Paul Revere (bapt. January 1, 1735 – May 10, 1818) was an American silversmith and a patriot in the American Revolution. After his death the poet Longfellow made him famous by celebrating his deed of being a messenger in the battles of Lexington and Concord. As a result, his "midnight ride" to warn the people that the British forces were coming is an eminent part of United States history.
Revere was a prosperous and prominent Boston silversmith, who helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the British military. Revere later served as an officer in the Penobscot Expedition, one of the most disastrous campaigns of the American Revolutionary War, for which he was absolved of blame.
Revere was likely born in very late December, 1734, in Boston's North End, the son of a French Huguenot father and a Boston mother. Revere had eleven siblings with whom he appears to have been not particularly close. He was the third oldest child and the eldest surviving son. Revere's father, born Apollos Rivoire, came to Boston at the age of 13 and was apprenticed to the silversmith John Coney. By the time he married Deborah Hichborn, a member of a long-standing Boston family that owned a small shipping wharf, Rivoire had anglicized his name to Paul Revere. Apollos (now Paul) passed his silver trade to his son Paul. Upon Apollos' death in 1754, Paul was too young by law to officially be the master of the family silver shop; Deborah probably assumed control of the business, while Paul and one of his younger brothers did the silver work. Revere fought briefly in the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War), serving as a second lieutenant in an artillery regiment that attempted to take the French fort at Crown Point, in present day New York. Upon leaving the army, Revere returned to Boston and assumed control of the silver shop in his own name. One of the skills that distinguished him from other silversmiths was that he was not only an expert smith but also a skilled engraver and one of the few craftsmen who could complete a piece of silver, even to the engraved decoration. The daybooks of his shop that survive to our days document that among more than 5,000 products crafted by the shop there were many small and affordable items such as buckles, buttons, rings and beads. He was also a prominent Freemason.