J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, July 08, 2017

“The Road to Revolution in Newton,” 11 July

On Tuesday, 11 July, I’ll speak at the Newton Free Library on the topic “The Road to Revolution in Newton.”

This will be another talk based on The Road to Concord with a local twist:
In September 1774 the farmers of Middlesex County rose up and ended royal government in most of Massachusetts. For the next seven months, Patriot activists and the British governor raced to seize artillery. Cannon disappeared from ships, shore batteries and even armories under redcoat guard. In Newton, citizens voted to form their own artillery company. 
Over the next couple of days I’ll consider the rise and fall of the man who donated the cannon for that company, John Pigeon.

This talk is special to me since I grew up in Newton and live there now. In fact, I found the first intriguing tidbits of information about cannons being stolen from Boston armories under redcoat guard in the Newton Free Library’s fine regional history collection. (No matter that the accounts in nineteenth-century chronicles like The Hundred Boston Orators and Tea Leaves are riddled with misinformation it took me years to sort out.)

This event is co-sponsored by Historic Newton. It will start at 7:00 P.M. in the auditorium of the library at 330 Homer Street. There’s ample free parking, and I’ll have books to sell and sign.

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