Jason Russell’s Bloody Battle

On April 19th, 1775, Jason Russell was 59 years old and lame. His beautiful home, built or remodeled on land he inherited just before marrying his wife in 1740, was in Menotomy (modern day Arlington) right on the main road to Lexington.

 After the Redcoats marched by before dawn, Jason took his wife and family to a neighbors home further from the road. But Jason returned. When warned to flee to safety, he is remembered as saying “An Englishman’s home is his castle.”

Late in the day, on April 19th, he is within the walls of his “yard” and is joined by Militia and Minutemen from the surrounding countryside. They set up a defense to intercept the retreating Redcoats. But, even after being warned, they neglect to watch for the Redcoat flankers.

The lot of them – twenty or so – were overtaken by the flankers and rushed into Jason’s house for protection. Jason was slower than the rest, of course, and was shot twice on his doorstep and stabbed multiple times as the Redcoats followed the Minutemen into the house.

Eight were able to make it into the basement and were able to defend their position by firing up the stairs. The rest were mowed down in the front room of Jason’s home.

When Mrs. Russell returned home, the blood was ankle-deep where she found her husband’s body, along with eleven others, laid out in her kitchen. The blood stains never came out of the floor.

This was the bloodiest battle for the Americans on that day. Jason Russell and the eleven others that died there that day were buried in a mass grave near the house. An obelisk that marks the grave reads:
Erected by the Inhabitants of West Cambridge, A.D. 1848, over the common grave of Jason Russell, Jason Winship, Jabez Wyman and nine others, who were slain in this town by the British Troops on their retreat from the Battles of Lexington and Concord, April 19th, 1775. Being among the first to lay down their lives in the struggle for American Independence.