The Battle Road beginsThis early 18th century house sits at the junction of two roads: Lexington Road, running east, and Bedford Road coming from the north. Not far from the house, Lexington Road narrowed to cross a small brook. In the early afternoon of April 19, 1775, the retreating British column was attacked here by militiamen from the towns of Reading, Chelmsford and Billerica who had just arrived on the Bedford Road. In order to cross the brook, the British column pulled in their flank guard. This allowed the militiamen to get close enough to fire upon them and inflict casualties. From this point on the fire would not cease until the British regulars arrived at Charlestown, 18 miles away!
By the spring of 1775, John and Sarah had sold their 1691 house and moved to Littleton. John’s brother, Ebenezer (who was married several times and is presumed to have moved away from Concord) had passed the 1663 house on to younger brother, Joseph, who passed the house to his son, Josiah. Joseph and Dorothy’s 1705 house passed on to their son Nathan and his wife Abigail. It is this 1705 Meriam home in which Nathan and Abigail lived in 1775 that still stands today.
The family members living at Meriam’s Corner included Nathan and Abigail, in their fifties, in one house with seven children between the ages of 11 and 29. A yeoman farmer, Nathan served as town selectman. In the other house Josiah and his wife Lydia, both 49, lived with ten children between the ages of 7 and 27. Josiah was a Sergeant in Capt. Joseph Hosmer’s Minute Company in Concord and his 19 year-old son, also named Josiah, was a private in the same company.
Meriam family oral tradition holds that on that morning, “when the alarm was given in Concord that the British soldiers were coming, Josiah Meriam, with his sons, Josiah, Jr., and Timothy, went to the village, and later were among the forces at the North Bridge, and probably crossed the meadows and appeared again at the encounter near the house. Joseph, Josiah’s youngest son, then seven years old, remained at home, as he always said, ‘to take care of the women’ and soon went with them to a place of refuge behind the hill. The British soldiers entered the house, helped themselves to whatever breakfast they could find, taking the unbaked pies from the oven…”
Last updated: March 3, 2017