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Prince Estabrook gravestone
*The birth of Prince Estabrook is celebrated on this date in 1741. He was a Black slave and Minutemen Private Patriot.
Born in Ashby, Massachusetts, he belonged to the family of Benjamin Estabrook, from whom he took his last name. He enlisted in the Lexington Militia in 1773. On April 19, 1775, he was one of the Lexington Minute Men awaiting the arrival of the British Regulars at the Buckman Tavern. In the following battle, Estabrook was wounded on Lexington Green, the first battle of the American Revolutionary War.
An undated broadside from the time identified him as "a Negro Man," spelled his name Easterbrooks, and listed him among the wounded from Lexington. He was the first Black soldier to fight in the American Revolution. The State Archives of Massachusetts says he was from the Lexington Militia commanded by Captain John Parker, the first to engage the British at Lexington. He was paid for participating in a Cambridge detachment from July 17–18, 1775. He served in the army off and on until 1783.
His master, Benjamin Estabrook, granted him emancipation following his service in the Continental Army. He is buried in the graveyard behind the First Parish Church Unitarian Universalist in Ashby, Massachusetts. He was honored in 2008 by the city of Lexington with a monument erected in front of Buckman Tavern as being the first Black combatant of the American Revolution and for representing the thousands of slaves who fought for their country even though their freedom was not afforded to their people until almost a hundred years later.
The inscription on the marker reads: In Honor of Prince Estabrook -- Prince Estabrook was a slave who lived in Lexington. This monument is dedicated to the memory of Prince Estabrook, and the thousands of other courageous black patriots long denied the recognition they deserve. -- Donated by the Alice Hinkle Memorial Fund.