The April 19-21, 1775 Evacuations of Middlesex and Essex Counties
When Lexington’s alarm bell rang, panic set in. A hostile military force was marching directly towards the town. Plunder and destruction were feared. The Reverend William Gordon of Roxbury reported, “the inhabitants had quitted their houses in the general area upon the road, leaving almost everything behind them, and thinking themselves well off in escaping with their lives.” Some took a few belongings. Others hid or buried valuables. The roads were clogged with “women and children weeping.” Residents escaped to woods and fields or to nearby towns. While much attention has been paid to the shots fired that day, we’ll take a close look at what happened to those who weren’t engaged in combat.