Rally the boys! Hasten the chiefs! Our Warren’s there and bold Revere. With hands to do, and words to cheer!
And Warren was there. You just had to look a little harder to find him.
My seven day return trip to Boston was a pilgrimage I’m sure few people take. At the time, I was writing the first book in my Historical Fantasy series about the American Revolution, “Angels and Patriots Book One, Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill” in which Warren is an important character. My husband and I were determined to find evidence that Dr. Joseph Warren was indeed still in and around Boston so we could walk in his foot steps and visit the places where he had influence.
Green Dragon Tavern. The Sons of Liberty regularly met here and the tavern played an important part in the freedom of Boston during the American Revolution. The St. Andrews Lodge of Freemasons bought the tavern in 1764. The Masons used the first floor for their meeting rooms, some led by Grand Master Joseph Warren. This isn’t the original tavern or site which was located in the North End in the 1700s. Aside from the back bar, he was listed on the menu with his fellows, who each had a menu item. We ate and drank at the tavern four nights.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The museum is massive. It was no easy feat finding the gallery where John Singleton Copley’s paintings hang. The painting of Joseph Warren hangs on a wall between the paintings of John Hancock and Mercy Otis Warren. Copley’s paintings of Samuel Adams and Paul Revere were also in the gallery. The paintings are almost life-size and breathtaking!
We found John Trumbull’s painting of The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775 in a different gallery. It was small and somewhat faded and hung out of the reach of tourists.
The State House. Joseph was mentioned in a small exhibit on the second floor. What looks like a hacksaw to the right behind the sword’s tip is a doctor’s bone saw. In April 1776, after the Siege of Boston ended and Joseph’s body was recovered from Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill), his remains laid in state here for three days until his funeral at King’s Chapel.
The Old South Meeting House. Joseph delivered two Boston Massacre Orations in the meeting house. One in 1772, and one in 1775. This was where the patriots met to build a revolution. To my dismay, the Plexiglas in which his likeness and achievements is etched, reflected light (even without a flash) and the camera shot was impossible to see. This is the pulpit (today) from which he gave his oration.
King’s Chapel. The Freemasons made the arrangements for their Most Worshipful Grand Master Joseph Warren’s funeral, which was held in King’s Chapel in the heart of Boston on April 8, 1776.
Boston City Hall Plaza. The house where Joseph lived with his family and his medical apprentices was once located here. It’s recently been in the news. Joseph’s biographer, Dr. Samuel Forman, and others are intent on erecting a monument on the grounds proclaiming that this was the spot where the Revolutionary War began because Joseph dispatched Revere and Dawes to Lexington from his house. This is a view of the plaza (where the event tents are) from the Bell in Hand tavern across the street. The WWII Holocaust Memorial is the green glass between the two locations.
Bunker Hill Monument. This is where Joseph was shot in the head in the waning hours of the Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill) on June 17, 1775. Dr. Joseph Warren and Colonel William Prescott are the only names on the Massachusetts Gate. While my husband climbed the monument, I sat inside the adjoining building and watched the tourists largely dismiss the seven foot tall statue of Joseph’s likeness, which commanded the attention in the sparse room. It saddened me to witness how obscure he really is.
Warren Tavern. Located at 2 Pleasant Street in Charlestown, MA, it’s a few blocks from the Bunker Hill monument. The tavern, named for him, dates to 1780 and is dedicated to all things Joseph Warren. Of course he was never there, but his close friend, Paul Revere visited and George Washington stopped there in 1789. We visited Bunker Hill and ate at Warren Tavern on my birthday.
The Clarke-Hancock House in Lexington. Joseph dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes to this house to warn his fellow Sons of Liberty John Hancock and Samuel Adams, who were hiding there, that the British regulars were out to possibly arrest them. We were the only tourists there at the time we visited.
Harvard. Of the three buildings that made up the Harvard campus when Joseph attended from 1755 to 1759, only one original building is still standing — his dormitory, Massachusetts Hall. Washington housed his army in the dormitory in 1775 – 1776.
The Roxbury Latin School. We didn’t visit the school where Joseph was a student and later a teacher after graduating from Harvard. There is a statue of him in the school’s courtyard that was once located in Warren Square in his childhood town of Roxbury. The General Joseph Warren Society contributes to the school’s annual fund. This picture is from the school’s website.
Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts. We didn’t visit the masonic lodge, that houses a museum, because we arrived after it closed and it was our last day in Boston. We will visit next time and look for Grand Master Joseph Warren.
Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plains, MA. Perhaps, if Joseph remains hadn’t been moved from Granary Burying Ground in Boston, where some of his fellows are buried, like Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, and a place thousands of tourists visit daily, history may not have forgotten him. But the magnificent beauty of Forest Hills Cemetery where he’s buried changed my mind. As soon as I saw the cemetery gates, I knew he belonged there. The cemetery is expansive and magnificent: full of beautiful gravestones, monuments, statues, and gracefully curving roads. Forest Hills Cemetery
The road where his burial site is located is called Mount Warren.
Joseph’s remains are buried in a joint family plot with his paternal grandmother, Deborah Warren; his mother and father, Mary and Joseph Warren; his oldest son, Joseph; his youngest brother, Dr. John Warren; and John’s son, Dr. John Collins Warren. A glacial boulder selected by the Warren family serves as a giant tombstone. The remains of each person, appears that at one time, they were buried in their own grave. Except for Joseph’s, it appears that the original tombstones surround the boulder.
A statue of Joseph stands atop the boulder. The statue was erected on October 22, 2016 by the 6th Masonic District that hosted a ceremony where their Grand Master dedicated a new memorial to “the namesake of our Distinguished Service Medal, M.W. Joseph Warren” in conjunction with members of the Warren family. The flags on his grave site are new, so someone is visiting.
Men Joseph knew during his lifetime, General William Heath and William Dawes are also buried in Forest Hills.
Vine Lake Cemetery. We traveled to Medfield, MA to visit the grave of the woman who was nanny to Joseph’s four children and assumed to be his fiancé at the time of his death: Mercy Scollay. My husband gathered acorns from the ground around Joseph’s grave site and placed them on Mercy’s grave. The inscription on her gravestone read:
I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.
Mercy lived another 50 years after Joseph’s devastating death. She never married.
This was the last picture I took in Boston the evening before we left. Faneuil Hall is the brick building to the left. Samuel Adams’ statue is in the mall in front. Faneuil Hall was only two stories high during Joseph’s time.
Dr. Joseph Warren is an important character in my award-winning historical fantasy series Angels & Patriots Book One. Sons of Liberty, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle eBook.