, Newburyport, MA


June 26, 2013

The British are coming! Or not


John Jenks of Salem reported in his journal that despite the false alarm, he “moved [his] goods up to Uncle Preston’s in Danvers and a great number of teams were employed to carry provisions out of town.” Ipswich ordered “a guard of two men [to be] stationed by the Town on the Hill in May 1775. A flagstaff was erected, and a beacon, and in case of the appearance of the enemy, a flag was to be displayed by day and a fire, built of tar and other inflammable material to be kindled by night” (Ipswich Chronicle).

Although the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” was the law of the land, many felt that this bearer of bad tidings should be the exception, but since Ebenezer Todd acted as any good Patriot would have, he was pardoned. Whittier commended the citizens of Newburyport for their courage despite the sham, noting that “they might bow and sway like reeds in the wind; but they stood up like the oaks of their own forests beneath the thunder and the hail of actual calamity.”

Good people of the Port, have a happy 4th of July!


Melissa Berry lives in Beverly and loves researching stories about this area.

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