Joseph Meriam
  • Youngest son of Josiah Meriam, who's house was the closest of the three Meriam houses to Lexington Road on what is today Meriam's Corner
  • Was seven years old on April 19 and was in hiding with the women and children of his extended family on that day.
  • Account was given as an 89 year old man recollecting what he remembered from that day

This account, though clearly based upon the recollections of someone who was a witness to the events of April 19, has many holes and does not agree with any other sources of that day. No other source, British or Provincial, seems to indicate that soldiers entered any of the homes on the Meriams' property. In fact most accounts discuss the fact that both times the column passed by the Meriam properties near the hill on the outskirts of Concord there was either potential for armed conflict or there was exchange of fire between opposing forces. If all of the other accounts are to be believed then it should be clear to the reader that British Regulars would not have had the time nor the disposition to enter any of the Meriam Houses as they were actively engaged in either flanking maneuvers or discharging their weapons at what had become a rapidly growing force of hostile enemies.

The British did certainly do their fair share of damage in Concord, nearly destroying the home of harness-maker Reuben Brown. The evidence of this is clear as Mr. Brown filed a claim with the Provincial Congress for recompense for damage to his property. As of this time there is no evidence of the Meriams ever making a claim for any damage to their property, which had their homes been entered by the regulars they surely would have done. It is certainly possible that young Joseph was caught up in the midst of others claiming that there was significant damage done and confused that with his own, or he could have been caught up in patriotic fervor to show the righteousness of the American cause many years after independence had been secured.

This document is a good example of why students should not rely solely on one or two primary sources, as the people who created those primary sources are human much like us. They make mistakes and often forget details from earlier in life. Joseph Meriam's family were certainly participants on April 19th, probably serving as members of Capt. Minot's Company of Militia. Perhaps someday we will discover missing accounts of Meriam's but for now we must rely more heavily on the words of those who were older and more actively participating in the fighting along the Battle Road.