We can’t keep up with Paul Revere. He has been dead for 198 years and we continue to learn of the many voluntary services he did for his friends, town, relatives and country.
Paul Revere often found himself anatomically involved in the health of his friends and family. He achieved a degree of competence as a “dentist.” In the 21st Century we would choose to call Paul a dental technician. He studied under John Baker, an English trained dentist. In that period dentists were typically trained surgeons and many of them were pioneers in dentistry and dental tools. Dr. Baker made a few teeth for George Washington. Paul began this venture to end the pain and suffering of so many Bostonians and to profitably provide a service. Bad teeth in Boston seemed to be common. It may have been his first wife’s loss of teeth, with each child born that focused him on this need. There are several reliable first hand writings of visitors from England that remarked on the beautiful women with bad teeth. Even today the medical profession cautions women about their intake of minerals after birth for the benefit of their oral health. Historians have accepted the concept that a Colonial woman, over the age of thirty, lost a tooth for each child born. Other historians have also suggested that the issue was indiscriminate impacting everyone in their early adult life.
Paul’s friend, the surgeon Joseph Warren, suffered continually from his teeth. Dr. Warren was one of the most respected surgeons in Colonial Boston. Please see this link to learn more of Dr. Warren’s teeth and Paul Revere’s first forensic appraisal. http://www.walkbostonhistory.com/history-blog/freemasons-will-re-dedicate-dr-joseph-warrens-grave . He identified his best friend, nine months after he was buried by the British on Bunker (Breed’s) Hill, confirming his identity by his false teeth.
Ongoing, his determination and basic instincts saved his children from the devastation of cholera, challenging the local selectman and their antiquated quarantine solutions. Many years later he would address mental illness that afflicted and consumed his son-in-law, Thomas Stevens Eayres. Paul brought his daughter and grandchildren back to his house on Charter Street, and did his best to monitor Thomas’ care in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. He further unraveled Eayres estate ensuring he had enough funds to keep him out of public institutional caretaking. Three years later Paul took up the cause of Deborah Sampson (Gannett). She fought as a man for eighteen months for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. You can find her service record under the name of Robert Shurtleff. Her military service was terminated by a severe wound that led to the discovery that she was a woman. Paul solicited the Federal Government for two years for her veteran’s pension, ultimately addressing the issue to the Secretary of War. Deborah received her pension, yet continued to rely on Paul for additional financial support.
For his country, Paul Revere self-taught the technology necessary to produce cannons for the army and navy, bell’s for ships and steeples used for messaging, gunpowder in support of the Revolutionary War and copper plating for United States naval ships. Often he advanced the significant costs of building the foundries and purchasing the land to build proof of concepts for the products above.
There will be more on Paul Revere’s contribution to his town and country. An article is in the works covering his three years as a coroner.