Paul Revere began his famous midnight ride in 1775.
The son of a French immigrant, Paul Revere worked as a gold- and silversmith for more than 40 years in Boston, Massachusetts. In the years before the revolution, Revere gathered intelligence information by "watching the Movements of British soldiers," as he wrote in a personal account of his ride. Although he was joined by William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott, it is Paul Revere who is generally remembered for making this historic midnight ride.
As you study Paul Revere, have students learn about primary source documents while researching their family histories.
Paul Revere's ancestry can be traced back to his great-great grandfather, Jean Rivoire, born in France in about 1610. Challenge your students to examine their own roots by investigating likely sources of information about their ancestors. First, discuss the differences between primary and secondary sources. Brainstorm some possible primary sources, and then have students research their family histories. Some possible sources include a family Bible, interviews with family members, a grandparent's diary or journal (with permission, of course), letters and other correspondence, or photographs.
Next, have students create a family tree from the information they have gathered. Have students compare their family trees and discuss some of these questions: How far back were students able to trace their ancestry? How many different countries of origin are represented in your students' family trees? Why might it be difficult to trace some family trees? How can students make a contribution to preserving their own family histories?
This site features the real story of Revere's historic ride. Links to other resources, including Revere's biography, are also found here.
This Archiving Early America page features a Flash movie on Revere's ride.
This page from AmericanRevolution.org offers an account of Revere's famous ride in his own words.
Read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, which immortalized Revere's famous ride. Compare Longfellow's account with Revere's own version at the Revere Speaks website above.