Patriot's Day - April 19, 1775



"Stand your ground; don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
Militia Captain John Parker, April 19th, 1775, the battle of Lexington, "the Shot Heard Round the World"

"The Lord is a God that loveth righteousness and hateth inequity, in whatever shape or character it appears. Injustice, oppression and violence (much less the shedding of innocent blood) shall not pass unnoticed by the just Governor of the world...

The truth of these sentiments hath often been verified in providence, and the proudest princes and the most powerful states have been taught by severe, by fatal experience, that desolation from the Lord awaits the impiety of those who do violence to His people and 'shed innocent blood in their land.'"
("The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors and God's Tender Care of His Distressed People" by Rev. Jonas Clark, 1776. A sermon and eyewitness narrative of the "Shot heard round the world" at the Battle of Lexington, 1775)

Note by Pastor Baldwin, Liberty Fellowship church in Montana:

“Today, April 19, is rightly identified as “Patriots’ Day.” In truth, April 19, 1775, should be regarded as important a date to Americans as July 4, 1776. It’s a shame that we don’t celebrate Patriots’ Day as enthusiastically as we do Independence Day. It’s even more shameful that many Americans don’t even remember what happened on this day back in 1775.

This was the day the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired. It was the day America’s War for Independence began.

Being warned of approaching British troops by Dr. Joseph Warren (who dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes to Lexington and Concord with the news), Pastor Jonas Clark alerted his congregants at the Church of Lexington that the British army was on its way to seize the colonists’ weapons and to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock. Both of these men had taken refuge in Pastor Clark’s home with about a dozen of the pastor’s armed men guarding the house. Other men from the congregation (around 75-80 in number) stood with their muskets on Lexington Green when over 800 British troops appeared before them at barely the break of day. The militia commander, Jonas Parker, told his fellow colonists, “Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”

According to eyewitnesses, British soldiers opened fire on the militiamen without warning (the British command to disperse and the British soldiers’ opening salvo of gunfire were simultaneous), immediately killing eight of the colonists (including Parker), of whom at least seven were Pastor Clark’s parishioners. In self-defense, the Minutemen took cover and returned fire. These were the first shots of the Revolutionary War.

Again, this took place on Lexington Green, which was located in the shadow of the church house where those men worshipped each Sunday. The men that were guarding Adams and Hancock escorted them out of harm’s way shortly before the troops arrived. Without a doubt, the heroic efforts of Pastor Clark and his brave Minutemen at the Church of Lexington saved the lives of Sam Adams and John Hancock. And eight of those brave men gave their lives protecting two men who became two of America’s greatest Founding Fathers. But, mind you, Jonas Clark and his men are as important to the story of America’s independence as any of our Founding Fathers.

According to Pastor Clark, these are the names of the eight men who died on Lexington Green on that fateful April morning: Robert Munroe, Jonas Parker, Samuel Hadley, Jonathan Harrington, Jr., Isaac Muzzy, Caleb Harrington, and John Brown, all of Lexington, and one Mr. Porter of Woburn.

By the time the British troops arrived at the Concord Bridge, hundreds of colonists had amassed a defense of the bridge. A horrific battle took place, and the British troops were routed and soon retreated back to Boston. America’s War for Independence had begun.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these two elements of our history are lost to the vast majority of Americans today: 1) it was attempted gun confiscation by the British troops that ignited America’s War for Independence, and 2) it was a pastor and the men of his congregation that mostly comprised the “Minutemen” who fired the shots that started our great Revolution.”

References/Resources/Further Reading:

  1. Molon Labe
  2. "The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors and God's Tender Care of His Distressed People" by Rev. Jonas Clark, 1776. A sermon and eyewitness narrative of the "Shot heard round the world" at the Battle of Lexington, 1775