Born January 1, 1735 to Apollos Rivoire, a French Huguenot (Protestant) immigrant, and Deborah Hichborn, daughter of a local artisan family — he changed his name to Paul Revere after immigrating, was a goldsmith and eventually the head of a large household. He was the second of at least 9, possibly as many as 12 children and the eldest surviving son.
Revere was educated at the North Writing School and learned the art of gold and silversmithing from his father. When Paul was nineteen (and nearly finished with his apprenticeship) his father died, leaving Paul as the family’s main source of income. Two years later, in 1756, Revere volunteered to fight the French at Lake George, New York, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the colonial artillery.
In August, 1757, Revere married Sarah Orne. Together, they had eight children. Soon after Sarah’s death in 1773, Revere married Rachel Walker with whom he had eight children.
Revere’s primary vocation was that of goldsmith/silversmith, meaning he worked in both gold and silver. He learned the trade from his father, and his silvershop was the cornerstone of his professional life for more than 40 years. As the master of his silversmith shop, Revere was responsible for both the workmanship and the quality of the metal alloy used. He employed numerous apprentices and journeymen to produce pieces ranging from simple spoons to magnificent full tea sets. His work, highly praised during his lifetime, is regarded as one of the outstanding achievements in American decorative arts.
Revere also supplemented his income with other work. During the economic depression before the Revolution, Revere began his work as a copper plate engraver. He produced illustrations for books and magazines, business cards, political cartoons, bookplates, a song book and bills of fare for taverns. He also advertised as a dentist from 1768 to 1775. He not only cleaned teeth, but also wired in false teeth carved from walrus ivory or animal teeth. Contrary to popular myth, he did not make George Washington’s false teeth. Fabricating a full set of dentures was beyond his ability.
Words of Wisdom for May 10, 2016
“He said to me, ‘We are now going toward your friends, and if you attempt to run, or we are insulted, we will blow your brains out.’ When we had got into the road they formed a circle, and ordered the prisoners in the center, and to lead me in the front.”
— Paul Revere, (December 21, 1734 - May 10, 1818) was an American silversmith, engraver, early industrialist, and a Patriot in the American Revolution. He is best known for alerting the Colonial militia to the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Paul Revere's Ride."