By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – On April 19, 1775, after an overnight alert from Paul Revere and William Dawes, a band of colonists loaded their muskets and rushed to the Old North Bridge in Concord to meet the British soldiers in a series of battles that forced the British back to Boston. For more than 50 years, groups of Revolutionary War re-enactors have gathered in Concord and Lexington to commemorate what is now known as Patriots Day with musket salutes on the bridge and marches along Paul Revere’s route. The events of the day have been forever memorialized in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem ‘The Concord Hymn,’ recalling “the shot heard round the world.” This year, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minute Man State Park had banned all events, so there were no marches or large gatherings.
Marlborough, however, was fortunate to be able to honor a local patriot, Robert Eames, (1733-1821) with a small celebration of his bravery with a group of five members of the Sudbury Companies of Militia and Minute, organized by Quarter Master Tim Tonner. The ceremony was held April 19 at the Wilson Cemetery.
Tonner addressed his fellow members, saying, “We are here to honor Marlborough’s own Robert Eames for his service opposing British tyranny. We are a country that enjoys freedom and liberty because of men and women like Robert, and I, for one, as a fellow Marlborough townie, could not be any prouder than to be standing here today. It is with much gratitude that we salute you. Huzzah!”
Tonner laid a balsam wreath at the tomb, which he had made himself from the trees located in the cemetery near the tomb.
“I thought it would be fitting,” he added.
Eames was re-interred in the Wilson Cemetery with a ceremony in December after his tomb had needed major refurbishments. The tomb had been overgrown, damaged by the elements, and vandalized, so his remains were exhumed and held at Fitzgerald & Collins Funeral Home while the city did the restoration. A true Marlborough patriot, at the age of 19 Eames had joined in the French and Indian War, then returned to Marlborough to marry, and have a family. However, he answered the call on April 19, 1775, to march to Cambridge under Captain Daniel Barnes, and was there for the Siege of Boston. His final enlistment was with the Colonial Army. He had two sons who also fought in the Revolutionary War.
Following Tonner’s tribute and laying of the wreath, he and the four other members present, Alan Van Wert, Scott Tourtellot, Chris Tourtellot and John Kelly, fired a volley of three rounds from their muskets. In keeping with the CDC guidelines, the five followed social distancing rules and kept the ceremony short and somewhat private.
“Robert was the real deal. He fought for freedom from tyranny, and lived, worked, and raised a family in Marlborough. As a fellow ‘townie’ I would love to be able to just sit down and share a pint of ale with him, and listen to all his stories,” commented Tonner. “It’s a privilege to be able to honor him today.”