The Witness House

Revolutionary War Image

Hartwell Tavern is a restored 18th century home and tavern on the actual “Battle Road” at Minute Man National Historical Park. The house was here at the time of the famous battle of April 19th, 1775. (9)

The Hartwell Tavern was on the main road, the “Bay Road,” running from Boston through western Massachusetts all the way to Crown Point, New York. The British troops passed the tavern on April 19th, on their way to Concord, and again when they returned to Boston.

Mary Hartwell’s Remembrances:

On the night of April 18th, an advance guard of British soldiers captured Paul Revere and William Dawes just down the road from the tavern. Dr. Samuel Prescott of Concord, who was riding with them, escaped by leaping his horse over a stone wall and fleeing through pasture and swamp. He emerged at the Hartwell Tavern. Prescott awakened old Ephraim and told him that the British regulars on the march. Ephraim sent his black slave Violet down the road to awaken Samuel Hartwell next door. Mary then took over and relayed the message to Captain William Smith, commanding officer of the Lincoln Minute Men. Thus the Lincoln Minute Men were warned in time, and arrived at the NorthBridge before the British soldiers got there.

The house was built 1732-1733, and was presented to Ephraim and Elizabeth Hartwell by Ephraim’s father, Samuel, including 30 acres of surrounding and nearby acreage. In 1756, when the Hartwells had nine children living there, Ephraim opened part of the home as an inn. The home served as an inn until the 1780’s. It was a residence until purchased in 1967, by the National Park Service, when it was restored to its 1775 appearance, although keeping its 1783 and 1830 additions.

Three of the Hartwell’s sons served with the Lincoln Minute Man Company that fought at the North Bridge and on the battle road on April 19th: Sergeant Samuel Hartwell, John Hartwell and Private Isaac Hartwell. All three sons served later in the Revolutionary War.

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The image, Minute Man National Historical Park, is subject to copyright by zolee1. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

3 Responses to The Witness House

  1. Karen Hanson-Perlman says:

    As a direct descendant of Samuel Hartwell, I appreciate you posting this and including such a wonderful photo!

  2. Mount Vernon, NY says:


    I went to High School with a Karen Hanson; she was an excellent photographer who sometimes worked with “Bobby” Smith; now deceased…are you one and the same?

  3. Neddy says:

    No – the author of this blog is Edna Barney. The photography is from Flickr photographers.

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