Paul Revere is known for his midnight ride, but what about the rest of his life? He was no stranger to hard work and challenge, and he had a strong love of family and country.
- Paul Revere’s father grew up in Midi, France, a beautiful farming area. His family were Huguenots, a specific religion, which the king of France did not like.
- The king made a law that if the Huguenots in France would change their religion, they could stay. Otherwise, they had to leave or face persecution, imprisonment, loss of property, or even death.
- Paul Revere’s grandparents were too old to leave, but they wanted their son to have a better life. When he was thirteen, they put him on a boat, knowing they would never see him again.
- Paul’s father sailed to Guernsey, off the coast of England, and then to America. An uncle paid for his passage on the ship and sent money for the boy to be apprenticed to a silversmith in Boston.
- The boy was homesick. He couldn’t speak English and the other boys in Boston teased him. He worked hard, learning to speak English and to mold silver. He changed his French name, Apollos Rivoire, to Paul Revere, which was easier for the English to pronounce.
- But he never forgot his French name, which means He taught his son, Paul Revere, “Take the oak as your pattern of life, for it is a strong and useful tree. There are many trees more showy than the oak, but none is so staunch, so honorable, and so good.” (America’s Paul Revere by Esther Forbes, 1974).
- Paul Revere went to school until he was thirteen, learning how to read, write, and do sums. After that, he began to learn the silversmith trade with his father. He worked hard and became one of the best silversmiths in Boston, if not all of New England.
- When Paul was eighteen, his father died, leaving the shop to him. He had to work hard to provide for the family and take care of his mother, who lived with him all her life.
- When Paul was twenty one, he went to fight in the French and Indian War, leaving his mother to manage the home and care for her five younger children. He was a good soldier, but he was glad to come back to Boston a year later.
- He married Sarah Orne and they lived in his father’s house. Paul was becoming a famous silversmith.
- The British tax laws soon made it difficult for people to trade in Boston. Everyone, including Paul, was poor. Paul learned to make copper plates and he also learned dentistry since silver was expensive and few people could afford it anymore.
- Paul Revere belonged to a political group that met at a tavern, The Green Dragon, to discuss what to do about the British. He was there during the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party.
- And on the night of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren asked Paul Revere to ride to Lexington to warn John Hanco-ck and Samuel Adams of a conspiracy to capture them, and then to ride to Concord to warn the colonists that the British were coming to take a stockpile of weapons and arms. Paul Revere rode through the night, with his lesser known partner, William Dawes, alerting towns along the way. Revere was captured by the British, but eventually released.
- When the war was over, Paul Revere went back to being a silversmith. He made beautiful church bells, one of which is in King’s Chapel in Boston. You can also still see his house if you visit Boston.
Watch a video about Paul Revere’s ride.