Ruth Stone Buckman
Ruth Buckman lived and worked at Buckman Tavern at the time
of the Revolution. But for being female and married, Ruth
would have inherited her grandfather’s tavern. Instead, the
business was considered her husband’s. Ruth worked there,
caring for guests, providing meals, and is understood to have
been a witness at the Battle of Lexington, likely tending to the
wounded. Ruth’s work helped sustain a business, her family
and the community.
November 26, 1744
John Buckman July 21, 1768
A son named John, born September 12, 1771, and died September 22. http://www.lexingtonhistory.org/uploads/6/5/2/1/6521332/buckman_tavern_lhs-af2011.pdf
Connection to Lexington:
Parents: Samuel Stone (August 13, 1718-April 2 1768) and Jane Muzzey (July 4 1719-February 20 1786). Jane Muzzey was the daughter of John Muzzey, Buckman Tavern’s original owner.
In April 1768 Samuel Stone died and three months later Ruth married John Buckman and he took over ownership of the tavern.
Ruth worked at Buckman Tavern managing visitors. Tasks would have included cooking and serving vast quantities of food, bartending, cleaning and laundry, managing the building’s ten fireplaces, farming, tending the animals, both their own and those of the guests, and making cider and possibly beer.
Records show that John Buckman was responsible for ringing the bells and cleaning the meeting house in 1770, meaning that Ruth may have regularly been left in charge of the tavern while John was occupied with other duties across the street, or assisted with this work.
Because of the location of Buckman Tavern to the town center and the meeting house, town meetings were sometimes held at the tavern.
Revolutionary taverns were some of the hotbeds of patriotism, and this would have included women’s as well as men’s contributions. On December 27th and 28th of 1774 Lexington had an emergency town meeting. First at the meeting house, and then the next day at the tavern, the town resolved to follow the government of the Continental Congress rather than the royal government, including paying taxes to the Provincial Congress rather than to the royally appointed treasurer. In addition, once in the tavern, the selectmen voted to provide bayonets for one-third of the town’s militia. This then became not just an illicit town meeting, but a plan for war.
The Tavern is probably best known as the rallying point for the Lexington militia who gathered there after hearing from Paul Revere that the British soldiers were marching towards Lexington.
(info comes from the presentation by Sarah McDonough from the Lexington Historical Society)
Tavern proprietor at Buckman Tavern
Link to page in Notable American Women:
Inclusion in the Lexington
Historical Society Exhibit?
Behold all you that passeth by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so you must be
Prepare for death and follow me.