Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of ....
Israel Bissel?

WAIT! Israel Bissel? Wasn't it Paul Revere who made that famous ride to warn the colonist that the British were about to attack on April 19, 1775?   Well...yes and no.

Israel Bissel was a post-rider in Massachusetts born in East Windsor, Connecticut who alerted the colonists of the British attack on April 19, 1775. He rode for four days and six hours covering the 345 miles from Watertown, Massachusetts to Philadelphia along the Old Post Road. He was carrying a message from General Joseph Palmer. The message was copied at each of his stops, and he shouted "To arms, to arms, the war has begun."

Paul Revere also rode to alert the colonists of the impending attack but he rode a mere 19 miles from Boston to Cambridge.

So how did Paul Revere get all of the glory in history when Israel Bissel rode more than 18 times as far and alerted far more colonists? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the most popular and widely read author of that time, realized that America was in need of a patriotic hero, to reunite the states and prevent the US Civil War. Longfellow needed a name that sounded like a true American hero. He decided that Paul Revere had a heroic name compared to Israel Bissell, and Revere was chosen as the man who warned the colonies in his classic tale "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere". Longfellow's choice may also have been shaped by his wife being related to Paul Revere.

Even in 1775 the media shaped our perception of history.

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