Few figures in U.S. history are as well known as the Founding Fathers — a cadre of generals, writers, politicians, lawyers, and one particular dentist who fought for and founded the United States. Although many of us know the broad facts about America’s founders, and almost as many myths (George Washington never actually cut down a cherry tree, for instance), there are still many little-known stories about these famous figures. Here are seven facts about the Founding Fathers that may surprise you.
Paul Revere Was Also a Pioneering Dentist
Paul Revere went down in history for his famous “Midnight Ride,” when, as the story goes, he warned the residents of Lexington, Massachusetts, that “the British are coming” (though he likely never said that exact phrase). But what few people know is that Revere was also a local dentist. In 1770, five years before his “Midnight Ride,” Revere placed an ad in the Boston Gazette that read, “Fix [teeth] as well as any Surgeon-Dentist who ever came from London.” What’s more, Revere was the first person in the U.S. to practice dental forensics. One of Revere’s patients was physician Joseph Warren, the Patriot who alerted Revere about the British advance the night of April 18, 1775. Warren was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill a few months later, and it took nine months — after the British evacuated Boston — for Revere to search the mass graves for his friend. As Warren’s dentist, Revere was able to successfully identify the body by noticing his own dental handiwork, the first known use of dental forensics in the new nation.