Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, notable for playing a significant role in American history and literature. The area that became the town of Concord was originally known as Musketaquid, situated at the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers. Native Americans had cultivated corn crops there, where the rivers were rich with fish and the land was lush and arable. In 1635, a group of British settlers negotiated a land purchase with the remnants of the local tribe. The name Concord was given to the town in appreciation of the peaceful acquisition.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord was the initial conflict in the American Revolutionary War. On April 19, 1775, a force of British Army regulars marched from Boston to Concord to capture a cache of arms that was reportedly stored in the town. There, colonists from Concord and surrounding towns repulsed a British detachment at the Old North Bridge and forced the British troops to retreat. The conflict was subsequently remembered as “the shot heard ’round the world.”
Concord has a remarkably rich literary history, centered in the mid-nineteenth century around Ralph Waldo Emerson, who moved to the town in 1835 and quickly became its most prominent citizen. Emerson was at the center of a group of like-minded Transcendentalists living in Concord. This group included Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau.