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In the year 1775, Mad King George was ruling England and was very upset at what the rebel Colonists were doing in his colony, America. My ancestor, Pelatiah Everett, was a saddler and harness-maker for horses who rode the circuit near Boston and delivered his product to American colonists. Secretly, he also was a Minuteman, working with Paul Revere to fight the British, who then had the most fearsome Army in the world.

1775

In occupied Boston and the surrounding communities, there was an underground network of Minutemen who spread the word when the British were on the march outside Boston. On April 18, 1775, the British were on the march, heading to Concord to destroy the weapons and ammunition stored by the colonists there, and to arrest their leaders, Samuel Adams and John Hancock. When the signal was placed in the spire of Boston's Old North Church, Paul Revere and his fellow Minutemen got the word that "the British are coming", and took action.

Through the underground network, the word reached Pelatiah, then 25 years old and skilled in the use of a long rifle. He was the 18th Century version of a Navy SEAL, and hated the British.

They rode their horses to Lexington, near Concord, where Hancock and Adams were staying, to warn them. Through the underground network, the word reached Pelatiah, then 25 years old and skilled in the use of a long rifle. He was the 18th Century version of a Navy SEAL, and hated the British.

He rode to Lexington, arriving about 1:00am. It was quiet, no British soldiers there, and the Lexington militia had mostly retired to their homes surrounding Lexington Green, and to Buckman's Tavern, right there on the Green. Samuel Adams, who was a Revolutionary era firebrand, was drinking ale at the Tavern, and he was joined by Everett, who had made a saddle for Adams that he really liked. They talked about the British troops, who were approaching Lexington, according to Paul Revere, who had ridden on to Concord to warn the rebels.

Adams speculated that there might be an armed conflict with the British soldiers soon, and with a snarl, shouted: "If there must be war, let it begin here!". As dawn approached, at about 5:00am, word reached the Tavern that the British forces were approaching. The members of the Lexington militia scrambled, returning home to get their muskets and to awaken those who had retired to get some sleep. They began assembling on Lexington Green, awaiting the British.

Adams and a few others started assembling their important papers in a trunk, and hauled it to another house on the outskirts of Lexington where Hancock was staying. They had to make sure that the British did not take control of these papers, which would have given them all the secrets of the American rebels. Everett and the others finished their ale, as noise heard from outside the Tavern told them that the British had arrived, near the south side of the Green.

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Pelatiah emerged from Buckman's Tavern, and saw that the British troops had gathered in several lines along the south side of the Green, faced by the meager band of the Lexington militia to the north, including a black man, Prince Easterbrooks. Major Pitcairn, in charge of the British troops, rode back and forth in front of them, urging that they hold the line and not fire on the locals. He shouted for the rebels to disburse: "Lay down your arms, you damned rebels!" There were about 80 Patriots, and over 700 British soldiers.

Armed with his long rifle and not an ancient musket, Pelatiah moved along a stone wall to the East of the Green. He was not going to be a sitting duck for the British troops on the Green, in the style of warfare in the 18th Century: two lines of troops facing each other. He placed his long rifle on the wall, as the British soldiers began to shout the deep-throated battle cry that was distinctive to the British infantry - a deafening "Huzzah!! Huzzah!!!"

Everett pointed his rifle at the shouting troops. He thought of what Samuel Adams had said, and as the shouting on the Lexington Green grew overwhelming, squeezed the trigger…

Everett spent the next eight years as a Revolutionary War soldier, progressing from Minuteman to Private, to Sergeant, to Ensign, to Second Lieutenant, and finally to First Lieutenant on the staff of George Washington at West Point as the Revolutionary War ended in November, 1783. He joined his friend Captain Miles to buy The Pond House, a hotel, bar and stable in Westminster, Massachusetts, and spent the rest of his days running The Pond House and telling war stories in the bar, until his death in 1821 at age 71.

Six generations later, I am writing this. What will happen next?

ted vaill

Edward Everett Vaill

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