Category Archives: Events

250th Anniversary of Dr. Joseph Warren Boston Massacre Oration

Get Your Ticket To History
Next Saturday, March 5, 2022 marks the 250th anniversary of Dr.
Joseph Warren’s first Boston Massacre Oration. The Charlestown Historical Society is honored to host
Revolution250, the National Park Service, the
Massachusetts Sons of the American
Revolution, the Henry Knox Color Guard, and
the Massachusetts Freemasons to
commemorate this monumental anniversary
in American history. Join authors and
historians Dr. Robert Allison, Katie
Turner Getty and Christian DiSpigna as we explore aspects surrounding the Massacre and Dr. Warren’s Orations.

250th Anniversary of Dr. Joseph Warren’s Boston Massacre Oration
Saturday, March 5, 2022
6 pm
Memorial Hall
Green Street
Charlestown, Mass.

Buy tickets here

Dr. Joseph Warren’s Boston Massacre Oration of 1772 contains a succinct exposition of American Liberty based on Enlightenment natural rights, framed in belief in God as well as Roman Republican and Pilgrim virtues. His aspirational view for America as “a land of Liberty, seat of virtue…” set a high bar for Patriot activism.
He delivered the speech on the second anniversary of the outbreak of violence between occupying British troops and rowdy street protesters. He seems to speak to subsequent generations of Americans just as he addressed his immediate overflow audience at Boston’s Old South Meeting House.

Warren, Joseph. An Oration Delivered March 5th, 1772. At the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston; to Commemorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March, 1770.

Charlestown Redware

Redware Industry in Charlestown (1640-1790)

7:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday November 19th 2013

Battle of Bunker Hill Monument Museum, Auditorium.

Redware bowl 1

Earthenware was a major industry in New England. It was produced in all six states after the American Revolution, but Charlestown was the dominant supplier before 1775.

At least 40 potters worked in Charlestown between 1700-1775. Charlestown was a good source of clay, which was used by potters as well as by the Charlestown and Medford brick makers.

Joe Bagley, City of Boston Archaeologist and Justin Thomas, Scholarly Researcher and Redware Expert will discuss the history, growth and disappearance of redware production in Charlestown.

Bring pieces of pottery or other earthenware, if you would like to learn more from the experts.

Redware shards 2

Redware shard 1

The talk is sponsored by the Charlestown Historical Society and is open to the public at no charge.

The Burning of the Charlestown Ursuline Convent and School

Woodcut of convent and school

Woodcut of convent and school

Woodcut of convent ruins

Woodcut of convent ruins

The history of what happened almost 180 years ago can often become unclear.  People write books and articles with conflicting information. What we know about the burning of the Charlestown convent and school, is that on August 11, 1834 a group of 50-200 men with painted faces, burned the convent and school to the ground.

There are reports that 2,000-4,000 spectators including a number of fire companies watched the fire.  On August 12, 1834 the men returned to destroy the gardens, orchards and fences.

The convent was run by the Ursuline nuns who came from Montreal, Canada. The primary purpose of the convent was to educate young women. The Charlestown Convent was used mostly by the daughters of the Protestant upper classes. At the time the convent had 41 Protestant girls and only 6 Catholics girls.

There are a number of possible reasons that this riot and fire happened. Many believe that the men who attacked were primarily workers in the brick factories, who were being displaced by Irish Catholics. Some believe the strong willed Mother Superior, may have fueled the rioters, when she was heard “Telling the rioters that 20,000 Irishmen were going to burn the roofs over their heads.”

Her direct threat did not have the desired result.

There were also conflicting reports that a girl named Rebecca Reed was held in the convent against her will and a second report that Sister Mary John, a nun teaching at the convent came upon Edward Cutter asking for help getting to West Cambridge. Cutter reported that the nun was agitated, so the following day he went to the residence to ask why Mary John had left the convent. He was informed she had returned to the convent. Mr. Cutter went to the convent and spoke with Mary John, who said she could leave anytime. The rioters seemed convinced that a mysterious lady was being held against her will by the catholic nuns.

Learn more about what happened on a hill overlooking Charlestown behind Sullivan Station 180 years ago.

Plaque on the site of the convent

Plaque on the site of the convent

What happened to the ring leaders?

Why wasn’t the Convent and school rebuilt?

What happened to the Mother Superior?

Attend the presentation by Nancy Lusignan Schultz, author of Fire & Roses: The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834, on Tuesday October 15, 2013 at the J. W. Conway Bunker Hill Post 26 of the American Legion, 23 Adams Street at 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Cover of Fire & Roses

Cover of Fire & Roses

Sponsored by the Charlestown Historical Society.