Friday, November 13, 2009

Colonel James Barrett's house, Concord

Ground zero for the excursion of the British regulars into Concord, Colonel James Barrett's farmhouse was invaded by a column of regulars on the morning of April 19,1775.

James Barrett was the essence of the gentleman, farmer and soldier. Born in 1710, Barrett was a farmer, miller... and warrior. He served as a captain in the Seven Years War - or French and Indian war as it is known here. By the time of the 1770s, Barrett was a man of stature in the Concord community. He is selected to represent Concord at various representative bodies and commissioned as a colonel to oversee the local militias.

A large portion of the armaments was held at the Barrett Farm in 1775, including some cannons. The Barrett sons tilled the fields and buried some of the arms in the furrows of the field. (The photograph is of recently tilled fields on the site of the Barrett farm.)

On April 19, 1775, British commander, Colonel Francis Smith, sent about 100 soldiers from Concord center to Barrett's farm by way of the North bridge. At the bridge, the soldiers broke into two groups, one to secure the bridge while one headed to the Barrett farm.

This was done under the watchful eyes of about 400 minutemen and militia assembled on the hillside above the North bridge. The leaders of that group was Colonel James Barrett. The events in Concord center then precipitated the first armed resistence of the Revolutionary War. At the farm, the British regulars confronted the good Mrs. Barrett and stormed the farmhouse. Nothing was found.

Barrett lived to see the beginning of the War but not then end. He died suddenly in April 1779.

This property has been owned by just two families since being settled in the 1700s. However family farming is not a source of wealth nowadays and the house reflected the decline. In late 2003, in a considerable state of disrepair, the house was sold to a local preservationist group, Save Our Heritage. This structure is now the newest addition to the Minuteman National Park. It is being renovated through the considerable efforts of the SOH group and will be turned over to the National Park. Future updates will be posted as progress is made on the structure. I have done some volunteer work there so I'll try to get some interior shots as well.

The home is located at 448 Barrett's Mill Road in Concord. It is easily accessible from Route 2 at the Concord Rotary or from Concord Center. There is currently no designated parking area but traffic is manageable and there are areas to pull off the road safely.

There are plans for a large Barrett birthday celebration in 2010 - the 300th anniversary of the patriot's birth.

1 comment:

  1. The British did find a few things at Col. Barrett's Farm - the gun carriages minus the brass cannon barrels that had been safely hidden. Mrs. Barrett refused to give the British the "spirits" they requested, but saying "we are compelled to feed our enemies" gave them milk, bread, and cheese made on the farm. Col. Barrett passed back and forth between the house and the bridge several times during the day being in charge of the militia, and at the same time responsible for securing the munitions. He was a well worn 65 years old and had a very long day!

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