Most Worshipful Paul Revere, former Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts and beloved patriot, signed our charter on June 16th, 1795. Thanks to Longellow's famous poem, popularly but mistakenly called, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," nearly every schoolchild has heard of " that famous day and year."
But most of the images of the poem, while stirring, are not correct. Revere was not a volunteer. He didn't ride alone. He never finished the ride and didn't hang any lanterns in the Old North Church.
Revere was a patriot, of course. He was one of the "Indians" at the Boston Tea Party. He had been active in many pre-Revolutionary groups. But that night he was serving as a paid messenger, a role he had often performed before. (He actually submitted a bill for his famous ride!)
Historians believe the ride started at a time earlier than midnight. The lanterns signaling "one if by land and two if by sea" were actually set by the church sexton, Robert Newman. The signal meant the British Regulars were setting out to arrest John Hancock and Samuel Adams (two higher profile patriots) at Lexington and then to seize a stash of revolutionary arms and gunpowder at Concord.
Revere and co-rider William Dawes rented horses and set out on their ride. They made it to Lexington, warning Adams and Hancock. They were joined by Dr. Samuel Prescott. On the way to Concord, Dawes and Revere were arrested. Prescott, however got through, so the patriots were ready the next day to fire "the shot heard around the world." And sources say that Revere didn't shout, "The British are coming!" Rather it is believed he called out:
"Awake! The Regulars are out!"
And finally, despite thousands of barroom bets, no one knows the name of the horse. (Not even the Boston Historical Society.) But, we do, as "Big Brown"!
The image on the left is a receipt given to Columbian Lodge from Brother Revere while he served as Grand Master, indicating the costs for the regalia of the officers. The charter of Columbian Lodge is in our possession and retains the Wax Seal and Ribbon and Signature of Paul Revere.