Pieces of the Past: Namesake

One of my favorite things to do on a remote broadcast was to give away prizes using a true-false game I called “Bullsmith.” I’d get someone on the mic and make a statement. Then ask if what I said was true: or was it BULL Smith.” A young girl was up next for concert tickets. I thought I’d make it easy.

I said: “Warren, Pa. was named after Revolutionary War hero General Joseph Warren. Is that true or is that Bull Smith? She said it was bull! It dawned on me some pretty important facts about Warren, Pa. need to get out there,

I’ve read several historical articles about our city’s namesake. One in particular said that “had Warren lived beyond his 34 years; George Washington would be nothing more than a footnote in history.” Joe Warren was a General more in name than in trained rank. In fact, he was a Physician. A Well-respected one. He was a writer. When colonists were divided about whether or not to remain loyal to the Crown, or break away, many of his writings led Americans to revolt. He even wrote a song.

As the British invaded, other established leaders like John Adams, and John Handcock were in Philadelphia. It was Joseph Warren who ordered Paul Revere out to warn people. He fought and treated the wounded at the battles of Lexington and Concord. Although Warren was not an experienced military man, his leadership skills were unparalleled. Was given the title of General by the Massachusetts leadership which he accepted, but refused payment for it.

Some historians say we lost Warren on Breed’s Hill. It was the battle of Bunker Hill where under Warren’s leadership farmers beat off 2 fierce attacks before Warren was killed. Rather than assume a leadership position during the battle, Warren joined troops on the line. When he was mortally wounded his body was thrown into a mass grave by English troops. Paul Revere himself identified Warren by a set of false teeth he had made for him!

Park your car and take a walk in the park along 3rd and Pennsylvania Ave. There you’ll find the impressive 500-pound statue of the man. The Tidioute chapter of the D.A.R. donated it to Warren in 1910. The park remains nearly the same since the statue was dedicated over 100 years ago.