Monday, April 7, 2014

Listen My Children and You Shall Hear...

...Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April,  in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

A Mort Kunstler painting:  "The Regulars Are Coming Out!"
From the beginning,  this poem,  written in 1860 and published in 1861 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,  was meant to be a poem and not a historical account of the infamous ride of American Patriot Paul Revere.  As is stated on the Paul Revere Heritage Project website,  “(Longfellow)  meant to retell the story taking the liberty to dramatize Revere’s individuality,  patriotism and the fight for independence.  Longfellow created a national icon from a local folk hero hardly known outside Massachusetts.  He also dramatized Revere’s ride creating a national myth.
During  (the last half of the nineteenth century Longfellow’s poem was considered a historical account and evidence of what happened the night of April 18,  1775 and many textbooks were written based on Longfellow’s poem.  During the 20th century,  textbook writers and historians tried to portray a more objective account of the facts.  They argued about the inaccuracies of the poet’s account and what were the real events,  they tried to demythologize the poem. 
Nevertheless,  Longfellow's poem has become so successful and ingrained in every American mind that readers no longer remember it as a poem but as a national legend.  It is a reminder of the patriotism that led to independence and a part of the American culture."

So let's look at a few of the facts,  including from Mr. Revere himself,  and see what actually occurred on that fateful night over 240 years ago:
For a number of years before Paul Revere made his ride,  tension between the Colonists and British Troops had been on the rise,  both in the city of Boston and in surrounding towns.  The Royal Government  (the British government in Massachusetts)  wanted to ensure that troops would be able to secure the colony in case of rebellion.  It was because of situations such as this that in the 1770s Paul Revere immersed himself in the movement toward political independence from Great Britain.  As the acknowledged leader of Boston’s mechanic class,  he proved an invaluable link between artisan and intellectual.  It's said that on December 16,  1773,  he donned Indian garb and joined over a hundred other patriots in what became known as the Boston Tea Party protest against parliamentary taxation without representation:

“Rally Mohawks,  and bring your axes
And tell King George we’ll pay no taxes
on his foreign tea;

His threats are vain,  and vain to think
To force our girls and wives to drink
his vile Bohea!
Then rally,  boys,  and hasten on
To meet our chiefs at the Green Dragon!
Our Warren’s here,  and bold Revere
With hands to do and words to cheer,
for liberty and laws;
Our country’s  “braves”  and firm defenders
shall ne’er be left by true North Enders
fighting freedom’s cause!
Then rally,  boys,  and hasten on
To meet our chiefs at the Green Dragon.”

This poem or song has been called a celebratory street song of the streets of Boston in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Tea Party on the evening of December 16,  1773.  Though some feel it was written directly after the event occurred,  I have my doubts on that for the level of secrecy in naming those involved was of utmost importance,  and the mention of Dr. Warren and Paul Revere would have most certainly put the two men in peril.
I would tend to believe it was more than likely written shortly after the Revolutionary War,  perhaps the later 1780s,  or maybe in the very early 19th  century.
With this uprising,  and others before it,  orders went out to confiscate weapons that the Colonists had been storing throughout the countryside.  Several parties of British troops had been sent up the coast to confiscate ammunition in Salem and parts of what is now New Hampshire.  In both of those cases,  Paul Revere and other riders who were members of the Sons of Liberty,  alerted the townspeople of the movement of British troops well before those troops could reach their destinations.  The munitions were successfully hidden and the British troops were humiliated. 
Christ Church/Old North Church
When General Gage,  the Commander of British forces in North America and a parishioner at the Old North Church  (known at the time as Christ Church),  decided to seize the weapons and ammunition at Concord,  he didn’t want to risk another humiliating failure,  so he devised a secret plan.  On the evening of April 18th,  1775, he would order his British soldiers cross the Charles River and march the remaining 15 miles to Lexington under the cover of darkness,  arrive at sunrise to collect the armaments and return to Boston before the townspeople could organize their resistance. 
However,  someone found out about General Gage's secret plan—some believe,  with good reason,  it was his own American-born wife,  Margaret Kimball Gage,  who informed the leaders of the Sons of Liberty that the troops were on the move by way of the shorter water route across the inner harbor.  The  'Sons'  would send their two best riders ahead of the British army,  William Dawes and Paul Revere.  Dawes and Revere were not to ride all the way to Concord,  where the British were headed,  but to stop halfway in the town of Lexington,  for Samuel Adams and John Hancock were thought to be the objects of the expedition,  and this informer reported that the plan was to seize the two men and burn the stores at Concord. 
Paul Revere and others from the Sons of Liberty had prepared for this troop movement and set about to alert their fellow countrymen that the British Regulars  (the British soldiers,  sometimes referred to as Redcoats)  were heading their way.  Revere's mission,  however,  was not solely to alert the countryside of the British taking the armaments of Concord;  part of his purpose was to specifically warn Adams and Hancock of their probable arrest.
Understand,  Revere and Dawes were just two men and the fear of being caught was great.  With military occupation came military curfews,  which restricted when people could leave their homes.  So Paul Revere devised a backup plan to make sure his message would leave Boston even if he could not.
Revere enlisted the help of over thirty additional riders.  He placed them across the river in Charlestown and ordered the militia leaders to look to the steeple of Old North Church every night for signal lanterns,  the number of which indicating when the British army was leaving Boston and by which route.  One lit lantern meant the British would march over the Boston Neck,  a narrow strip of land and the only road connecting the town to the mainland,  which would take a considerable amount of time.  Two lit lanterns in the steeple meant the British would take a shortcut by rowing boats across the Charles River into Cambridge,  cutting valuable time off their journey.  That’s where we get the famous line from Longfellow’s poem,  “One if by land,  two if by sea.”
Revere asked Robert Newman,  the Old North Church sexton  (caretaker)  if he would send the back-up signal to warn the patriots in Charlestown,  just in case Revere himself was captured on his ride before he could spread the alarm that the Regulars were on the move.
Revere,  who was not a member of the Old North Church,  knew it well because he had been a bell-ringer there as a 15 year old boy.  He knew that lanterns shining from the steeple of the tallest building in Boston at the time would clearly be seen on the other side of the harbor.
The Old North Church with two lanterns lit
Newman was a friend of Revere's and agreed to help.  So about 10:00 pm that evening,  he entered through the front doors of the church.  Captain Pulling was the other person who actually climbed the 154 stairs with Newman to get to the ladder to take them up into the steeple,  all this with the lanterns hung around their necks by leather thongs.  When you think about it,  this took nerves of steel and great courage to do,  for Newman had to creep out of an upstairs window of his home across the road from his church.  British officers were quartered downstairs at the time and he had to sneak over without being seenHe then went up the stairs to the balcony and slipped through the doorway that is now behind the organ.  From there he climbed the 14-story steeple in complete darkness.  When he reached the very top,  he lit and briefly held up two lanterns in the steeple window.
Although Newman hung the lanterns for probably less than a minute,  it was long enough to be seen not only by the patriots,  but also by the British troops.  As Newman was coming down the stairs,  British soldiers were at the front doors,  trying to break in to investigate.
To escape arrest,  Newman came down the center aisle,  and escaped through the window to the right of the altar.   It is now called the  “Newman”  window in his memory.  Above the window is the replica of Newman’s lantern that was lit by President Gerald Ford on April 18,  1975,  to begin our nation’s Bicentennial Celebration.
So here,  from General Thomas Gage’s own church - the King’s church - the lanterns which ignited the American Revolution were shone ever so brightly.
Paul Revere himself wrote in a letter to Jeremy Belknap,  Corresponding Secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society dated in 1798  (original spelling intact): 
"The Sunday before,  by desire of Dr.  Warren,  I had been to Lexington,  to Mess. Hancock and Adams,  who were at the Rev. Mr. Clark's.  I returned at Night thro Charlestown;  there I agreed with a Col.  Conant,  and some other Gentlemen,  that if the British went out by Water,  we would shew two Lanthorns in the North Church Steeple;  and if by Land,  one,  as a Signal;  for we were aprehensive it would be dificult to Cross the Charles River,  or git over Boston neck."
So while it remains what it has always been---a commonplace 18th century lantern---the one remaining original that was lit at the Old North Church on the night of April 18,  1775 has become one of America's greatest historical treasures,  and now belongs to the Concord Antiquarian Society.  Robert Newman must have had a strong personal interest in preserving the lanterns,  probably because he was put in jail on suspicion of lighting them. 
This is one of the actual lanterns that hung in the steeple of the Old North church on April 18,  1775.  What an amazing piece of American history!
"We would shew two LanthornS in the North Church Steeple;  and if by Land,  one,  aS a Signal;  for we were aprehensive it would be dificult to CrosS the CharleS River,  or git over Boston neck"
~Original quote from Paul Revere~

So now,  getting back to the story...
“Two if by Sea”
Painting by Mort Kunstler
On the night of April 18,  1775,  the Whigs were keeping a careful eye on the steeple of the Old North Church.  In the night it appeared as a slim black sphere,  silhouette against the starry southern sky.  Suddenly they saw a flicker,  and then a flash of light.  They looked again,  and two faint yellow lights were burning close together high in the tower of the church.  It was the signal that Paul Revere had promised if British troops were leaving Boston by boat across the Back Bay to Cambridge.
The men of Charlestown acted quickly on the signal.  Some went down to the water's edge to look for Revere,  while others hastened to find him a horse.  It is said Revere was in his own house at the time a few blocks from the church.
As Revere wrote: 
I was sent for by Dr.  Joseph Warren,  of said Boston,  on the evening of the 18th of April,  about 10 o'clock;  when he desired me,  ''to go to Lexington,  and inform Mr. Samuel Adams,  and the Hon.  John Hancock Esq.  that there was a number of soldiers,  composed of light troops,  and grenadiers,  marching to the bottom of the common,  where there was a number of boats to receive them;  it was supposed that they were going to Lexington,  by the way of Cambridge River,  to take them, or go to Concord,  to destroy the colony stores."
The time was 10:15 when he headed to the river where friends ferried him across to find  "a very good horse"  was waiting.  Kicking the animal into an easy cantor,  he turned west on the moonlit road toward Lexington. 
Replica Rev War-era powder horns
Outracing a British patrol he encountered --- "I had almost got over Charlestown Common towards Cambridge when I saw two Officers on Horseback,  standing under the shade of a Tree,  in a narrow part of the roade.  I was near enough to see their Holsters & cockades.  One of them started his horse towards me and the other up the roade...I turned my horse short about,  and rid upon a full gallup for Mistick Road"--- Revere followed the Mystic River,  which he crossed,  and entered Medford over a plank bridge.  Here  "I awaked the Captain of the minute men:  and after that I alarmed almost every house till I got to Lexington."
Bells rang, drums beat---"The regulars are out!"  Women gathered children and silver and fled to swamps.  Men seized muskets and powder-horns.  Other men mounted and rode off to other towns to carry the warning.
Though Paul Revere may not have been personally getting off his horse to ring bells during his ride,  he was telling the folks of town to ring the warning bells so everyone would know there was an emergency.  This was their system of mass communication before CNN,  Facebook,  internet news,  TV,  and radio.
And it certainly got the message out.
"Ring the warning bells!  The Regulars are coming out!"
Revere's message to the King's Army in his warning was also a  'you're not going to take citizen's arms and ammunition.'  Remember,  the British were  going out to Concord to seize colonists' arms,  the weapons that the Massachusetts Provincial Congress was stockpiling there.  That was one of their objectives,  with the other thought to have been to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams.

Hancock-Clarke House - 
Where John Hancock and Samuel Adams
were staying the night of April 18, 1775.
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Close to midnight Paul Revere came into Lexington,  loudly calling out the warning,  we are told,  that the British Regulars were coming and the farmers and shopkeepers should leave their warm beds and prepare to muster as citizen-soldiers.  He went straight to the Jonas Clarke parsonage to warn a sleeping Hancock and Adams where,  in hearing the commotion outside,  the sentry requested he not make so much noise.  "Noise!"  Revere cried out,  "You'll have noise enough before long!  The Regulars are out!"
Upon recognizing Revere's voice,  Hancock welcomed him inside where he told the men of his journey and of the news of the regulars destination.  'Billy'  Dawes,  who had taken a different route to Lexington to sound the alarm,  had not yet arrived and it was thought he might have been captured.  It was thirty minutes later that Dawes did show. 
After resting briefly,  Revere and Dawes were off again to deliver the same message to Concord,  being joined en route by Dr.  Samuel Prescott.
However,  about halfway to their destination,  the men came across four British officers,  pistols drawn---"if you go another inch you are dead men."  Immediately,  Dawes and Prescott were able to get away,  (and Prescott being the only one of the three making it to Concord),  but, according to Revere,  "an officer seized my bridle,  put their pistols to my Breast,  ordered me to dismount,  which I did." 
"Sir, may I crave your name?"  an officer asked.   
"I answered my name is Paul Revere."
"...he was a-going to ask me some questions, 
 and if I did not tell the truth, 
he would blow my brains out."
Delighted to find he had bagged the infernal Paul Revere,  their commander  "clapped a pistol to my head,"  Revere later recalled and said,  "he was a-going to ask me some questions,  and if I did not tell the truth,  he would blow my brains out."  Revere was undaunted and told them of the thousands of militiamen then gathering in the area,  warning them away from Lexington,  where trouble and colonial forces would be waiting for them.  He assured his captors he was telling the truth.  They believed his warning,  particularly when they heard the bells of Lexington ringing in alarm and gunfire from the same direction.  What the officers did not know was the gunfire they heard was not the beginning of a battle as thought,  but actually just the men of town emptying their loaded weapons before entering the tavern - a time-honored American rule.
Anxious now for their own lives,  they released Revere and two other captives and rode away.
When Hancock and Adams fled after Revere's warning,  they left behind a trunk of important papers at Munroe Tavern.  Knowing this,  Revere made it back to Lexington as quick as he could.  "I set off with another man to go back to the tavern,  to inquire the news;  when we got there,  we were told the troops were within two miles.  We went into the tavern to get a trunk of papers belonging to Col.  Hancock.  Before we left the house,  I saw the ministerial troops from the chamber window.  We made haste,  and had to pass through our militia,  who were on a green behind the Meeting House,  to the number as I supposed,  about 50 or 60,  I went through them."
From the inside cover of the Esther Forbes book on Paul Revere
Able to ride off with the trunk without being caught,  Paul Revere heard the first shots of the Revolutionary War.

In a painting done around 1770,
American Painter John Singleton Copley
shows Paul Revere as a natural, down-to-earth
tradesman in simple clothing,
absent ornamentation in fashion or studio. 
Although many  "historians"  (yes,  I am using quotes because I do question the validity of many so-called historians)  have relegated Paul Revere as a minor player in history and his famous ride as a relatively insignificant event - some even saying it was an unneeded ride - I beg to differ;  Revere,  for all he did in his planning and during his ride,  was definitely more important than the  "bit player"  the so-called scholars would have us believe.  Truth be known,  in trying to dispel Longfellow’s myth of a lone hero,  modern scholars have portrayed Revere as just one faceless rider among dozens on April 18-19,  1775,  and even argued that his previous rides for the Patriot Cause might have been more important.  A survey of newspapers from 1774 and 1775 shows that,  in fact,  those earlier rides had made Revere prominent enough that he did stand out in reports of the fighting at Lexington and Concord,  even as Massachusetts authorities kept the extent of his activities quiet.
Too,  Revere was a man who was well known throughout New England for his engravings,  his silver work,  his Masonic fellowship and,  yes,  his political activity.  He also worked as an express rider for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety in 1774 and early 1775 and frequently carried letters,  newspapers,  and other important communication between cities,  including Boston,  Hartford,  New York and Philadelphia.  Revere’s early dispatches related to some of the biggest American events of the eighteenth century,  including news of the 1773 Boston Tea Party,  and in December 1774,  he rode to Portsmouth to alert local Patriot leaders that the Royal Navy was on its way to seize gunpowder and arms from Fort William and Mary..

And though there were numerous other riders that went out on the night of April 18 to give warning about the Regulars' march,  as well as many others who played an important role in the activities of the Patriots,  Revere was definitely very well known,  even before Longfellow's poem. 

As noted Revolutionary War historian and author Todd Andrlik wrote in his excellent and highly recommended web site Journal of the American Revolution:
Reading a broadsheet while in a tavern: May 1, 1775:
Mr. Paul Revere, who left Boston to acquaint
Messrs. Hancock and Adams of the design
against them, was taken prisoner,
but got clear again by a stratagem.”
“Newspaper printers would eagerly print Revere’s tidings,  frequently attributing the particular intelligence to being delivered by  “Mr. Paul Revere,”  and often emphasizing his name in all capital letters.  At least 33 New England newspaper issues  (from 10 different New England titles)  prominently plugged Paul Revere,  the express,  during the 10-month window between 9 May 1774 and 12 March 1775.  Even newspapers in the middle and southern colonies,  as well as overseas,  frequently re-attributed content from Philadelphia,  New York and Boston to Paul Revere’s dispatches.
Revere’s name also appeared in the newspaper reports of the Battle of Lexington and Concord  (and)  among the frenzy of private correspondence racing across the American countryside in late April 1775,  at least two letters originating from the Hartford area mentioned Paul Revere by name.  This extraordinary volume of newspaper coverage certainly cemented Revere’s popular status as the principal Patriot messenger.
(Mr. Andrlik's book,  "Reporting the Revolutionary War,"  by the way,  is a wonderful historical look at the times through the eyes of the colonists.  Andrlik gathered Revolutionary War information directly from the newspapers and broadsheets of the time.  As it states on the front cover before it was history,  it was news.  And the back cover information says:  For the first time,  experience the sparks of revolution the way the colonists did - in their very own town newspapers and broadsheets.)  
Below is a list of Paul Revere’s American newspaper coverage in the aftermath of April 18 & 19,  1775:

Pennsylvania Gazette June 7,  1775
(From Todd Andrlik,  Journal for the American Revolution)
  1. April 27 New-York Journal
  2. April 28 Pennsylvania Mercury  (Philadelphia)
  3. April 29 Pennsylvania Ledger  (Philadelphia)
  4. May 1 Pennsylvania Packet  (Philadelphia)
  5. May 1 New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury
  6. May 3 Pennsylvania Journal  (Philadelphia)
  7. May 9 Maryland Gazette  (Baltimore)
  8. June 7 Pennsylvania Gazette  (Philadelphia) – Gordon’s account
  9. June 10 Supplement to the Pennsylvania Ledger (Philadelphia) – Gordon’s account
  10. June 15 Supplement to the New-York Journal - Gordon’s account 
As you can see,  Paul Revere's April 18th,  1775 ride made plenty of news in the papers and broadsheets at the time,  and was even noted quite prominently in a well-known history book printed in 1850  (see bottom of post for a link).  But it was 236 years later,  in 2011,  when his ride certainly made national headlines once again after Sarah Palin visited the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house in Boston.
And just a few years after that, they located and opened a time capsule buried by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams.
Yep - even after all these years,  Paul Revere is still making news.
The  "Midnight Ride"  of Paul Revere
April 18, 1775
Now,  don't click off just yet;  we haven't heard from Paul Revere himself about his famous ride
Mr. Revere,  the floor is now yours - - - 
(The following is taken,  in part,  from Paul Revere's own account of that fateful April night):
Painting of Paul Revere's midnight ride by A. L.  Ripley
"I,  PAUL REVERE,  of Boston,  in the colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England;  of lawful age,  do testify and say;  that I was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren,  of said Boston,  on the evening of the 18th of April,  about 10 o'clock;  when he desired me, ' 'to go to Lexington,  and inform Mr.  Samuel Adams,  and the Hon. John Hancock Esq.  that there was a number of soldiers,  composed of light troops,  and grenadiers,  marching to the bottom of the common,  where there was a number of boats to receive them;  it was supposed that they were going to Lexington,  by the way of Cambridge River,  to take them,  or go to Concord,  to destroy the colony stores.
I proceeded immediately,  and was put across Charles River and landed near Charlestown battery;  went in town,  and there got a horse.  While in Charlestown,  I was informed by Richard Devens Esq.  that he met that evening,  after sunset,  nine officers of the ministerial army,  mounted on good horses,  and armed,  going towards Concord.
I set off,  it was then about 11 o'clock,  the moon shown bright.  I had got almost over Charlestown Common,  towards Cambridge,  when I saw two officers on horse-back, standing under the shade of a tree,  in a narrow part of the road.  I was near enough to see their holsters and cockades.  One of them started his horse towards me,  the other up the road,  as I supposed,  to head me,  should I escape the first.  I turned my horse short about,  and rode upon a full gallop for Mistick Road.  He followed me about 300 yards,  and finding he could not catch me,  returned.  I proceeded to Lexington,  through Mistick,  and alarmed Mr.  Adams and Col.  Hancock."
On the way to Lexington,  Revere  "alarmed"  the country-side,  stopping at houses on the way.  He arrived in Lexington about midnight and,  as he approached the house where Samuel Adams and John Hancock were staying,  a sentry asked that he not make so much noise.  "Noise!"  he cried,  "You'll have noise enough before long.  The regulars are coming out!"
(Okay,  so this isn't really the house where Hancock & Adams stayed,  but it's as close as we have to it here in Michigan.  It's actually the home of John Giddings,  built around 1750 in Connecticut and restored to historic Greenfield Village.
Yes,  that's me on the horse you see,  by the way.
Just having a little fun)

"After I had been there about half an hour Mr. Daws arrived,  who came from Boston,  over the Neck.
We set off for Concord,  and were overtaken by a young gentleman named Prescot,  who belonged to Concord,  and was going home."

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. 
"When we had got about half way from Lexington to Concord,  the other two stopped at a house to awake the men,  I kept along.  When I had got about 200 yards ahead of them,  I saw two officers as before.  I called to my company to come up,  saying here was two of them,  (for I had told them what Mr.  Devens told me,  and of my being stopped).  In an instant I saw four of them,  who rode up to me with their pistols in their bands,  said  ''G---d d---n you,  stop.  If you go an inch further,  you are a dead man.''  Immediately Mr.  Prescot came up.  We attempted to get through them,  but they kept before us,  and swore if we did not turn in to that pasture,  they would blow our brains out,  (they had placed themselves opposite to a pair of bars,  and had taken the bars down).  They forced us in."
"When we had got in,  Mr.  Prescot said  ''Put on!''  He took to the left,  I took the right towards a wood at the bottom of the pasture,  intending,  when I gained that,  to jump my horse and run afoot.  Just as I reached it,  out started six officers,  seized my bridle,  put their pistols to my breast,  ordered me to dismount,  which I did.  One of them,  who appeared to have the command there,  and much of a gentleman,  asked me where I came from;  I told him.  He asked what time I left.  I told him,  he seemed surprised,  said ' 'Sir, may I crave your name?''  I answered  ''My name is Revere."  ''What'' said he,  ''Paul Revere''?  I answered ''Yes.''  The others abused much;  but he told me not to be afraid,  no one should hurt me.  I told him they would miss their aim.  He said they should not,  they were only waiting for some deserters they expected down the road.  I told him I knew better,  I knew what they were after;  that I had alarmed the country all the way up,  that their boats were caught aground,  and I should have 500 men there soon.

(I was ordered)  to mount my horse,  they first searched me for pistols.  When I was mounted,  the Major took the reins out of my hand,  and said,  by G-d Sr,  you are not to ride with reins I assure you;  and gave them to an officer on my right to lead me.  he then Ordered 4 men out of the Bushes, and to mount their horses; they were country men which they had stopped who were going home;  then ordered us to march.  He said to me  “We are now going towards your friends,  and if you attempt to run,  or we are insulted,  we will blow your Brains out.”  When we had got into the road they formed a circle and ordered the prisoners in the centre & to lead me in the front.
We rid towards Lexington,  a quick pace;  they very often insulted me calling me Rebel,  &c &c.  after we had got about a mile,  I was given to the sergant to lead,  he was Ordered to take out his pistol  (he rode with a hanger)  and if I run,  to execute the Major’s sentence;  When we got within about half a Mile of the Meeting house,  we heard a gun fired;  the Major asked me what it was for,  I told him to alarm the country;  he Ordered the four prisoners to dismount,  they did,  then one of the officers dismounted and cutt the Bridles,  and Saddels,  off the Horses,  &  drove them away,  and told the men they might go about their business;  I asked the Major to dismiss me,  he said he would carry my,  lett the consequence be what it will;  He then ordered us to march,  when we got within sight of the Meeting House,  we heard a Volley of guns fired,  as I supposed at the tavern,  as an Alarm;  the Major ordered us to half,  he asked me how far it was to Cambridge,  and many more questions,  which I answered;  he then asked the Sergant,  if his horse was tired,  he said yes;  he Ordered him to take my horse;  I dismounted,  the Sarjant mounted my horse;  they cutt the Bridle & saddle off the Sarjant’s horse & rode off down the road.

Left without a horse,  Revere returned to Lexington in time to witness part of the battle on the Lexington Green:
"After resting myself,  I set off with another man to go back to the tavern,  to inquire the news;  when we got there,  we were told the troops were within two miles.  We went into the tavern to get a trunk of papers belonging to Col.  Hancock.  Before we left the house,  I saw the ministerial troops from the chamber window.  We made haste,  and had to pass through our militia,  who were on a green behind the Meeting House,  to the number as I supposed,  about 50 or 60,  I went through them;  as I passed I heard the commanding officer speak to his men to this purpose;  ''Let the troops pass by,  and don't molest them,  without they begin first.''  I had to go across road;  but had not got half gunshot off,  when the ministerial troops appeared in sight,  behind the Meeting House.  They made a short halt,  when one gun was fired.  I heard the report,  turned my head,  and saw the smoke in front of the troops.  They immediately gave a great shout,  ran a few paces,  and then the whole fired.  I could first distinguish irregular firing,  which I supposed was the advance guard,  and then platoons;  at this time I could not see our militia,  for they were covered from me by a house at the bottom of the street.

 Built in 1680,  the first owner of the two-story townhouse on North Square was Robert Howard,  a wealthy merchant.  By the mid-eighteenth century,  the front roof line of the building had been raised and a partial third story added.  Paul Revere purchased the home in 1770,  moving his family here from their Clark's Wharf residence.  The former merchant's dwelling proved ideal for Revere's growing family,  which in 1770 included his wife,  Sarah,  five children,  and his mother Deborah.

Paul Revere owned the home from 1770 to 1800,  although he and his family may not have lived here in some periods in the 1780s and 90s.
After Revere sold the house,  it became a tenement with its ground floor remodeled for use as shops,  including at various times a candy store,  cigar factory,  bank and vegetable and fruit business.  In 1902,  Revere's great-grandson,  John P. Reynolds Jr.  purchased the building to prevent demolition,  and restoration took place under the guidance of architect and historic preservationist Joseph Chandler.
Despite the substantial renovation process which returned the house to its conjectured appearance around 1700,  ninety percent of the structure  (including two doors,  three window frames,  and portions of the flooring,  foundation,  inner wall material and raftering)  is original to 1680

(Information from the Paul Revere House web site)
It was because of Paul Revere's ride on the night of April 18,  1775 that the Minutemen were ready at sunrise the next morning,  April 19,  on Lexington green for the historic battle that launched the War for Independence.  The detachment of British Regulars found a part of the minuteman company already assembled on the Lexington green.  Though no one is certain who fired the first shot –  “the shot heard  'round the world”  – under the command of British Major John Pitcairn,  the regulars fired at the militia and cleared the ground.  Eight Americans were killed and 10 were wounded. 
Battle of Lexington April 19,  1775
From the New-Hampshire Gazette
April 21, 1775
Taken from the book:
"Reporting the Revolutionary War" by Todd Andrlick
The regulars marched for Concord after a short delay.
Later that day at Concord the outnumbered Americans retired over the North Bridge and waited for reinforcements.  The British occupied the town,  held the North Bridge with about 100 regulars,  and searched for stores to burn.  The smoke alarmed the Americans,  and,  reinforced to the number of about 450,  they marched down to the bridge,  led by Major John Buttrick.  The regulars hastily reformed on the far side to receive them and began to take up the bridge planks.  Buttrick shouted to them to desist.  The front ranks of the regulars fired,  killing 2 Americans and wounding more.  Buttrick gave the famous order,  "Fire,  fellow soldiers,  for God's sake,  fire!"  The American counterattack killed 2 and forced the British from the field.  The Americans did not pursue,  however,  and the British marched for Boston about noon.
At Meriam's Corner their rear guard was fired upon by rebels from Reading,  and from there to Lexington the British were under constant fire from snipers.  By the time they reached Lexington,  the regulars were almost out of ammunition and completely demoralized.
They were saved only by the arrival of Sir Hugh Percy with a column from Boston and two field pieces.  When they marched on again, the American militia dogged them all the way to Charles-town,  where,  before sundown,  the regulars reached safety under the guns of the fleet.
The casualties of the day bear no relation to its importance.  Forty-nine Americans and 73 British were killed;  the total of those killed and wounded of both sides was 366.  But the fighting proved to the Americans that by their own method they could defeat the British.  In that belief,  they stopped the land approaches to Boston before night,  thus beginning the siege of Boston.
And since this post is about Paul Revere and of the activity of the evening of April 18,  1775  (and the early morning of April 19),  I shall leave it to you to research about the other battles of the Revolutionary War and how the Americans eventually won independence.

~During the Revolution~
Paul Revere's actual military service started in 1776 and continued until 1779.  As a committed patriot Revere joined the Massachusetts infantry militia in the rank of Major.  A few months later he transferred to the artillery and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel,  and in late 1778 became commander of Castle Island in Boston Harbor.
Revere later served as an officer in the Penobscot Expedition,  one of the most disastrous campaigns of the American Revolutionary War,  for which he was absolved of blame.

~After the Revolution~
Revere expanded his tin and pewter business and began exporting his goods to England.
He also was the proprietor of a small hardware store until 1789.  On top of that he ran his own foundry where he made bolts,  spikes,  and nails for local ships.  Revere also produced cannons and cast bells.
The gravestone of 
Paul Revere
(Courtesy of the 
History of Massachusetts site)
In 1801,  he opened the first copper rolling mill in America and created copper sheeting for the hull of the U. S. S.  Constitution  (among other ships)  and,  in 1803,  the dome of the Massachusetts States House.  In 1804,  Revere befriended Deborah Sampson,  a woman who had disguised herself as a man and fought in the American Revolution,  and was so impressed with her story that he wrote a letter to Congress asking them to award her a pension for her service.  Sampson was awarded a pension the following year.
Revere continued to work well into his old age before he finally retired at the age of 76.  He became a widower again in 1813 when his wife Rachel died after a short illness.
Even as a senior citizen,  he continued to discuss the issues of the day,  and in 1814 he circulated a petition offering the government the services of Boston’s artisans in protecting Boston during the War of 1812.   
One of my favorite stories about Paul Revere is how he,  in his elderly years,  continued to dress in knee breeches and a cocked hat during the era when young men began to wear pantaloons and top hats. 
On May 10,  1818 at 83 years of age,  Revere died of natural causes at his home on Charter Street in Boston and was buried in the Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Historian James Henry Stark wrote  (in his 1907 book  "The Loyalists of Massachusetts"):  Most men like Revere,  somewhat above the masses,  but not possessing the elements of enduring fame,  are remembered by a circle of admiring and respecting friends until they pass away,  and are ultimately forgotten,  finding no place upon the pages of written history.  Paul Revere was rescued from this fate by an accident,  a poet's imagination of things that never occurred.  His famous ride remained unsung,  if not unhonored,  for eighty-eight years,  or until Longfellow made it the text for his  "Tales of the Wayside Inn."
The story of Paul Revere has been oft told,  and more recently as a children's tale,  almost turning a true historical piece of American history into a mythical falsehood along the lines of George Washington chopping down a cherry tree.
Part of the cause of this neglect,  as author and historian David Hackett Fischer wrote,  is a  "broad prejudice in American universities against patriotic events of every kind.  The only creature less fashionable in academe than the stereotypical  'dead white male'  is a dead white male on horseback."
Well said.
Part of the purpose for  Passion for the Past  is to show people in history as living and breathing, whether famous  (such as Paul Revere),  or  'just'  an everyman  (like the people of Mr.  Revere's time as noted HERE).
National pride seems to be lost in our day and age,  and I am hoping that through this blog as well as through my participation in living history,  I can,  in a small way,  have a role in changing attitudes towards our Nation's amazing past and,  instead of condemning it as is so prevalent in our modern times,  celebrate the good  (while not forgetting the bad)  and bring back some of that lost pride.  Only by diligently researching our nation's history by way of a variety of sources to learn as close as possible to what happened  (and prevent those who would revise our history from spreading their lies)  will we help people to understand,  because,  truthfully,  the media on both sides of the fence feels the need to promote their own political agenda as too many do.
That’s me as Paul Revere speaking 
to school kids.  I am holding a replica 
of the lantern that was shown in the
steeple of the Old North Church.
 (Yes, I realize Mr. Revere had not
seen the lanterns lit on that
night, but I brought it for effect).
Photo courtesy of the Macomb Daily newspaper
For me it's not a political thing but a pride thing,  and with the historical dates of April 18 and 19 looming before us,  I felt the need to write about Patriot Paul Revere and get more of the truth out.
And I felt the need to show how falsehoods,  such as Longfellow's poem and he playing a minor role in the beginnings of the Revolution,  could be passed as truth for so many years.
Plus,  to be honest,  I am fascinated by this  "everyman of middling class"  who became such an important part in our Nation's founding.  Revere was a hero of mine as a child and I am rekindling that flame.  In fact,  I portray him at school,  historical societies,  museums, and reenactments.  Oh,  I certainly have my work cut out for me to do so accurately and successfully,  but I take the challenge,  for it is my hope to be able to remove him from the children's tales mentality and bring him into his proper place in American history.  I can say this in all honesty,  it is an honor for me to  "become"  such a great patriot as Paul Revere.
So,  if I have helped you to understand a bit more about this man and his role in the beginnings of the War for our great Nation's Independence,  then I have succeeded in this.
Please remember April 18th and 19th,  1775,  for these are very important dates to celebrate in American history - dates that should be taught right along side of  December 7,  1941.

~    ~    ~

If you are interested in learning a bit about the wives of Paul Revere,  please click HERE

       ~~~~~Children of Paul and Sarah Revere:

  1. Deborah Revere,  April 8, 1758 - January 8, 1797.  She married Amos Lincoln,  a carpenter and mason. They had 9 children.
  2. Paul Revere Jr.,       January 6, 1760 - January 16,  1813.  He married Sally Edwards.  They had 12 children.
  3. Sarah Revere,  January 3,  1762 - July 5,  1791.  She married John Bradford.
  4. Mary Revere,  March 31,  1764 - April 30,  1765
  5. Frances Revere,  February 19,  1766 - June 19,  1799.  She married Thomas Stevens Eayres,  a silversmith.
  6. Mary Revere,  March 19,  1768 - August 12, 1853.  She married Jedediah Lincoln,  a carpenter.
  7. Elizabeth Revere,       December 5,  1770 - April, 1805.  She married Amos Lincoln.  (YES! this is the same Amos Lincoln that Deborah Revere, her sister married.  Elizabeth married Lincoln after Deborah died!)
  8. Isanna Revere,  December 15,  1772 - September 19,  1773
~~~Children of Paul and Rachel Revere:
  1. Joshua Revere,  December 7,  1774 - August 14,  1801.  Joshua was a merchant in business with his father.
  2. John Revere,  June 13,  1776 - June 27,  1776
  3. Joseph Warren Revere,  April 30,  1777 - October 12,  1868.  Joseph was named after Dr.  Joseph Warren,  Paul Revere's good friend and leader of the patriot movement in Boston who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  Joseph married Mary Robbins and took over his father's copper business in 1810.
  1. Lucy Revere,  May 15, 1780 - July 9,  1780
  2. Harriet Revere,       July 20, 1782 - June 28,  1860,  never married.
  3. John Revere,       December 25,  1783 - March 13,  1786
  4. Maria Revere,  July 14,  1785 - August 22,  1847.  She married Joseph Balestier,  a merchant and diplomat to Singapore.  She died in Singapore. 
  5. John Revere,  March 27,  1787 - April 30,  1847,  married Lydia LeBaron Goodwin

Until next time, see you in time.

The information you read here was taken from the following books, all of which I recommend highly: 
"Reporting the Revolutionary War"  by Todd Andrlik
"Journal of the American Revolution,"  based from the web site of the same name.
"Paul Revere's Ride"  by David Hacket Fischer was also a source in this posting, as was
"Paul Revere & The World He Lived In"  by Esther Forbes, and also
"A True Republican: The Life of Paul Revere"  by Jayne E. Triber.
"Founding Fathers"  by K.M. Kostyal - Some of what you read I took directly,  word for word,  from this book,  lest you think I am that talented.
"New Nation - The Creation of the U.S. in Paintings and Eyewitness Accounts"  by Edward G. Lengel
"The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution Vol1"  by Benson J.  Lossing.  This is the book originally published in 1850 - 11 years before Longfellow's poem supposedly made Revere famous.

V     V     V
And if you are interested in other postings I wrote about our nation's early history,  please click any one of the following links:
This first one is a  "what happened next"  posting I did - - 
April 19,  1775:  As Seen Through the Eyes & From the Quills of Those Who Were There 
This is a sort of  'Reader's Digest'  collection of descriptions,  quotes, and commentary concerning the people involved in the Battle of Lexington   &  Concord.  A  'you are there'  post.

Becoming Paul Revere
Read how I do my Paul Revere presentations

Dissecting the Copley Painting of Paul Revere
Very cool stuff most normal people don't look at

Collecting History - The Old North Church Lantern
Yep - I got the Bicentennial replica of this oh-so-important piece of American History!

Colonial Christmas
A history of Christmas in America's colonial past.

Colonial Cooking: On the Hearth
A post dedicated solely to colonial-era kitchen and cooking - lots of pictures!

Colonial Ken Visits Greenfield Village on Patriots Day
April 19 - Paul Revere and the beginning of the Revolutionary War must never be forgotten. I will do my part.

Colonial Ken & Friends - 4th of July 2014: Celebrating Independence Day in a Colonial Way
For the first time,  a few of us celebrated our Nation's birth as if it were 1776.

Colonial Ken Visits Greenfield Village for the Fall Harvest 
I'm at it again,  only this time I was able to enjoy the season of fall during the 1770s while in my period clothing.  I even got to make beer!

Colonial Ken Visits Greenfield Village on Black Friday
My annual anti-Black Friday excursion to Greenfield Village.  In colonial clothes!

Colonial Ken Visits Greenfield Village for New Year's 2015/16
I again wore my colonial clothing for Holiday Nights,  only I concentrated on the new Year's aspect of the Holiday season.  Oh what fun!

Faces of History: Original Photographs of Revolutionary War Vets
Yes,  you read it right!  Actual photos of the men who fought in the Revolutionary War

Flags of Our Founding Fathers
Learn the history of the early flags of our United States

In the Good Old Colony Days
A concise pictorial to everyday life in America's colonies

Noah Webster: Forgotten Founding Father
Yes,  the man of the dictionary fame was actually a Founding Father.  We almost lost his house to history in exchange for a parking lot.  Read all about it here.

Meet Paul Revere & Sybil Ludington
Back to the Future Day!
Here is a presentation my friend Larissa and I put together for school kids studying the founding of our nation.

Reenacting Early American History
Pre-Civil War era reenacting

Revolutionary War History - Preventing Tyranny at Salem in 1775 
How the townsfolk pulled together and beat the British - true pre-RevWar story!

Ste. Clair Voyageurs at Metro Beach: Life on the Frontier
My first time participating as a reenactor here.  In fact,  my first time attending.  It was awesome!

Thanksgiving in Colonial Times
Just how did our colonial ancestors mark this holiday?  Read on, my friends!

Travel and Taverns
To help you understand what it was like to travel and stay at a tavern in colonial times.
With Liberty and Justice For All: The Fight for Independence at the Henry Ford Museum
Telling the story of America's Fight for Independence by way of the amazing collection of artifacts in the Henry Ford Museum.

You Say You Want a Revolution
The 240th and 250th anniversary of the beginning of the Revolutionary War is at hand.  How will it be handled?

(Many thanks to Carl Wier from the blog Meandering in my RV for the use of his great photograph of Paul Revere’s House)

~   ~   ~


Heather said...

"The only creature less fashionable in academe than the stereotypical 'dead white male' is a dead white male on horseback." I laughed out loud at that point - and it's true, which is why I'm glad you wrote such a great post about this. We need to hear more about our American heroes in today's world.

Historical Ken said...

Thank you Heather.
We certainly do! We need to teach pride and good of our nation's past instead of concentrating only on the bad.
There's room for both.