The Paul Revere House  
Frequently Asked Questions

What was the name of Paul Revere's horse?

This question should properly be, "What was the name of the horse Revere rode?" because there is no evidence that Revere owned a horse at the time he made his famous ride. Revere had owned a horse in the early 1770's, according to a notation in his papers, but it appears that he no longer posessed it at the time he began serving as a courier for the Boston Committee of Correspondence. In any case, even if he had owned a horse in April 1775, he would not have been able to bring it with him when he was rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown north of Boston, prior to setting off on his ride.

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren of Boston sent for Paul Revere and gave him the task of riding to Lexington, Massachusetts, with the news that regular troops were about to march into the countryside. Revere contacted a friend (Robert Newman) and instructed him to show two lanterns in the tower of Christ Church (now called the Old North Church) as a signal in case Revere was unable to get out of town. He then proceeded a short distance to the northern shore of Boston where two friends were waiting to row him across the river to Charlestown. Slipping past a British warship in the darkness, Revere landed safely. After informing Colonel Conant and other local Sons of Liberty about recent events in Boston and verifying that they had seen his signals in the North Church tower, Revere went to borrow a horse from John Larkin, a Charlestown merchant and a patriot sympathizer. While the horse was being made ready, Revere consulted a member of the Committee of Safety named Richard Devens, who warned him that there were a number of British officers in the area who might try to intercept him. About eleven o'clock Revere set off on his borrowed horse and, afterseveral adventures, including narrowly avoiding capture just outside of Charlestown, arrived in Lexington about midnight.

About half past twelve, William Dawes arrived in Lexington carrying the same message as Revere. After both men had rested, they decided to continue on to Concord, Massachusetts. Along the way, they were over-taken by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. A short time later, a British patrol intercepted all three men. Prescott and Dawes escaped; Revere was held for some time, questioned, and let go. Before he was released, however, his horse was confiscated to replace the tired mount of a British sergeant. At this point, "Revere's horse" passes out of the historical record.

Revere left several accounts of his ride, and although he states that he borrowed the horse from John Larkin, neither he nor anyone else takes much notice of the mount, or refers to it by name. Revere calls it simply "a very good horse." In the years since 1775 many names have been attached to the animal, the most exotic probably being Scheherazade. The only name for which there is any evidence, however, is Brown Beauty. The following excerpt is taken from a genealogy of the Larkin family, published in 1930.

Samuel (Larkin) ... born Oct. 22, 1701; died Oct. 8, 1784, aged 83; he was a chairmaker, then a fisherman and had horses and a stable. He was the owner of "Brown Beauty," the mare of Paul Revere's Ride made famous by the Longfellow poem. The mare was loaned at the request of Samuel's son, deacon John Larkin, and was never returned to the owner.

According to this source, the famous horse was owned not by Deacon John, but by his father - if true, this would mean that not only did Revere ride a borrowed horse, but a borrowed, borrowed horse. That it had a name is difficult to prove in the absence of corroborating evidence. John Larkin's estate inventory, dated 1808, lists only one horse, unnamed, valued at sixty dollars. It reveals, however, that Larkin was a wealthy man, with possessions valued at over $86,000, including "Plate" (silver and gold pieces), houses, pastures, and other real estate in Charlestown, part of a farm in Medford, bank shares, and notes (for money lent at interest). John Larkin was probably a friend of the patriot cause in Charlestown, and it seems natural that the Sons of Liberty would have depended on someone in his position to provide an expensive item like a horse if the occasion demanded. The fact that one horse listed in his inventory is unnamed, while not conclusive, does suggest that the Larkin family, like most people at the time, did not name their horses. Thus, it appears that "Revere's horse" will forever remain anonymous.

When and where was Paul Revere born?

Paul Revere's actual date of birth is not known. What is known is his baptismal date, which was December 22, 1734, according to the records of the "New Brick" Congregational Church in Boston. This date is in the "Old Style" uncorrected calendar in use in the British Empire until 1752. When translated into the "New Style" or modern calendar, this date becomes January 1, 1735, the date often quoted as Revere's birth date. Since it is unlikely that Revere was baptized the day he was born, his actual birth date must have been a few days earlier, some time late in December 1734.

Paul Revere's place of birth is also unknown. At the time Revere was born, his family was living in rented quarters in Boston's North End. In 1730, Paul Revere's father, also named Paul Revere (born Apollos Rivoire in France in 1702), moved his home and shop from Dock Square, near the center of Boston, into the North End, "over against Colonel Hutchinson," as recorded in a newspaper advertisement. At that time Colonel Hutchinson lived in a house on the south side of North (today's Hanover) Street near the New North (now St. Stephen's) Church. The Reveres probably lived quite near this dwelling, perhaps on the opposite side of the street, on or near the corner of present-day Tileston and Hanover Streets.

For the answers to twenty frequently asked questions about Paul Revere, the following book may be purchased from our gift shop; it can be found in the section entitled "Our own Publications." Click here to go to that section of Revere House Gifts.
What was the Name of Paul Revere's Horse?
Twenty Questions About Paul Revere -
Asked and Answered

By Patrick M. Leehey
Coordinator of Research
Paul Revere Memorial Association

Available from our gift shop


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