We have all probably heard the story of how Paul Revere made a midnight ride, but did we hear the true story? I have been thinking a lot about Paul Revere lately so I thought I would do a historical post today. Much of the information for this post came either from the World Book Encyclopedia or America The Last Best Hope (both as quoted below).
Paul Revere was born on January 1, 1735, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was the son of a silversmith. His family descended from French Huguenots, and their family name was originally Rivoire. His father changed the name to Revere "that the Bumpkins should pronounce it easier" (James Kirby Martin, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16, p 267). Paul learned the silversmith's trade and entered his father's business after schooling and marriage.
Paul became interested in obtaining liberty for the American colonists and worked with some of the leaders of the revolution, particularly John Hancock and Samuel Adams. He was a participant in the Boston Tea Party and served as a messenger for the Boston patriots. The British were well aware of him long before his famous ride.
When the British commander in chief, General Thomas Gage, was instructed by King George III to enforce order among the colonists, Gage sent an army of 700 men to Concord to destroy military supplies and to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The orders were secret but had been leaked to the patriots. Paul Revere rode to Concord to warn the patriots there to move the military supplies.
Two days later when the British army assembled to make the march, Joseph Warren, a patriot leader, sent Revere and William Dawes to warn Adams and Hancock in Lexington and patriots in Concord. Paul arranged for a signal to warn friends in Charlestown. It would be flashed from the Old North Church steeple in Boston. One lantern would mean the British were coming by land, and two lanterns meant they were coming by sea.
Somewhere around 10:00 p.m. on April 18, 1775, Revere left Boston by boat, going right past the British ship. He arrived in Lexington about midnight on a borrowed horse. According to William J. Bennett in America The Last Best Hope, p 78) "Revere shouted '… The regulars are coming out!' (Revere would only have confused colonists if he had yelled: `The British are coming,' since Massachusetts people still thought of themselves as British."
Revere, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott left for Concord about 1:00 a.m. They were surprised by a British cavalry patrol, who captured Revere. The only one to get to Concord was Prescott. Revere was allowed by the British to return to Lexington but without a horse. Revere fled to Burlington with Adams and Hancock but returned the next day to Lexington to get important papers from Hancock's trunk.
Because of the warning, minutemen (thus named "because they could be ready for military duty in a minute" according to Bennett in America, The Last Best Hope, p 78) were waiting in Lexington when the British arrived.
Revere continued to support the cause for liberty by commanding a garrison during 1778-1779. He printed the first Continental paper currency. When the war started he learned to manufacture gun powder. During and after the war he continued the silversmith trade. He made copper plates for printing and engraving, cast cannon and bells in bronze, and made copper fittings for the U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides").
Paul Revere the great patriot died in 1818 after serving his country well for many years.
I own a small fry pan made by Revere Ware. I wondered if there were any connection to Paul Revere and went to the company site to find the following information, which I find interesting. "Revere Ware Corporation began as a division of Revere Copper & Brass, a metal company based in New York. Revere Copper & Brass was formed in 1928 from a merger of six small copper and brass companies. One of the six firms in the 1928 merger traced its roots back to the famed American revolutionary and silversmith Paul Revere."
It always makes life a little bit more interesting when we know the history behind the experience. Did you learn anything new about the midnight ride of Paul Revere?