Revolutionary Road

A forgotten early march to revolution

courthousePhoto: Nicole Pasquale

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lthough it ranks in importance with the Boston Tea Party and predated the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the protest march at Barnstable’s Old Colonial Courthouse has been overlooked by history. In one of the first mass uprisings against colonial rule, more than 1,500 people disrupted a court session here on September 27, 1774, to protest a British ruling dictating how jurors were to be selected. Nearby is the militia training field from which soldiers left for Boston in April 1775. Later converted to a church, the 1772 building now is home to an organization dedicated to the preservation of Cape Cod history, which offers lectures Tuesday evenings in the summers.

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West Barnstable-born John “Mad Jack” Percival commanded the USS Constitution on an epic 495-day around-the-world cruise, making her the first American warship to circumnavigate the globe. He got his nickname when, during a stop in China, he started a diplomatic row by trying to rescue an imprisoned French bishop. There is a memorial to Mad Jack in the wall of Northside Cemetery, also on Route 6A, where he is believed to be buried.

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