Parker’s company of Lexington militia and mustered on the Common on the morning of April, 19th.

His son Jonas, Jr., his first cousin Thaddeus Parker and his nephew Ebenezer Parker fought alongside him on the Common. Other relatives who also joined him in the Battle of Lexington included Ensign Robert Munroe, Samuel Munroe, Jedediah Munroe, John Munroe, Stephen Munroe, Stephen Munroe Jr., Ebenezer Munroe, Nathan Munroe, Edmund Munroe and Sergeant William Munroe. His first cousin was Captain John Parker. 

On the morning of April 19, 1775, after the first fire, Jonas Parker, John Munroe, and Ebenezer Munroe, Jr., fired their rifles at the regulars. 

Sergeant William Munroe described the following events in an affidavit in 1825:

When the British troops came up, I saw Jonas Parker standing in the ranks, with his balls and flints in his hat, on the ground, between his feet, and heard him declare, that he would never run. He was shot down at the second fire of the British, and, when I left, I saw him struggling on the ground, attempting to load his gun, which I have no doubt he had once discharged at the British. As he lay on the ground, they run him through with the bayonet.”

William Munroe, 1825, affidavit to Justice of the Peace Amos Muzzy

John Munroe also testified to this series of events, recounting in 1824:

“After the second fire from the British troops, I distinctly saw Jonas Parker struggling on the ground, with his gun in his hand, apparently attempting to load it. In this situation the British came up, run him through with the bayonet, and killed him on the spot.”

John Munroe, 1824, affadavit to Justice of the Peace Nathan Chandler

Parker was survived by his wife, Lucy Munroe, and ten children. Based on his estate inventory, it is suggested that he was a woodworker and yeoman farmer, owning a few cows, pigs, and twelve acres of land. 

According to an extensive genealogical record published in 1893, relatives described him as a tall man “with great strength” and one of the best wrestlers in town. 

In 1835, during the 60th-anniversary of the Battle of Lexington, seven of the eight men killed were exhumed from Lexington’s Old Burying Ground and were reinterred in a tomb beneath the Revolutionary War Monument, receiving full military honors.  

At the ceremony, orator and later Governor of Massachusetts, Edward Everett, gave an address, retelling the story of the Battle of Lexington. During his speech, he said,

 “History, Roman history, does not furnish an example of bravery that outshines that of Jonas Parker. A truer heart did not bleed at Thermopylae. He was the next-door neighbor of Mr. Clarke, and had evidently imbibed a double portion of his lofty spirit. Parker was often heard to say that be the consequences what they might, and let others do what they pleased, he would never run from the enemy. He was as good as his word; — better. Having loaded his musket, he placed his hat, containing his ammunition, on the ground between his feet, in readiness for a second charge. At the second fire he was wounded and sunk upon his knees, and in this condition discharged his gun. While loading it again upon his knees, and striving in the agonies of death to redeem his pledge, he was transfixed by a bayonet, and thus died on the spot where he first stood and fell.”

Edward Everett, 1835


  1. Hudson, C. (1995). History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to 1868. Library of Congress. 
  2. Cain, A. R. (2015, January 4). “Heard Him Express His Determination Never to Run”: Lexington’s Jonas Parker. Historical Nerdery.
  3. Parker, T. (1893). Genealogy and biographical notes of John Parker of Lexington and his descendants: From 1635 to 1893. Press of Charles Hamilton.