Col. William MUNROE

Col. William MUNROE

Male 1742 - 1827

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  • Name  Col. William MUNROE  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Prefix  Col. 
    Born  28 Oct 1742  Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 5
    Gender  Male 
    Died  30 Oct 1827  Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID  I2986  Munro
    Last Modified  9 Jul 2015 

    Father  Col. William MUNROE,   b. 19 Dec 1703, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Aug 1747, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother  Sarah MASON,   b. 17 Jun 1714,   d. 13 Apr 1785 
    Married  3 Jan 1733  Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID  F65  Group Sheet

    Family 1  Anna SMITH,   b. 17 Jun 1742,   d. 2 Jan 1781, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  Y  [6
    Children 
    >1. William MUNROE,   b. 28 May 1768, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1814, Richmond, Richmond (city), Virginia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
    >2. Anna MUNROE,   b. 9 May 1771, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1850, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Sarah MUNROE,   b. 21 Oct 1773, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1850
     4. Lucinda MUNROE,   b. 9 Apr 1776, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Jun 1863
    >5. Jonas MUNROE,   b. 11 Jun 1778, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Jul 1860, Somerville, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
    >6. Edmund MUNROE,   b. 29 Oct 1780, Lexington, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Apr 1865
    Last Modified  9 Jul 2015 
    Family ID  F2953  Group Sheet

    Family 2  Mary,   b. Abt 1744,   d. Jan 1829 
    Last Modified  20 Jan 2009 
    Family ID  F2954  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • Here follows the deposition of William Munroe made 7 March 1825:

      I, William Munroe, of Lexington, on oath do testify, that I acted as orderly sergeant in the company commanded by Captain Parker, on the 19th of April, 1775; that early in the evening of the 18th of the same April, I was informed by Solomon Brown, who had just returned from Boston, that he had seen nine British officers on the road, traveling leisurely, sometimes before and sometimes behind him; that he had discovered, by the occasional blowing aside of their top coats that they were armed. On learning this, I supposed they had some design upon Hancock and Adams, who were then at the house of the Reverend Mr. Clarke, and immediately assembled a guard of eight men, with their arms to guard the house. About midnight, Colonel Paul Revere rode up the road and requested admittance. I told him that the family had just retired, and had requested, that they might not be disturbed by any noise about the house. "Noise!" said he, "you'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out." We then permitted him to pass. Soon after, Mr. Lincoln came. These gentlemen came different routes, Revere came over the ferry to Charlestown, and Lincoln over the neck through Roxbury; and both brought letters from Dr. Warren in Boston to Hancock and Adams, stating that a large body of British troops had left Boston, and were on their march to Lexington. On this, it was thought advisable, that Hancock and Adams should withdraw to some distant part of the town. To this Hancock consented with great reluctance, and said, as he went off. "If I had my musket, I would never turn my back upon these troops." I however conducted them to the north part of town, and then returned to the meeting-house, where I arrived at about two o'clock on the morning of the 19th. On the arrival of Colonel Paul Revere, the alarm had been given, and, on my return, I found Captain Parker and his militia company paraded on the common, a little in the rear of the meeting-house. About this time, one of our messengers, who had been sent toward Cambridge to get information of the movement of the regulars, returned and reported, that he could not learn, that there were any troops on the road from Boston to Lexington, which raised some doubt as to their coming, and Captain Parker dismissed his company, with orders to assemble again at the beat of the drum. Between day-light and sun-rise Captain Thaddeus Bowman rode up and informed, that the regulars were near. The drum was then ordered to be beat, and I was commanded by Captain Parker to parade the company, which I accordingly did, in two ranks, a few rods northerly of the meeting-house.

      When the British troops had arrived within about a hundred rods of the meeting-house, as I was afterwards told by a prisoner, which we took, "they heard our drum, and supposing it to be a challenge, they were ordered to load their muskets, and to move at double quick time." They came up almost upon a run. Colonel Smith and Major Pitcairn rode up some rods in advance of their troops, and within a few rods of our company, and exclaimed, "Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!" and immediately fired his pistol. Pitcairn then advanced with his troops, and finding we did not disperse, they being within four rods of us, he brought his sword down with great force, and said to his men, "Fire, damn you, fire!" The front platoon, consisting of eight or nine, then fired, without killing or wounding any of our men. They immediately gave a second fire, when our company began to retreat, and as I left that field, I saw a person firing at the British troops from Buckman's back door, which was near our left, where I was parading the men when I retreated. I was afterward told, of the truth of which I have no doubt, that same person after firing from the back door, went to the front of Buckman's house, and fired there. How many of our company fired before they retreated, I can not say; but I am confident some of them did. When the British troops came up, I saw Jonas Parker standing in the ranks, with his balls and flints in his hat, on the ground, between his feet, and heard him declare, that he would never run. He was shot down at the second fire of the British, and, when I left, I saw him struggling on the ground, attempting to load his gun, which I have no doubt he had once discharged at the British. As he lay on the ground, they ran him through with the bayonet. In the course of the day, I was on the ground where the British troops were when they first heard our drum beat, which was one hundred rods below the meeting-house, and saw the ends of a large number, I should judge two hundred, of cartridges which they had dropped, when they charged their pieces. About noon I was at the north part of the town, at the house Mr. Simmonds, where I saw the late Colonel Baldwin, who informed me, that he had the custody of some prisoners, that had been put under his charge, and requested to know of me what should be done with them. I gave my opinion, that they should be sent to that part of Woburn, now Burlington, or to Chelmsford. On the return of the British troops from Concord, they stopped at my tavern house in Lexington, and dressed their wounds. I had left my house in care of a lame man, by the name of Raymond, who supplied them with whatever the house afforded, and afterwards, when he was leaving the house, he was shot by the regulars, and found dead within a few rods of the house.
      (signed) William Munroe

      The services that William performed at the opening of the Revolution, were followed up by services during the progress of the war. He was a lieutenant in the northern army at the capture of Burgoyne, in 1777. He was a prominent citizen, and filled important town offices. For nine years he was a selectman, and represented the town two years. He marched towards Springfield during Shay's Rebellion and was a Colonel in the militia. He kept the public house, long known as the Munroe Tavern. Here the British regaled themselves, and committed many outrages on the 19th of April; here they shot down John Raymond who was leaving the house. In 1789, George Washington dined in the Munroe Tavern, on his visit to Lexington's battle field of Revolution.

      William's second wife, whose name was either Mary or Polly and who was from Westford, Massachusetts, was a widow whose first husband was killed at the battle of Monmouth by the bursting of a cannon.

      The following is from the "Abstract of Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts - 1920" - p. 340

      ------------------------------------------------------

      Tradition tells us through our late Brother Albert W. Bryant, that the first assembly of Freemasons in Lexington was on the top of the hill in the rear of Munroe Tavern. In 1797 ten Masons gathered at Munroe Tavern and signed a petition to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a Charter. Dispensation was granted December 12, 1797, for the Institution of Hiram Lodge. Colonel William Munroe, well known as the stalwart orderly of Captain Parker's Minute-Men, was the first Master and served, in all, six years. This Lodge met at Munroe Tavern for thirty-three years, during which time one hundred and ninety members were recorded, of which number one hundred and fifty were Raised in the Lodge. The Lodge was dormant for several years during the anti-Masonic period and finally moved to West Cambridge, now Arlington, in 1843.

      **********
      ĞiğIt's Ğ/iğ[Munroe Tavern's] Ğiğfame began with its purchase in 1770 by Colonel William Munroe, grandson of the builder and great-grandson of the original settler. This fourth William Munroe was born in 1742, and was one of the fifteen Munroes who took part in the battle of Lexington. He was orderly sergeant, and he not only lined up the seventy minute men who faced the eight hundred British regulars but also had command of the special squad detached to guard Hancock and Adams on the night of April 18. It was he who said to Paul Revere when that messenger came clattering up to the parsonage in the dead of night: "Don't make so much noise." "Noise," replied Revere, "there'll be noise enough before morning; the regulars are coming!"

      While Sergeant Munroe was engaged with the redcoats his wife and three small children took refuge on the hill behind the tavern, leaving the house in charge of John Raymond, a hired man. The Biritish commander, Lieutenant Colonel Smith, finding the whole countryside aroused, sent back for re-enforcements. The relief, under Earl Percy, arrived at the tavern about the middle of the afternoon, took possession and holding the provincials back by posting field pieces on the hill above the tavern and on a mound where the high school now stands, dressed the wounded brought in by the retreating forces, which overcome by fatigue, hunger and the extreme and unseasonable heat, would undoubtedly have succumbed to the galling fire of the provincials had it not been for the arrival of Earl Percy. Before leaving some of the soldiers piled up the barrom furniture, set in on fire, made targets of the walls and ceilings and bayoneted on the door-step the defenceless Raymond. One of the bullet holes remains and the scorched furniture is still in possession of the family.

      Among the many things to be shownĞ/iğ [at the tavern museum]Ğiğ are the chair on which Washington sat Ğ/iğ[during a 1789 visit]Ğiğ, the dishes from which he ate and drank, and the spoon with which he stirred his tea. There are also some pieces of furniture and china that belonged to Colonel William Munroe--his iron spectacles, his dress waistcoat and lethern breeches, paste stock buckle and snuffbox. There will be exhibited a lot of ancient deeds and documents, including the tavern day books, going back to 1773, and a chair made by Jonathan Tarrington, the last survivor of the battle of Lexington...and an order from General Washington instructing Col. Munroe to convene a courtmartial.
      Ğ/iğ
      ("The Munroe Tavern" - a newspaper article from an unknown Boston area newspaper - 1911)
      **********

      William died 30 Oct 1827 (Hudson's Hist. of Lexington) or May 1827/28 (Lexington, Vital Records).

      Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Genealogist, Clan Munro Association, USA [7]

  • Sources 
    1. [S247] History of the Munros of Fowlis, Alexander Mackenzie, M.J.L., (Published in Inverness, Scotland by A & W Mackenzie (1898)), p. 574, 579 (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S386] Clan Munro files - Munroe, Charles C., III, Charles C. Munroe, III, Historical & Biographical Sketch of the Monroe (Munroe) an d Monro (Munro) Family - p. 5 (Reliability: 3).

    3. [S100] Lexington Munroes, Richard S. Munroe, (privately published in Florence, Massachusetts (1986)), p. 19 (Reliability: 3).

    4. [S792] Clan Munro files - Stivers, Wendy, Wendy Stivers, "The Monroe Tavern" - a newspaper article from an unknown Boston area newspaper - 1911 (Reliability: 3).

    5. [S247] History of the Munros of Fowlis, Alexander Mackenzie, M.J.L., (Published in Inverness, Scotland by A & W Mackenzie (1898)), p. 574 (Reliability: 3).

    6. [S247] History of the Munros of Fowlis, Alexander Mackenzie, M.J.L., (Published in Inverness, Scotland by A & W Mackenzie (1898)), p. 575 (Reliability: 3).

    7. [S354] Clan Munro files - Moore, Paul Arlon, Paul Arlon Moore, Abstract of Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Mas sachusetts - 1920 - p. 340 (Reliability: 3).