Forgotten History … The Midnight Ride …

Those of us who live in the United States are probably familiar with this poem:

Paul Revere’s Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.” (1)


While this isn’t the full poem it is part of the poem that most remember but who was Paul Revere? Aside from the midnight ride what do you know of him? How much do you really know about the American History or the Founding Fathers?

Paul Revere was born in January of 1735 in Boston MA. He passed away in May of 1818 in Boston MA.

He was the son of a Huguenot silversmith, received a rudimentary ‘writing-school’ education before becoming a silversmith himself. When his father Apollos Rivoire passed away, Paul was 19 and took over the family trade. Over the next 20 years he became one of the preeminent goldsmith (a term that encompassed the precious metal craftsman’s art in the 18th century) As a sideline, he practiced what passed for dentistry in his day. 2

He participated in public affairs and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1756 during the failed expedition against Crown Point. He became a Freemason in 1760 and soon had joined 2 more overtly political groups – The Sons of Liberty and The North End Caucus.

He worked with Samuel Adams’s gradually accelerating movement for independence as a courier and did propaganda pictures engravings.

The highlight of his Whig activity came on the night of April 18-19, 1775 when he was ordered by Joseph Warren to cross the Charles River and ride to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British troops were coming. He ended his service after the disastrous expedition to Castine, Maine.

After his military service was done Revere turned his energies to commerce. He developed a profitable foundry and hardware business as well planned and established the nation’s first successful sheet -copper mill. This would allow the country to copper bottom all its ships including the Frigate USS Constitution.

He was a grand master of the Masonic Grand Lodge, as one of the organizers of Boston’s first successful mutual fire insurance company, as Suffolk County coroner and the first president of the Boston Board of Health.

So, as we can see there was much more to Paul Revere than just a Midnight Ride.



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2 thoughts on “Forgotten History … The Midnight Ride …

Add yours

  1. I am extremely familiar with this topic. I’m writing a historical fantasy novel covering the Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, and The Battle of Bunker Hill. There are SO many interesting people and events that made up the spring of 1775! Paul Revere’s contributions were definitely widespread and often not understood.


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