Paul Revere – His Ride & Associations with Freemasonry
Paul Revere’s Ride
The primary goal of the Brittish regulars was to apprehend the leaders of the opposition, Sam Adams and John Hancock. There secondary goal was, to disarm the populace along the way.
Here’s the whole story of Paul Revere’s ride:
Revere confronted 2 British regulars manning a road block as he headed north across Charlestown Neck. As he turned around, the regulars gave chase and he eluded them. He then continued on to Lexington, to the home of Jonas Clarke where Sam Adams and John Hancock were staying. There, his primary mission was fulfilled when he notified Adams and Hancock that “The Regulars are coming out!” (he never exclaimed, “The British are coming”. This would have made no sense at the time since they considered themselves British).
Revere and Dawes then headed for Concord and came across Doctor Prescott who then joined them. They decided to alarm every house along the way.
Just outside of the town of Lincoln, they were confronted by 4 Regulars at another road block. They tried unsuccessfully to run their horses through them. Prescott, who was familiar with the terrain, jumped a stone wall and escaped. Revere and Dawes tried to escape and shortly into the chase they were confronted by 6 more regulars on horseback. Revere was surrounded and taken prisoner. Dawes got away as they were taking Revere into custody.
The British officers began to interrogate Revere, whereupon Revere astonished his captors by telling them more than they even knew about their own mission. (HA!) He also told them that he had been warning the countryside of the British plan and that their lives were at risk if they remained in the vicinity of Lexington because there would soon be 500 men there ready to fight. Revere, of course, was bluffing.
The Regulars had Revere remount his horse and they headed toward Lexington Green, when suddenly, they heard a gunshot! Revere told the British officer that the shot was a signal “to alarm the country!”. Now the British troops were getting very nervous (hehe).
A few minutes later, they were all startled to hear the heavy crash of an entire volley of musketry from the direction of Lexington’s meeting house and then the Lexington town bell began clanging rapidly! Jonathan Loring, a Lexington resident captured earlier, turned to his captors and shouted “The bell’s a’ ringing! The town’s alarmed, and you’re all dead men!”
The British officers then talked urgently among themselves and decided to release their captives so as they would not slow their retreat.
A few notes:
The purpose of the British road blocks was to prevent the colonists from communicating with each other outside of their towns. Their primary mission to capture Hancock and Adams, they thought, was top secret.
The town bell was actually ringing to alert the Lexington Company of Militia to assemble on the town common because the British regulars were on the march. It was a general alarm, not an alarm of an imminent threat.
The heavy crash of an entire volley of musketry was the result of a group of men discharging their guns prior to entering the tavern – many of the taverns at that time prohibited their patrons from entering with loaded weapons and the only way to unload a musket is to discharge it.
BTW, as a side-note, I’ve come across several accounts of public school teachers, who for some reason, are determined to dismiss the importance of Revere’s ride. They all have the same comment which is simply, “Revere was captured by the British”.
Imagine if you were a child in the public school and you bought that line. What a shame!
I’d rather our children are not even be taught pre-civil war history (as is the case in my school district) if they are going to re-write it or brush over such important and interesting facts.
One book I would highly recommend for all those out there interested in the beginning of the Revolution, would be “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett-Fisher.
The True Story of Paul Revere
By Charles Gettemy
In the Foreward to his book, “The True Story of Paul Revere” published in 1906, author Charles Gettemy states:
“Paul Revere was not a statesman. Nor was he, in the usual acceptance of the term, even a great man. His immediate paternal ancestor had crossed the seas to carve out success in the new world, and had educated his son in the shop and the school.
“The time was big with portentous events. The wonderful new ideas of the rights of man were causing Europe to throb with the pulse-beats of human liberty, and rude pioneers in America were unconsciously becoming the subjects of the same stirring emotions. Men like Otis, Hancock, Warren and the Adamses soon began to disturb the peace by agitating against the abstract tyrannies of the mother country, and wherever they blazed the way they found ready and willing followers.
“Revere was one of the latter. He had the keen zest of the citizen whose patriotism is of the lusty type that causes him to wish to take an active part in all movements that make for civic progress, and civic progress from 1760 to the Revolution meant enlightened resistance to British parliamentary aggression.
“Most men like Revere— somewhat above the average of the mass, but not possessing the usual elements of enduring fame– pass out of life eulogized by their fellow-citizens; remembered by a circle of admiring and respecting friends until they also 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– the witchery of a poet’s Imagination. His famous ride on the night of the 18th of April, 1775, remained unsung, if not unhonored, for eighty-eight years, or until Longfellow in 1863 made it the text for his Landlord’s Tale in the Wayside Inn.
“It is to Longfellow’s simple and tuneful ballad that most persons undoubtedly owe their knowledge of the fact that a man of the name of Revere really did something on the eve of the historic skirmish at Lexington which is worth remembering.”
In his book Gettemy describes the details before, during and after Revere’s famous ride. Quoting from witnesses, participants and Revere himself, the author erases the many fictions surrounding the event, replacing them with the actual facts.
This is the life story of one of the peripheral characters of the Revolution often overlooked, standing as he does in the shadow of the likes of Washington, Jefferson and Franklin. But it’s a life story worth knowing.
By Christian M.
Paul Revere was born on January 1, 1735 in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied at the North Grammar School in Boston. He served for a short time in the French and Indian War. After the war, he married Sarah Orne and entered his father’s silversmith business.
Paul Revere soon became interested in the issue of American liberty. He received lots of attention from political cartoons he drew. Paul Revere was a member of the “Sons of Liberty.” On December 16, 1773, he took part in the Boston Tea Party.
On April 18, 1775, Revere and William Dawes were sent to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of British plans to march from Boston to seize patriot military stores at Concord. A signal was established to warn if the British were coming by land or by sea. From the steeple of the Old North Church in Boston, two lanterns would mean the British were coming by sea, and one would mean by land. One lantern was lit. The British were coming by land.
Revere left Boston around 10 PM. Along the road to Lexington, he warned residents that “the British are coming!” He arrived in Lexington around midnight riding a borrowed horse. At 1 AM, Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott left for Concord. Revere was captured. Only Prescott got through to Concord.
Revere was released without his horse and returned to Lexington. At Lexington he joined Adams and Hancock and fled into safety in Burlington. Revere returned to rescue valuable papers in Hancock’s trunk. When the British arrived on April 19, the minutemen were waiting for them. In 1778 and 1779, Revere commanded a garrison at Castle Williams in Boston Harbor. Revere left the service in disrepute.
During and after the war, Revere continued his silversmith trade in Boston. He died on May 10, 1818.
BOSTON – TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 1998
THE HOME FORUM
Paul Revere’s Ride: April 18-19, 1775
9:30 p.m.: William Dawes, a tanner, rides slowly past British guards on Boston Neck, the only land route out of the city.
10 p.m.: Paul Revere contacts friends to hang two lanterns in the Old North Church. That’s a signal to patriots in Charlestown that British troops are coming by sea, and to prepare a horse for an express rider. The troops aim to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Lexington, and seize munitions at Concord.
10 p.m.: British troops are quietly awakened for their secret mission. Between 800 and 900 troops will be ferried from an isolated beach in the Back Bay across to Cambridge.
11 p.m.: Revere lands in Charlestown and begins his ride. Soon he runs into British sentries who give chase. Revere outruns them, but now must alter his route. He passes Mystic (Medford) about 11:30.
Midnight: Revere arrives at the Jonas Clarke home. Samuel Adams and John Hancock are there. Revere urges them to flee. Dawes arrives later. He and Revere set off to warn Concord.
12:45 a.m.: Dawes and Revere are overtaken by Samuel Prescott of Concord, who has been visiting his fiancée in Lexington.
1 a.m.: The trio run into more British patrols. Dawes and Prescott escape, though Dawes is thrown from his horse. Prescott rides on to Concord. Minutemen gather on Lexington Green.
2 a.m.: Revere is released, but his horse is confiscated. He walks back to Lexington. Meanwhile, British troops reassemble in Cambridge and begin their march. Later, six light companies – about 250 men – are sent ahead. But the element of surprise is gone.
3 a.m.: Revere arrives back at the Clarke house and finds it in an uproar. Hancock wants to stay and fight and is arguing with Adams. As dawn nears, Hancock is persuaded to flee. British troops, marching quickly, are now in Menotomy (Arlington).
4:30 a.m.: Hancock’s clerk, John Lowell, alerts Revere to another crisis. Hancock has forgotten a large trunk stuffed with secret papers. He and Revere hurry to Buckman Tavern.
5 a.m.: Some 250 British Regulars are confronted by about 70 militia gathered on Lexington Green. British officers order the militia to disperse. As the Minutemen comply, a shot is fired. Revere, lugging Hancock’s trunk into the woods with Lowell, hears the shot but can’t see who fired it. The British troops begin firing volleys, and a few militia shoot back. The American Revolution has begun.
Later that morning, British troops march to Concord and split up to secure the North and South Bridges. Soldiers sent farther on to seize munitions at a farm house discover they are too late; the arms have been moved. Minutemen at the North Bridge rout
The URL for this story is:
What is the true story of Paul Revere’s ride?
On April 18, 1775, 700 British troops crossed the Charles River and marched toward Concord, hoping to cut off the rebellion before it started by capturing guns and powder stored there. Two lights in the steeple of North Church in Boston alerted Paul Revere and Billy Dawes, another rider, who raced toward Lexington to warn the “Minutemen,” farmers trained as militia to serve at a “minute’s notice.” Revere was captured and detained briefly by British soldiers who retained his horse, forcing him to walk home. Dawes was thrown from his horse but escaped on foot through the woods. Only Dr. Prescott, who had joined them, escaped by jumping on his horse, clearing a stone wall in the dark and reaching Concord. In the running battle at Lexington and Concord, eight Minutemen died. British losses: 73 dead and 174 wounded.
Funky Facts About Paul Revere
Did you know that Paul Revere did not finish his Midnight Ride?
Paul Revere was accompanied by two other men on his ride. All three were stopped on their way to Concord after leaving Lexington, and held by British troops. Revere’s two companions escaped. Revere finally got away. Left without a horse, he had to walk to Concord.
William Dawes was one of the men accompanying Revere on his infamous ride. Are you familiar with this man? Helen F. More has written a piece entitled What’s in a Name? Thispiece looks at the ride that made Revere so famous, from the not so famous perspective of William Dawes.
Did you know that Paul Revere was a well known silversmith in his time? He made things such as silver, copper, and even molded teeth. All of this is documented and preserved at The Paul Revere House.
How did Paul Revere become so famous?
Many claim that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Paul Revere’s Ride lifted him from obscurity, and made him into the legend we know of today.
To teach students about Paul Revere you must look at all of the information and piece together what you think is important, interesting, and even entertaining.
Some sites that may help you gather some interesting and fun material and/or information include:
Paul Revere and the Minutemen
This site includes focus questions, answers, suggested readings, and links related to Paul Revere. It is a great resource for teachers and can be adapted for any level.
The Spirit of Paul Revere
This site provides a brief history of the life of Paul Revere.
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
This site is named after a book of the same name by Jean Fritz . This site gives teachers a glimpse at the book. It also offers related sites for future lessons. This is a wonderful resource for expanding a lesson on Paul Revere through language arts.
The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere: From History to Folklore
This site is great as a reference for teachers. It includes an account of Revere’s story, interpretations, and great pictures. Any teacher could use this as a stepping stone for a future lesson. Some interesting facts/accounts turn up in this site. It is worth a visit.