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Red Lodge daily news combined with Carbon County news. [volume] (Red Lodge, Mont.) 1931-1936, April 03, 1935, Image 7

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84036286/1935-04-03/ed-1/seq-7/

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Battle of Uexinqtonÿ April 19, 1775
^ William
Pawes.Jr.
FROM CARLE'5 OftAWiNC. MAPC A PAV6 LATER.
Paul Revere
By ELMO SCOTT WATSON
jiSTEN, my children, and you shall
hear
Of the midnight ride of . . .
No, not of Paul Revere—at least,
not of him as the only rider on that
historic April night 160 years ago.
For there were two others who also
sped through the darkness as mes
sengers of alarm and whtf also de
serve to be remembered by their fel
low-Amerlcans.
But they are not thus remembered.
Why? How does it happen that Paul Revere
Is so famous while William Dawes, Jr., and Dr.
Samuel Prescott are virtually "forgotten men"?
There are several plausible reasons.
One of them is the lucky chance of his having
a name which fitted well Into the swinging
cadence of a poem by one of America's best
loved poets. "William Dawes" and "Samuel Pres
cott" are good, substantial American names. But
somehow they lack the musical quality of "Paul
Revere."
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Another Is the lucky chance (or perhaps It
was shrewd foresight) of his having written out
an account of his exploit and of this manuscript
being preserved for posterity. Still another Is
the fact that tills midnight ride was only one
incident in the career of a man of extraordinary
versatility. For Paul Revere was a silversmith,
an engraver, a cartoonist, a publisher, a poet, a
dentist, a merchant, an inventor and a soldier
and his accomplishments in any one of these
occupations might easily* have guaranteed more
than transient fame for him. Recognition of
these accomplishments did come to him in his
/ lifetime but for the immortality that is his, he
can thank Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and
the poem "The Ride of Paul Revere," first pub
lished some 65 years ago and since then recited
countless times by countless American school
children. '
Recognition was longer in coming to William
Dawes, Jr., even in his native New England.
For many years April 19, the anniversary of the
battles of Lexington and Concord, has been ob
served as Patriots' day and celebrated as a holi
day. In 1915 began the annual re-enactment of
Paul Revere's ride as a part of the celebration,
but it was not until five years later that William
Dawes was similarly honored. On April 17, 1921),
the Boston Evening Transcript carried an article
which said in part:
"Both William Dawes and Paul Revere will
ride from Boston town to Lexington on Mon
day. In these Twentieth century years, while
Paul Revere has repeated his famous ride on
each succeeding Patriots' day, William Dawes
has not, heretofore, ventured forth over the
route jvhlch he followed on the nineteenth of
April, century before last/ But this year he
will make the trip and will receive his share
of the honors of the day.
The story of the ride of William Dawes is a
generally forgotten incident of the dawn of the
Revolutionary struggle, yet he seems to have
been entitled to an equal share with Paul
Revere in the credit of a daring and dangerous
enterprise. He left Boston at the same time
and carried the same message of warning, and
alarm to the inhabitants of each outlying vil
lage and hamlet Dawes went under orders of
the Committee of Safety as did Revere, but
Dawes was sent by the way of Roxbury, Brook
line, Cambridge and Arlington to Lexington,
instead of the route followed by Revere through
Charlestown, Somerville, Medford and Arling
ton. The Idea .was that the British were not
likely to capture both riders and one of them
was almost certain to get past the enemy. As
a matter of fact, both overcame the difficulties
and dangers and reached their common desti
nation in safety.
While the ride of William Dawes has been
a majority of tig general public, it
has been by no means overlooked by the his
torians. In connection with the present observ
ance a brief account of the exploit and some
thing about Dawes himself has been prepared
by W. K. Watkins, historian general of the
Sons of the American Revolution. Mr. Watkins
says:
"William Dawes, Jr., a young tanner, was
born in the North End in *1^45. He was an
active patriot with Revere, Doctor Warren and
others, a small group In watchful waiting, for a
move of the British against.the Americans.
Warning of such a movement was given by
William Jasper, an Englishman, who had mar
ried Ann, sister of Robert Newman, the sex
ton of Christ church. Jasper was a cutler and
did work for the soldiers and so beard of the
Intended expedition.
"During the war Dawes removed with his
family to Worcester, where he was assistant
commissary of issues at the mngazine.X After
the war from 1782 to 1795 he Kept a general
store at 13 Dock square now numbered 21 to
30. He lived on Ann, now North street, where
stood (he 'Franklin House' half a century ago.
In 1795 he went to live on his farm In Marl
boro where he died February 25, 1799. His
body Is buried in the King's Chépel Burial
ground."
But although Massachusetts thus in 1920 be
gan to pay belated tribute to one of her heroes,
it was not until four years lateF that Americans
unknown to
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Retreat of the British From Concord
generally became aware of the name and fame
of William Dawes, Jr. That came about through
a rather curious development during a political
campaign.
In 1924 the Republican party nominated Gen.
Charles'Gates Dawes of Illinois as the running
mate for Calvin Coolidge who had succeeded to
the presidency after the death of President
Harding. A few weeks later Senator Pat Har
rison, "keynoter" at the Democratic convention
called upon his party to give to the nation a
"new Paul Revere" who should act as a mes
senger of warning to the country of the dangers
of continued Republican rule. That led a reader
of the New York Herald-Tribune to recall that
the great-grandfather of the Republican nominee
for vice president had' ridden with Paul Revere
In 1775 and to bring to light the following poem
by Helen F. More, a New England writer or
verse, which had appeared In the Youth's Com
panion :
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
J am a wandering, bitter shade;
Never of me was a hero made;
Poets have never sung my praise ;
Nobody crowned my brow with bays ;
And if you ask me the fatal cause
I answer only, "My name was Dawes."
'Tis all very well for the children to hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;
But why should my name be quite forgot
Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?
Why-'Should I ast? The reason is clear—
My name was Dawes and his Revere.
When the lights from old North church flashed
out,
Paul Revere was waiting about,
But I was already on my way.
The shadows of night fell cold and gray
As I rode with never a break or pause,
But what was the use when my name was Dawes !
History rings with his silvery name;
Closed to me are the portals of fame.
Had he been Dawes and I Revere
No one had heard of hlm, I fear.
No onfe has heard of me because
His name was Revere and mine was Dawes.
This poem was widely reprinted both during
the campaign and after General Dawes had be
come vice president, and it did much to establish
in the minds of Americans that William E.
Dawes as well as Paul Revere was a heroic figure
in the events of April 18-19, 1775. His name be
came even better known durftfg the Lexington
and Concord Sesquicentennial celebration in 1925
in which his descendant, Vice President Dawes,
had a prominent part. During this celebration
two bronze tablets honoring Dawes were un
veiled—one marking the site of his home at 16
North street in Boston ancT one on the Brighton
end of the Larz Anderson bridge, marking the
spot where he crossed the Charles river "on his
way to alarm the country of the march of the
British to Concord."
As for the third of the "midnight riders," Dr.
Samuel Prescott, he Is still pretty much a "for
gotten man," so far as Americans generally are
concerned. Even in New England his recogni
tion has been even more belated than was
Dawes'. On April 19, 1930, the Boston Globe car
ried a special dispatch from Concord which said
in part:
"Dr. Samuel Prescott'' (Impersonated by
Sergt. Andrew G, McKnight of Troop A, One
Hundred Tenth cavalry) galloped into town at
two this afternoon, reined in his horse in front
of Wright's tavern to notify the natives that
"the British are on the march."
"Dr. Prescott" presented the reproduction of
his historic ride for the first time today and
It added much interest Concord's observ
ance of Patriots' day.
"Dr. Prescott" has waited some time for his
place in the limelight, but he found solace in
the fact that he was generally accredited with
being quite the handsomest and best-dressed
"rider" of the three.
When the original Revere and Dawes left
Lexington on that famous night in April, 1775,
fROM THE PAINTING ÔT CHAPPCL
to come to Concord, they met Doctor Prescott
on tiie way. Doctor Prescott lived In Concord
and had been courting In Lexington that night.
Thus, Charles L. Burrlll of the Boston com
mittee, explained to Concordions near Wright's
tavern, this afternoon, the reason for the bro
caded costume, the white lace and other pret
ties worn by "Dr. Prescott."
Wright's tavern Is the building at which the
men of Concord and surrounding towns gath
ered at the call to arms on April 19, 1775.
Major Pitcairn of the British detachment which
reached Concord made the tavern his head
quarters, and it was here he made his famous
boast that he would "stir the Yankee blood
this day."
Not only is Dr. Samuel Prescott a "forgotten
man" so far as the average American Is con
cerned, but he is still pretty much of a shadowy
figure In American history. You will look for his
name in vain in any of the school book histories
or even In the cyclopedias of biography. But that
he had an important part in the history-making
events of those two April days 160 years ago Is
attested to by a contemporary account of no less
importance than Paul Reveres own narrative
which says:
"I set off upon a very good horse; It was
then about 11 o'clock, and very pleasant. In
Medford I waked the captain of the Minute
Men ; and after that, 1 alarmed almost every
house, till I got to Lexington.
"After I had been there about half an hour,
Mr. Dawes -arrived, who came from Boston,
over the neck; we set off for Concord, and
were overtaken by a young gentleman named
Prescott, who belonged to Concord, and was
going home; when we had got about half way
from Lexington to Concord the other two
stopped at a House to awake the man. I kept
along, when I got about 2Ö0 yards ahead of
them ; I saw two officers as before. I called to
my company to come up, saying here was two
of thèm. In an instant I saw four of them,
who rode up to me, with their pistols In their
hands, said, 'You stop. If you go an Inch fur
ther, you are a dead Man.' Immediately, Mr.
Prescott came up. W^ attempt to git thro'
them, but they kept before us, and swore If we
did not turn Into that pasture, they would blow
our brains out (they had placed themselves op
posite to a pair of Barrs and had taken the
Barrs down). They forced us in, when we got
in, Mr. Prescott said, put on. He took to the
left', I to the right, towards a wood at the
bottom of the Pasture intending, when I gained
that, to jump my Horsè, and run afoot; just
as I reached it, out started six officers, seized
ray bridal, put their pistols to my breast or
dered me to dismount, which I di(L
them examined me and asked me ^v
One of
hat my
name was. I told him. He asked me If I was
an express. I answered in the affirmative.
"He demanded what time I left Boston. I
told hifn^ and adijed that their troops had
catched aground in passing the river, and that
there would be 500 Americans there in a short
time, for I had alarmed the country all the
way" up. He immediately rode towards thçse
Who stopped us, when all five of them came
down upon a full gallop. One of them clapped
a pistol to my head and told me he was going
to ask me some questions, aud if I did not
give him true answers he would blow
brains out He then asked the questions and
ordered me to mount my horse.
"When we got to the road they turned down
toward Lexington. When we had got about one
mile tiie major-rode up to the officer that was
leading me and told him to give me to the
sergeant. The major enquired how far It
was to Cambridge. Then he asked the sergeant
If his horse was tired and said "take that man's
horse." I dismounted, and the sergeant mount
ed my horse, and they all rode towards Lex
ington meeting house."
The British then released Revere, who went
on to Reverend Clark's house where he warned
Hancock and Aduras in time for them to flee.
In the meantime Doctor Prescott had safely
made his escape and soon readied Concord.
As for what followed—"You know tiie rest. In
books you have read . .''
® by Western Newspaper Union.
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