Chuck Baldwin — The Man Who Fired The Shot Heard ’Round The World
April 19, 2012
April 19, 1775, should be regarded as important a date to Americans as July 4, 1776. It’s a shame that we don’t celebrate it as enthusiastically as we do Independence Day. It’s even more shameful that many Americans don’t even remember what happened on this day back in 1775. For the record, historians call this day, “Patriot’s Day.” More specifically, it was the day that the shot was fired that was heard ’round the world. It was the day America’s War for Independence began.
Being warned of approaching British troops by Dr. James Warren, Pastor Jonas Clark and his male congregants of the Church of Lexington (numbering 60-70) were the ones that stood with their muskets in front of the Crown’s troops (numbering over 800), who were on orders to seize a cache of arms which were stored at Concord and to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock (who were known to be in the area, and who had actually taken refuge in Pastor Clark’s home).
According to eyewitnesses, the king’s troops opened fire on the militiamen almost without warning, immediately killing eight of Pastor Clark’s parishioners. In self defense, the Minutemen returned fire. These were the first shots of the Revolutionary War. This took place on Lexington Green, which was located directly beside the church-house where those men worshipped each Sunday. Adams and Hancock were not taken. They owed their lives to Pastor Clark and his brave Minutemen–albeit eight of those men gave their lives protecting Adams and Hancock.
According to Pastor Clark, these are the names of the eight men who died on Lexington Green: Robert Munroe, Jonas Parker, Samuel Hadley, Jonathan Harrington, Jr., Isaac Muzzy, Caleb Harrington, and John Brown, all of Lexington, and one Mr. Porter of Woburn.
By the time the British troops arrived at the Concord Bridge, hundreds of colonists had amassed a defense of the bridge. A horrific battle took place, and the British troops were routed and soon retreated back to Boston. America’s War for Independence had begun!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these two elements of American history are lost to the vast majority of historians today: 1) it was attempted gun confiscation by the British troops that ignited America’s War for Independence, and 2) it was a pastor and his flock that mostly comprised the “Minutemen” who fired the shots that started our great Revolution.
With that thought in mind, I want to devote today’s column to honoring the brave preachers of Colonial America–these “children of the Pilgrims,” as one Colonial pastor’s descendent put it.
It really wasn’t that long ago. However, with the way America’s clergymen act today, one would think that preachers such as James Caldwell, John Peter Muhlenberg, Joab Houghton, and Jonas Clark never existed. But they did exist; and without them, this country we call the United States of America that would not exist.
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