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CULTUREIFY

Paul Revere’s Ride was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860. The poem was published in the “Atlantic Monthly” during 1861.  It was this poem and words that would relegate a man, Paul Revere, from relative anonymity to a national folk hero in American history.  The poem pays homage to patriot, Paul Revere’s historic April 18-19, 1775 ride on horseback to Lexington, Massachusetts, alerting Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the arrival of British troops .

While we may not  know much about Revere beyond this historic ride, his life was a long, well lived, productive one. Here are some facts about the infamous rider, Paul:

Paul Revere’s Ride was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860. The poem was published in the “Atlantic Monthly” during 1861.  It was this poem and words that would relegate a man, Paul Revere, from relative anonymity to a national folk hero in American history.  The poem pays homage to patriot, Paul Revere’s historic April 18-19, 1775 ride on horseback to Lexington, Massachusetts, alerting Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the arrival of British troops .

While we may not  know much about Revere beyond this historic ride, his life was a long, well lived, productive one. Here are some facts about the infamous rider, Paul:

Paul Revere was born in Boston during December 1734, as the second child of Apollos Rivoire, a French Huguenot immigrant. His mother, Deborah Hichborn, was the daughter of a local artisan family.  Out of his 9-12 siblings, Paul would be the eldest surviving son in the family.

Revere obtained an education at the North Writing School, and also learned the intricacies of gold and silversmithing from his father.  By the age of nineteen, following his father’s death,  Paul labored beneath the staggering weight of being the main source of income for the family.

Revere married Sarah Orne in August of 1757. She died in 1773 and he soon married Rachel Walker. Revere sired a total of 16 children with his wives.

During 1756, Revere volunteered to fight the French at Lake George, New York.  There, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant of the colonial artillery.

Revere also engaged in political activities through a variety of personal and business connections with members of local organizations. Through these activities, Paul found himself, in the year proceeding the Revolutionary War, gathering information on the movements of British Soldiers. He also acted as a courier for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. He also rode express to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Incredibly, Revere also had the dubious honor of sharing the news of the Boston Tea Party in Philadelphia and New York.

History leaves us with these facts:

At 10 pm on the night of April 18, 1775, a forty-something-year-old Revere received instructions from Dr. Joseph Warren to ride to Lexington and warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the British approach….

Here is the story of “The Ride of Paul Revere” as excerpted from The Paul Revere House.

“On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren and instructed to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. After being rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown by two associates, Paul Revere borrowed a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin. While in Charlestown, he verified that the local “Sons of Liberty” committee had seen his pre-arranged signals. (Two lanterns had been hung briefly in the bell-tower of Christ Church in Boston, indicating that troops would row “by sea” across the Charles River to Cambridge, rather than marching “by land” out Boston Neck. Revere had arranged for these signals the previous weekend, as he was afraid that he might be prevented from leaving Boston).

On the way to Lexington, Revere “alarmed” the country-side, stopping at each house, and arrived in Lexington about midnight. As he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sentry asked that he not make so much noise. “Noise!” cried Revere, “You’ll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!” After delivering his message, Revere was joined by a second rider, William Dawes, who had been sent on the same errand by a different route. Deciding on their own to continue on to Concord, Massachusetts, where weapons and supplies were hidden, Revere and Dawes were joined by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. Soon after, all three were arrested by a British patrol. Prescott escaped almost immediately, and Dawes soon after. Revere was held for some time and then released. Left without a horse, Revere returned to Lexington in time to witness part of the battle on the Lexington Green. ”

After the war had fully engaged, Revere served as Lieutenant Colonel in the Massachusetts State Train of Artillery and also as a Commander of Castle Island in Boston Harbor.  Revere’s otherwise unremarkable military career ended with the Penobscot expedition.

His career:

During his career as a gold and silversmith, he produced simple pieces of silverware to exquisite full tea sets. Throughout Revere’s lifetime, his work was highly regarded and is respected today as a celebrated achievement in American decorative arts.

Revere also supplemented his income, before the Revolution, as a copper plate engraver. He produced illustrations for books, magazines and other paper ephemera. Between 1768 to 1775, Paul also contracted as a dentist. He cleaned teeth and worked with wire implantation of false teeth. Note: It’s reported, contrarily to popular belief, Paul did not create or fabricate President George Washington’s false teeth.

Revere business interests in the years following the Revolution expanded exponentially. Running a small hardware business, he imported goods from England until 1789. In 1788, he had opened a foundry which supplied bolts to spikes to nails for shipyards. He would supply the brass fittings for the U.S.S. Constitution, and produced cannons and bells.

Revere was reported to have opened the first copper rolling mill in North America in 1801. Revere Copper and Brass, Inc., is the descendant of Revere’s rolling mill. Though now manufactured by another company, you may recognize also, “Revereware” copper-bottomed pots and pans. This cookware name, Revere, has been a part of American history since then.

A Freemason from 1760 to 1809 and holding several offices, a member of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association, Revere continually sought to improve the conditions of artisans and small businessmen.

Paul Revere retired in 1811, at the ripe old age of 76, leaving his copper business to his children. He would die of natural causes on May 10, 1818 at the age of 83. He is buried in Boston’s Granary Burying Ground.

An obituary commented about Paul Revere;  “seldom has the tomb closed upon a life so honorable and useful.”

Audio courtesy of the Freesound Project.

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