Joseph Warren Revere Businessman

Joseph Warren Revere – Businessman

A history of the Paul Revere Heritage Site is incomplete without a separate recognition of Revere’s son, Joseph Warren Revere.

This portrait of Joseph Warren Revere was painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1813, the same year that Stuart painted a portrait, commissioned by Joseph Warren, of his 78-year father Paul Revere. The commissioning of the two portraits, which are remarkably similar in pose, attests to the respect between father and son. For Paul Revere’s portrait, see his biography page. (Boston MFA).

Joseph Warren Revere was born in Boston in 1777, the tenth of Paul Revere’s fifteen children.

Joseph Warren, stationed in Boston, joined his father’s Canton-based copper business in 1801. He proved himself invaluable to the business when, disguised as a tourist, he went to Europe to study mill operations and technology.

Robert Martello, in his book “Midnight Ride, Industrial Dawn”, describes Joseph Warren as perhaps the first industrial spy in American history. It was on this trip that Joseph Warren studied the sophisticated state of water mill construction, as well as “managerial coordination and efficiency.” Mechanically, he observed that the bottom roll was controlled by one shaft and cog, which in turn moved the top roller with some gears. He would offer a complicated design whereby the two rollers could move independently.

Joseph Warren’s father was instrumental in transitioning product creation from craftsmen to factory. It was his son who would complete the transition. Joseph Warren expanded the business and by 1828 employed 20 men. In 1845, 38 men were employed in the Canton ‘manufactury’, and in an expansive period from 1845-1855, Joseph Warren built the site’s Historic Barn and Copper Rolling Mill.

Revere Civil War Cannon, m. 1862

By 1862, the company employed over 100 men who, under government contract, built 80 12-pound brass cannon weighing 1,230 pounds each, and cost about $600 to make. These cannons can be found on Civil War Battlefields throughout the United States.

The sad irony is Joseph Warren Revere offered more than cannon to this country. His son Edward Revere, a physician with the 20th Massachusetts Infantry, died at the bloodiest single-day battle in American history – Antietam. He lost another son Colonel Paul Joseph Revere, on July 4, 1863, from wounds received at the Battle of Gettysburg. Note again, the closeness between father and son, evidenced in the naming of the Colonel – Paul Joseph.

In addition to his contributions as an industrialist, Joseph Warren served in the Massachusetts Legislature, as well as an Alderman. His political and industrial contributions were not enough for Joseph Warren, so he became a member of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association and the Massachusetts Humane Society, an organization providing for the poor, and the mentally and physically infirm. In 1868, Joseph Warren Revere died in Canton at the age of 91. It is an honor for the museum to be built in his Historic Barn to reflect the memory of Joseph Warren Revere.