Nearly eight months before the American War of Independence began with the battles of Lexington and Concord, 4,622 militiamen from 37 towns of Worcester County marched down Main Street in Worcester, shut down the Crown-controlled county courthouse and, for the first time ever in the American colonies, effectively overthrew British authority. The date was September 6, 1774 — nine months before Lexington and Concord. Not a shot was fired.
It was Worcester County's militiamen that set the stage. Revolts followed in every single county in Massachusetts outside Boston in the fall of 1774 as a result. It was these revolts that truly ended British rule in the colony and opened the door for citizens to form their own government. The following spring, when General Gage wanted to retaliate against Worcester, his spies warned him not to attack there, where arms and powder were stored and where patriots were too strong. He decided to go after Concord instead.
No one is sure why this story has been untold for so long, but Worcester Revolution of 1774 is out to change that. Across downtown Worcester where the event happened 240 years ago, the American Antiquarian Society, First Congregational Church, Institute Park, North Main Street, Rural Cemetery, Salisbury Mansion, The Oaks, and Tuckerman Hall will be filled with stories, dramatic presentations, children's activities, period craftsmen, colonial militia, interpreters, historical documents, and a reenactment of the Worcester Revolution itself.