This week, we’re going to talk about Isaiah Thomas. Not the NBA star, but the colonial printer and founder of the Massachusetts Spy, whose office became known by the British as the Sedition Foundry. He snuck his presses out of Boston on the eve of war, helped Paul Revere spread the news of the British march, and shared first-hand accounts of the battles at Concord and Lexington. Later, he would spread his business empire across multiple states, and become a historian, founding the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Listen to his story!
This week we celebrate Patriots’ Day, and the anniversary of Paul Revere’s famous ride. It’s easy to forget that Paul Revere’s story didn’t end on April 18, 1775. This week, we bring you a less glorious story about Paul Revere, one that’s not shrouded in myth. In 1779, Revere was among the leaders of a military expedition in Maine that ended with the greatest US Naval defeat prior to Pearl Harbor, and eventually led to his court martial on charges of cowardice and insubordination.
Well, listen children, and you shall hear,
A different story of Paul Revere.
In Maine, the troops fled before a British drive,
Until hardly a man was left alive.
They court martialed Paul in ‘82, I fear.
In 1849, Boston was rocked by the crime of the (19th) century when Professor John Webster murdered Dr. George Parkman in his lab at Harvard Medical School. The world was riveted by the investigation and trial that ensued, while the Boston Brahmins were shaken to the core by the scandal in their ranks. The courtroom drama lived up to our modern-day CSI standards, offering one of the earliest uses of forensic evidence and a legal standard still in use today. Listen to the show!
In March 1870, forty-two women marched into their polling place in Hyde Park and illegally cast ballots in the local election. They were led by local residents and radical activists Sarah and Angelina Grimké. The Grimké sisters were born into a slave owning family in South Carolina, but then spent their lives fighting for abolition, suffrage, and equal rights. Listen to their remarkable story!
This week’s episode features a conversation with Brooke Barbier, founder of Ye Olde Tavern Tours and author of the new book Boston in the American Revolution: A Town Versus an Empire. We talk about a forgotten Revolutionary War story, why the Revolutionary period isn’t as simple as good guys and bad guys, and which Founding Fathers we’d like to have a beer with. Stick around after the interview to find out what’s coming up this week in Boston history, and how you can win a private tour of the Back Bay with hosts Nikki and Jake. Listen to the show!
On March 4, 1897, a giant explosion rocked the corner of Tremont Street and Boylston across from Boston Common. Ten people were killed, and dozens were injured. How did construction of America’s first subway lead to this disaster? And why was it so difficult for survivors to get compensation for their injuries? Listen to the show to find out! And be sure to stay tuned to the end, so you can find out how to win a free walking tour with hosts Nikki and Jake.
When British General Thomas Gage arrived in Boston in 1774, he was met on Long Wharf by the patriot leader John Hancock at the head of an armed militia unit… But not for the reason you think. Since 1772, Hancock had been the Captain of The Governor’s Independent Company of Cadets, an elite unit that provided ceremonial bodyguards to the Massachusetts governor. When Gage took over as military governor of the province, sparks flew. He summarily fired Hancock, and war broke out soon after. They have been known through the centuries as the Governor’s Cadets, the Independent Company of Cadets, the Boston Independent Company, and the First Corps of Cadets, and they’ve served Massachusetts and the United States in domestic emergencies, and wars from the Revolution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Learn more about this unique unit, and their role in the lead up to the Revolutionary War, in this week’s show!
This week’s episode examines two people who chose to live as hermits in and around Boston. When you think of a hermit, your mental image is probably a monk or an aging eccentric in a cabin in the woods somewhere. But our subjects this week sought out that kind of solitary existence among the hustle and bustle of the growing city of Boston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. James Gately was known as the Hermit of Hyde Park, and Ann Winsor Sherwin was the Hermit of Boston Harbor. Listen to the show to meet these unique characters!
This week, we’re going to talk about a woman who studied medicine at a time when very few women could access higher education at all, and an African-American who became a physician at a time when half of this country believed that she could be owned by another American. Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler would study in Boston and become America’s first black female doctor. Listen to this week’s show for her story!
Your hosts Nikki and Jake are away this week, but through the magic of podcasting, we’re still able to bring you this mini-sode. Since we’re exploring Iceland, land of the Vikings, it only makes sense to bring you the story of a 19th Century Boston millionaire who was convinced that Vikings had once settled along the Charles River. Listen to this week’s episode to find out why!