Place:Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States

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NameConcord
Alt namesConcord Centresource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25004644
Musketaquidsource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) I, 199
Musketequidsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS25004644
TypeTown
Coordinates42.45°N 71.333°W
Located inMiddlesex, Massachusetts, United States     (1635 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. The United States Census Bureau considers Concord part of Greater Boston. The town center is near where the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers forms the Concord River.

The area that became the town of Concord was originally known as Musketaquid, an Algonquian word for "grassy plain." Concord was established in 1635 by a handful of British settlers; by 1775, the population had grown to 1,400. As dissension between colonists in North America and the British crown intensified, 700 troops were sent to confiscate militia ordnance stored at Concord on April 19, 1775. The ensuing conflict, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, was the incident (the shot heard round the world) that triggered the American Revolutionary War.

A rich literary community developed in Concord during the mid-19th century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson's circle included Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. Major works written in Concord during this period include Alcott's novel Little Women, Emerson's essay Self-Reliance, and Thoreau's Walden and Civil Disobedience. In this era, the now-ubiquitous Concord grape was developed in Concord by Ephraim Wales Bull.

In the 20th century, Concord developed into an affluent Boston suburb and tourist destination, drawing visitors to the Old North Bridge, Orchard House and Walden Pond. The town retains its literary culture and is home to notable authors, including Doris Kearns Goodwin, Alan Lightman and Gregory Maguire. Concord is also notable for its progressive and environmentalist politics, becoming in 2012 the first community in the United States to ban single-serving PET bottles.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia


Prehistory and founding

The area which became the town of Concord was originally known as "Musketaquid", situated at the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers. The name was an Algonquian word for "grassy plain", fitting the area's low-lying marshes and kettle holes. Native Americans had cultivated corn crops there; the rivers were rich with fish and the land was lush and arable. The area was largely depopulated by the smallpox plague that swept across the Americas after Europeans arrived.

In 1635, a group of settlers from Britain led by Rev. Peter Bulkeley and Major Simon Willard negotiated a land purchase with the remnants of the local tribe. Bulkeley was an influential religious leader who "carried a good number of planters with him into the woods"; Willard was a canny trader who spoke the Algonquian language and had gained the trust of Native Americans. They exchanged wampum, hatchets, knives, cloth, and other useful items for the six-square-mile purchase from Old Jethro, which formed the basis of the new town, called "Concord" in appreciation of the peaceful acquisition.[1]

Battle of Lexington and Concord

The Battle of Lexington and Concord was the first conflict in the American Revolutionary War. On April 19, 1775, a force of British Army regulars marched from Boston to Concord to capture a cache of arms that was reportedly stored in the town. Forewarned by Samuel Prescott (who had received the news from Paul Revere), the colonists mustered in opposition. Following an early-morning skirmish at Lexington, where the first shots of the battle were fired, the British expedition under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Smith advanced to Concord. There, colonists from Concord and surrounding towns (notably a highly drilled company from Acton led by Isaac Davis) repulsed a British detachment at the Old North Bridge and forced the British troops to retreat. Subsequently, militia arriving from across the region harried the British troops on their return to Boston, culminating in the Siege of Boston and the outbreak of the war.

The colonists initially publicized the battle as an example of British brutality and aggression: one colonial broadside decried the "Bloody Butchery of the British Troops." But a century later, the conflict was remembered proudly by Americans, taking on a patriotic, almost mythic status ("the shot heard 'round the world") in works like the "Concord Hymn" and "Paul Revere's Ride." In 1894, the Lexington Historical Society petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature to proclaim April 19 "Lexington Day." Concord countered with "Concord Day." Governor Greenhalge opted for a compromise: Patriots' Day. In April 1975, Concord hosted a bicentennial celebration of the battle, featuring an address at the Old North Bridge by President Gerald Ford.

Literary history

Concord has a remarkably rich literary history centered in the 19th century around Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), who moved there in 1835 and quickly became its most prominent citizen. A successful lecturer and philosopher, Emerson had deep roots in the town: his father Rev. William Emerson (1769–1811) grew up in Concord before becoming an eminent Boston minister, and his grandfather, William Emerson Sr., witnessed the battle at the North Bridge from his house, and later became a chaplain in the Continental Army. Emerson was at the center of a group of like-minded Transcendentalists living in Concord. Among them were the author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) and the philosopher Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), the father of Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888). A native Concordian, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was another notable member of Emerson's circle. This substantial collection of literary talent in one small town led Henry James to dub Concord "the biggest little place in America."

Among the products of this intellectually stimulating environment were Emerson's many essays, including Self-Reliance (1841), Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women (1868), and Hawthorne's story collection Mosses from an Old Manse (1846). Thoreau famously lived in a small cabin near Walden Pond, where he wrote Walden (1854). After being imprisoned in the Concord jail for refusing to pay taxes in political protest against slavery and the Mexican–American War, Thoreau penned the influential essay "Resistance to Civil Government", popularly known as Civil Disobedience (1849). Evidencing their strong political beliefs through actions, Thoreau and many of his neighbors served as station masters and agents on the Underground Railroad.

The Wayside, a house on Lexington Road, has been home to a number of authors. It was occupied by scientist John Winthrop (1714–1779) when Harvard College was temporarily moved to Concord during the Revolutionary War. The Wayside was later the home of the Alcott family (who referred to it as "Hillside"); the Alcotts sold it to Hawthorne in 1852, and the family moved into the adjacent Orchard House in 1858. Hawthorne dubbed the house "The Wayside" and lived there until his death. The house was purchased in 1883 by Boston publisher Daniel Lothrop and his wife, Harriett, who wrote the Five Little Peppers series and other children's books under the pen name Margaret Sidney. Today, The Wayside and the Orchard House are both museums. Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts are buried on Authors' Ridge in Concord's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

The 20th-century composer Charles Ives wrote his Concord Sonata (c. 1904-15) as a series of impressionistic portraits of literary figures associated with the town. Concord maintains a lively literary culture to this day; notable authors who have called the town home in recent years include Doris Kearns Goodwin, Alan Lightman, Robert B. Parker, and Gregory Maguire.

Concord grape

In 1849, Ephraim Bull developed the now-ubiquitous Concord grape at his home on Lexington Road, where the original vine still grows. Welch's, the first company to sell grape juice, maintains a headquarters in Concord. The Boston-born Bull developed the Concord grape by experimenting with seeds from some of the native species. On his farm outside Concord, down the road from the Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott homesteads, he planted some 22,000 seedlings before producing the ideal grape. Early ripening, to escape the killing northern frosts, but with a rich, full-bodied flavor, the hardy Concord grape thrives where European cuttings had failed to survive. In 1853, Bull felt ready to put the first bunches of Concord grapes before the public and won a prize at the Boston Horticultural Society Exhibition. From these early arbors, the fame of Bull's ("the father of the Concord grape") Concord grape spread worldwide, bringing him up to $1,000 a cutting, but he died a relatively poor man. The inscription on his tombstone reads, "He sowed—others reaped."

Plastic bottle ban

On September 5, 2012, Concord became the first community in the United States to approve a ban of the sale of water in single-serving plastic bottles. The law banned the sale of PET bottles of one liter or less starting January 1, 2013. The ban provoked significant national controversy. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times characterized the ban as "born of convoluted reasoning" and "wrongheaded." Some residents believed the ban would do little to affect the sales of bottled water, which was still highly accessible in the surrounding areas, and that it restricted consumers' freedom of choice. Opponents also considered the ban to unfairly target one product in particular, when other, less healthy alternatives such as soda and fruit juice were still readily available in bottled form. Nonetheless, subsequent efforts to repeal the ban have failed in open town meetings. An effort to repeal Concord's ban on the sale of plastic water bottles was resoundingly defeated at a Town Meeting. Resident Jean Hill, who led the initial fight for the ban, said, "I really feel at the age of 86 that I've really accomplished something." Town Moderator Eric Van Loon didn't even bother taking an official tally because opposition to repeal was so overwhelming. It appeared that upwards of 80 to 90 percent of the 1,127 voters in attendance raised their ballots against the repeal measure. The issue has been bubbling in Concord for several years. In 2010, a town meeting-approved ban, which wasn't written as a bylaw, was rejected by the state attorney general's office. In 2011, a new version of the ban narrowly failed at town meeting by a vote of 265 to 272. The ban on selling water in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of one liter or less passed in 2012 by a vote of 403 to 364, and a repeal effort in April failed by a vote of 621 to 687.

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