Lexington Women in the American Revolution

March 1, 2024

March is Women’s History Month. It’s a period where we acknowledge and honor women’s contributions to American History. In Lexington’s American Revolutionary history, women played a major role in helping the Patriots fight for independence against British Rule, especially during the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Here are four women from Lexington Massachusetts who made sacrifices for America’s freedom. 

Lexington Women During the Battle of Lexington and Concord

While history books honor the sacrifices of the Lexington and Concord militia during the American Revolutionary War, women also made a significant impact on America’s freedom. Even before the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Lexington women used their domestic skills to protest the Crown and fight for the rights of the colonies. Simultaneously, many of these women were either pregnant or mothers to small children. Don’t underestimate mothers in the revolution; they can be one of the greatest weapons.

Lydia Mulliken

sterling silver with what text blog graphic "Lydia Mulliken - Hid her faily's silver in her nearby clock shop"

When Lydia Mulliken heard Paul Revere’s famous alarm on April 19, 1775, she buried her family’s silver near their nearby clock shop. Then, with her daughters, she ran away to safety.

When they all returned home, Lydia and her daughters discovered their family home had been burned to the ground. While everything seemed to be lost, the silver had remained where it was buried prior. She might have lost almost everything, but her intelligence and perseverance saved the family’s silver.

Millicent Barret

Millicent Barrett, born in Lexington, was the wife of Colonel James Barrett, an American colonel in the Concord, Massachusetts militia. When British troops arrived that morning on April 19 to search her home, she courageously served them refreshments. 

How scary it must have been for Millicent to have these enemy men in her home, never mind serve them food. Some stories reported that the soldiers tried to pay for the food and drink, but Millicent refused. “We are commanded to feed our enemies,” she said

After the soldiers felt satisfied, they grabbed some gun carriages and headed on their way. No one knows what could have happened if Millicent refused service. What we do know is she bravely looked the enemies right in the eye that day.

Mary Munroe Sanderson 

Munroe Tavern with white text blog graphic "Mary Sanderson - Initially Refused to serve a British Solider"

Mary Sanderson of Lexington was the wife of cabinetmaker Samuel Sanderson who became a corporal in Captain John Parker’s Lexington Militia Company. When Samuel discovered the British were coming to Concord on April 19, 1775, he brought Mary and their child to his father’s home in Lexington, where he set off to join his Patriot brothers. 

Once the British retreated, Mary returned to her home which was just east of the Munroe Tavern. She found that her family’s goods were stolen and her cows had been killed. When she unexpectedly found a wounded British man in her bed, she initially refused to care for him. After a lot of begging, Mary gave in to providing food and drink for the wounded man. However, aware of Mary’s hatred for the British, the soldier demanded someone else in her family try the food before he did. 

Mary was a proud Patriot, with strong beliefs to always support America’s freedom. Yet, she still cared for a man who was her enemy. Her home still exists today on Massachusetts Ave in Lexington

Abigail Harrington 

Jonathan Harrington recalled that fateful day on April 19, 1775, when his mother Abigail Harrington abruptly awoke him out of bed. “Jonathan, Jonathan,” his mother shouted: “The reg’lars are coming and something must be done!” He remembered how passionate she was about freedom, urging him and his father to volunteer in the battle with the Regulars at the Battle of Lexington and Concord. 

During that fateful day, she escaped with her remaining children behind her home towards Smolak Farms. Running was no easy feat, especially with children by her side. Yet, Abigail knew big changes were coming, and she would make sure her family was protected.

In records of John’s life, he said that his mother was one of “the most patriotic women who ever lived.” 

These are just four Lexington women who made sacrifices for American Liberty. We will continue to share stories of other women who impacted the revolution.