Paul Revere

Paul Revere

Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 10 May 1818 (aged 83)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 865 · View Source
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Revolutionary War Patriot, Silversmith. He is best remembered for alerting the Colonial militia of the approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts on the night of April 18, 1775, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem, "Paul Revere's Ride." He was born in Boston, Massachusetts; his father was of French Huguenot descent and a silversmith by trade. At the age of 13, he left school and became an apprentice to his father. In 1754, his father died and he was not of the legal age to assume the silversmith business. In 1756, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Massachusetts Provincial Army, that was sent to capture a small French Fort at Crown Point in upstate New York. He soon returned to Boston to take control of his father's business. Following the end of the French and Indian War (or the Seven Years' War), his business began to decline due to a downtrend in the British economy that was further exasperated by the Stamp Act of 1765. He took up dentistry to help support his family and in 1765 he joined the "Sons of Liberty" and produced engravings with political themes and other artifacts, including his famous depiction of the Boston Massacre which occurred in March 1770. In November 1773, when the merchant ship "Dartmouth" arrived in Boston harbor with the first shipment of tea that was subjected to the British-imposed taxes of the Tea Act, he was one of the ringleaders of the Boston Tea Party that occurred on December 16, 1773, when colonists disguised as Native Americans boarded the ship along with two others and dumped the tea into the harbor. In early April 1775, when it became apparent that British troops were going debark from their ships in Boston Harbor and march to Lexington and Concord to seize arms and possibly arrest the rebellion's leaders, the citizens were alerted to move their cache of weapons. Revere had provided instructions to the sexton of Boston's North Church to send a signal by lantern in the church steeple on what route the British would use to begin their march, with one lantern meaning they would use the land route and two lanterns meaning they would go by water, across the Charles River. He crossed the Charles River, eluding British detection, and started on his journey to Lexington by horseback, warning patriots along the route. After reaching Lexington around midnight, he, along with William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, continued to Concord. At Lincoln, they were detained by a British patrol but Dawes and Prescott escaped; Revere and other captives were being escorted back to Lexington when they heard gunfire. Thinking they were being attacked, the British patrol freed the captives and headed back to Concord to warn their superiors. Revere walked to where John Hancock and Samuel Adams were staying and helped them escape. As a result of the Lexington and Concord battles, he could not go back to Boston and stayed in Watertown, where his wife and children (except for the oldest son) joined him. He requested and was denied a commission in the Continental Army but was retained by the provincial congress for courier duties and to print local currency to pay the American troops. In November 1775, he went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to learn the art of making gunpowder from the only powder mill in the colonies. After some difficulties with the mill's owner, he was able to gather enough useful information to build a powder mill at present-day Canton, Massachusetts, which was extremely effective in supplying gunpowder for the Patriot forces during the Revolutionary War. He returned to Boston in 1776 and in April, he was commissioned a Major of infantry in the Massachusetts Militia but resigned in September 1779 due to the failed attempt of the American forces during the Penobscot Expedition, for which he was finally exonerated by a court martial hearing in 1782. Returning to Boston, he struggled as a merchant due to the economic times but became successful as a silversmith by moving away from high-end customized products to the production of standardized genteel goods that was more affordable to the general population. With the introduction of flatting rolling mills, he was soon able to branch out into the manufacturing of other metal products, such as bell making, copper sheeting, and the creation of spikes, which led to greater opportunities. After the Revolutionary War, he opened a hardware and home goods store as well as an iron foundry which produced utilitarian cast iron items such as stove backs and window weights. Starting in 1792, his foundry became known as one of America's best-known bell casters. In 1794, he expanded his product line by casting cannon for the federal and state governments as well as private individuals and by 1795, his foundry business provided the United States Navy with copper bolts, spikes, and other fittings for the construction of ships. In 1801, he became a pioneer in the production of rolled copper and opened the first copper mill in North America. His copper and brass works eventually grew, through sale and corporate merger, into the Revere Copper and Brass, Incorporated. He remained politically active, even after his retirement in 1811. He was twice married and had 16 children, of which eleven survived to adulthood. He died at his home in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 865
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Paul Revere (21 Dec 1734–10 May 1818), Find a Grave Memorial no. 865, citing Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .