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Who was William Dawes?
Did you know that there was another man who also rode out that day to warn the colonists about an impending British attack. The two men, Paul Revere and another patriot by the name of William Dawes set out on horse back to warn the colonists. They chose separate routes in the event one of them were captured. Both men managed to sneak through British lines to warn and alert the Minutemen. It is funny how history only seems to remember Paul Revere and seems to have forgotten almost entirely William Dawes
Like many Americans I grew up believing that the American Revolution started when the then British colonies in America signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776. In legal techno terms I suppose that is correct, but in fact the war had started much earlier. We have all heard of Paul Revere’s famous ride, but did you know that it took place on April 18th 1775, more then a year before the Declaration was signed.
On this date British troops set out from Boston to capture an American arsenal at nearby Concord and also in an attempt to capture revolutionary leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock in nearby Lexington.
We also know that the famous phrase “One if by land, two if by sea” was coined that day. It had been previously agreed that one lantern would be hung in the steeple of Boston’s Old North Church which was at that time the highest point in the city. One lantern would signal that the British were coming by land across the Boston Neck Peninsula, the route that would be taken by a man named William Dawes. Two lanterns would signal that the British were to be crossing the Charles river into Cambridge, oddly the route taken by Paul Revere.
As we all know, two lanterns were hung in the steeple that day signifying that the British were crossing the Charles river.
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