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In 1774 it was voted not to excuse the people who call themselves Antipedobaptists from paying ministerial taxes.

In this year a committee was chosen ‘to regulate the school.’ Dea. Joseph Adams, Mr. Samuel Whittemore and Capt. Ephraim Frost were added to the standing committee to act for this purpose. It was also voted that the committee shall receive the money granted by the town, and employ ‘a school-master and school-mistresses to keep the school or schools, and pay them therefor.’ This is the most definite vote yet recorded regarding the schools, though the Precinct's portion of the town's school-money had before been previously mentioned, and committees appointed to expend it.

It was voted this year to take down the belfry, and cover the bell.

The following notice was this year publicly read in church: ‘Widow Elizabeth Swan with her Children desireth prayers that God would sanctify to them his holy hand, in taking away her daughter and their sister Richardson, by death.’ [Esther (Swan) Richardson—wife of Zebadiah Richardson, of Woburn. She died at Woburn, April 19, 1774.—Wob. Records. ]


This was the momentous year of the opening of the American Revolution, and it is remarkable that a portion of the first armed resistance to British aggression culminated in battle near the meeting-house in this Precinct, where its minister had uttered so many patriotic sentiments in opposition to the oppression of the royal government. The times must have been those of peculiar anxiety, for it is a known fact that the death-rate in the towns about Boston for this year was proportionately greater than usual. The number of deaths in 1775 in this Precinct, according to Mr. Cooke's recorded statement, was forty-seven—‘47, besides some Provincials and Hutchinson's Butchers [the British]—slain in Concord Battle near this meeting-house—buried here.’

The more peaceable details will first engage our attention.1

1 At the beginning of the Revolution, on account of the unpopular tax imposed by the British government on tea, it was voted a duty to abstain wholly from the use of that ‘detestable herb,’ and committees were appointed in all neighborhoods, to see that this patriotic resolve was faithfully adhered to. It was hard for the old ladies to refrain constantly from the use of their accustomed refreshing beverage. Mrs. Anna Russell, mother of the late Col. Thomas Russell, though one of the most loyal of women, ‘having a bad head-ache,’ was once tempted to break the rule, and make a strong cup of tea for supper; but, to prevent detection, it was made in her coffee-pot. During the repast, the late Deacon John Adams, the committee-man for that neighborhood, dropped in officially, and was invited (though probably not urged), to ‘take a cup of coffee,’ which, fortunately, was declined, and he left. Years after the Revolution, in talking over their youthful days with the deacon, she rallied him on the ruse she had played; he retorted, by saying that he knew at — the time, by the fragrance, that her coffee-pot was filled with tea, but he did not wish to expose so good a woman. I have often heard my late grandmother, the woman referred to, relate this anecdote of her early life.—Letter of J. B. Russell.

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