A True Republican: The Life of Paul Revere

By Jayne E. Triber | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
AN ARTISAN AND A FREEMASON

AT NINETEEN, Paul Revere was nearing the end of his apprenticeship and entering manhood when his father died on July 22, 1754. The former Apollos Rivoire, dead at fifty-two, "left no estate, but he left a good name, and seven children." His father's death left Paul in an awkward situation. He was now the head of the household, with responsibility for his mother and younger brothers and sisters, including the apprenticeship of his younger brother Thomas. Although burdened with adult responsibilities, Paul was not legally an adult and could not open his own silversmith shop. Possibly he ran a shop under his mother's name, or he might have worked for the silversmith Nathaniel Hurd. Whatever the circumstances, Paul's entrance into adulthood was not easy, and difficult economic times lay ahead.1

King George's War, which ended in 1748, had brought substantial profits to merchants, supply contractors, and privateers, but the postwar depression brought hardship to families in the middling ranks. The Reveres were among those affected, as the newly widowed Deborah Revere paid her rent to Dr John Clark with a combination of a silver thimble, rum, and cash. For the next quartet's rent, her oldest son paid the debt with cash and by making ten rings for his landlord. Over the next two years, Paul Revere, like so many other young artisans and farmers' sons, would be caught between dependence and in dependence. Not yet old enough to run a business or inherit the family farm, these young men would work for their families and await the day when they would be on their own. That day may have looked very distant, for it seemed that only war brought temporary prosperity and independence in the form of supply contracts, credit, and ready

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