June 28, 2011

Who Was Paul Revere? Four Little-Known Facts About Boston’s Favorite Patriot

Elementary schools in Massachusetts tend to give students the impression that Paul Revere spent most of his time riding horses at midnight, warning fellow American freedom-fighters that the big bad British were on their way to wreak havoc on quiet-city Boston. And while this depiction is more accurate than what a former vice-presidential candidate -- who shall remain nameless -- recently put forth, there is a lot more to the story of Boston’s most famous patriot.

1. La Connexion Française

Paul Revere was the son of a French immigrant, Apollos Rivoire, who was born in 1702 in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, France. After immigrating to the New World, Apollos Rivoire anglicized his name to Paul Revere, a name that he would then pass on to his second child. Born in 1734 in the North End of Boston, Paul Revere, Jr. clearly did not take too much pride in his French ancestry, as he volunteered to fight against the French in 1756 during the French and Indian War.

2. 16 Kids and Counting

During Paul Revere’s 83-year lifespan, the midnight-rider married twice and had 16 children. In 1757 he married Sarah Orne and together they had eight children: one son and seven daughters. Soon after Sarah’s death in 1773, Revere married Rachel Walker and together they also had eight children: five sons and three daughters.

3. Conspiracy Theorists Take Note…

Paul Revere was a member of that uber-mysterious organization known as Freemasonry. More specifically, he became a Knight Templar and Royal Arch Mason at the Masonic Lodge of St. Andrew in 1769. From 1794 through 1797, Revere served as the “Most Worshipful Grand Master” of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

4. The Many Hats of Paul Revere 
(and Not All of Them Tri-Cornered)

The occupations of Paul Revere were as varied as they were numerous. While oft remembered for being a soldier, a political activist and a courier for the Massachusetts Committee of Safety as well as the Boston Committee of Correspondence, Revere’s primary occupation was that of a metalworker. While starting out as a silversmith and goldsmith like his father, Revere would later work with copper and brass, opening Revere Copper and Brass, Inc. in 1801. Other name tags Revere wore included “engraver,” “illustrator,” “merchant,” and even “dentist.” Between 1768 and 1775, he cleaned teeth and installed false teeth using metal wire.