Dawes, William

Lexington, MA — Completed in 1737 by John Hancock's grandfather, the house is now a museum
On the night of Paul Revere's April 1775 ride John Hancock and Samuel Adams were awakened there with news of the advancing British troops.

Charles Willson Peale, despite his devotion to the taxonomic and contemplative majesty of the natural world, nevertheless loved novelties and used all sorts of amusements to attract customers to his museum. He eventually resorted to hiring a popular musical performer who played five different instruments simultaneously, using all parts of his body. Following Peale’s death the museum passed into the enterprising hands of P. T. Barnum, becoming part of his traveling circus — a romantic ending for an Enlightenment institution.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)