Sunday, June 3, 2012

My (Elizabeth's) Relationship with Paul Revere and His Family

     I know the Revere family quite . Paul’s eldest daughter Deborah was a year younger than I was. I remember when his first wife—Sarah-- died in childbirth and less than two months later the baby born that night also died. It was a sad time for the Reveres. Paul remarried a 28-year-old spinster Rachel Walker just five months after Sarah died. Less than a year later Rachel had her first child with Paul and they named him Joshua. I was training as a midwife at the time and I was the one who helped deliver him into the world. 

      Most of you have heard about the story of Paul Revere on that famous night of April 18, 1775.  According to the poem written in 1860, the fictionalized account of this incident inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s visit to the Old North Church, Paul Revere and William Dawes waited for a signal from the steeple of the Old North church here in Boston. One lantern in the steeple indicated the regulars (meaning the soldiers--we were all British subjects!) were coming by land, a second lantern indicated that they were crossing the Harbor by sea (two lanterns shown in the steeple that night.)
           I remember the occasion a little differently. Revere and Dawes left Dr. Warren’s house that evening. Paul and Dawes knew before they left how the regulars were planning to cross. The reason I know this is that I told them. I was privy of the information and took that information to Dr. Joseph Warren’s house. The reason for the signal in the Old North Church was not so that Revere and Dawes would know how the regulars were coming. Like I said, they already knew. The signal was so that the patriots on the other side of the Boston Bay would know how the regulars were going so that they would know where to gather when the regulars did arrive.
      The plan was that Dawes would take the land route and Revere would row across the Harbor and ride a borrowed horse to Lexington and onto Concord, Massachusetts to warn the Massachusetts countryside that the Regulars were coming to seize munitions stored at Concord, and arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams, the leaders of the revolt. Dawes and Revere met up on the road near Lexington. A local man, Samuel Prescott joined them on their ride. Regulars along the road captured Dawes and Revere, but Prescott made good his escape. He was the one who made it to Concord and warned Hancock and Adams.
    My own participation isn't well known in this drama, but I played a significant role in the events of that night. Read Soldiers don't Cry when it comes out and the reason my participation wasn't well documented should be clear.

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