This Monday Boston, its marathon, and the rest of America will be “strong” in remembering the victims and butchered survivors that came courtesy of the most psychotic brothers since the Kray twins (and, to a slightly lesser extent, those so-called “fabulous” Baker Boys). Lost in the revelry will be the 240th anniversary of Patriot’s Day, which honors the April night when Paul Revere and William Dawes Jr. were ordered forth by their fellow Sons of Liberty to warn many a Masshole that the British were coming quicker than Helen Mirren in Caligula.
For over a century, two members of the National Lancers, a ceremonial cavalry based in Framingham, Mass., have reenacted this ride, resplendent in colonial era garb, and playing the part of both Paul and William at around the same time that the 26-mile masochism starts.
I know this because for the last decade, I’ve been trying to convince said troop to let me portray Dawes, for at least a mile, in their revolutionary roleplaying. Mostly because I’m not only Will’s seventh great-grandson, but I was also born on the 200th anniversary of his horse course, and was given the name William Dawes Schulz in deference to he, whose moniker was less rhymable than Revere’s.
Even though my super-great grandpappy successfully avoided road-blocking Red Coats—unlike pathetic Paul, Willy has long sense been forgotten thanks to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1861 poem and, what Malcolm Gladwell claims, was Revere’s better social network (And we all know that’s so something the little frizzy haired contrarian would write.)
As a result, the Dawes side of my family (specifically my paternal grandmother’s side, Mr. ThanksForAsking) is used to disappointment. So they weren’t surprised when I’d give them endless dispatches regarding the Lancers never returning a phone call, or email, regarding my interest in giving them—God forbid—a little press. Nor was the fam shocked when I’d relay that, during my time at Emerson College, I’d pass Dawes’s King’s Chapel grave and place a dime on his tombstone before every big test. They’d see my GPA and continue to assume we were cursed.
Enter Ann Coulter.
Despite the fact that the only thing my former Fox News foil and I ever agreed on was a love of happy hour deals and a distaste for Sarah Palin pronouncing things, we became fast friends during my tenure at NewsCorp. (What? We were at least a more entertaining odd couple than that current CBS reboot/slop.)
And Ann always kind of dug my WD connection. So much so that I feel partially responsible for granddad-number-seven making an appearance in one of the less inflammatory chapters in her 2011 book on gluten-free cooking titled, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America.
The actual William item was basically an adorable ode to his April efforts* but it was also… exactly the kind of publicity the Dawes family needed.
Ann’s editor told her to lose the chapter on history’s forgotten snitch, but she successfully fought to keep it. I always thought it was because of me. Her response to my theory: “It's possible I went on a little long about Dawes in Demonic, as a secret tribute to you, but he actually was crucial to the story of how the Americans planned and prepared for that night.”
She had me at “a little long.”
As a result, I’ll give you my quick thoughts on the deader Dawes along with her actually researched edits.
History states that William evaded a blockade of Red Coats by pretending he was with many an angry colonist rather than just by himselfsies. But according to family lore, Dawes just pretended to be a drunk (which he was already known to kind of be) and the ole lobsterbacks let him pass without even thinking about it.
Ann’s edit: “Dawes got away by pretending to be a British officer himself, shouting ‘I've got one of them, boys!’ It was brilliant. He could have played basketball for Wisconsin. After escaping, he was thrown from his horse BUT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT HE WAS DRUNK, BILL SCHULZ. You are the drunk in the family.”
Ann’s edit: “Dawes does not look like Bob Beckel, and he was not a drunk, as you horribly claim. I think you have Dawes’s hair.”
By all contemporary accounts, William Dawes Jr.—who went on to fight at the battle of Bunker Hill—seemed to be an amicable dude.
Ann’s edit: “Your shockingly lovely manners may go to prove that you really are a direct descendant of a patriot of the American Revolution.”
(Full disclosure: Coulter just said that because I promised I’d mention that “ADIOS, AMERICA! The Left’s Plan to Turn America into a Third World Hellhole,” hits bookstores on June 1.)
In conclusion: Boston? Strong. Dawes? Forgotten. Coulter and I? Sadly platonic. But I’m about to play the Charles Gates Dawes is my great great uncle card. I’ve read Ann has a thing for Vice Presidents.
*Ann actually focused a lot of the chapter on the even more unheralded THIRD rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. But whatever. I’m not related to him.