By Elaine Marie Cooper
Last May was a rare pleasure for this author: I was the guest speaker at the Jason Russell House (Smith Museum) in Arlington, Massachusetts, to discuss my latest release, Fields of the Fatherless. This novel, based on a true story, is set in the very home in which I spoke. It is difficult to describe the many emotions that pulsed through my heart as I visited my hometown and relived the story in front of an audience. What a joy!
Not only was I able to revisit my hometown but I spent the day after the event visiting the landmarks of the story. Let me share some of the sites through the photos I took, along with quotes taken from Fields of the Fatherless.
“Always remember—this land you’re standin’ on was settled by my great-grandfather. Russells have sweat over this soil for many a year. A musket can ensure it remains our home. No matter the intentions of any other.”
Several British soldiers ran off through a field toward Spy Pond but were shot at by several of the elderly local men who had been exempted from joining the Minutemen.
“David Lamson.” Betsy said the old man’s name in disbelief as she watched him and the other veterans regroup and stare at the carnage.
Several of the men hauled the carcasses of the dead horses away from the road and others pulled the supply-laden British wagons down into a hollow just off the road.
Workers at the burying ground dug one huge grave for all twelve men. There was little time to prepare hand-sewn shrouds or wooden boxes in which to lay the bodies. There was a war to prepare for.
Betsy determined to bring flowers once a week to the graves of the buried British soldiers who had died in Menotomy. There were at least 40 of them.
Elizabeth Russell died in 1786 at the age of sixty-five. She is buried next to her husband, Jason, in the old burying ground.
More soldiers—both American and British— died in Menotomy Village (now called Arlington) on that day than all the other towns between Concord and Boston.
Thank you for touring the town of Arlington, Massachusetts, known during the American Revolution as Menotomy Village.
Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of the award-winning, Fields of the Fatherless. For more information, you can visit her website here.