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Minutemen of Lexington: Caleb Harrington

Caleb Harrington

(Born October 27, 1751,  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. 

Caleb Harrington was only 23 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 father, Moses Harrington Jr., who was 65 years old, was also on the Battle Green alongside Caleb and his cousin Jonathan. 

Caleb Harrington rented a large piece of land in Waltham on the Lexington line in 1771 at age 19 years old from Uriah Cutting. This land was used for farming. Thirteen shillings and four pence were paid yearly for the ten-year-long lease. 

During the Battle of Lexington, Caleb had gone into the meetinghouse for more gunpowder with Joshua Simonds and Joseph Comee. All three found themselves in danger of being cut off from their company by the British. Caleb Harrington and Joseph Comee decided to make a run for it toward the Monroe house. 

Joseph Comee westward across the common towards Marrett Monroe’s house and was hit in the arm with a musket ball but kept running through the Monroe house. Caleb Harrington headed in the same direction but was killed during his attempt to run.

After Caleb fell, Joshua Simonds ducked back into the meetinghouse, and he laid down on the floor with his loaded musket jammed into a barrel of powder, ready to blow up the house if the British entered. 

In History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; from its first settlement to 1868, author Charles Hudson wrote: 

“John Symonds (sic.) with three others had, on the approach of the British, gone into the meeting-house for a supply of powder. They had got two half-casks from the upper loft into the gallery, when the British reached the Green. Two of them, Caleb Harrington and Joseph Comee, resolved at every hazard to escape from the house and join the company. Harrington was killed in the attempt at the west end of the meeting-house ; Comee, finding himself cut off from the company, ran, under a shower of balls, —one of which struck him in the arm, —to the Munroe house [near the church]; and, passing through the house, made his escape at the back door. A third secreted himself in the opposite gallery; while Symonds loaded and cocked his gun, and, laying down, placed the muzzle up the open cask of powder, determined to blow up the British if they should enter the gallery, choosing to destroy his own life rather than fall into their hands.”

History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts from its first settlement to 1868


  1. Hudson, C. (1913). Genealogies. In History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; from its first settlement to 1868 (pp. 275–621). Houghton Mifflin. 
  2. Logan, L. (2013). American Revolution Biography about Caleb Harrington. The Lexington Minute Men. 
  3. Tourtellot, A. B. (1959). The Battle: Lexington. In William Diamond S Drum The Beginning Of The War Of The American Revolution (p. 136). essay, Doubleday & Company, Inc. Retrieved from