John Parker Day is annually observed on April 19. John Parker, a farmer and mechanic, was selected as the commander of approximately 70 volunteer militiamen in his hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts, because he was a veteran of the French and Indian War. On that fateful April morning in 1775, events transpired that led a group of colonists on a quest for freedom, which earned Captain John Parker a place in history texts and this special day.
The background of John Parker Day
John Parker, who was born on July 13, 1729, was a longtime resident of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. During the French and Indian Wars, Parker acquired his first taste of military life while working as a farmer near Lexington Bay, Massachusetts.
On April 19, 1775, the first battle of the American Revolutionary War (fought by the United States in pursuit of independence from Great Britain) commenced. General Thomas Gauge issued an order to confiscate the firearms in Concord, Massachusetts. Parker received word of the British approach following Paul Revere and William Dawes’ stop in Lexington during their nighttime journey.
Early on April 19, Parker gathered approximately seventy volunteer militiamen on Lexington Green. He urged his troops to allow the British to pass without firing unless the British fired first. Around 5 a.m., British Major John Pitcairn arrived with some British regulars, which is the term for British forces. Colonel Francis Smith led 700 British regulars in search of munitions to Concord. Pitcairn and a group advanced to Lexington ahead of Parker and his forces, where they fought and killed numerous British soldiers using the same tactics. Eventually, Parker’s soldiers were halted, but not before the British suffered significant losses. This second battle, known as ‘Parker’s Revenge’ and involving Lexington militiamen, is less well-known than the day’s initial conflict.
By the time they arrived in Boston, the British had lost 300 soldiers to death, injury, or disappearance. Less than one hundred Patriots perished. Sadly, Captain Parker did not survive to see his country achieve the independence for which he fought. He had been ailing from tuberculosis, also known as consumption at the time. He passed away on September 17, 1775, due to his illness.
5 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT JOHN PARKER
His marriage to his wife lasted at least 20 years, and they had seven children.
Parker was a former mechanic and cultivator.
Parker led the Lexington Militia at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.
He participated in the eleven-month Siege of Boston, which lasted from April 19, 1775, to March 31, 1776.
Parker perished of tuberculosis at the young age of 46.
JOHN PARKER DAY DATES