His arms were firm, his wrists strong, he had a soft stomach and was medium in height. His courage unquestioned and his patriotism unmatched. Paul Revere was well-connected and well-respected among the Whigs of Boston. His New England accent was ordinary, yet his character complex. Many layers made up the man of Paul Revere. His genetics were made up of French Huguenots and English Protestants, but his blood was completely American. He was a second generation American. He was ambitious, yet loyal to a cause bigger than himself. He was a Calvinist and Freemason and was devout in both pursuits. He was a regular church goer and was master of the local Masonic lodge. He pursued his own fortune, yet kept in mind the needs of others. His Calvinism led him to be fatalistic, but his American ideals made him optimistic. He was many different things, but above all he was first and foremost an American. He was willing to take risks and risk it all on an idea that men were created equal. He had his flaws, like all men, but overcame them to become a subject of legends.
Paul Revere grew up in Boston and attended Boston’s North Writing School when he was seven years old. The North Writing School was known for its Calvinism and strict discipline. It taught young Revere quite a bit of disciple, but he maintained his curiosity. The combination of discipline and curiosity would lead to his success in the future. He was taught that all men have two callings: one general and one specific. Generally, all men were called to serve the mission of Jesus Christ. Specifically, all men were called to a specific vocation.
Paul Revere would become a goldsmith, working primarily in silver. When he was nineteen years old his father died and Revere took over the business. He struggled at first, but through hard work he would eventually succeed. He refined his skill and lent it out to different businesses within his scope of skill. He produced copper plating, illustrations for printers (Revere would illustrate the Boston Massacre), and even false teeth, but he primarily worked within silver. Over time he gained affluence in Boston.
He married Sarah Orne in 1757 and proceeded to have eight children with her. Unfortunately, due to so many consecutive children, Sarah died in 1773 from exhaustion. Five months later Revere married Rachel Walker who was eleven years younger than him. He proceeded to have eight more children with her. He had 16 kids in all, however tragedy would strike the Revere household as it did for many in that day. Out of his sixteen children, five would die as infants and five more would die in young adulthood. He took each of their losses hard, like any father would.
The Revolutionary War Era
Paul Revere was active in the military and politics. He served in the French and Indian War as a lieutenant of artillery. After the war was over he was a member of five political groups within Boston, including the well-known “Sons of Liberty.” Through these groups he became well entrenched in Bostonian culture. Most knew him and he knew most, including many that were British. This would serve him well during his Midnight Ride.
By the time that April 18, 1775 came along, Revere was one of the most influential leaders behind the scenes. He was the “connector” of great people. When Dr. Joseph Warren learned that General Thomas Gage was on the move he sent Paul Revere and William Dawes to deliver a message to John Hancock and Samuel Adams. This ride would make him a national hero, but he did much more than that. He also mobilized the militia, other couriers and alarm systems that night. Without Revere Lexington and Concord may have been different.
After the war Revere resumed his business while staying active in politics. He was a Federalist and disliked the policies of the Jeffersonian Democrats. He also used his influence to ratify the Federal Constitution. In business he was an innovator and had incredible foresight. He began making church bells shortly before the Second Great Awakening occurred, which he profited greatly from. He was also one of the first manufacturers of copper sheets. The sheets that he manufactured were placed on the U.S naval ship the Constitution. The old revolutionary would retire to his estate and enjoy his fifty grandchildren. There he would die in 1818.