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Paul Revere and Bill Dawes Ride Again

by Bill Tobin
April 15, 2017

April 17th is the official Patriots' Day, locally known as Marathon Day, but it is the day of the Paul Revere ride re-enacted by locals. Paul Revere does have a real Holliston connection too.

History is alive as Paul Revere and William Dawes ride from Boston to Lexington on Patriots' Day. Or is it Marathon Day?

The ride from Boston to Lexington will be re-enacted on Monday, April 17th by the Tobin brothers and the National Lancers. The Tobins and Paul Revere have Holliston in common.

Since 1904, the Lancers, a unit of the Massachusetts National Guard, have been re-enacting the April 19, 1775 rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes.


The Tobin brothers Chris, Paul and Andrew have been involved in this event for over 20 years. This year, Andrew Tobin, now of Franklin, will be Paul Revere, pictured above with brother Paul of Holliston , brother Chris of Holliston as supporters and escorts

Andrew as Revere will yell, “The Regulars are out, the Regulars are out”  That was the outcry of Paul Revere and William Dawes as they rode from Boston to Lexington in April, 1775 to warn the residents along the way that the British were coming. Today, that scenario is repeated on Monday, April 17th,  (Marathon Day to some), by members of the National Lancers based in Framingham.

Monday morning, in period costume, Paul Revere and his horse meet with the mayor of Boston in the North End after a local parade. The mayor greets Revere, presents him with a proclamation, and sends him on his way to Lexington. Revere is accompanied en route with some outriders (escorts), from the Lancers as they ride on to Lexington, led by the state police. On the way they stop at Foss Park in Somerville, Hale House in Medford, Menotomy Town Hall (now Arlington) and then on to the Lexington Green.

Meanwhile, William Dawes,  joined by two mounted Lancer escorts, departs after a brief ceremony from John Eliot Square in Roxbury, stopping at Edward Devotion House in Brookline, Washington Elm on Cambridge Common. Dawes will ride into Arlington where he meets up with Revere.

After a ceremony in Arlington, the two ride together and arrive at the Lexington Battle Green, about three hours after leaving Boston.

  • Paul Revere and William Dawes alerted the citizens along this twenty mile route that the “Regulars are out, the British are coming.” The annual event is anticipated and enjoyed by the locals along the way, with many children getting their pictures taken with Paul Revere and William Dawes and their horses.
  • The National Lancers date back to 1836 when when they were commissioned by Governor Everett as the ceremonial escorts of the governor. Today they participate in parades, ceremonies, and honor guard performances throughout the Commonwealth.
  • The Tobins have been in the Lancers for over twenty years and rotate in the roles of Revere, Dawes and escorts with other members of the troop.  This involvement with the Lancers continues their long association with equestrian related activities.

In 1974 they rode with the Holliston 4-H Saddle Dusters in the parade celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Town of Holliston. Twenty five years later they rode with the Lancers celebrating the town's 275th anniversary, and they plan to ride their horses again in 2017, when America in Bloom Symposium  will be in Holliston.

The Revere/Holliston connection?

Tax records dating back to the 1780's have Paul Revere owing taxes for property on Adams Street. There was a home on Adams, near Gorwin Drive that was destroyed by fire which may have been the residence of the Revere family at that time. 

The end of the day, Paul Revere and William Dawes have completed the journey with their escorts.

Who was William Dawes?  Everyone is famiilliar with Longfellow's The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere but few know about Dawes--- here is the sequel 

 The Midnight Ride of William Dawes by Helen Moore, published in 1896.


I 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 ask? The reason is clear --
My name was Dawes and his Revere.

When the lights from the 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 a 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 him, I fear.
No one has heard of me because
He was Revere and I was Dawes



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Comments (4)

Thanks to the generosity of the Tobin brothers and Holliston Reposrter, Paul Revere and William Dawse will be visiting Holliston to welcome the America in Bloom Symposium guests on October 7 when they visit Holliston. Keep your eye out for them in the Mudville area and Goodwill Park.

- Pat Duffey | 4/15/17 8:35 PM

Proud of your three boys Bill as you should be. Their involvement with the lancers and this yearly event is very special. I love reading about it. Thanks to the boys!

- Shirley Chipman | 4/15/17 9:39 AM

I ran across that poem years ago. Thanks for reprinting it and reminding us that we owe much to the unnamed men, women and children who fought for our freedom. And don't forget the British. There is a memorial at the Concord bridge to their dead as well: They came three thousand miles and died To keep the past upon its throne. Unheard beyond the ocean tide, Their mother England made her moan.

- Peter Simpson | 4/15/17 9:37 AM

Bill thank you for sharing ! Wonderful history and poem.

- Mark Ahronian | 4/15/17 6:22 AM



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