The information below provides additional history about one of the sixteen points of interest along the tour.  Visit Essex, Massachusetts and enjoy our self-guided tour to learn more about each historic Essex location on the interpretive signs.

 

CENTRAL SCHOOLHOUSE, VETERAN'S HALL AND MUSEUM
History of the Town of Essex, Massachusetts

From the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum archives:
“History of the Town of Essex from 1635 to 1868” by Rev. Robert Crowell, D.D.

 
THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

June 17, 1775

 

Of the men from this parish who were in that battle, the names of six are known:

 

James Andrews (father of the late Israel Andrews)

Benjamin Burnham (father of the late Abner Burnham)

Nehemiah Choate

Aaron Perkins

Jesse Story Jr. (a minor - under 21 years of age; brother of the late Ephraim Story)

Francis Burnham (brother of the late Capt. Nathaniel Burnham)

 

The following excerpt recounts the fierce fighting that day as chronicled by the soldier, Francis Burnham:

 

“By this time the whole of Charlestown, about four hundred houses, was all in a blaze. This we supposed the British did from revenge, and to terrify us.  We expected to have to retreat soon, for most of our ammunition was gone, and but few of us had bayonets."  Read more >

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GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC HALL

circa 1900's

 

A street view showing the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall (second building from right), a meeting place for veterans of the Civil War at that time.

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Grand Army of the Republic Hall, Essex, Massachusetts
THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL

continued

 

“They did not, however, dare to come up as before.  A portion of them took a circuitous route to the south side of our hill, and soon scaled our works.  We were note attacked on both sides, and the contest became very hot.  [Jesse] Story and I were side by side, when a ball struck his head, his brains flew into my face and he fell back into the ditch, which ran along behind the fence.  Another shot gave me a slight wound upon the shoulder, which made me stop for a few moments to get breath.  A boy was standing not far from me, by the side of his father.  When his father was just ready to apply the lighted torch to a cannon, a shot struck him and he instantly fell.  The boy at once seized the torch from his father’s hand and touched off the cannon, which did great execution upon the enemy.  But after fighting awhile under the greatest disadvantage, we had to retreat, and more of our men fell while retreating, than when standing at the breastworks.  Providentially for us, a fine, large company of Connecticut groups that had not been in the hottest of the action, moved up in good order near Mystic River and covered our retreat.  One thing I forgot to mention, which was greatly in our favor.  The wind blowing strong from the west, drove all the smoke directly into the face of our enemy, but as it rose a little above them we could see under the cloud, and point our guns breast-high.”

Cannon ball from the Battle of Bunker Hill
 
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Plan your trip to Essex, Massachusetts: www.VisitEssexMA.com

The Historic Essex Walking Tour is sponsored by the Historic Essex Walking Tour Committee, Essex Community Preservation Committee and Essex Merchants Group.

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