By David MacKenzie
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Additional resources for Apis: The Congenial Conspirator, The Life of Colonel Dragutin T. Dimitrijevic
28 As a master goldsmith who worked in gold and silver, Revere had better than average prospects of success. Although most artisans never rose above the middling rank, master goldsmiths, distillers, tanners, ropemakers, and sugar refiners were often very well-to-do, with personal property averaging about two-and-a-half times the amount generally left by artisans and twice the amount for most colonists. A skilled metal craftsman possessed talents that were in demand in several auxiliary areas. 29 His specialized talents and the prosperity that often accompanied him made the master goldsmith an aristocrat among artisans.
26 With his formal schooling finished at age thirteen, Paul Revere entered the next stage of his education with his apprenticeship to his father. First by observation and then by practice, he learned to make flatware, tankards, buckles, buttons, thimbles, tea sets, children's whistles, and surgeon's instruments. He also learned to clean and burnish silver and mend everything from buttons to earrings to the lock on a pocketbook. His craft required a laborer's brawn for the incessant Page 16 hammering necessary to turn silver sheets into tankards and coffeepots and an artist's discerning eye and delicate hand to design an object and cover it with surface ornamentation.
Paul Revere's formal education began and ended at the North Writing School, but Benjamin Hichborn, a boatbuilder's son, graduated from Harvard in 1768 and became a lawyer and a gentleman. During the Revolutionary War, Paul Revere rose no higher than lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts militia. Benjamin Hichborn held the rank of colonel in the elite Independent Cadets, the second-oldest military organization in Massachusetts after the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. Clark's Wharf and the New Brick Church may have been good enough for the other Hichborns and Reveres, but by the 1780s Benjamin Hichborn and his family owned a house on Brattle Street, a summer home in Dorchester, and sometimes attended King's Chapel.