Needham and the Battle of Lexington and Concord

Rev. West's Memoir, Interactive Map, Teacher's Page

What Happened in Needham on April 19, 1775?

The morning of April 19th started out like any other spring morning. Needham was a farming community, so the men were in the fields getting ready for spring planting. About nine o'clock in the morning, a horseman came thundering down Central Ave from Watertown and into town. He was spreading the news that the British were coming, just like Paul Revere did, then he galloped on to Dover and Dedham

The farmers left their plows in the fields and ran to the Minister West's house. Why do you think they rushed to the parshionage? By ten o'clock, 75 men from the East Parish (what is now Needham) were on their way to answer the Lexington Alarm. Needham's Militia marched to Galen Street Bridge in Watertown where they had some refreshments and then onto Menotomy (which is now Arlington). Learn more about the Battle of Menotomy here.

The men arrived after the battle had ended. It was their job to harass the British as they retreated to Boston. Unfortunately, they were not professional soldiers and got caught in the crossfire between the main British army and a flank guard. Needham lost 5 men that day, more than any other town in Massachusetts except Lexington. Rev. Samuel West wrote all about in his memoir.

Needham's role in the Revolutionary War


Rev. Samuel West's Memoir, April 19, 1775

Rev. Samuel West was Needham's minister during the Revolutionary War and he wrote a Memoir, that's like a journal or diary, about his years as a pastor. He described what it was like to be in Needham on April 19, 1775.

You can read it here. Remember it was written over 225 years ago and people spoke a little differently then. For example, they said 'ye' instead of 'the'. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it.

As you read Rev. West's Memoir, see if you can answer these questions.

    1. Why did the farmers run to the minister's house that morning?
    2. How did people in Needham learn the British were on the way?
    3. How many men from East Needham died at Lexington and Concord?
    4. How did Rev. West know where the British troops were marching?
    5. What did Rev. West worry would happen if the British won?
    6. How did people treat the fallen British soliders?

The Minister's House

This is a photograph of the Parsonage. It is called the Townsend House, named after the Needham's first minister. It is still there today at the intersection of Central Avenue and Nehoiden Street, but now it's a private home.

The Townsend House


Revolutionary War Monument

This Needham's Revolutionary War Monument to remember the 5 Needham men who died at Lexington and Concord. It is located in the old cemetery on Nehoiden Street. You can see the monument from the road as you drive by.

The Needham men who fell at Lexington and Concord


Map of Battle of Lexington and Concord

Kathleen Martell, Instructional Technology Specialist
Needham Public Schools, Needham MA
September 2007