Return to Tradition of Mourning Jewelry
Born in Boston on April 6, 1745, William Dawes made his living as a tanner. Like some other tradesmen of note in the city, he was an active member of the Sons of Liberty, holding meetings in his North End home and performing other tasks to support the Revolutionary cause. Although Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem immortalized another Boston tradesman, Paul Revere, Dawes also made that “midnight ride” from Boston to Lexington on April 18, 1775. He even rode a greater distance than Revere in order to secure the Americans’ limited artillery. Later, Dawes served as a commissary to the Continental Army at Worcester, Mass. At the end of the century, as the Revolutionary generation began to pass away, the loss of these individuals helped bring about a national culture of public mourning.
Left: The band is of flat wide rose gold with a circular mount containing the plaited brown hair under curved crystal surrounded by 20 small pearls. Engraved in script inside band: "William Dawes / Obt. Feby 25 / 1799." The ring is stored in the original oval maroon leather-covered cardboard box with brass cover hinge and hook/eye clasp.
Right: The band is of flat narrow rose gold with an oval mount containing plaited brown hair. Includes in gold foil the initials "WAD" under a curved crystal; and surrounded by 24 small pearls, a narrow black enamel band, narrow blue enamel band, and very thin white enamel band. Engraved in script inside band: "William Dawes / Ob. Feb. 25. 1799." The ring is stored in the original round maroon leather-covered cardboard box with hinged lid, brass hinge and hook/eye clasp; the interior lined in silk. A paper label on the top of the lid is no longer legible.