For nearly 60 years, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Virginia have observed March 15 as Peter Francisco Day to honor the Portuguese-born patriot who was kidnapped and abandoned by pirates, then bought as a slave. He won his personal freedom and, ultimately, that of a nation, by enlisting and serving in the Continental Army. March 15, 1781, was the date of the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina, during which Peter Francisco fought with fury unparalleled in military history. Wielding the incredible six-foot broadsword fashioned for him by George Washington, Peter cut down eleven British Grenadiers.
The First Peter Francisco Day
The Honorable Edmond Dinis of New Bedford, Massachusetts, where Peter Francisco Square stands, was the first to file legislation designating the date in 1953. Dinis realized that despite Peter Francisco’s heroic contributions for American freedom and independence, he was becoming a “forgotten man.” He also knew that those in the area, including thousands of Portuguese-Americans, would wish to remember and honor those whose sacrifices established the United States of America…. read on!