“Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere”–The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1861), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Reading of that fateful evening in question did Revere’s acknowledgement in Longfellow’s sonnet warrant mention.
Revere did ride that night but did not warn the countryside as the legendary words claim. William Dawes and Samuel Prescott were more deserving these honors. The latter two arrived in Lexington by horse to forewarn John Hancock, Samuel Adams and the inhabitants the British “regulars were coming” by sea. Revere had been captured by the British, detained and subsequently let go.
Another unfounded whisper recounts the tale in which Revere’s children took part in the event of April 18, 1775 . The narrative asserts, with his offsprings active in the residence no British soldier wished to be quartered within Revere’s homestead. (please see my website at www.tommgce.com; Paul Revere Pt. 1). The reality is, all sixteen children never lived at the 19 North Square at one time. The age difference between the eldest and youngest: thirty years.
The Paul Revere House at 19 North Square is the oldest establishment in downtown Boston. Occupied from 1770 through 1800 by the Revere ancestry the public record of the real estate goes back to 1767. In that year “the great fire” enveloped the terrain within the district as well as the estate of Cotton Mather. Mather, of course would come to be associated with the famed witch hysteria in neighboring Salem. Eventually rebuilt in 1861 by Robert Howard, this is the house we call upon today.
Believed “spacious and modern’ by late 17th century standards the wooden structure would become the last of it’s type due to its capability to catch fire. The tiny quarters might have been forfeited to history if it did not become a tenement for immigrants int he late 19th century. With the influx of Italians and the Irish to the North End, Boston became a hub of ethnicity. The Paul Revere Memorial Foundation today, showcases life in early America with research, scholarly work and exhibits. The house retells the story of the famed revolutionary hero who made an major contribution to the struggle for self–government. His status as a goldsmith saw Revere administering the placement of Copper sheets welded to the apex of the state house and the underbelly of the USS Constitution. The Canton Mill which Revere founded also gave testimony to the manufacturing of bells, including the one suspended in Kings Chapel (an Anglican church). The Revere Copper Products, Inc. is still in operation today.
Nina Zannieri, Director of the Paul Revere House states “In our presentation we try to talk about how the house was used during, before and after Revere. Not to denigrate Paul Revere, an important person whose business career requires much more study. but [this] house [is] dynamic not static. Some people prefer houses that deal with an isolated time frame; but [the Paul Revere house] really reflect change.” Next time you are in Boston’s North End stop into the oldest building within the region and discover more about our nations past.
The Paul Revere House
19 North Square, Boston
Open: 9:00am–5:15pm (April 14 through October 32)
Rest of Year–9:00am–4:15pm
Tours are self–guided