Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Jason Russell House

The Jason Russell House
7 Jason St.
Arlington, Mass.

This 18th century home is best known for the fighting that took place here on the afternoon of April 19, 1775. After engagements that morning on Lexington Green and at the North Bridge in Concord the remnants of a 700-man expeditionary force of British soldiers and Marines, along with a relief force of an additional 1,000 troops, were attempting to make their way back to Boston.

Thousands of militia from the surrounding communities, many in organized companies, but some coming singly or in small groups, were laying in ambush all along their route. A mixed group of militia, including men from as far away as Woburn and Danvers, decided to make their stand at the Russell homestead.

As they proceeded along Concord Road (what is now Mass. Ave.) the British Regulars sent out flankers to clear the houses that lined the road of any opposition. This brutal house to house fighting resulted in the deaths of many in Menotomy (present-day Arlington) and Cambridge.

Here at the Russell homestead British Light Infantry engaged the militia in some of the bitterest fighting of the day. Jason Russell was bayoneted several times and died just outside his home. Ten other men of the militia, including seven men from Danvers, also perished as well as two British soldiers.

Members of the Russell family lived here until 1896. It is now owned and operated by the Arlington Historical Society.

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