Lexington and Concord — Deposition of Thomas Price Willard

April 23, 1775

In the aftermath of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress ordered depositions to be taken from eyewitnesses. The Congress was trying to prove the British fired first at Lexington. Deposition #2 was given by Thomas Price Willard, who did not know who fired first at the Battle of Lexington.

Lexington and Concord, Depositions

The Battle of Lexington by William Barnes Wollen (1910). Image Source: Wikimedia.

Deposition No. 2

Please note that section headings and spacing have been added to make the text easier to scan and comprehend.

Testimony of Thomas Price Willard About the Battle of Lexington

I Thomas Price Willard of Lawful age Do Testify and Declare, that being in the House of Daniel Harrington of said Lexington on the Nineteenth, instant in the morning about half an hour before sun rise, looked out at the window of said house and saw (as I suppose) about four hundred of regulars in one Body, coming up the road, and marched toward the north part of the common back of the meeting house of said Lexington, and as soon as said Regulars were against the east end of the meeting house, the Commanding Officer said something, what I know not, but upon that the Regulars ran till they came within about eight or nine rods of about an Hundred of the Militia of Lexington who were collected on said Common, at which time the Militia of Lexington Dispersed, then the Officers made an huzza, and the private Soldiers succeeded them, Directly after this an officer rode before the Regulars, to the other side of the Body, and hallowed after the Militia of said Lexington and said “Lay Down your Arms, Damn you, Why Don’t you lay Down your arms” And that there was not a gun fired till the Militia of Lexington were Dispersed, and further saith not — 

Thomas Price Willard

Witnesses to the Testimony

Middlesex ss April 23d 1775

The within named Thomas Price Willard personally appeared, and after Due caution to testify the whole truth and nothing but the truth made solemn oath to the truth of the within Deposition by him subscribed —

Before me 

Wm Reed
Jona Hastngs
Duncan Ingraham

Justices of Peace

Certification of the Testimony

Province of Massachusetts Bay, Charlestown ss

Nathaniel Gotham Notary and Tabellian Public Duly admitted and sworn, Do certify that Wm Reed, Jona Hastings & Duncan Ingraham Esqrs are three of his Majesty’s Justices for the County of Middlesex and that full faith & credit is to be given to their transactions as such, In Witness whereof I have hereunto affixed my name & seal this twenty sixth of April one thousand seven hundred & seventy five

Nathaniel Gorham Noty Public

The foregoing are true copies attest Nath Gorham Notary Publik

Interesting Facts About the Deposition of Thomas Price Willard

  • Joseph Warren of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress wanted the depositions gathered as quickly as possible, so he could send them to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and Benjamin Franklin in London.
  • Franklin was the Agent for Massachusetts and acted as its representative. Warren wanted Franklin to have eyewitness accounts that could be used to help gain sympathy for the Patriot Cause.
  • Thomas Price Willard was at the home of Daniel Harrington when the Battle of Lexington took place.
  • Willard witnessed the British column marching into Lexington.
  • The Lexington Militia dispersed but took their weapons with them.
  • According to Willard, no shots were fired until after the Lexington Militia dispersed.
  • The notary public, Nathaniel Gorham, went on to serve as the 8th President of the Continental Congress (June 6, 1786–February 2, 1787).

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Lexington and Concord — Deposition of Thomas Price Willard
  • Date April 23, 1775
  • Author
  • Keywords Battles of Lexington and Concord, Deposition No. 2, Thomas Price Willard
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 18, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 12, 2024