Plaque honoring Revolutionary War veterans comes to Marlborough

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Plaque honoring Revolutionary War veterans comes to Marlborough
The militia fire their muskets following the unveiling. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

MARLBOROUGH – Musket fire rang across the Old Common Cemetery.

It was part of a celebration on Oct. 15 dedicating a new plaque to Revolutionary War Patriots by the Massachusetts Society of Sons of the American Revolution.

“It’s events like this where we keep the stories alive of those patriots who fought for our freedom and the founding of this nation, and it’s through that – their stories – that we pass on to others,” said State President Ed Hoak.

The plaque, which sits in the cemetery, features the names of 24 people. 

Marlborough Veterans Service Officer Mike Hennessey said when the city was approached for the project, he was honored to learn that Marlborough was one of the few communities in Massachusetts to be offered a plaque.

“It’s an honor to have this,” said Hennessey.

Tim Tonner, who talked about the role that Marlborough played in the Revolutionary War, pointed out that some of the streets in the city “bear the name of courageous men who either led Marlborough’s militia companies or found themselves on those companies’ rosters.” 

During the eight years of the Revolutionary War, a total of 375 men were in service, or 25% of Marlborough’s population.

“Which is remarkable considering that the scenes of action had shifted more and more to the south as the war progressed,” Tonner said.

When the war ended, at least 75% of Marlborough’s male population were veterans, according to Tonner. 

Tonner talked about some of the battles the Marlborough militiamen fought in, including the Battles of Trenton and Princeton and the Battles of Saratoga.

According to Tonner, nearly 200 Marlborough militiamen assembled and marched to Cambridge on April 19, 1775. They arrived later in the day where Tonner said they would have intercepted British soldiers retreating to Boston. 

“It is also believed that many of these same Marlborough patriots may have stuck around to participate in the famous Siege of Boston, which started immediately thereafter,” Tonner said.

Marlborough played a “critical role” behind the scenes in the manufacturing of saltpeter, which Tonner said is a key ingredient of gunpowder. 

“Let us be similarly forever grateful and impressed that our Marlborough patriots and all patriots throughout the colonies were equally as determined, really without a net with so much at stake, to go all in at the poker table,” Tonner said.

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