October 31, 2009

Author of the Suffolk Resolves

Dr. Joseph Warren was a noted physician, Revolutionary War general and an ardent Son of Liberty. He was the son of Joseph and Mary Stevens Warren who lived in Roxbury, Massachusetts and had a large farm on what is now Warren Street. Dr. Joseph Warren was graduated from Harvard in 1759 and studied medicine with James Lloyd, opening his own medical practice in 1764. The same year he married Elizabeth Hooton and they would be the parents of Joseph, Richard, Elizabeth, and Mary Warren. His beloved wife, Elizabeth Hooton Warren, died in 1773, leaving him with young children to raise. In the early 1770s, he developed a close relationship with fellow patriots Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, and he was one of the original members of the patriotic organization, the Sons of Liberty. After the Boston Massacre, he was said to be at every town meeting, arguing for the rights of Americans, and in 1772 he made a speech for the anniversary of the Boston Massacre. Warren wrote the Suffolk Resolves, which said that the citizens of Massachusetts would create a militia to protect the citizens, and that if General Thomas Gage. who was then Royal Military Governor of Massachusetts, was to arrest anyone for political reasons, the citizens militia would retaliate by seizing crown officials as hostages. The Suffolk Resolves were signed at the Milton Village home of patriot Daniel Vose and then carried by Paul Revere on horseback to Philadelphia where they were accepted with great acclaim by the First Continental Congress, which directed that the colonies would support Massachusetts. On April 18, 1775, Warren sent Paul Revere and William Dawes by horseback to warn patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, as well as call out the citizens' militia, that the British Army was marching from Boston to the towns of Lexington and Concord to seize arms and rebels. Warren was chosen the Provincial President and on June 14 he was chosen as the second Major General of Massachusetts Militia. At the Battle of Bunker Hill he led the militia and while rallying them during one of the British advances on the hill, he was killed when a musket ball hit him in the back of the head, and died instantly. After the battle, he was removed from Bunker Hill and reinterred in the Minot Family tomb in the Granary Burial Ground, later being moved to the Warren Crypt at St Paul's Cathedral on Tremont Street in Boston. He was reinterred in the Warren Family Lot on Mount Warren in Forest Hills Cemetery, where family members were reinterred from the Eustis Street Burial Ground in Roxbury, their slate headstones encircling a huge boulder of Roxbury puddingstone.

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