“On the Eighteenth of April in ‘Seventy-Five”

Paul Revere by John Singleton Copely. Public Domain, found at: https://www.ladykflo.com/paul-revere-by-john-singleton-copley/

I strongly encourage you to read the article about the painting. It is both an excellent portrait, and a political statement about the times in which the picture was made.

Paul Revere was a silversmith, or to use the older term, a type of whitesmith. Blacksmiths worked with iron. Whitesmiths worked with tin, copper, and eventually silver before silver-smithing and gold-smithing became separate trades.

A silver set made by Paul Revere and his workshop. Items and photo from: https://worcester.emuseum.com/collections

As a silversmith, Revere was not exactly a “gentleman” since he worked with his hands, but he wasn’t a common laborer, either. In the colonies and the later US, this wasn’t really a problem, since skill and finances meant more than the traditional marks of social rank. In the British system, he would have been respected, but he would be “upper working class,” to use today’s terms. He was also a master craftsman, responsible for training apprentices and ensuring the quality of his and other masters’ work. In other words, he was your modern small business owner, one with a lot of skills, and a strong determination to live his life the way he wanted. Which, in April of 1775, meant joining with another man to ride through the night and warn the people of Middlesex County that the British regulars were coming to requisition the powder, shot, and weapons assigned to the militia.

We all know what happened next . . .


8 thoughts on ““On the Eighteenth of April in ‘Seventy-Five”

  1. He was also one of the chief organizers of the Rebel spy ring in Boston. I had read that Boson was so thoroughly “covered” by informers that eventually British officers and commanders had no secure place to discuss mission plans and movements other than going out and walking along one of the empty piers in the harbor, with no eavesdroppers in sight or hearing.

    • I have not been able to find out. Gold was always considered different from base metals, and it may well have been linked more with gem-setters than whitesmiths.

      • Thank you. đŸ˜€

        I’m fiddling with a story-seed that the much-mourned DragonKitty gave me, about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves as a sweet romance– Snow’s dad somehow turned into a guy who runs jewelry shops, among other things.

        Problem being… I don’t do romances very much, I don’t do historical very much, and the characters have informed me that she’s marrying Dopey.

        I think hanging out around you guys has given my imagination delusions of competency. >.>

        • Silversmiths, like tinsmiths and others, made dishes and serving pieces as well as silver jewelry. Goldsmiths made jewelry, gilded silver items, occasionally made statues, and mounted cut gems into gold settings. However, depending on when and where, a gem setter took a goldsmith’s mount and set the gem-cutter’s stone, which would then be sold by the goldsmith. It really depended on which guilds were present and how strong they were. Without a guild, anyone could pretty much do anything within their field, so long as they were competent.

  2. Well, us old folks do, I’m not sure they teach what happened tomorrow in school anymore…

    • I used to be able to recite the Preamble, Paul Revere’s Ride, and the Crispin’s Day Speech from memory, courtesy of school.

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