General Joseph Warren

               The city and county of Warren are named after General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero. He lived and died without ever having been to the community, which twenty years after his death would be named for him.

               Joseph Warren was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1741. He went to Harvard College, became a physician and began practicing medicine at the age of 23 in Boston. Warren was known as a “progressive” physician, inoculating his patients against the disease of small pox before inoculations were common. While in Boston, Warren became very active in the anti-English, pro-Revolutionary politics of the city.

               In 1774, Warren was elected president of the Provincial Congress and chairman of the Committee of Public Safety, the most important Revolutionary political organizations in the state. The responsibility for organizing the militias and the now famous “Minute Men” fell to the Committee of Public Safety.

               Warren was also the Grand Master of Freemasons in North America. Most of the Revolutionary War leaders belonged to the Freemasons, a secret organization. As “Grand Master” (what we would call president), Warren was an extremely important leader.

               In April of 1775, it was Warren who sent Paul Revere and other riders out to the countryside to warn people of the British expedition against Concord. The Battle of Lexington and Concord would become famous as, “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” and the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Just days after the battle, Warren was appointed President of the Provincial Congress and he soon became a Major General in the new army.

               Joseph Warren was killed a few months later at the Battle of Bunker (or Breed’s) Hill, helping the last of the militia to retreat from a hill soon to be taken by the British. Although many of Warren’s friends and companions remembered and celebrated his memory, few people today have heard of General Joseph Warren because he was killed so early in the war.

               A statue of General Joseph Warren, put up by the Tidioute Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1910, stands today in Joseph Warren Park.


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society