In November 1889 this memorial stone of polished granite was first erected near the Pepperell Covered Bridge by a great-great-grandaughter of Prudence Wright, Mrs. H. A. Pevear of Lynn Mass, to commemorate the heroism of her ancestress.
Pepperell’s Prudence Wright, an American patriot, was extremely committed to the cause of liberty in the time leading up to the Revolutionary War. And in April 1775, at the start of the War, a group of resolute women led by Prudence Wright immortalized themselves and the covered bridge crossing by defending it against British spies.
With the minutemen of Pepperell, Groton and Hollis NH rallied to the revolutionary cause and marching to Concord, word was sent from house to house for the women to gather. 30-40 women, equipped with the few remaining guns, pitchforks and whatever else would serve as a weapon and wearing men’s clothing possibly to represent more formidably to whoever may pass, assembled at covered bridge to stand guard. Prudence Wright was elected their captain and they became known as “Mrs. David Wright’s Guard.”
Soon after nightfall, horses were heard approaching. Prudence ordered a halt. The horsemen turned to run, but the women seized their horses. One rider drew his revolver and was about to use it when the other, Prudence’s own brother who supported the Crown, made him lower it, saying: “I recognize Prude’s voice and she would wade through blood for the rebel cause.” The men were dismounted and searched, and dispatches from the British forces in the field, to the British General in Boston were found upon them.
Click here to view the Guardian of the Bridge, a historical account of the Prudence Wright event written by Mary P. Shattuck.
Click here to view a summary biography of Prudence Wright near the time of the revolution.
Visit the Town of Pepperell web site www.town.pepperell.ma.us to view written entries in Town Meeting archives from 1777 regarding the payment made to Prudence Wright’s Guard during the Revolutionary War.
From a poem written by Susan H. Wixon, of Fall River, and published in the “American Monthly Magazine,” Nov., 1899.
“The women over field and farm
Kept faithful watch and ward;
Shielded the town from ev’ry harm,
Nor thought their duty hard.
They guarded bridge and forest wood.
These women fair and slight;
And for the right they ever stood.
At morning. noon and night.
The story of their gallant feat
Flew swift o’er hill and dell;
And “Reg’lars” then, cared not to meet
Prudence of Pepperell.
Their country’s honor. in an hour
Most serious and grave,
Was thus upheld with grace and power.
By women true and brave.
And on the scroll where heroes’ names
Appear in shining light.
With names our country proudly claims.
Gleams that of Prudence Wright.”
Below is the Prudence Wright monument being installed on August 10th by David Babin of Babin Landscaping of Pepperell with the help of the Pepperell DPW. The monument which was in storage for about two and a half years is now safely in it’s new home at the Prudence Wright Overlook in Pepperell Mass.