The Paul Revere House  

A Hero on the Home Front

Like many children during the American Revolution, Paul Revere's eldest son had to take on adult responsibilities. After Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride he could not return to Boston. Had he reappeared in the city, British soldiers would surely have arrested him. Revere was worried about his family's safety, however, and he wanted to get them out of Boston. After finding lodging a few miles outside of town, he sent for his wife Rachel, their infant son, and their five daughters. Revere, however, asked his wife Rachel to leave their fifteen-year-old son, Paul Jr., behind. Why did Paul Revere even consider leaving his boy alone in a big wooden house on North Square?

Paul Revere had good reasons! He feared that British troops would enter unoccupied houses and ransack them, searching for food to eat and wooden furniture to burn in their campfires. Rather than leave his home to this fate, Revere apparently hoped that the presence of his son would discourage troops from going in.

What was life like for Paul Jr. after his family packed their trunks and left? Because, sadly, neither a diary nor letters written by Paul Jr. during this time survive, we have no way of knowing exactly what he experienced. However, we can make some good guesses. His training in his father's silversmith shop would have ill prepared him for the major task he now faced of simply feeding himself. With so many sisters, Paul Jr. had probably never had to cook for himself. He quickly had to master the art of preparing food over an open fire in the kitchen. With markets closed and food in short supply, Paul Jr. may have hunted squirrels or pigeons with his slingshot, or fished from one of the city's piers to provide meat for his table.

Perhaps some of Paul Jr.'s teenage friends had also been entrusted with looking after their homes by parents who had fled Boston. The boys may have passed time playing cards, marbles or dice games.

Looking after the house may have initially seemed like a lark for the boy. If, however, he stayed on by himself during the entire eleven months his family was away, he must have been relieved to have them return. Paul Jr. apparently deserved his father's trust. While the British did damage many buildings in Boston, they seem not to have harmed the Reveres'.


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