Everyone knows Paul Revere famously rode through Concord yelling “the British are coming!” to warn American Revolutionaries about the enemy invasion and help the Americans win the war. But we bet there’s a couple of things you don’t know about the famous colonial, especially when it comes to the field of dentistry.
Who Was Paul Revere?
If you’re not sure who we’re talking about, that’s okay; we bet you’ve heard the story and probably just don’t remember the name — or even all the details! — but, if you haven’t, get ready for the story of a far overrated man in American history. The reality of his life was the modern-day American dream — he did a little bit of work and gained a lot of credit.
If you’re confused why we’re talking about Paul Revere in a dental blog, you’re probably not alone. However, there’s a reason to the rhyme, so let’s dive into the life of the man, the myth, and the legend.
First, let’s get this out of the way… Paul Revere was an impressive man with an impressive career but almost everything you probably know about him is historically inaccurate and never actually happened. Yes, even that “famous ride” and the quote he’s best known for are grossly fabricated. He didn’t even own a horse! The man had 16 kids and never held a consistent job (we’ll talk more about that later); historians know for a fact he would not have had the means to own a horse, so the chances that he actually did are highly unlikely.
Put down your Longfellow, and let’s set the record straight.
Paul Revere tried his best but he had a less than stellar military career. He wasn’t very good at fighting or leading or strategizing or even being brave for that matter. In fact, he was so arrogant and hated among his troops and co-commanders that when a military mission went wrong in 1779, he was scapegoated and court martialed for insubordination and cowardice. He was placed under house arrest for a short time, lost all command, and didn’t actually get his name cleared until 1782, well after the British surrendered, when he was acquitted of all charges.
Looking back to April 18th, 1775, on the night the British tried to invade, Paul Revere did actually warn his fellow Revolutionaries of the incoming attack. However, it was far less glamorous than the poem. First of all, he wasn’t alone. His friends Dr. Joseph Warren (this guy is important, remember him for later), William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott were important players in the famous night as well.
After borrowing Brown Beauty from John Larkin in Charlestown, Paul Revere began the ride on the mare with Dawes and Prescott (on their own horses) to Concord. The aim was to be as silent and discreet with the warning as possible to avoid being captured by the hundreds of undercover British troops hiding along the Massachusetts countryside. Quietly spreading whispers of “the Regulars” — what colonials called the British soldiers because Americans still considered themselves British at this time — approaching.
At one point the three men had as many as 40 riders who joined them and broke off in different directions to help spread the word without raising alarms. Revere himself never made it to Concord. He was captured by the British in Lexington! Dawes and Prescott continued on but only Prescott made it all the way because Dawes got lost after he fell off his horse.
Considering that Paul Revere lived for 83 years, what the heck did he do with the years of his life that he wasn’t living out an unsuccessful military career? And how did he even get involved in the Revolution if he wasn’t successful in the army?? And why is this person Dr. Warren so important??? And is this still a dental blog????
Means Of Living
You may have known that Paul Revere was a talented silversmith by trade, but did you know he was also a spy, an artist, and… a dentist?! In fact, he’s the father of forensic dentistry in America. That’s wild, we know, but it’s totally true.
He’s recognized by the CIA as the founder of the first “patriot intelligence network,” a group known as “mechanics.” He was also heavily involved in the Sons of Liberty and the Freemasons. His group of mechanics, or Liberty Boys, was founded in 1774 to spy on British soldiers and consolidate information in one place. Given his influence in these organizations, it should no longer be a surprise that he was the first to know the British were invading or that he was able to successfully spread the word across the countryside. Additionally, he used his success as an artist to draw patriotic images invoking people to take up the revolutionary cause.
He was skilled as a silversmith and to make more money, he used his talents for intricate and gentle metal working to create ivory dental implants fastened into the mouth with silver wiring. One of his best patients was Dr. Joseph Warren — told you we’d talk about him again! — a well-respected member of “American Revolutionary Royalty” among Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and more. Unfortunately Dr. Warren was killed brutally during the Battle of Bunker Hill. He remained a John Doe until his corpse was identified by Paul Revere, who recognized the specialty wiring he had built into his friend’s mouth. By total accident, Revere had just invented the concept of forensic dentistry.
Dr. Brad Edgren, DDS
Do you know another man who is skilled with small metal wires being fastened into your mouth? That’s right! Dr. Brad Edgren! Our orthodontist is leading the field of orthodontics and is located right here in Northern Colorado, which is much closer than Revere’s old stomping ground, Massachusetts. Luckily, Dr. Edgren is also much more alive at the moment than Mr. Revere. Call today to schedule an appointment for your own special metal mouth, just like Dr. Warren.