Paul Revere - Encyclopedia

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PAUL REVERE (1735-1818), American engraver and patriot, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the 1st of January 1735. He had a meagre schooling, and in his father's shop learned the trade of a goldand silversmith. In 1756 he was second lieutenant of artillery in the expedition against Crown Point, and for several months was stationed at Fort Edward, in New York. He became a proficient copper engraver, and engraved several anti-British caricatures in the years before the War of Independence. He was one of the Boston grand jurors who refused to serve in 1774 because parliament had made the justices independent of the people for their salaries; was a leader in the Boston Tea Party; was one of the thirty North End mechanics who patrolled the streets to watch the movements of the British troops and Tories; and in December 1774 was sent to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to urge the seizure of military stores there, and induced the colonists to attack and capture Fort William and Mary - one of the first acts of military force in the war. His midnight ride from Charlestown to Lexington on the 18th-19th of April 1775, to give warning of the approach of British troops from Boston, is Revere's most famous exploit; it is commemorated by Longfellow, who, however, has "paid little attention to exactness of fact" (Justin Winsor). In 1775 Revere was sent by the Massachusetts provincial congress to Philadelphia to study the working of the only powder mill in the colonies, and although he was allowed only to pass through the building, obtained sufficient information to enable him to set up a powder mill at Canton. He was commissioned a major of infantry in the Massachusetts militia in April 1776; was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of artillery in November; was stationed at Castle William, defending Boston harbour, and finally received command of this fort. He served in an expedition to Rhode Island in 1778, and in the following year participated in the unsuccessful Penobscot expedition. After his return he was accused of having disobeyed the orders of the commanding officer, was tried by court-martial, and was acquitted. After the war he engaged in the manufacture of gold and silver ware, and became a pioneer in the production in America of copper plating and copper spikes for ships. In 1795, as grandmaster of the Masonic fraternity, he laid the cornerstone of the new State House in Boston, and in this year also founded the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, becoming its first president. He died in Boston on the 10th of May 1818.

See Charles F. Gettemy, The True Story of Paul Revere (Boston, 1905).

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