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In a New England minute

By Debra Dobbins

A fun headline appears in red on the front page of today's Sports & Rec section — especially since Clint Dempsey, the player who booted in a goal within the first minute of the United States' opening World Cup match against Ghana, used to play for the New England Revolution.

New England, of course, was where the need for our country's first Minutemen arose — more than 100 years before Paul Revere and William Dawes made their famous rides (later joined by Samuel Prescott) to alert their fellow Minutemen that the British were marching into the Massachusetts countryside the night of April 18, 1775.

“Although today Minutemen are thought of as connected to the Revolutionary War in America, their existence was conceived in Massachusetts during the mid-seventeenth century,” writes Andrew Ronemus on the website ushistory.org. “As early as 1645, men were selected from the militia ranks to be dressed with matchlocks or pikes and accoutrements within half an hour of being warned.”

In the decades leading up to the American Revolution, these elite colonists would be called upon to help quell Native American uprisings, fight the French and be on guard for “local insurrections, social unrest, and rioting,” Ronemus explains.

A lack of central leadership would eventually lead to their disbandment, he adds, but they were “still better organized and battle-tested than any other part-time military. … Without these 'ready in a minute' men, our history may have been written in a very different way.”

Ronemus' full article appears at http://www.ushistory.org/people/minutemen.htm.

The Concord Minute Man of 1775 by Daniel Chester French
Concord, Massachusetts
Photo special to the Sentinel

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