There’s a short but interesting primary account that touches on the profound fear among the citizens of Boston’s surrounding towns, following the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
After the fighting, the British were making their retreat along the long road back to the city.
Mercy Hoar Farrar, wife of (then) Lt. Samuel Farrar, Jr. and my 4th great-grandmother, was making no assumptions about the behavior of the troops.
As one of the Farrar grandsons would later tell it…
The Concord families living nearest to our home fled this way for safety, and with my grandmother and others of the family left this house, [they] took refuge in “Oaky Bottom,” a retired piece of forest land about one-half mile in the rear of the house. Grandmother in her haste had sufficient self-possession to think of the cattle tied in the barn. These she let loose, desiring to save them from the flames that she expected would be kindled by Gage’s army. She took her babe, Samuel (the third), in her arms, the large family Bible, a loaf of bread, and a looking-glass, with what little silver she had, and bade farewell to the old dwelling, never expecting to gather her family about her again beneath that ancestral roof.
–quote taken from MacLean, John C., A Rich Harvest, Lincoln, MA, Lincoln Historical Society, 1987. p. 276
At the end of that momentous day, happily, the house was intact.
I’ll focus on the long and rich history of the Farrar Homestead in the next installment.