Robert Newman

Robert Newman

Birth
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 26 May 1804 (aged 52)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 6077 · View Source
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Revolutionary War Patriot. He was the long serving sexton of Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts, serving in that role from 1772 until his death in 1804. He entered the lore of United States history for his participation in warning colonial patriot riders Paul Revere and William Dawes about the night time movements of British troops on April 18, 1775. Along with vestryman Captain John Pulling, Jr., he was tasked to hang lit lantern in the tower of the Old North Church to signal if the occupying British, intent on moving on Concord, Massachusetts, to seize and destroy munitions that the colonists had been stockpiling there, were moving out of Boston either by the land land (one lantern) via the Boston Neck or by the sea by crossing the Charles River to Cambridge (two lanterns). Robert Newman, informed the British were first crossing the Charles, hung two lanterns, after which Revere and Dawes rode off to warn the Massachusetts militiamen. Newman hung the lanterns for only a minute to not arouse British suspicion, but that was enough time to signal the warning. The next day, April 19, 1775, the militiamen confronted the British at Concord, shots were fired, and the Revolutionary War began. The British arrested Newman the same day, but he was able to convince them he didn't have the keys to the Church, and was released. The act of using the signal lanterns were immortalized in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere".


Inscription

Here Rests
The Patroit Who Hvng The Signal Lanterns
In The Chvrch Tower, April 18, 1775


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 10 Aug 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6077
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Newman (20 Mar 1752–26 May 1804), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6077, citing Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .