tv C-SPAN Cities Tour in Concord Massachusetts Part 2 CSPAN August 18, 2017 6:53pm-8:01pm EDT
that we have to lead this remarkable department fulfilling as anything. anouncer: followed at 8:30 p.m. justice eme court elenaka gan. >> you said at the beginning of conversation, we're not a pure democracy. we're a constitutional democracy. that means that the judiciary has an important role to play in boundaries of all the other branches, and that can an unpopular iary set of people when they say to a or president or congress, no, you can't do that, it's just not within your constitutional powers. > watch on c-span, on c-span.org and use the free c-span radio app. where history n, unfolds daily. 1979, c-span was created as a
public service by america's and television companies is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. an american hour, cities tv exclusive, our tour visit says concord, massachusetts, to learn more about its unique history and literary life. for six years, we've traveled to cities bringing the literary scene. >> the bridge that arched the unfurled, here nce the battle farmers stood and heard the shot heard round the world. historical park was
established to celebrate the april that took place on 19, 1975. behind me is something called north bridge. this is what is considered to be 777. behind me is something called north bridge. this is what is considered to be of thes is the beginning american revolution. it's here, america, colonial will, will you encounter one another, shots will be fired. lives will be lost on both sides. more importantly, it's where the colonial militia was ordered fire upon the king's troops creating, in essence, an act of treason. was, of course, a royal colony. here had been tensions going with the mother country since, really, the 1770s. of all this tension, the royal military governor thomas appointed to oversee. what started to happen as the a seriesre on, you had of events that would take place. there's something called the boston massacre which takes and of course the famous
boston tea party. the tea party was the destruction of private party and of this destruction, royal authority had to punish colony. etts bay so one of these punishments were something called -- a series of cts called the intolerable acts. again, you brought in the royal overnor who's now a british officer. you have the closing of the port of boston, and you also have the government was basically shut down. n essence, what that meant was any town in the colony, they were not allowed to meet. how is was an affront to people had been governing themselves for almost years. well, at least 100 so you have a series of place, s that take amongst those responses that take place is the reactivation of the militia system. meant was a community effort. men 16 to 60 were required to militia training and practice. as an off shoot, something called the minute companies are companies minute would be usually younger men who
were better equipped, who would at a uired to turn out moment's notice, hence the term minutemen." so you have these militia minute companies forming up and drilling and preparing for something. the al thomas gauge, british officer in charge, was aware of the growing tensions here in the colony. he was also aware of armaments that were starting to be colony as round the well. in fact, some armaments were tolen and secreted out of boston and four brass cannon of particular interest thomas reclaim. four of those cannons would actually make their way out here concord, actually, the home of colonel james barrett would e the place where some of this would be stored. we'll get to that in a few moments. rising, e of tension thomas gauge wanting in april to seize these arms and armaments he had been collected, wanted to do it in a very secretive fashion. nfortunately, when he gathered 700 british soldiers on boston
ommon to come on out here to concord to collect these arms, it was not the best-kept secret. besides a system of alarms that were set up in boston as well as colonies, word got out, aul revere, william dawes and even samuel prescott would spread the word of the british army who was now on the march out. as the british army marches down in the early morning, they encounter 77 militia men on the lexington green. nobody knows who did it, but shots were fired that morning will have rse, you seven, eventually eight olonials who will die on lexington common. the british will then continue to march towards concord. to march closer to , lincoln he concord and bedford militias who had morning were in
merriam's corner. they would see the british because the road and of the sheer size in number, they decided to pull back. they were ahead of the british like 500 yards. he colonials would come into concord and come out here towards the north bridge area and go across the river, and gather in an area punkatasit hill which is behind me to the left. the main colony gets into concord early morning. approximately 120 soldiers are dispatched to go towards colonel farm and 90 additional soldiers are sent to guard the and the roadway. we're leaving north bridge parking lot and on our way to farm. ette from north bridge to the barrett farm was just about under 2 so it was not in the center of town. it was certainly out a bit. april the morning of 19th, colonel barrett was not on farm. he had heard the alarm going so
he was already out and gathering concord militia. the farm land, this area would have been devoid of a lot of the housesof course, you see today, some of them are modern, but some of these houses to the period and as we get p closer to barrett's farm, besides the farm house, there would have been other out uildings that would have been part of it. that's typical of any new england village. most of the people if they had outside of the town they would have had a few outbuildings that would have supported their farm. house that we're coming upon to my right is the barrett farmhouse. so we've gotten out of the car here at barrett's farm and here, where general thomas gauge had ordered his soldiers o come look for four cannon that were stored, presumably in the basement of the house. who was james barrett, a colonel in the concord militia
secreted this material away early in the morning when the alarm had arrived. y 11:00 a.m., the british soldiers, approximately 120 of them from the 700 that were in concord arrived at this location searching for the cannon that were reported to be in the basement of this house. they encountered mrs. barrett ho did give them permission to search the house and the property. after some searching, nothing was found. some ofhis time period, the soldiers asked mrs. barrett drink d and something to as they had been up since the day before. mrs. barrett did allow some food drink for the soldiers. when they offered to pay her, she refused to accept any payment. however, some of the soldiers did throw some showings upon her feet. search of the h barrett property and nothing was found here, the army gathered began their march back towards concord. miles, about 11:30,
they encountered the north and they saw something had taken place right there. a nwhile, back in concord, lot of wooden implements used to up y cannons are gathered and they're burned in the center of town. this fire then actually spreads house, and the residents of concord employ the ritish to stop the fire, which they did. however, over on punkatasset gathering colonials, whose strength is up to about rising from the village of concord and they did what most people would assume accident assume that their on fire. it's at this point they gather up in orderly common, they will muskets own with their loaded, the captain seeing the coming upon onials him. he starts to panic, pulls the soldiers back over to this side they move over to the side of the bridge, some confusion rings out, a few shots fired, as the colonials get
that much closer. the colonials. they do kill two colonial soldiers. is captain davis. the other is private abner hosene r. the americans and the colonialials fire back. to fire by dered major john but rick who were to fire, for r god's sake fire. two soldiers were hit. two british soldiers killed immediately, a third would die f his wounds, and the captain loses control. he pulls his soldiers back. e're not far again from the center of concord. lieutenant francis smith starts and encounters the british retreating back into concord. that the is point colonials aren't sure what to do because some people break ranks. others gather back up at the punkatasset hill. at this point, there's a quiet lull.
this takes place between 11:00 11:30 when the british who were at barrett's farm return. soldiers come by and see something happened. they see a few dead british and get a little bit concerned. in fact, one of the british soldiers was mangled badly in altercation that a rumor starts to spread that the scalping the british soldiers. complete, mission is the army starts to gather back fornd will start to prepare their long, arduous march back that will make for a very long day. this would have been part of the british army coming into concord back out of concord. it might not be obvious but on a left-hand side, there was ridge that runs along this road and trees but behind it, there's this ridge for hat served as cover when the colonials were
gathering and reforming after the battle took place and after british marched into concord, reorganized and started bostong back out towards british way, you have armies, that's important to know, because by the time on the other side, we're going by merriam's corners, a thousand. outnumbered. it showed how unorganized they were. i don't think he and like a lot of british soldiers that to the extent of the sheer number would out and they just kept coming. that's the thing. as we come up here, we're coming to merriam's corner and it's battle re the running will begin by the house of the family. we've arrived at the merriam house. what the concord militia does companies the other
stowe, ncoln, actin, bedford, they'll gather over here as the british army starts out later in the afternoon. that concernedng lieutenant colonel smith. there was a point in the road narrow. on one side it's swampy and marshy where they had to go. you had a tiny bridge so they had to march three a breast. it was a funnel point, a choke point. nonetheless, the army comes through. encounter the militia. most of the army comes through. hey fire back at the army gathered. they turn and fire in unison back and you have what's commonly referred to as the battle. from this location all the way charlestown, you'll have the battle that's going to take place. at the end of the day, 700 make their way back towards lexington, 1500 up by nal soldiers sent thomas gauge as relief will
gather with these panicky location. this in the meantime, the colonial forces keep building in size and strength. day, end of the approximately 4,000 colonial to descende starting upon the soldiers and the king returning back to boston, which 2200 this point about strong. that will take place from this point all the way back o boston will claim the lives of at least 300 british soldiers that's killed, wounded or missing, whereas the colonial forces have only about 93 killed, wounded or missing. beginning of the siege of boston, the beginning revolution. n because the bluj of it took place on both sides. because the american colonials ere ordered to fire at the british and because the british broke and ran, this is considered the beginning of the american revolution. it's not going to be for another
year that we will declare our independence in 1776. tensions had been growing for some time. it was thought that this was something maybe that was just a issue, but it wound up being more than will husetts, as time tell. >> the concord mu seem was founded in 1886, but actually, founded around a collection that had begun almost 40 years before that, so it was collection that an individual, cummings davis, started putting objects with histories. that was the important thing. he was only interested in had histories. so the institution was formed that collection. ur earliest object is stone projectile point that's about 12,000 years old. that's not very long after the glacier retreated from this
area. e have a very good collection of 17th and 18th-century furniture owned and, in many cases, made in concord. 9th century furniture objects associated with the authors in reau, d, emerceon and tho primarily, and the objects 1777. to april 18, we have, arguably, more objects that were participants in the of april 19, 1775, maybe more than any other collection. look at the objects that arranged, more or less, chronologically, following the day, through the collection of the objects, that it's strong enough you can pick the high points all along the road. o one of the most iconic objects in the museum collection
in his lantern, and it was this collection even before the thism was formed, and that was in cummings davis' collection by 1856 and had been to the public since before the civil war. one of the tory, is two lanterns that was used as a in al from christ church boston on the night of april 18th. so this is not a signal to paul but arranged by paul the e to be flashed across iver for the advice of the provincial militia in charlestown, because revere was planning to spread the alarm regulars were coming out to capture the supplies, and e knew that he didn't really have a very great chance of getting -- first getting across thought maybe e i'd better have a backup.
this is the backup. the ct, he got across signal, so the day got under way. that longfellow put two if by if by land, sea, an eye on the opposite shore shall be. on the other shore. he was in boston when the signal was posted. s i said, the signal was meant for someone else on the other shore. but the way revere put it is if british went out by water, we would show two lanterns in steeple. hurch and if by land, one as a signal. hey knew they were going to concord so they were only two ways out of town to get to concord. so there were a, two lanterns. only one of them survives. there are some examples of the targets on april 19th.
military there were stores in concord. they had that because a pretty good military spy network. the provincials knew that had a pretty good spy network too. it was clear to both sides that something was going to happen. was where and on hen and general gauge determined the where when he gave the troops ordered to go ut to concord to seize and destroy the supplies that they found there. these are the examples of some things. these wooden spoons have a of ory of use in one concord's militia companies. of them that rels were being stored in concord, the provincial congress had of red supplies for an army 20,000. and not an army for one day, but an army that was meant to stay field. so they had barrels of wooden spoons. of flour. rels
barrels of cannonballs because the provincials had several cannon, acquiring all of those they their hands on and these two, in particular, were thrown into the mill pond by the regulars on the 19th. their duty that day was to destroy those things and threw them into the mill pond. out of the mill pond reauxe 1850s and henry tho writes about it in the journal because he knew immediately what they were when they came out. shovel is what's called a shovel and it's meant for digging trenches for combat and private sword a from the 10th regiment, one of companies that was in concord on that day, and this 19th in red on april
the center of concord or it's history, it wass this ier who deserted and was his sword. but it carries all of the markings of the 10th on it. this was a private sword. a this is the powder horn of in one rett, and he was of concord's minute companies. the minute companies were sort troops, the younger men, and they were charged with responding at a minute's notice an alarm. so barrett was at the north bridge and 50 years after that event, he wrote a letter, a onderfully evocative letter describing what he did that day, and he says right in the eginning of it that those events of 50 years before were mind than t in his even events of a week ago, and
you can tell it from his language as he narrates what happened, that he's right back there. it's really neat. so that -- having the object that was there and the first-person account that goes that's about as good as it gets. there above the bridge, watching the british. the british started taking off the bridge so that cross vincials couldn't it, and that's when they marched marched down and even the british accounts say the same thing. they came down in marshall order. so they aren't a mob. army, and they marched down to the bridge. amos barrett said they fired shots into the river. i saw them splash in the river on us. they fired captain davis was killed and mr.
hosene r. there, two casualties on the regular side. john butrick was in overall ommand of the troops on the bridge. john butrick gave the order to back. as far as i know that's the first time provincial troops were ever given the order to regular troops in america. significant moment. maybe the most significant is he fact that the order was obeyed. i also think it might be the ast time anybody that day was ordered to fire. in other words, the firing never topped but no one had to order firing again. their fire was effective too. whoe were several religious were gulars who -- regulars who were killed and wounded and they tarted their retreat back into boston. and by the time they got to
merriam's corner. this was about noon, and there were 1200 provincials. so now they were outnumbered and circling fire began. that's how it was described, so aroundvincials are going and around the regular troops them. ing on that kept up for the whole rest of the day and the regulars ran ammunition. they hadn't brought sufficient it r or any rations, and so was a long day. by the time they got to arlington, it looks like some of them were just throwing their equipment aside. you're out of ammo, why carry a any further when you've now been marching 12 hours straight or something like that? this seems to have been discarded at that point. musket. officer's and, you know, it seems likely to have been discarded rather captured, because no
officers were killed -- none of were killedofficers at arlington in the afternoon. there were two brothers from who heard about all this. they were too young to be in the they turned out watertown d went from to arlington, got there in time, one brother picked this up, one this up. ked maybe the same officer. this is an officer's sword. of work with the blade and everything. an officer's musket. it's smaller than an enlisted musket and has rack no. 5 kecion plate and so on. it was a big deal to throw away your sword. he bought this himself, it was seems to me itit was an indicator of what sort of a day for these fellows that those hoose to throw away.
we brought a few additional bjects out to -- from storage to give some further suggestion of the collection here, and these two actually go together. this is the powder horn and the usket of a minuteman from lincoln, samuel bacon. those are his initials there. alarm. sponded to the he was in concord maybe about 4:00 in the morning. he was at the north bridge. and his is his musket, actually, in many ways, it's a middlesex county firearm. he militia and the minute companies were responsible for arms when eir own they responded. in other words, you're not issued arms. you bring them from home. and so this is a fowler. his is what you'd use to hunt birds with.
and it's french. and that's fairly typical. going to be french or english or it may be dutch, is french. and it was used. its use ee even after until battle, it was used it fell apart. and that's why it survives, i think. it seems to have then gone into a barn and stayed there. but it also retained its that's why it wasn't thrown out, because it remembered, this took place, this took part in that -- in the north bridge. interestingly, are almost the only example of item of costume, certainly in our collection, but i don't of many that you could plausibly say was worn and
concord on april 18, 1775, not militia, but by hannah hunt. she's born in 1763, so 12 in 1775, and so if we can ofgine these being the shoes a 12-year-old, not impossible, i put theseink that she on on that day. minutemen and, the the militia who responded very often were dressed in their best. that was sort of the way they out, because they knew it was an important event. 19 only ents of april took one day and, in fact, the at the bridge only took a few minutes. but it's one of those events in where what comes before it is just unlike what comes fter, and this was really apparent to the people who actually participated in it. hey knew that their world had changed, so it's our hope that
encounter withon the real objects that were there can share some of that feeling with our visitors. >> here we are in concord, massachusetts on the lexington road, which is also known as the battle road. it's where the red coats marched bridge on april 9, 1775, starting the american revolution. this house was standing there then. eventually, much later, it amoalcott e home of and his family. one of his daughters in this house writes a book that changes the way people think about children, the way they hink about young women and
mature women. it was a very progressive book for its day and frankly, in many ways, today it still remains his because it's just a simple true-to-life story of four young their parents. alcott was an educator in is day, and mrs. alcott was a thinker deeply in love with mr. alcott. they ere in boston when emerson. waldo eme something s town had special to offer. you had the political revolution n 1775 and a literary evolution in the 1800s but mr. emerceon wanted mr. alcott to move here. here in the study, i want to what's above the
fireplace. this was an expression of mr. life-long belief, the hills are reader, the seas are in vain. learnings alter vanish from the plane. of saying,borate way never stop learning. you're really never too young to start and you're never too old o keep going, and that was very, very important. mr. alcott dedicated most of his education. in the early years, he was educating the young, and his educational ideas were extremely day. for the it was an era when most teachers were concerned, primarily, with in the classroom. they would use the rod. which wehe expressions find a little funny today must not have been funny to the children, because one of them is not bad now, he's about to be, just go ahead and strike. if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. and mr. alcott thought of the rod more like a staff to guide, stick, w, like a walking i think.
he would not strike the students. he allowed questions in the frowned uponch was most teachers, which would rudeness. the teacher knows what you have to know. why ask questions. were getting nervous about his unusual techniques, and yet the children were earning more and really loved mr. alcott. so it was really the right thing. he was just about 100 years ahead of his time. his life-long dream had really been to teach adults as well. and he did find that he could room in o that in this 1879. over here, we have one of the school of of the hilosophy, that's what bronson alcott chose to call his adult-learning opportunity that 1879. in this room in emerson once said of mr.
bronson alcott that mr. alcott formal genius of our day. these two gentlemen were the closest of friends. hey walked together just about on a daily basis and they really supported each other in everything. so it is not a surprise that he cofound this concord school of philosophy as mr. alcott called it. the first year, they say begins room, but it soon overflows these walls. people even opened the windows so they could de hear. and one of the attendees donated $500, which is a princely sum in days, and asked that a small lecture hall be built, and the building up on the hill. many people think it was a barn, barn. was never a it was always meant to be a very rustic looking structure but a lecture hall. comes to finances, the they s had a saying that had the alcott thinking fund. it seems that their finances ust got worse and worse and worse. mr. alcott was not always paid
very well for what he was doing. workingt that he wasn't hard. it was that he was a little too nnovative and sometimes people just didn't appreciate enough what he was doing. one time, very poignantly, he promises were not always kept. my overcoat was stolen. had to buy a shawl, but i've opened up the way. i'll do better another time. hard, but ays trying not necessarily doing well financially. that allimes, it meant the women in the household were pitching in in a way that in not considered very ladylike. it was supposed to be the man earning and the woman just tidying up the house and cooking and cleaning and children. they were really a little bit way. l financially that so they were definitely struggling a lot of the time. are in the alcott dining room and, of course, they took meals here. alcott's english cohort
china was sometimes the service used. this was their best china and he initial "m" is for her maiden name "may" which is interesting because we have may. may, abigail may was not a made-up name. that was her maiden name, m-a-y. and this is english coport china. a funny tt had expression. they were struggling financially all the time and she said we'll be a respectable family because we'll always have our fine china. she was teasing of course. very serious about it but she was very pleased to have this and have it in her family. in this direction, we have some wonderful portraits. is particularly interesting of louisa may alcott. now, she looks less well in this portrait. than she did a few years earlier, because she's 38 years old here.
and she had been in the civil nurse, union army contracted typhus and pneumonia, with heavy doses of mercury. which is we know today mercury was not good to ingest. back then, it was a medication. they thought the disease was leaving you as you were losing your teeth and your hair and everything else. managed to recover from all of this, much to the people becauseny others who were as sick as she was did not recover. heeley, a very famous portrait artist at that ms. learned that the famous alcott was in italy at the same time he was. women had become an international hit. recently said to me that louisa may alcott in that than j.k. e famous rowling. inling --
probably because there wasn't as much competition with sports she was huge in this day and george heeley asked s. alcott if he could paint her, and i say today we're very roud that we have this george heeley painting in this dining room, the only other dining room know of with t i george heeley in it is the white house, where there's a wonderful of abraham lincoln by george heeley. he was in that day the big would be summoned to paint presidents. it was quite an honor she was painted by mr. heeley. however, she was very disappointed. she said i look like a smoky boston fire. there had been a fire in 1872 however, she was disappointed. she said, i look like a smoky relic from the boston fire. there was a terrible disaster of a fire in boston and she felt like she had just stepped out of the fire. she said, we should hang it
behind a door. and we have a likeness of elizabeth alcott. she was the model for best in little women -- beth in little women and the only one whose name did not change in the account. this is the only likeness we had of her. this is the one who died just before they moved in. they spent a year fixing the house up. perhaps she would not be living here. she thought sleepy hollow would be her new home, and that is what happened. if you look at this archway that leads into the parlor, the girl, even as young women were still putting on plays. they hung a curtain between the two rooms. so there is a portion with the table moved out of the way. it could become this stage appeared and they had -- stae ge. and they really worked hard on
these. the audience would sit here. omen" toward the beginning of the book, they are putting on a play. and it is a play that she did write, she did perform in it, she played the role, and they performed in the dining room. and at one point in the book it describes the audience sitting on a cot that collapses. these things really happened to them all the time it was always louisa saying, "act like nothing is wrong, keep going." she was really one that loved the dramatic. i think it shows in her writing today, that her early experience with the dramas and plays with her sister helped to inform her writing style. louisa loved making up stories. she often made them up out loud when they walked along taking a
walk in the area around walden pond with henry david thoreau. a lote also would record of these things and doing a lot of writing as well, so i would say she was probably writing almost every day. she loved it. it was a release for her, it was an outlet. she did not have a tremendous amount of success at first, but she did have some success almost from the beginning in the sense she had a short stories and poems published early on. i think it was enough to keep her going. one juncture when she was teaching school in boston and she boarded with the james fields, a famous publisher, and his wife annie. she showed him some of her writing and was very hopeful. you know, she is living in the household and maybe he will take an interest. he told her, stick to your teaching, you cannot write. that made her more determined.
she kept going. much, much later after "little women" was published, she paid back a loan to mr. fields that he had given her to establish her first little school. she said, with all due respect, i think i shall stick to my writing as it pays much better than my teaching. she really did come full circle with it and became a big financial success, eventually. now, coming up to the second floor, we have the parents bedroom. may alcott, amy in the book, her bedroom. in this room, the most popular, the most important to most people is where she wrote "little women." this is her bedchamber. originally she shared it with her sister, anna, who is called maggie in the story. you know the louisa was jo. add a little
half-moon desk, built by her father, she sat and she wrote the book. one thing i think is important wasote is in that era it commonly thought that work like writing would ruin a woman's health. doctors had written articles that they had now proven. even if you were not concerned medically, people thought it was not seemly for a woman to write seriously, for a a publication. it was fine to write letters, but this would be reserved for the men. so the fact that her family supported her in this way was amazing. the building of the desk was more than just a convenience, it was really a wonderful support psychologically for louisa may alcock. and her mother was equally supportive, she made her a scribbling suit and cap she
could pull down when she needed to concentrate, close yourself off from the world. she also gave her a pen and wrote a little note with the pen pen inspire."his so she had wonderful support from her family. " was a simpleomen. story to louisa, it was really the family story. she did not think much would come of it when she first sent it off to the publishers, but she made note that they had really lived most of it and if it did succeed that would be the reason. the publisher did not think much of it either, but he gave it to his niece who loved it, more than anything she had ever written. so the publisher decided, we will go with it. and conservatively started with a very small number, but that first edition was about 2500
books. it sold out very fast. so more copies of courseware printed. -- course, where printed. so people then as now, they might be surprised because it was a simple story, but it was ahead of its time. it walked a fine line between leading people into progressive thought, the idea in woman could be independent, have ideas of her own, that she could have a temper and not be considered the villain of the piece. all of these human qualities that women were often told to suppress came out in the person of joan. and in the person of louisa may alcott all along. the family was not perfect at all, they all had flaws, they struggled in many ways, yet they supported each other, they loved each other, they went on. they never felt sorry for themselves and to said, i guess i cannot do anything.
they just kept going. so this is very inspiring, a role model for people who read the book, especially young women for whom it was really intended. "little women." succeeded beyond louisa's imaginings. it really made her a superstar of the day. now this of course changed everything, partially because her publisher, thomas niles, part of the publisher that becomes little brown. thomas advised her to keep the copyright, wonderful advice because it meant she could really make money on the book. she became quite wealthy, by the standards of the day you know, probably like a millionaire today. and that of course made the family very comfortable. it allowed all of their debts to be repaid and they could feel at ease in that regard. and louisa was so generous, she was doing kindnesses for others.
if some but he needed something, she often would be helping others in much the same way they had been helped when she was young. particularly by ralph waldo emerson, a close family friend who was always leaving a $10 bill under a tablecloth or something like that my making sure they did not see said they would find it later and not be able to say, wait a minute, you put that there. and she noticed that and she did the same sort of thing. so she made a difference in everybody's life that was anywhere near her. multifaceted and depending on interest, you could home becausehor's you can read the book, but there is something about this particular book and this house that is unique in the sense that as far as i know, it is the only piece of literature that not only has maintained its
importance to so many people, it has never been out of print, widely translated, well over 50 translations into very beloved by people of all cultures, and it was written and sent in a house -- set in a house that is open to the public. when people walk through the house, they often say, this is like walking through the book. someone said, it is like going to hogwarts after reading harry potter. but that is not a real place, and this is. every year, millions visit the northbridge in the historic park and many of them also visit robin's house. one of the most surprising responses we get is many people are unaware that this existed in the north. many people believe slavery was a southern institution and the racial problems that stem from slavery existed only in the american south. the robbins house reminds us those problems and issues not
only are endemic of the north, but also continue to the present day. the robin's house was a historic house built in the 1820's, that was originally owned by the children of caesar robbins, a former enslaved man from the area. caesar robbins we believe was born around 1745. he lived in concorde until 1822. we do not know a lot of facts about his life, so we have to examine the lives of other enslaved men and women and draw details from their experiences to build up what we know about caesar. we do not know if he was born into slavery. it is possible. also possible he was brought here as a young child and sold as a slave. we know around 1760 he was living in the family of john robbins. we know this because his name appears on a military roll listing soldiers that served in the french and indian war, up near the fort on lake champlain. it was common for slave men to
serve in the 1700s. if became more common the closer we get to the american revolution. by the time we get to the make and revolution, massachusetts has a long history of allowing enslaved and freeman of color to serve in the armed forces. caesar did serve in the revolutionary war from this area, he served three different wards of duty. the first was in march of 1776. he seems to appear on a list of soldiers who marched to boston and roxbury when george washington and the continental army seized dorchester heights. again, march 1776. we know he was there during the key military engagement. once washington and the army seized dorchester heights and fortify the british army -- and fortified it, the bridge army -- during that time he appears to be a standard militia soldier. the militia was composed of men able to bear arms in massachusetts.
they included free men of color. so slave owning was not extremely popular. in fact, most slave owners wherefrom upper society, so they tended to be civic leaders, ministers, officers and the local militia companies, large time merchants, or sometimes even farmers who have a little more wealth and property. so those of the types of men that owned slaves in the 1700s. so the lives of the slaves depended on where they lived. so in boston they live different lives than those in other towns in the countryside. common wasthe most farm labor, so they tended to work on the farms, doing the general farm tasks. sometimes it meant that they work alongside their enslaved owners. and their children. other times it meant that the majority of the labor was done by themselves.
the most prominent examples are those men and women and slaves to the local ministers, those charged with running the day-to-day business of the farm and keeping the family with food, clothing and the general implements of day-to-day life while the minister would focus on religious services, preparing speeches and sermons. and we do not know exactly with either gained his freedom, unfortunately. we know that he served three different tours of duty during the mac and revolution. it is possible that this gave him his independence and freedom, but also possible he was free at the time. but with his military service, what it did do was allow him to earn money. he was paid, we know this because there are receipts from the time he served documenting that he received money for service, both in 1776 and 1779. and it is in 1779 he appears in the records when he returns from military service. he is married for the first time in 1779.
that is when we really start to understand his right after the american revolution. he was married three times in concord and he had five children. one was peter robbins, who purchased the robbins house. it was an incredible undertaking to purchase the house in 1823. it signifies that he was part of the small farmer class in concord in the general area. and there is no mortgage deed for the house, so it appears he paid cash. unfortunately, we do not know where he earned the money, maybe from farm labor from saving continuously until he had enough money to purchase the house and property. but we really do not know. the deed is assigned in april 1823, and indicates the house is already a standing structure. we believe it was some time before that date. and peter robbins is allowed to live here, but also that his sister susan, and her husband are also allowed to live in the
house. and her husband, and peter robbins and his wife, lives here until 1837. it is a small house as you can see. it is probably busy at all times. peter and his first wife did not have any children, but jack and susan had a several children, four of them that lived to adulthood and they lived altogether side-by-side for more than 10 years. so the robins house has two rooms separated by a fireplace. on one side is where the garrisons lived, and the other set the robbins. isce it is so small, it clear they had a lot of contact between the two families. it is remarkable that barely 40 years after the american revolution, the children of formerly enslaved man are able to purchase a house and property. susan robbins, caesar's oldest daughter, married jack garrison who is a runaway slave from new jersey.
the two of them build a family and a life for themselves here, where they live in the robbins house. and they have children. and one of the most important children, their son, john garrison junior. and ellen garrison, their daughter. ellen garrison is born in the south in 1823 and comes of age during a time when anti-slavery movements are in their infancy, but growing strong in concord and massachusetts. so she learned about social activism, possibly in the rooms of the south. alan takes the early lessons she learned in concord and builds them into a life dedicated to teaching and social activism. we know that she moved to boston when she was about 18 years ol old, where we believe she worked as a teacher. later, we find her in rhode island. in the 1860's, she writes for the american missionary -- to
ask for a sponsorship to teach children who are free to slaves in the south. then she moves to maryland, where she begins teaching in a school for free children of color. she teaches there from 1865-1868, then moves to virginia and teaches at another free school. then she moves back to maryland to continue her work teaching. during that time, there is almost 100 letters that she wrote to the mica missionary association describing her teaching experience in maryland and virginia. in all the letters, she emphasizes her dedication to education and the social activism. and of imports, in may 1866, she attempts to challenge the for civil rights act, the civil rights act of 1866. when she was entering a train station, she was forcibly removed by a security guard who did not want a woman of color sitting in the waiting room with white women. using this experience, she attempts to bring a court case
forcing the court to and the civil rights act, which guaranteed freedom and equality, unfortunately the case was settled before it could be heard. but it is actions like this that eventually lead to the adoption of the 14th amendment. the last african-american family to live in the house was around 1868. between that time and 21st century the house was moved several times and ended up down the street right here in concord. in 2009 it was scheduled for demolition, so a group asked interested citizens to look into saving the house and relocating it for preservation and interpretive purposes. a few years later it was moved to this location. and the robins house preserves the legacy and history of slavery, not only here, but in the north in general. by being located across from the bridge, the town is emphasizing the struggle for independence and equality that began in 1775,
did not end there. in fact, it continues through the present day. the house is a visual reminder that enslaved men and women lived here with free men and women that offer independence in the revolution, struggled to end slavery during the civil war, and engaged in a civil rights movement in the 20th century. [splashing] [birds singing]
>> it is interesting that very often readers of walden, when they first come to the pond are a little puzzled, may be disappointed because when you read the book, you really are expecting to be, to be just amazed at the landscape. the fact that thoreau could be by a day just staggered landscape as humble as this, that really takes a little getting used to. so it was, it was a little pond. now it is an icon of american literary history. and henry david thoreau first came here as a little boy and he
remembered the excursion long after, but he came here with his family actually together sand for his father's sandpaper manufacturing enterprise. and, but he came here to live -- um, it was july 4, 1845 that he came to live and he was out here for two years after that. and his friend, ralph waldo emerson had not long before bought the property we are standing on now. as a woodlot, basically. the soil around walden is not good for much except growing trees. and he asked emerson if he could, if he could put up a structure here and stay here for a while. and emerson said, sure.
his printable purpose was to find -- principal purpose was to kind of find a writer's studio for himself. something he had been thinking about for several years and the specific project he had in mind was a book in memorial to his brother john, who had died in 1841. the book is about a trip he took with john in 1839, both very young, but they took a trip by boat up to new hampshire. that was loosely the thread that runs through a week on the concord, in merrimack, which is the book he wrote here. while he was here it is easy to imagine that throw was all alone. and if you read the book, you would think he is halfway up the
slopes of the mountain, that he was off at the into the world somewhere. but he is not, he is connected to town. it is only a little over a mile away, especially if you take the railroad, you are in town in no time. and he had lots and lots of visitors while he was out here. so it is not like he was isolated, but he had plenty of the solitude he wanted as a thinker and writer. the house he built, he tells us in the first chapter, it was 10 by 15 feet, which is fairly substantial. it is about the size of most craftsmen's workshops in that time. by can get a lot done in 10 15 feet and it was sufficient for him. and he, not immediately, but he
soon planted a field of beans. tried to get by in part on them. know, for the rest of supplies thatwas he would get from town -- rice, things like that. he came to walden already with a set of ideas about what the, about what wildness is, not the wilderness, but wildness. that is what interested him. part of the exercise in coming to walden was to remove himself from, from culture. you know, that sounds sort of drastic but you do catch artists at it every now and again. went tood example -- tahiti.
part of the reason, to put all of europe behind him. this is the reason that emerson suggested in a number of places, that he felt it was important for americans to put that behind them. one good way to do it is to come out and live by yourself in a house with no neighbors at that point. historically, there had been other people living out here, but for the most part they were gone when thorough was out here. not long after he came to walden, the idea of the book "walden" started to occur to him. if you look at his journal, there are passages and clips on it that where worked into some of the early drafts. and the lectures that he gave on the subject. and right in the beginning of the book, he says that it was curiosity on the part of his
neighbors. they wanted to know if he was lonely. if he was afraid. so he started answering those questions at the lyceum lectures and it kind of grew from there. of course, he changed. it was not just a narrative of my experience, the book subtitled "life in the woods." he had the publisher get rid of the subtitle eventually. it really was not just a narrative of what it was like to live in the woods. it is obviously mark obligated than that -- more complicated than that. "walden" was not published until 1854 and actually went through seven different drafts. in the interim, thoreau took of a new methodology of conservation around 1851, 1852. he took up a new way of observing the world and a lot of
it is reflected in the final draft of "walden." it takes some exercise, intellectual exercise to really pick apart the threads and figure out what it is he is up to, while he is out here. "walden" was more successful concordeeek on the in merrimack." the deal was, if it did not sell, thoreau would pay for the publication. so he ended up eating responsible for the publication. but "walden" sold better than that. it only went through one edition during his lifetime, but it did sell much better than "a week." is of the things thoreau careful to point out in the text of the book, is that he does not
mean for anybody to imitate his experiments. he talked about it as an experiment. i think he wanted his readers to first have the edd response to the remarkable fact of man and nature, as he put it. if readers took that away, it was good enough for him. if they thought about the relationship between what they do to get a living and what their life consists of, then i think he would've counted that as success. our visit to concord, massachusetts is in american history tv exclusive and we showed it today to introduce you to c-span cities tour. for six years we have traveled to u.s. cities bring in the
literary scene and historic sites to our viewers. you can watch more of our visits at c-span.org/citiestour. announcer: next, more concerning the announced the part of presidential strategists steve bannon. then c-span's conversation with tom price. after that comes up in court justice elena kagan on the influence of the first woman justice sandra day o'connor. first, we talk with a white house correspondent about the news today on steve bannon. >> john bennett is a correspondent for roll call. the other shoe has dropped, steve bannon is out. if he fired or did he leave on his own terms? john: i think it is pretty clear that mr. bannon was asked to leave the white house, you know, this is definitely the new chief of staff, gera