Once upon a time, there was a successful silversmith named Paul Revere, back in the days when people used silver for things besides fancy forks and second place awards at the Olympics.
Paul lived in Boston, and spent his days making shit out of metal, drinking beer out of wooden mugs, and generally hating the British, who at the time still held control of colonial America. It’s hard to believe that America was once under the thumb of crumpet-eating limies, but keep in mind that Americans at that time were living in pretty much just the East Coast, as they hadn’t yet gotten around to killing the Native Americans that inhabited the rest of the country.
Like many Americans of the day, Revere wasn’t too pumped about being a British subject, and had been chumming around with the rebellious Sons of Liberty, occasionally riding messages to other towns about how much the British sucked. This wasn’t just a Boston thing (though, like today, Bostonites were especially loud about it) – Colonialists all over were sick of having their tea taxed and being forced to answer to people wearing stupid white wigs. Also, the British had recently proven their prowess at being douches by killing a bunch of people in the Boston Massacre. So tempers were already high one fateful night when the British Army decided to march.
Paul Revere was probably minding his own business that evening, engraving pictures of Christopher Columbus mooning King George, when rumor spread that the British Army was leaving Boston to march up to Lexington, where Sam Adams and John Hancock (two revolutionary leaders who would later have beers and buildings named after them) were hiding. Revere’s friend, Dr. Joseph Warren, knew they needed to be warned. The conversation most likely went something like this:
Warren: Hey, Revere! The British are marching on Lexington! Somebody has to ride a warning!
Revere: Why don’t you go?
Warren: I’m a doctor, and therefore too important/old. Also, you’re good at riding horses, even though being a silversmith has nothing to do with that.
Revere: Alright, I’ll go.
(William Dawes, a tanner, passes by)
Warren: Hey, Dawes, you’re a tanner, which for some reason makes you also qualified to deliver important messages by horseback. You go too, in case Revere gets captured.
Revere: I won’t get captured.
Warren: Shut up, Revere. Only Dawes, you have to take the longer route, because you’re a bitch.
Revere: I call the faster horse!
So Paul Revere and William Dawes (contrary to later legends claiming Revere was the only rider) set out from Boston to get to Lexington before the British, who were too stupid to have horses. Having the faster ride and shorter route, Revere arrived shortly after midnight, beating his message-mate by a full half hour. After congratulating Revere on being much more awesome than Dawes, Sam Adams and John Hancock proceeded to waste a bunch of time talking about what to do. Revere pretty soon got sick of this and decided with Dawes, who had finally decided to show up, to continue riding to Concord, where the militia and their arsenal were hanging out. After all, it’s all fine and well to tell a couple of leader guys that the bad guys are approaching, but it’s even better to tell the dudes with the guns.
On their way out of town, Revere and Dawes ran into Samuel Prescott.
Revere: Hey, Prescott! We’re riding to Concord to tell the militia that the limies are coming. Wanna come?
Prescott: What? The British are coming? Sure, I’ll come – I’m sure history will remember us all equally.
Dawes: What are you doing out at this hour, anyway? Whose house is that you’re coming out of?
Revere: Hey, isn’t that the house of that chick you’re nailing?
Prescott: What? No, I was just, uh, going for a constitutional at 1:30 in the morning.
Dawes: Why are your old fashion-y trousers unzipped?
Prescott: None of your business. C’mon, let’s go.
So Revere, Dawes, and Prescott headed toward Concord but promptly ran into some British soldiers. Pulling a classic play from the old horse-chase handbook, the three tried to split up and all ride in different directions. Revere drew the short straw and got captured, but Prescott, having just refueled his mojo with some Colonial boning, jumped his horse over a fence and got away. Dawes almost escaped too, but he fell of his horse, either because he sucked, or because Warren truly had strapped him with the shittiest horse in all of Boston.
And so, it was Samuel Prescott, not Revere, who made it all the way up to Concord to warn the militia, which was subsequently able to fend off the British troops and send them scurrying back to Boston, harried by guerrilla fire the whole way, thanks to dozens of other riders who’d spread the word to anybody interested in taking pot-shots at some slimy Brits. Revere hung out with his British captors for a while until they wigged out (pun intended) over some gunshots, stole Revere’s horse, and left Paul alone to become a mediocre officer in the war.
And so began the Revolutionary War, thanks in part to Paul Revere, though maybe not as much as common misconception would have you think. Thankfully for Revere’s children’s bar-bragging rights, however, years later a poet named Longfellow came along and changed the story to re-assign all roles to Revere. It’s hard to blame him though: “Revere” rhymes with all kinds of things… and there isn’t squat that rhymes with “Prescott”.
(Photo Courtesy of the Gov’t via Wikimedia)