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Our History

There are few, if any, dates more important in the history of the Town of Lexington and that of the United States of America than April 19, 1775.

On this day in history the men and women of Lexington took the first steps towards creating a new and independent nation.

Igniting the Flames of the Revolution

To truly grasp the significance of April 19, 1775, we must immerse ourselves in the turbulent landscape of colonial North America. The Stamp Act of 1765, the Townshend Acts of 1767, the Boston Massacre of 1770, and the Boston Tea Party of 1773 all increased tensions between the colonists and England, and served to raise questions of national consciousness in British North America.

Soon enough, the colonists would realize that they were, and are, a people unto themselves, Americans.

Historical illustration of the Boston Tea Party.
Historical Illustration of Paul Revere's iconic ride through Lexington, Massachusetts.

The Road to the Revolution

In the twilight hours of April 18, 1775, patriot leader Joseph Warren, having obtained secret intelligence on General Gage’s mission, sent two alert riders, Paul Revere and William Dawes, on a daring and fateful mission.

Paul Revere made his way across the bay to Charlestown, where he borrowed a horse from the Larkin family. Revere rode through the countryside, carefully avoiding or outrunning British patrols, to deliver a crucial warning to his compatriots. His legendary midnight ride aimed to alert colonial militia leaders of the imminent arrival of British regular troops, marching with the intent to arrest patriot leaders and seize colonial weapons.

William Dawes made his way out of Boston over land and rode out to Lexington as well, arriving at the Hancock-Clark house shortly after Revere. Both riders were delivering Warren’s warning to John Hancock and Samuel Adams, who were staying with Reverend Clark, that the British regular troops were on the march and their arrest might be one of the objectives.

After a brief stay in Lexington, Revere and Dawes set off together toward Concord. On the road in the early morning hours, they met a third rider, Dr Samuel Prescott of Concord, and quickly determined that he was sympathetic to their cause and agreed to help spread the word.

With each echoing hoofbeat, these riders carried not only a message of urgency but also the spark that would ignite the flames of revolution. Their fearless journey through the darkness became a symbol of the colonists’ determination to stand against oppression, marking the beginning of a defining chapter in the quest for American independence.

The Battles of Lexington & Concord

British regulars did not just march through Lexington on April 19, 1775.

Instead, they were met on the Lexington Common by the local colonial militia led by Captain John Parker, with muskets in hand. And it was here, during the Battle of Lexington, that the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.

During the clash, eight colonists were killed and ten wounded. The militia were forced to disperse , allowing the British column to continue their march to Concord. As word of the battle spread, militiamen from surrounding towns arrived, the tide turned, and the British regulars were forced to retreat to Boston.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord mark, not only the first victory in the Revolutionary War, but a pivotal moment where the colonists realized that the struggle would require great sacrifice and liberty was worth fighting for.

Historical illustration of the Battle of Lexington.
Men stand in a line while dressed as revolutionary militia during a reenactment of the Battle of Lexington.

The Lasting Legacy

The legacy of April 19, 1775, endures as a testament to resilience and defiance. So much of what it means to be an American today – including values such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – can be traced back to the actions of our Minutemen.

Even when questions of national unity are raised, the Battle of Lexington is an important reminder of the great things that can happen when Americans come together.

Lexington’s Legacy