Tour Historic Boston with a Relative of Paul Revere
Listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
We’re all familiar with Paul Revere’s midnight ride thanks to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem but do you know the real story? Longfellow’s version of events has all too often been taken for fact. What really happened? Beyond that, what did Revere do after his ride? He could not return to Boston for fear of being arrested by the British. What happened to his wife Rachel and their children who were left behind in Boston? You’ll learn the full answers to all of these questions and the specific details on a Walking Boston private tour given by Ben Edwards—a relative of Paul Revere.
After the events of April 18 and 19, 1775, in nearby Charlestown Paul Revere wrote a letter to Rachel asking her and the children to leave Boston and join him. In this letter Revere asked his son, 15-year-old Paul Revere Jr., to stay behind until he was sent for. You’ll learn why Paul Revere did this and how that original letter, “lost” for over 100 years, was recently rediscovered and where it can be found today.
Revere’s eldest son Paul Jr. worked as an apprentice at his father’s silversmith shop, and after serving with his father during the American Revolution, he went on to run the day-to-day operations of that business. On July 25, 1782 Paul Revere Jr. married Sally Edwards, daughter of Dolling (Dolin) Edwards and Rebecca Christie at the New Brick Church in the North End of Boston. At the wedding that day was Sally’s younger brother 17-year-old Benjamin Edwards. This Benjamin Edwards is the fourth-great-grandfather of tour guide Ben Edwards.
Paul Revere Jr. and Sally Edwards had 12 children between 1783 and 1803 including Paul Revere born in 1789. A portion of the Revere/Edwards family records in his hand is shown in the banner at the top of this page. The Reveres lived in the North End of Boston at various locations including Fleet Street, Sun Court Street, and Henchman’s Lane.
Tour guide Ben Edwards honors the memory of his ancestors by serving on the Board of Directors of the Paul Revere Memorial Association—a position he has held since 1999. His children’s book One April in Boston tells their story. It is available for purchase along the Freedom Trail at the Paul Revere House gift shop, Old South Meeting House gift shop, and Old North Church gift shop.
“Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All tour participants receive a free MP3 audio of Longfellow’s poem, a sample of which can be heard below.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” first appeared in print in a Boston newspaper on December 18, 1860; later in the January 1861 issue of The Atlantic Monthly; and finally in Tales of a Wayside Inn in the fall of 1863. The text for this recording is The Landlord’s Tale and was taken from a 1915 printing of Tales of a Wayside Inn. “Paul Revere’s Ride” is read by award-winning narrator Phil Rosenthal.
"Paul Revere's Ride" Sample
Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride Comes to Life on a Walking Boston Private Tour
You’ll view new artwork depicting the events of April 18-19, 1775 as they actually occurred
Walking Boston and Spyglass Books, LLC recently commissioned Cortney Skinner to produce a series of paintings covering the events of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride. One painting appears above and several others are described in detail below. The painting above called “Paul Revere’s Ride” shows Revere continuing with his mission after he has stopped to awaken a member of the militia, passing on a brief message of warning.
A second painting “Crossing the Charles River” depicts Paul Revere’s crossing by rowboat from the North End of Boston to Charlestown where he will obtain a horse for his ride into the countryside to alert the inhabitants of the towns about the march of the British Regulars. Many elements were researched to make this painting as accurate as possible… the phase and angle of the moon, the configuration and design of the British ship—the HMS Somerset—and how 18th century Boston would look from this viewpoint on a moonlit night in April.
A third painting called “The Regulars Are Coming Out!” shows Paul Revere’s arrival at midnight at the parsonage of Reverend Jonas Clarke in Lexington. Revere exchanges words with Sergeant William Munroe of the Lexington militia before going inside to give John Hancock and Samuel Adams the news of the Regulars’ movements.
A fourth painting called “Revere, Dawes, and Prescott” depicts Paul Revere and William Dawes on the road to Concord at the moment they are overtaken by a lone rider, Doctor Samuel Prescott of Concord. The men recognize Prescott as a “High Son of Liberty” and he agrees to help them spread the alarm.
A fifth painting called “The Capture of Paul Revere” shows Revere’s capture by a patrol of British horsemen sent out to intercept and hold any colonists who might be communicating intelligence concerning the movements of the British Regulars out into the countryside.
There are a total of 10 paintings in the series.
You can learn more about the events of April 18-19, 1775 on a Walking Boston private tour. There are three tour options. Participants taking “Boston’s Freedom Trail with Ben Option 3” tour inside the Paul Revere House complex and view the Midnight Ride exhibit as Ben brings the actual events to life through storytelling and art, and even shares images of the original letter Paul Revere wrote to Rachel after his ride.
School groups, homeschoolers, and families taking Ben’s tour can access the original art and supporting research online
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