J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, September 11, 2023

“William Dawes” and Other History Camp Boston Videos to Watch

History Camp Boston has now posted videos from its conference at Suffolk University Law School early last month.

That means you can see me talk about “William Dawes Before and After His Ride” (a/k/a “William Dawes’s Secret”).

One of the details I noticed while updating my notes for this talk is the timing of this item from the Boston Gazette published on Monday, 9 May 1768:
Last Tuesday was married, Mr. William Dawes, Jun. to Mrs. Mehitable May, both of this Town, and Yesterday made a handsome Appearance, dress’d wholly in the Manufactures of this Country, wherein he did Honor to himself, and merits the Respect of the Province, agreeable to their unanimous Vote passed the last session…
I hadn’t processed before that Dawes dressed up in his new suit not on his wedding day but on the first Sunday after his wedding, when he and Mehitable went to their church, Old South, for the first time as a married couple.

Weddings were usually small family affairs in colonial New England, but now I’m curious if there are other examples of the first Sunday after a wedding being the public.

History Camp Boston included many more talks about eighteenth-century and Revolutionary topics, so there are plenty of videos to sample, on topics like the Salem witch trials, James Otis, the Tea Party, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, John Hancock, and more. And of course some sessions considered other periods of history as well.

Some of these videos, including mine, were produced with a grant from the Americana Corner Foundation.

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