Paul Revere was a renowned silversmith and copper-plate engraver in Boston, widely admired for political caricatures, particularly one that depicted the Boston Massacre. His fame was assured by a popular poem that recounted his exploits as a courier on the evening before the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775.
Apollos Rivoire, father of the patriot, was a French Huguenot tradesman who ventured to America to escape religious persecution at home. He Anglicized his name to Paul Revere and gave that same name to one of his sons. The young Paul Revere received a basic education at Boston’s North Writing School and then, instead of going to college, was apprenticed to his father in the gold and silver smithing trade. Responsibility for the family fell into his hands in 1754 when his father died.
Despite family obligations, Revere volunteered in 1756 for service in the Lake George campaign in the French and Indian War. The following year he married Sarah Orne, who became the mother of eight children; after her death in 1773, Revere married Rachel Walker and they had eight more children. Even though not all survived, Revere remained under pressure to be financially productive for his family — a likely explanation for the array of business enterprises he launched during his lifetime.
Revere was a highly talented gold and silversmith and was known throughout New England. His silver bowls and tea services were highly prized. He also was accomplished as an engraver on copper plate, the technology of the day that enabled illustrations to be printed in magazines, pamphlets and books. Revere offered services as a dentist, carving false teeth and wiring them into place for Bostonians. During the War for Independence, he built a badly needed powder mill and commanded soldiers at Castle William in Boston Harbor; he also suffered the embarrassment of detention for disobeying orders in the ill-starred Penobscot campaign, but was later cleared of all charges. Following the war, he operated a hardware store and built a foundry that manufactured fittings for Boston shipbuilders. He also opened a copper rolling mill in nearby Canton that provided the sheathing for the dome of the Massachusetts statehouse and the hull of the USS Constitution.
Revere became politically active during the Stamp Act Crisis in 1765. He was an early member of the Sons of Liberty, a participant in the Boston Tea Party, and a rider for the local committee of correspondence, making trips to New York City, Philadelphia and various locations throughout New England. Revere also played a pivotal role as a middleman between Boston’s artisan community and the revolutionary leadership. He was a member of St. Andrew’s Masonic Lodge, where he established friendships with James Otis and Dr. Joseph Warren, and was well acquainted with other patriot spokesmen, such as John Hancock, John Adams and Samuel Adams.
Revere's role in warning his fellow countrymen before the battles at Lexington and Concord was noteworthy, but clearly overstated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, written in 1860 and published the following year.
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Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer.
Paul Revere's Midnight Ride looms as an almost mythical event in American history—yet it has been largely ignored by scholars and left to patriotic wr...
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? by Jean Fritz.
Everyone knows about Paul Revere's midnight ride. But not everyone knows the harrowing details and narrow escapes that occurred along the way. This ti...