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Lieut John Bacon

Lieut John Bacon

Natick, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 19 Apr 1775 (aged 53)
Arlington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Arlington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Revolutionary War Monument, at Central Avenue near the North Path
Memorial ID 7514781 · View Source
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American Revolutionary War Soldier. He was killed during the British retreat from Concord on the first day of the American Revolution, April 19, 1775, one of fifty Americans either killed or mortally wounded on that day.

John Bacon was born on May 30, 1721, the fifth child born to his parents, Stephen Bacon and Mary Loker. He was born in his parents home which was then located in the far western part of Needham, Massachusetts. The Stephen and Mary Bacon home was built in 1704 in the area of Needham called "Needham Leg," which was annexed by the town of Natick in 1797. The Stephen Bacon house still exists and is located at 105 N. Main Street in Natick.

On May 29, 1744 John Bacon married Abigail Sawin, the daughter of John Sawin and Joanna Lyon. John Bacon served in the French war in Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia between 1745 and 1748. He was a prominent citizen, serving as selectman and assessor in 1771. John Bacon and six of his sons served in the Revolutionary War.

In April 1775 John Bacon was a lieutenant in Captain Caleb Kingsbury's Minute Men Company in the Needham Leg (North Natick) area and what later became the town of Wellesley. Lt. John's three oldest sons, Sgt. John Bacon and privates Timothy Bacon and Moses Bacon, were in Captain Aaron Smith's Militia Company (the Needham "West Company").

On April 19, 1775 Lt. John Bacon heard the alarm early and got off to an early start. He rode his horse seven miles to Newton Lower Falls before sending his horse back home, which had arrived back in Needham Leg by 10 a.m. It was another eight miles walking distance to the town of Watertown, the next arranged meeting place, and to the town of Menotomy, later known as West Cambridge but is now Arlington. Contemporaries said of Lt. John Bacon, "[He] was the most impatient of all to get on to the battle." (Norman Castle, et al. (eds.), The Minute Men, 1775-1975 (Southborough, Mass.: 1977) p. 208.)

The Needham Minute Men company, including Lt. John Bacon, arrived in Menotomy while the British troops were on their return trip back to Boston from Concord. Minute Men and militias companies from throughout the area had responded to the raised alarm and were firing at the returning British troops. British General Percy, who commanded the reinforcements sent to help British General Smith on their return from Concord back to Boston, stated on April 20, 1775: "We retired for 15 miles under an incessant fire, which like a moving circle surrounded and followed us wherever we went." (David Hackett Fischer, Paul Revere's Ride (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994) p. 233.)

To protect the main body of the retreating army, the British had sent light infantry men to flank the main body and come up and shoot the Patriots from behind, trapping many militia men between the flankers and the main body of the British army. Lt. John Bacon was killed by one such group of British flankers on the farm of Jason Russell in Menotomy.

Lt. John Bacon was buried in a field with others killed that day in Menotomy (now Arlington), including Amos Mills and Nathaniel Chamberlain of the Needham Minute Man company, and Jonathan Parker of the Needham East Company militia. A monument was erected over their remains.

On April 20, 1775, the day after his reinforcements met up with British General Smith's troops in Lexington for the long difficult march back to Boston, British General Percy wrote the following:

"During the whole affair, the rebels attacked us in a very scattered irregular manner, but with perseverance and resolution, nor did they ever dare to form into any regular body. Indeed they knew to well what was proper, to do so. Whoever looks upon them as an irregular mob, will find himself very much mistaken. They have men amongst them who know very well what they are about, having been employed as rangers against the Indians and Canadians, and this country being much covered with wood, and hilly, is very advantageous for their method of fighting. For my part, I never believed, I confess, that they would have attacked the king's troops, or have had the perseverance I found in them yesterday." (Fischer, Paul Revere's Ride, p. 254.)

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  • Maintained by: John R.
  • Originally Created by: Eric Thomsen
  • Added: 30 May 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7514781
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lieut John Bacon (30 May 1721–19 Apr 1775), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7514781, citing Old Burying Ground, Arlington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by John R. (contributor 47217483) .