No Fairy Tales Needed

Mrs. Pamela Fisk of Arlington is ninety-four years of age, and her stories seem like a new chapter in the history of April 19, 1775. Mrs. Fisk is a granddaughter of Francis Brown and of Edmund Munroe, both of Lexington, where she was born and spent her early life. Her paternal grandmother was Mary Buckman, who lived at the old Buckman Tavern. So, on all sides, she inherits the blood of true patriots, and has heard the story from their own lips.

Buckman's Tavern"Grandfather Brown," she says, "told me this story :

‘I was out here near the meeting-house at the early hour of two o’clock, and answered the roll-call of our company, and in response to the order of Captain Parker, loaded my gun with powder and ball. I heard the discussion as to the safety of Hancock and Adams, then sleeping over at the home of Parson Clark. I went back home and waited until half-past four o’clock, when I heard the alarm guns and the drum beat to arms, and I was again on the Green.

‘"The order not to fire unless fired upon deterred me and all of us from having a shot as the British soldiers came up. I participated in the early action, and, having cared for our dead and wounded neighbors, I was in the afternoon attack; when I was wounded by a ball which entered my cheek, passed under my ear, and lodged in the back of my neck, where it remained nearly a year.’ " Mrs. Fisk said : "I used to put my finger on these scars, as he told me just how the ball went. We needed no fairy tales in our youth; the real experiences of our own people were more fascinating than all the novels ever written.

The Story of Patriot’s Day, Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775 By George Jones Varney – copyright 1895  (Available on Google Books)

The tragic life of John Raymond

British at Munroe TavernJohn Raymond’s murder at the hands of drunken British soldiers on April 19th, 1775 capped a life etched with misfortune.

His parents owned a tavern on property across the street from Munroe Tavern that was beseiged with financial problems.  Apparently it thrived at one time.  But by the time John’s father died in 1760, possibly as a soldier in the French and Indian war, it was far from successful.  Monroe Tavern was not Munroe Tavern at the time, since Will Munroe didn’t take it over until 1770.  Will bought the property from John Buckman Sr, who was Raymond’s main competitor, selling spirits that Raymond apparently couldn’t afford to buy.

When John’s mother died, she left John and his family with enormous debt.  He was sent to debtor’s prison and the town fathers that his wife and children be allowed to remain on the property until it was sold.  The neighbor across the road, Lydia Mulliken, saved them by buying the tavern and property in 1774.  Apparently this cleared up the debt that John owed and he was freed from prison.  He and his family lived there until at least April 19th, 1775.

On April 19th, Will Munroe went to fight on the Green, being Captain John Parker’s second in command.  He left John Raymond, who history tells us was crippled, in charge at the Tavern.  When Lord Percy and his Redcoat reinforcements took over the Tavern, John served them as best he could.   Alcohol didn’t mix well with angry Redcoats and things began getting violent.

As Will’s wife and little children watched from the woods behind the tavern, John Raymond attempted to make an escape.

The Redcoats shot him in the back.  John Raymonds sad life ended in the yard of Munroe Tavern.