Everett and the American Revolution: Honoring the Men of the South Malden Militia
By Keith Spencer
Everett – Whether you paid attention in history class or visited a historic site associated with the American Revolution scattered around Boston, chances are you remember the infamous shot heard round the world, and how it set off a revolution that shaped the modern world.
Militias through out the Boston area mobilized to join in the revolt that day, and our Everett brethren were among these men, then known as South Maldonians. While they did not take part directly in the events at Lexington and Concord, we remember and honor the group, especially as we celebrate Patriot’s Day and the approaching Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays.
The South Malden Militia was formed with two purposes in mind: to assist the people of Boston as well as prepare defense of their own community if necessary. Their flag had a deep red background with a sword held by a naked arm. All enrolled officers were between the ages of 16 and 50, which later rose to 60.
Captain Benjamin Blaney would lead his men during the American Revolution, assigned to the company ten years earlier. In March of 1775, the group would begin meeting twice a week, and had grown significantly, with numbers eventually swelling to 300.
On April 19, Blaney hears a rider cross past his land located at Patridge Terrace and Chelsea Street, shouting that, “the regulars are coming!” He assembled with the men of his company at the South Meeting House, located at Broadway and High Street. Children and women gathered as they watched their fathers and husbands and brothers march north.
Ordered to go to Watertown by Colonel Gardner, the day’s events were over by the time the group had marched through Medford and onward to Arlington. Despite seeing no action in battle, the group managed to capture a British wagon train on its way to provide relief efforts to the British, who were retreating across Somerville’s Winter and Prospect Hills.
Of the seventy-five men from Everett, Malden, and Melrose who marched that day, fourteen were from the South Precinct, today known as Everett. They were Capt. Blaney, Nehemiah Oakes , Amos Shute, Winslow Seargant, Ezra Sargeant, Jacob Sargeant, Silas Sargeant, David Bucknam, Robert Burditt, Naler Hatch Jr, Ebeneezer Paine, Stephen Paine Jr, Benjamin Sprague Jr, and Daniel Waters.
From more detailed information about Everett’s role in the American Revolution, visit the Parlin Memorial Library to read local historian Julia Roth Hogan’s Everett During the American Revolution.