Paul Revere

January 1, 1735–May 10, 1818

Paul Revere was an American patriot who was an active participant in the movement for independence before the American Revolution. His famous "Midnight Ride" from Boston to Lexington, on April 18, 1775, to warn American patriots about advancing British troops was later immortalized in a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the 1860s.

Paul Revere, Portrait, Copley

Paul Revere. Image Source: MFA Boston.

Who was Paul Revere?

Paul Revere Biography

Paul Revere (1735–1818) was a hero of the Revolutionary War immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride,” published in the 1860s. Revere’s Midnight Ride warned his fellow colonists of an impending British attack on weapons stores in Concord, Massachusetts. Living in Boston, Massachusetts, he became a prominent artisan and made a well-known engraving of the Boston Massacre. Revere became involved with the Patriot Cause and was a member of the Sons of Liberty, which led him to participate in the Boston Tea Party and to serve as an Express Rider for the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.

Paul Revere Personal Facts 

  • Born: Paul Revere was born on January 1, 1735, in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Parents: His parents were Apollos Rivoire and Deborah Hitchborn.
  • Spouse: Revere’s first wife was Sarah Orne, who died in 1773. His second wife was Rachel Walker.
  • Died: He died on May 10, 1818, in Boston. He was 83 years old.
  • Place of Burial: Revere is buried in the Granary Burying Ground in Boston, Massachusetts.

Paul Revere Accomplishments

  • Paul Revere was a successful silversmith and engraver.
  • Revere was a member of the colonial artillery during the French and Indian War.
  • He served as a courier for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety.
  • Paul Revere was a member of the Boston Sons of Liberty.
  • He is believed to have participated in the Boston Tea Party (1773).
  • Paul Revere made his famous “Midnight Ride” from Boston to Lexington on April 18, 1775, to warn colonists about advancing British troops.
  • Revere carried the Suffolk Resolves from Boston to Philadelphia in 1775, delivering the document to the Massachusetts delegation at the Second Continental Congress.
  • He was a member of the Massachusetts Militia during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Paul Revere designed the current seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • Revere opened the first copper rolling mill in North America, in 1801.

The Life and Career of Paul Revere, Artisan, Son of Liberty, and Midnight Rider

Born in Boston in 1735, Revere became a silversmith, learning the trade from his father, Apolis Rivoire, a French Huguenot. His father emigrated to Boston from Bordeaux, France when he was 13 to apprentice under silversmith John Coney, and eventually changed his name to Paul Revere. His mother, Deborah Hitchbourn, was from the Hitchbourn family, owners of the Hitchbourn Wharf in Boston. Paul was the third of 13 children born to Apolis and Deborah.

Boston Artisan

To go along with silversmithing, Revere taught himself copper engraving and developed talents in other areas, including portrait engraving, political cartoons, and the manufacture of dental devices.

French and Indian War

Revere was an officer during the French and Indian War and second lieutenant in the 1756 Crown Point expedition.

Subject of Longfellow’s Poem

Although Revere was a prominent member of the Sons of Liberty and was involved in the Patriot Cause in Boston, he was not popularly known outside of Massachusetts until Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” in 1861.

Sons of Liberty

Revere was a vocal opponent of British taxation policies, and played a significant role in organizing Boston’s artisan community, helping connect it to influential men like John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. As a fervent anti-British propagandist, he helped popularize the protest against the Stamp Act and Boston Massacre. Revere mass-produced an engraving of the Massacre, which is one of the most famous images of the American Revolution.

Boston Tea Party

In December 1773, Revere participated in the planning and actions of the Boston Tea Party, which led Parliament and King George III to issue the Intolerable Acts. The 13 Original Colonies responded by holding the First Continental Congress and establishing the Continental Association. 

Express Rider

After the Boston Tea Party, Revere became one of the trusted Express Riders for the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. 

  • Revere rode to New York to inform the New York Sons of Liberty about the Boston Tea Party. 
  • The following spring, he rode to New York City and Philadelphia, carrying news of the Boston Port Bill and an appeal for assistance. 
  • In September 1774, he delivered the Suffolk Resolves to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
  • When the Patriots learned that General Thomas Gage issued orders to seize valuable military supplies at Fort William and Mary, Revere to Durham, New Hampshire, to warn John Sullivan and then to Portsmouth to deliver letters to Patriot leaders in Portsmouth.
  • On April 16, 1775, he rode from Boston to Concord to warn the townspeople to hide the military supplies they were storing for the Massachusetts Militia.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

Revere’s most notable service in this capacity came on April 18-19, 1775, when he rode on horseback from Boston to Lexington to warn patriot leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were marching to capture them and seize colonial arms and munitions. 

After delivering his message in Lexington, he continued to Concord with his fellow messengers, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott. However, a British Patrol stopped the trio and captured Revere. He was released later, without his horse, and he returned to Lexington on foot. Dawes and Prescott escaped capture, but Prescott was the only one who made his way to Concord.

Print Shop in Watertown

During the war, Revere helped manufacture gunpowder and became an engraver for Congress. He printed currency for the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and Continental Congress, along with making the first official seal for the colonies. His print shop was located in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Defense of Boston

On March 29, 1776, he became a member of the Boston Committee of Correspondence. Soon after, on April 10, 1776, he was appointed as a major in a state regiment tasked with fortifying and defending Boston against a possible British attack. A month later, he took on the same role in the Massachusetts Artillery.

Revere earned promotion to lieutenant colonel in the Artillery on November 27, 1776, and assumed command of Castle William at the mouth of Boston Harbor. In early September 1777, he escorted prisoners captured during the Battle of Bennington from Worcester to Boston. On September 27, he received orders to participate in an expedition against Newport, Rhode Island, which ultimately did not succeed.

On March 1, 1778, his command of Castle William was extended to include Governor’s Island and Long Island.

Penobscot Expedition

The opportunity for field service for Revere came on July 8, 1779, when he received orders to prepare himself and one hundred artillerymen under his command, along with officers, to participate in an attack on the enemy at Penobscot. This mission, known as the Penobscot Expedition, took place in July and August 1779. The expedition intended to dislodge the British garrison from present-day Castine, Maine, which was then part of Massachusetts. 

The expedition, a combined American-French effort, faced significant challenges and was plagued by disagreements between commanding officers. Poor coordination, bad weather, and strong British defenses led to the loss of a substantial American fleet and significant casualties. 

Following the expedition, Captain Thomas Carnes, who commanded the marines on the Putnam, accused Revere of disobedience and cowardice. Brigadier General Peleg Wadsworth, the second-in-command of the expedition, also expressed dissatisfaction with Revere’s performance. On September 6, 1779, Revere was relieved of his command at Castle Island and arrested. 

A court of inquiry conducted in mid-September neither cleared nor condemned him. A subsequent inquiry on November 16, 1779, found him at fault for disobeying General Wadsworth’s orders and for leaving the Penobscot River without specific orders from his superior officer. However, a formal court-martial convened in February 1782, and cleared Revere of all charges.

Foundry Owner

In November 1788, Revered started casting bells and cannons from his foundry in Boston’s North End. This foundry later played a crucial role in supplying bolts, spikes, pumps, and copper accessories for the USS Constitution, famously known as ‘Old Ironsides,’ which was built at the Charlestown Navy Yard in 1797–1798.

Copper Manufacturing

In January 1801, Revere established a sheet copper manufacturing facility on the site of the powder mill in Canton, Massachusetts. The business thrived and produced rolled copper for the dome of the Massachusetts State House, a new copper bottom for the Constitution in 1803, and boilers for a steamboat built by Robert Fulton in 1808–1809.

Death of Paul Revere

Revere died in Boston on May 10, 1818. He was 83 years old.

Revere’s Timeline in the American Revolutionary War

Revere participated in these events during the American Revolutionary War.

  • Penobscot Expedition (July 24–August 16, 1779)

Paul Revere APUSH

Use the following links and videos to study Paul Revere, the events of April 18–19, 1775, and the American Revolutionary War for the AP US History Exam. Also, be sure to look at our Guide to the AP US History Exam.

Paul Revere Definition

Paul Revere for APUSH is defined as an American silversmith, engraver, and patriot who played a crucial role in the American Revolution. He is best known for his midnight ride on April 18, 1775, to warn colonial militias of British troop movements before the Battles of Lexington and Concord. In addition to his famous ride, Revere contributed to the Patriot Cause through his artistic and industrial work, and he remains an iconic figure in American history.

Paul Revere Video

This video from the American Battlefield Trust discusses the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

Paul Revere — Boston Massacre Engraving

Paul Revere's engraving of the Boston Massacre.
This is the engraving Revere made of the Boston Massacre.

Paul Revere — Quotes

“Out started six officers, seized my bridle, put their pistols to my breast, ordered me to dismount, which I did. One of them, who appeared to have the command there, and much of a gentleman, asked me where I came from; I told him. He asked what time I left. I told him, he seemed surprised, said ”Sir, may I crave your name?” I answered ”My name is Revere.”

See Revere’s testimony about the events of April 18–19, 1775, for more quotes.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Paul Revere
  • Date January 1, 1735–May 10, 1818
  • Author
  • Keywords Paul Revere, Paul Revere Timeline, Midnight Ride, Boston Tea Party, American Patriot. Paul Revere Accomplishments, Paul Revere Facts, Paul Revere History, Paul Revere American Revolution
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date May 22, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 20, 2024

Taxonomies