Brother Paul Revere gets all the credit in the history books, but he did not even finish his famous ride!
Actually, Brother Revere was captured by the British halfway to the village of Concord to warn the natives that the British were coming. Dr. Samuel Prescott who just happened to be along completed the ride.
The reason Paul Revere has gained a firm place in American history for his feat is that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about him in 1863, 88 years after the famous midnight ride featuring Brother Revere’s exploits.
The truth regarding the famous ride is this:
On April 18th, 1775, a fellow by the name of William Dawes was sent out from Boston to warn the countryside that the British were coming.
Paul Revere followed along as the second man. Along the way, they picked up another rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott who was coming home from a date with his girlfriend.
The three were ambushed by a British patrol.
Paul Revere was captured…
William Dawes turned around and raced toward home. Dr. Prescott jumped his horse over a fence and continued to wake up the countryside and alert the Minutemen.
Meanwhile, his British captors left Brother Revere on the road, without his horse.
Actually, the real hero of the entire affair was a fellow by the name of Israel
He did more riding to warn the colonists than the three others combined did.
The day after Revere’s famous ride, Israel Bissell (1752-1823) was given the task of warning the countryside that the British had landed at Cambridge and were marching toward Lexington. Israel jumped on his horse and started riding.
He rode so hard the first day his horse dropped dead beneath him. He grabbed another horse, and galloped across Massachusetts, into Connecticut, and on to New York territory.
He rode for four days without rest, covering more than three-hundred miles
before arriving in Philadelphia.
The twenty-three-year-old Israel Bissell was the real hero of the day, but Brother Revere gets the credit because apparently, Poet Longfellow could not get the name “Bissell” to rhyme with anything.
Israel Bissell returned to Connecticut and joined the army with his brother Justis.
After the war, he moved to Middlefield, MA where he died in 1823.
He is buried in Maple Street Cemetery, Hinsdale, MA. However, William Dawes, one of the riders, enlisted in the Continental Army and fought through the Revolutionary War.
He ended up owning a grocery store in Boston.
Dr. Prescott fought at Ticonderoga, was taken prisoner by the British, and died in a Halifax prison.
What Happened to Brother Paul Revere?
When the Revolutionary War began, he manufactured gunpowder for the Continental Army and helped cast bronze cannon.
He was given the rank of Colonel in the Army and was commander of the
Garrison at Castle William in Boston Harbor. After the war, Brother Revere
returned to his work as a silversmith in Boston.
At age twenty-five, Paul Revere was initiated in St. Andrew’s Lodge on September 4, 1760.
He was the first candidate received after their Charter dated 1756 was received from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. He was raised on January 27 th, 1761.
The records of St. Andrew’s Royal Arch Chapter, functioning as part of St. Andrew’s Lodge, indicate that Paul Revere became a Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar on December 11, 1769.
Brother Revere was very active in his Lodge by his attendance and serving as Junior Deacon, Junior Warden, and Secretary before being installed at age thirty-five as Worshipful Master on November 30 th, 1770.
At that time he was already serving as Senior Grand Deacon of the Massachusetts (Provincial) Grand Lodge.
This was the beginning of his “very active Masonic career.”
He served nine terms as Worshipful Master, five with St. Andrew’s Lodge and four with Rising States Lodge and, with the exception of the Revolutionary War years, served continuously as a Grand Lodge Officer from 1769 to 1797.
He was also an active participant in the formation of Rising States Lodge and the Massachusetts Grand Lodge.
Revere, at age sixty, was finally chosen as Grand Master at the annual election of officers on December 8 th, 1794, a position he held through December 27 th , 1797.
According to the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts at that time, the Grand Master was to be elected by a ballot at large with “every voter writing the candidate he thinks best qualified.”
The brother who had two-thirds of the votes cast was elected Grand Master. Ironically, Paul Revere was not the first choice of the assembled brethren for Grand Master in 1794.
R.W. Brother John Warren, brother of the late Most Worshipful Joseph Warren, the first Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts under Scotland who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill (breeds Hill), was again chosen but he “declined to accept the chair.”
Paul Revere’s name will live forever in the history of the United States, and in the history of Freemasonry, even if he did not finish his famous ride.
S. K. Baril
Past Master of
Temple Lodge No. 16, A.F.& A.M
Member of Norwood Lodge No.576
This post was submitted to us by Ken Baril. If you are interested in writing for MasonicFind.com, please get in touch.