On the evening of April 18th, 1775 the British sent a party of hundreds of soldiers, called Regulars, out from Boston toward Concord in an attempt to capture stores of ammunition that
they had heard were stored there. Ahead of them rode Paul Revere on Brown Beauty, a horse supplied to him by a friend. Revere’s task was to set into motion a system of riders whose sole purpose it was to alarm all the towns of the countryside, and get them ready for the advance of the British Regulars.
Revere arrived in Lexington about midnight and alarmed the militia leaders there, as well as John Hancock and Samuel Adams. While Revere was still in Lexington, William Dawes rode in, also arriving from Boston, and also an alarm rider who took the longer overland route out of Boston. His ride was equally impressive, but he never got the fame that Revere did. Together, the two riders rode out of Lexington, toward Concord, where they needed to get the alarm spread so that
Concord could hide all the weapons and stores from the advancing Brits.
In Lincoln, Revere and Dawes came upon Dr. Samuel Prescott of Concord, who was on his way home from courting a young lady in Lexington. He agreed to ride with Revere and Dawes to help spread the alarm, and together the three of them galloped on into Lincoln. There in Lincoln, they rode straight into a British patrol. Revere was captured, Dawes turned and rode back toward Lexington, but it was Prescott who managed to head into the marshes and escape, continuing the
alarm ride to Concord, where he woke up all the town’s officials and militia leaders, thus enabling Concord to prepare for the ensuing arrival of the British.
Now at this point, the historical documentation gets a little cloudy, and it is not known with certainty where Prescott headed after this, but circumstantial evidence seems to point to him riding on into Acton and beyond.
Prescott, it is thought, arrived in Acton, where he alarmed Captain Joseph Robbins, one of Acton’s militia leaders, at about 3 in the morning of the 19th. Upon hearing the news, Captain
Robbins had his 13 year old son saddle up their horse, whereupon the young boy took off with (or probably without) Prescott across town to alarm Captain Isaac Davis of the Acton
Minutemen, and Francis Faulkner and Deacon Hunt, of Acton’s other militia unit.
We commemorate this heroic deed today as Robbins’ Ride, and for the purposes of safety and practicality, we combine the riders into one or two adult rider(s), but the rider still makes the rounds to all 4 stops that were alarmed on that fateful early morning in April of 1775, calling out “The Regulars are out of Boston – gather your units and head to Concord!”
We hold ceremonies and fire musket vollies at each of the four stops, and at the Faulkner Homestead in South Acton, Faulkner himself stumbles out in his nightclothes and manages (hopefully) to fire his musket 3 times to spread the alarm to his troops, whereupon the volley is echoed by another musket some distance away, followed by yet another even further off,
demonstrating how the alarm was spread across town.
Please come join us for this annual event that is always held on the Sunday of Patriot’s Day weekend ( CANCELED FOR 2021!!). Here is the schedule of the stops the rider makes:
- 5pm at the Robbins’ Homesite – soccer fields at bottom of Concord Rd.
- 5:20 at the Isaac Davis Homestead – 39 Hayward Road
- 5:40 at the Faulkner Homestead – 5 High St. in So. Acton (corner of Rte. 27)
- 5:55 at the Liberty Tree Farm – 24 Liberty St., also in So. Acton
Map of the Robbins’ Ride route