The story of Paul and Joe is typical of the enduring friendships created in Masonic lodges. At twenty-five, Paul, a metalworker, became interested in Masonry. There were two Masonic Lodges in his town, the old and established one downtown, and a newer one, a little further out. Paul chose the new one. It was close to his home, and he likely felt more in common with its members, who for the most part also worked with their hands for a living. Not long after he was raised, Paul helped initiate Joe, a doctor from Harvard no less. Joe might well have chosen the other lodge, but he didn’t, he joined theirs. By every account, Paul and Joe became the best of friends – serving together in lodge offices and on many committees (no doubt catching a brew or two after the meetings). Paul eventually became Master of the Lodge, and Joe rose even higher – to the ultimate honor of Grand Master.
Then war came and duty called them both to the service of their country. Tragically, Joe was killed in action when the hill that he and his men were defending was over run. Running low of ammunition, Joe stayed to cover his men’s withdrawal. He was felled by a single blow to the head. The dead were buried in shallow graves and later, Joe’s body was reinterred and Paul was called to identify the remains. How poignant a moment it must have been as he bent over the body of his slain Grand Master, his Masonic brother, his good friend. As he gazed upon the decaying hands, he could not help but have recounted the ceremonies that he had led this brother through.
Paul never forgot his friend and brother of so many years. Two years after Joe was killed, Paul named his newborn son after him, Joseph Warren (Warren being Joe’s last name). Paul went on to devote 55 years to Masonry, and in later years he himself served as Grand Master. With his young son Joe at his side, he built a very successful business, a company that is nationally recognized today.
The place where Joe fell is in Charlestown Massachusetts. The hill that they were defending was Breeds Hill, and the battle that of Bunker Hill. Their little lodge met in a building the lodge owned in the rough and tumble North End of Boston. Saint Andrew’s Lodge met in the room above and the Green Dragon Tavern operated below. The Sons of Liberty also met there and the seeds of American independence were planted in that little upper room. The night of the Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773 was also the night of St Andrew’s Lodge’s stated meeting for elections. Their minutes record that the meeting was cancelled because of a lack of quorum. Joe then Master, and Paul were both conspicuously absent.
What was our brother Paul’s last name? It was Revere – Paul Revere – and Revere Ware remains a brand of quality. It was by Grand Master Joseph Warren’s order that he made the famous ride to warn the countryside and specifically to alert their brother John Hancock in Concord. The British aim was to arrest brother Hancock and Sam Adams and capture the arms being stored there. Both Joe & Paul fought in the next day’s Battle at Concord. Paul, having added dentistry to his metalworking skills, performed makeshift dental work on Joseph just after the battle. It was by this dental work he later identified the Grand Master’s body.
Freemasonry, a fraternity of friends and brothers . . .
NOTES: Special recognition is do Edith J Steblecki, Curator of The Paul Revere House in Boston. Saint Andrew’s Lodge granted her special access to their minutes and in 1985 she authored “Paul Revere and Freemasonry” Many of the details above were revealed and authenticated through her research.