A decent portion of history is distorted – in part because sometimes events were passed on verbally over generations (oral history), because the victors wrote the history to their liking, or because the popular version of history is based on the loudest or most eloquent voice.
The last is the case about the common perception of Paul Revere’s ride from Boston to Lexington, Massachusetts on 18 April 1775.
Longfellow wrote an eloquent poem in 1860, so 85 years after the event, about the American patriot warning their fellow Americans about a pending British attack. Most remember the version of this ride as portrayed in the poem.
However, Longfellow was economical with the truth, preferring to focus on artistic elements of the verse. For example, in reality Revere gave the signal about the British and he didn’t receive said signal as stated in the poem. Revere was one of the three riders, and not the sole rider, and so on. Nonetheless this warning, in both reality and poem, enabled the alerted Hancock and Adams to act and the British didn’t seize them or the American arms at a nearby repository. Oh, by the way, Revere was captured by the British along the way, which escaped Longfellow’s narrative.
Tallis issued his attractive map of Boston nine years before Longfellow penned his poem about Paul Revere.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.