The Consciousness of “76” is alive as you step upon the Freedom Trail in Boston, MA. Take a journey through Revolutionary Massachusetts as you give witness the men and woman who struggled to give us our democracy. (Purchase “The Complete Guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail” By Charles Bahne to become familiar with these site before you go!)
The Boston Tea Party
Even though not officially part of the famed trail, a visitor would do themselves justice bey starting their travels at the Boston Tea Party Ship&Museum. Coined the “best new museum in New England” it narrates the tale of those patriots who on December 16,1773 threw a tea party in Boston’s Harbor.
Throwing 340 chests of tea into the icy water the citizens were protesting Britain’s Tea Act of 1773. Located at the Charles Street Bridge, the museum offers visitors a chance to view one of only two authentic tea chests from that night. Audiences also have the chance to hear from Samuel Adams as well as how the war affected the commoner. Finish your journey with the film “Let It Begin Here”–an award winning narration about the conflict.
America’s oldest park, Boston Common is within the original parcel of land purchased from William Blackstone. Mr. Blackstone arrived from England in 1622 and moved to the settlement known as “Shawmnut;” meaning living water The lone livable spring in the territory, he exchanged his land for the legal right to use fifty acres on which to live. It is rumored the Puritans not only wanted the water itself but needed the spring to make beer.
It is also whispered there are thousands of human remains buried under the Common, and that Boston’s Liberty Tree–where members of the revolutionary met and undesirables were hanged. Finally, grazing of cows are still legal due to a law never repealed–but only for government officials.
Granary Burial Ground
Calling upon the third oldest burial ground in North America, tourists are exposed to an array of historical history. Within the cemetery are the remains of Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, etc. The spirits of the past are most certainly ambulating among the living here.
Opened in 1660 and a limb of Boston Common, it is given it’s designation after an “old grain warehouse” that operated adjacent to the Park Street Church. As you enter, guests observes a stone inscribed with the words of James Otis’ speech against the Writs of Assistance (1761). A leading figure in the early stages of the war, Otis suffered an injury which unfettered his sanity.
Kings Chapel and Burial Ground
Even though the two have nothing to do with each other, they will be always linked. The Burial Ground is the oldest in North America. (With the tombstone of William Paddy dating from 1658.) Kings Chapel, had confiscated land belonging to the cemetery in 1687. Outraged citizens angered at the prospect of the Anglican religion gaining a foothold in America, “threw garbage, dead animals and cursed the celebrants” at the dedication of the church.
The place of worship, designed by Peter Harrison who never set foot within Boston; favoring transmitting the blueprints by mail. Harrison’s completed structure contains one of the most beautiful interiors in New England. Kings Chapel the oldest continuously used alter in America.
Old South Meeting House
The residence, where the participants of the famed Boston Tea Party left from. On the night of December 16, 1773 an assemblage of concerned inhabitants, with voices chanting–“Boston Harbor a tea pot tonight” advanced on Griffen Wharf. Their purpose, to throw English tea into said harbor.
On March 6, 1775 Old South Meeting House again packed to capacity had Joseph Warren ascending through a window to deliver a speech. A whispered myth to this tale had a member of British adherence planning to pummel Warren with an egg. but fractured his leg (and the egg) on his way to the event.
Old State House
Configured in 1713 the Old State house is the oldest recognized building still standing in the eastern United States. The throne of the Massachusetts government, it would also be the “scene of many a confrontation between the colonist and their royalist rulers.”
The Old State House is where according to John Adams, “the child of independence was born.” James Otis set forth am impassioned and fiery remarks in 1761 opposing the Writs of Assistance. These whispering had “inspired the hearts of all who heard it,”–John Adams.
(the Boston Massacre)
Happening just outside of the Old State House doors, this famed event would mark the “first bloodshed of the Revolutionary [War].” March 5, 1770 five colonist will lose their lives as they taunted the British regulars. Paul Revere’s etching of the event can be seen in the Old State House Museum, The event also gave a name to a little known lawyer at the time–John Adams.
Adams helped get a not guilty verdict for the British officers put on trial for the murder of said patriots; two of whom would be branded upon their thumbs.
Paul Revere House
Revere approached preeminence with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic composition, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Each school child is conscious of these famed utterances, “Listen my children and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…”
Revere purchased the house in 1770 and raised 16 offsprings (8 with his first wife Sara; 8 with a second, Rachel). A silversmith by trade he would be called to mind as the patriot who took that noted ride to forewarn the countryside “the British regulars were coming.” The only thing wrong is Revere never got through; captured and detained by the redcoats, William Dawes sounded the alarm.
Old North Church
“One if by land, two if by sea…” Locating the warning atop the Old North Church’s tower that night. The church, a.k.a. Christ’s Church in Boston is Boston’s oldest house of worship. Its earliest documented service took place on December 29, 1723.
Submerged under Old North are approximately 37 burial chamber containing 1,100 human bodies. (Side Note: Major John Pitcain, a British officer who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill is the only regular entombed on American soil.)
Copps Hill Burying Ground
This graveyard holds the remains of not a single famous person, except those of Cotton and Increase Mather. Becoming a cemetery in 1660 the headstone within were use for target practice during the war for independence; the bullet marks can still be seen in some of the stones.
The Mather’s were, of course instrumental in the neighboring witch hysteria of 1692. Other interred here are: Robert Newman, sexton of the Old North Church when the lanterns were hung on the famous day; Capt. Daniel Malcom who requested to be “buried 10 feet deep, safe from British bullets.” These men may not be remembered through history like some but were just as important.
Bunker Hill Monument (and museum)
“Do not fire until you see the white’t of their eyes. Then fire low,” Israel Putnam. Considered a British victory the Battle of Bunker Hill showed America’s resolve. Occurring months after the conflict at Lexington and Concord this fight is thought to be the first “pitch battle” between colonist and the British regulars.
The Bunker Hill Monument museum relives this day when the American spirit to control. When against the greatest military force in the world (at the time) inhabitants of New England defended their rights.