Refused a position in the Continentals, Revere spent several years as a major in the Massachusetts army. He helped defend Boston harbor, escorted prisoner-of-war transports, and participated in an operation to liberate Newport, Rhode Island, from British occupation. Cape Town Map Tourist Attractions Paul Revere patriot, fabled nightrider, and master silversmith lived to the age of 83. After the war, he designed and printed the first Continental currency, manufactured cannons, and pioneered the production of copper plating. (Library of Congress/Bridgeman Art Library) In one disastrous campaign in 1779, Revere tried to engage the British in Penobscot Bay, Maine a maneuver that led to the worst patriot naval defeat of the war. Revere was unjustly court-martialed and subsequently acquitted, though not before being forced to leave the service. Revere’s business interests continued to expand after the war as he searched for new outlets for his talents. He opened a hardware store, became involved in the manufacture of gunpowder, and secured the contract for the production and engraving of the first Continental currency and the official seal of the colonies. In 1789, he established a foundry to manufacture bells and cannons; by 1794, he had secured lucrative defense contracts to provide howitzers, mortars, and naval artillery.
In 1800, he invented a new way of rolling sheet copper and was soon supplying copper to cover the dome of the rising statehouse, the cornerstone of which he had laid in 1795. Now in his 60s, Revere was a prominent civic leader. He was elected as first president of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association and of Boston’s first board of health. He also served as a Suffolk County coroner for six years and was a member of several philanthropic committees. In his later years, he increasingly traded on his wartime feats. Because of his patriotic deeds and more recent success with his iron foundry, he took to calling himself the Old Founder and reportedly wore uniforms of the Revolution every day until his death in 1818 at the age of 83. For decades, Revere had successfully spanned the political chasm that threatened to separate artisans from the elites. He may be most usefully remembered not as a leader but as a communicator and an organizer, without whom the Revolution might often have faltered. Richard Bell See also: Art, Cartoons, and Broadsides; Artisans; Boston Massacre; Lexington and Concord, Battles of; Revolutionary War. Bibliography Fischer, David Hackett. Paul Revere’s Ride. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Forbes, Esther. Paul Revere & the World He Lived In. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1942.