Posted on

Today is Luther Holcomb Day

From John Buffington of the Historical Society of Frankford:

The Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Frankford, in the City of Philadelphia, wish to express our deep sorrow to the families of the three people murdered in the course of the assault on the Patriots’ Day celebration in Boston and the MIT security officer who apparently fell to the same killers.  We hope for healthy recoveries for all of those maimed or wounded, and send our best wishes to their families as well.

Patriots’ Day is a celebration of the devotion of the heroes of Lexington and Concord.  Because this year’s event was so tragically marred, and because we so admire the resilience of the citizens of Boston, and because there are plenty of American sacrifices for freedom to celebrate in addition to those particular skirmishes,


On April 26, 1777, Luther Holcomb spotted British troops advancing on Danbury, CT, to destroy a Continental ammunition cache.  Luther mounted his horse, rode to a hilltop, and when the enemy were just within earshot, shouted “Halt the whole universe!  Break off into kingdoms!”  Which he followed with gesticulations deploying phantom troops on the other side of the hill.  British General Tryon, somewhat confused, halted his troops long enough to allow the evacuation of Danbury.  (Thanks to Lt. Col. Horace S. Mazet, in Yankee Magazine, 1976.)

So we urge our fellow Frankfordians to raise a glass, a prayer, or a meditation, whichever suits, on the 26th of this sad month, in honor of Luther Holcomb, Benjamin Rush, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, William Dawes, Jack Jouett, Lydia Darrah, Crispus Attucks, Nathan Hale, and everyone else before or since who has hazarded life, fortune, and/or sacred honor to secure American freedom; religious, racial, and ethnic tolerance; pluralism; female emancipation; universal education; a progressive tax structure, and all of the other values of the Enlightenment that our assailants hate.