The Historic Paul Revere

 Paul Revere
A Brief Biography

1734 - In December Paul Revere is born in North End, Boston. He learns reading and writing at the North Writing School. At age 12 he learns silversmithing from his father. He earns extra money ringing the bells at Old North Church. When he is 19 his father dies, and he becomes the family's main supporter.

1755 - At the age of 21, he volunteers to fight the French in upstate New York, and becomes a second lieutenant. A year later he marries Sarah Orne and together they have eight children.

Paul Revere - Silversmith

False Teeth Made to Order
 As a silversmith, Paul creates pieces ranging from simple spoons to full tea sets.When times get hard he advertises as a dentist. He not only cleans teeth, but also wires in false teeth carved from walrus ivory or animal teeth. During other times he works as a copper plate engraver and an engraver of business cards, political cartoons, bookplates, a song book and bills of fare for taverns.

Paul becomes involved with secret patriot organizations such as the Committees of Correspondence and the Sons of Liberty. He is an excellent rider and carries messages between the different patriot groups in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

1770 - Paul is now 35 years old and buys this house in North Square . This is the house you can see today on the Freedom Trail in Boston. You will be able to take a virtual tour of his house in Exhibit Hall 3.

Paul continues to ride as a messenger for the highly secret Committees of Correspondence and the Sons of Liberty.

1770 - On March 5 tensions are high between the British troops and the townspeople of Boston. Snowballs, ice, sticks and rocks are thrown at the guards, knocking one British soldier to the ground. The crowd daringly yells, "Fire on us!" and the British soldiers in their panic finally do. Five colonists die. This would become known as "The Boston Massacre."

This engraving by Paul Revere is an early example of American propaganda. The poster is full of inaccuracies, but it makes the colonists even angrier with the British troops in Boston. They blame England for the death of the 5 colonists.

Eight British soldiers are tried for the incident, and in a surprising twist are defended by John Adams, a leading Patriot. Paul draws a more accurate illustration that was used at the trial. Six of the nine British soldiers are found innocent.

Boston Massacre Engraving - 1770

1773 - Sarah Revere dies after the birth of their eighth child, and soon after Paul marries Rachel Walker with whom he will have eight more children. Later that year he participates in the Boston Tea Party, and rides to New York and Boston with the news of that event. Paul takes an oath of secrecy to never tell of his participation in the Tea Party. Although others later reveal that he was there, Paul keeps his word and never takes credit for participating. (Even though the "Tea Party Indians" were considered heroes after the Revolution.)
Boston Tea Party - 1773

1774 - The British Parliament closes Boston Harbor, and Paul is selected by the Patriots to ride to Philadelphia with the news.
British ships close Boston Harbor - 1774

1775 - On the night of April 18th and 19th, Paul makes his famous Midnight Ride to Lexington to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British are marching to arrest them. Along with William Dawes and other riders, he warns the countryside of the British march. He witnesses the "shot heard 'round the world" as fighting breaks out in Lexington.  

After the Revolution Paul runs a small hardware store and imports goods from England. By 1788 he opens a foundry (metal factory) which makes bolts, spikes and nails for North End shipyards (including brass fittings for the U.S.S. Constitution). He also makes cannons and casts bells.  

Revere opens the first copper rolling mill in North America in 1801 and provides copper sheeting for the hull of the U.S.S. Constitution and the dome of the new Massachusetts State House in 1803. Revere Copper and Brass, Inc. is still in business (it's now owned by Corning) and is best known for "Revereware" pots and pans.

In 1811, at the age of 76, Paul Revere retires and leaves his copper business to his sons and grandsons. His wife Rachel and son Paul both die in 1813.

Revere dies on May 10, 1818 at the age of 83, leaving five children, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Paul Revere is buried in Boston's Granary Burying Ground.

You can find out more about Paul Revere at the Revere House Online Museum