One Great Moment in U.S. History

It’s been great fun scouring the ledger book of Crane’s Liberty Paper Mill for intersections with American history. It’s great fun when you find such a connection with one of the mill’s customers. But the most fun I’ve had so far is to find three Liberty Paper Mill customers at the same place and the same time, making their mark on one of the most important moments in American history.

The customers:

Paul Revere


William Conant


Richard Devens


We all know about Paul Revere, so I won’t go into any detail. Suffice it to say he was a fiery patriot, silversmith and engraver, and he was charged with delivering messages from Boston to other revolutionary hotspots and returning with responses.

But he is best known for his Midnight Ride to warn John Hancock and Sam Adams in Lexington and the keepers of a large store of munitions in Concord that the British had started their way.

The ride was to be initiated when movement was observed. According to The History of Old Charlestown:

According to Revere, it was with Col. Conant that he planned the hanging of the signal lanterns in the steeple of the North Church, to give warning of any movement of the British army toward Concord, where the patriots had gathered their stores. Revere says: “I agreed with a Col. Conant and some other gentlemen, that if the British went out by water, we would show two lanterns in the North Church steeple, and if by land, one, as a signal.”

Upon receiving the word that the British army was leaving Boston, Revere gave the word for the signal to be given and was rowed across Charlestown Neck. He arrived at Colonel Conant’s house where another Liberty Paper Mill customer was also waiting.

Richard Devens, who would become commissary general for George Washington’s armies, was already good at procuring items for the cause. In this instance he had gone to the stable of another Liberty Paper Mill customer – John Larkin – who was away at the time, and procured Larkin’s finest horse.


So from creating the warning system, to sending Revere on his way upon the finest horse around,  patriotic customers of The Liberty Paper Mill played crucial roles.

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One response to “One Great Moment in U.S. History

  1. Darrell Crane

    I recently made a visit to Dalton, MA and visited the “Crane Museum of Paper Making”. The curator, Mary Ward was extremely helpful in explaining the history of Crane & Co. which finds its roots with Stephen Crane operating the Liberty Paper Mill during the Revolutionary War. Col. John Crane (my family line) and Stephen Crane were cousins and both played very important roles in winning the war. My next project is to combine the two genealogies.

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