Dr. Joseph Warren is one of Roxbury’s most enduring historical figures. Before his death at the Battle of Bunker Hill, he was a leading citizen in colonial America, and a leading member of the movement for our liberty. He’s best remembered both for his role at Bunker Hill and for being the person who sent Paul Revere and William Dawes on their midnight rides.
His family farm, which included many acres of the orchards Roxbury is remembered for, wasn’t in Fort Hill itself but quite probably bounded the hill along what is now Washington Street. The family home was very near what is now the Boston Evening Academy behind the corner of Warren and Winthrop, just a few yards from the Yawkey Club and the Dudley Library. Dr. Warren and his family would have come to Eliot Square at least weekly for their Sunday visit to the First Church. He also attended Roxbury Latin, then situated somewhere in or near Eliot Square (I haven’t quite located the exact spot yet) and also taught there for a year after graduation.
I won’t delve too much more into his life, though, because Dr. Sam Forman has not only written a biography of Joseph Warren but also, in a true act of kindness and sharing for all future historians, is publishing his entire collection of research into Warren’s life online over the next couple of years at the website http://www.drjosephwarren.com/. I share his frustrations at the difficulty of finding historical materials and I’m overjoyed that he’s elected to make this gift to the world freely available.
So head on over to the site and check it out. He’s adding new material weekly and will continue to do so for quite some time. Right now, you can read a transcription of Dr. Warren’s purchase agreement for a slave he bought from Joseph Green for 30 pounds and an additional 10 pounds of pottery, provided he felt “the negro worth the money.” You can also read the full text of the speech he gave at the state house on the second anniversary of the Boston Massacre, and many other of his speeches and writings. And be sure to take a look at the variety of portraits Dr. Forman has collected before you leave.