You've Heard Of Paul Revere, BUT who was Wentworth Cheswill
"The British are coming! The British are coming!" Paul Revere heroically races across counties, crying out warnings of the British coming to attack the new found American country, desperately trying to keep its freedoms from the tyrannical king of England. A lone man riding through the night to save America....... Yes this is the story we were all told in elementary school.
Although this is mostly true, there are a few details that were left out. One being that Paul Revere did warn that the British were coming but never shouted that phrase. He rode quickly but silently through the streets until he met upon with John Hancock and Samuel Adams to warn them that the British were coming to arrest them.
It is important to understand that it was not just one ride or even one night but many rides over a few years.
Secondly, Revere was not the only one on horse back to warn the British were coming, there were at least 5 others, including a black man named Wentworth Cheswill. Cheswill was a man of the community, a pillar. Wentworth was an elected official. He was first elected to office in 1768 as the town constable. Later, Cheswill was elected to offices every year with the exception of 1788, until his death in 1817. Some of his appointments were town selectman, assessor, and auditor.
During the Revolutionary War Cheswell was for the patriotic cause and signed a document along with 162 others called the Association Test. He was elected town messenger for the Committee of Safety, which entrusted him to carry news to and from the provincial committee in Exeter, New Hampshire and on December 13, 1774, Cheswill, Paul Revere and others rode together in unity to warn that the British were coming.
Another important figure who rode to warn the British were coming was a woman named Sybil Ludington who was only 16 years of age when she became a night rider. She was actually the last of the riders to join as she didn't take her ride until 1777. Sybil rode twice the distance of Paul Revere and she is significant to our history.