THE PHYSICIAN, THE STATESMAN, THE WARRIOR
Dr. Joseph Warren stands in the front of the Green Dragon Tavern holding a pistol & a cane with his surgeon’s kit tucked under his arm.
Called the “Headquarters of the American Revolution,” the Green Dragon Tavern was aptly named for the copper dragon with the green patina that guarded the many secret meetings that filled the tavern’s rooms. Warren as the Grand Master of the Ancient Scottish Rite Masons led many lodge meetings at the Green Dragon, including the planning of the event that came to be known as, “The Boston Tea Party.” The Tavern also hosted the Sons of Liberty, the Committees of Correspondence, and the Boston Caucus.
Dr. Warren’s surgeon’s kit likely had a velvet interior that would have held a number of necessary items to perform various surgeries & amputations, including a bone saw, suturing needles & a tourniquet.
Like most physicians of the day, Dr. Warren likely carried a cane, not only as a symbol of prestige & wealth, but the hollowed pommel would have been filled with various scented herbs & mint to mask any foul odors from patient wounds & disease.
Joseph Warren was a political agitator against what many colonists had come to view as oppressive British policies. His polemical writings & fiery orations caused the attention of royal officials and the Crown's Army. Under threat of assassination, Warren voluntarily delivered the 1775 Boston Massacre oration. As the political climate in Boston soared dangerously high, Warren sent his fiancé & his young children to Worchester, Massachusetts under the care & protection of his friend & colleague, Dr. Elijah Dix. The armed statesman knew that fighting could erupt at any moment. On April 19, 1775, Dr. Warren was nearly killed when a musket ball knocked out his hair pin. Two months later Warren was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Dr. Joseph Warren’s Office in the Chardon House 1774
This painting was researched & created by artist Marcia Stoetzel.
If you were to step inside Dr. Joseph Warren’s medical office in 1774, you might find in a recessed wall niche a Silver Tankard given to Dr. Warren by his father, Joseph Warren. After his death the tankard passed to his brother, Ebenezer. In 1875 this tankard was listed in the possession of Henry Warren Paine. Paine was Ebenezer Warren's grandson. (1) This pictured tankard is similar in appearance to the one owned by Joseph and then Ebenezer and was made by Edward Winslow.
Beneath the tankard is a table of Surgical Instruments representing what Dr. Warren would have used in surgery. (2)
The next item is an eight-day mahogany clock that Dr. Warren purchased from Benjamin Willard between 1772 and 1774. This clock was passed on to Ebenezer Warren and it is on display in the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library in Lexington, Massachusetts. (3)
A basket of herbs sits drying, which Dr. Warren would have used for various remedies. Some of those herbs are still used today for medical purposes. (4)
Warren may have had a skeleton in his office similar to the one that can be found at the Pasteur & Galt Apothecary shop in Williamsburg, Virginia. (5)
The old oak barrel displayed was listed in Dr. Warren's probate inventory. (6)
If you look at the shelves behind Dr. Warren you will see items used in the Apothecaries of colonial doctors practicing medicine during the Revolutionary War period. The glass and ceramic containers on the shelves were used to store the herbs and powders that Warren adminstered to various patients. Can you find the jar with the leaches? (7)
The skull pictured is similar to those found when the site of Dr. Warren’s office was excavated in 1835. (8)
The balance (scale) was used to measure medicinal ingredients. (9)
The apples on the table would have come from the Warren family orchard in Roxbury. (10)
Joseph’s wife, Elizabeth Hooton Warren, died in April 1773. Warren is pictured wearing the mourning ring that he had made to honor her after she passed. (11)
In front of the counter is a basket of White Man’s Footprint (as it was called by Native Americans) or Plantago Major. This herb was indigenous to most of Europe and brought to the colonies by early settlers. It is still used today to boost overall health. (12)
On the counter rests a book of anatomical drawings. (13)
1 . SILVER TANKARD : Catalogue of Revolutionary Relics, published in 1875. P31
2. SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS : Founding Martyr, Christian Di Spigna p.61
3. WILLARD CLOCK : Founding Martyr , Christian Di Spigna, p. 263
4. HERBS: Sondra Johnson, Nature’s Common Scents, Front Royal, Virginia
5. HUMAN SKELTON : The image of the skeleton for this painting is from the Apothecary Shop in Colonial Williamsburg
6. OLD OAK BARREL : Joseph Warren Estate Inventory, Suffolk County Probate Records
7. GLASS AND CERMANIC CONTAINERS: Di Spigna, p. 61
8. SKULL : Di Spigna p. 62. Several wired skulls were unearthed in 1835 when the town excavated the spot where his home once stood.
9. BALANCE SCALE: Di Spigna p. 61. Warren's ledgers.
10. WARREN RUSSET APPLES: Di Spigna, p. 230. Warren Russet apples are still grown today. Current Warren descendants maintain these trees on their farms in Virginia and Michigan.
11. MOURNING RING: Di Spigna, Founding Martyr Illustrations. A contemporary drawing of Warren’s mourning ring for his deceased wife, Elizabeth Hooton Warren, based on a sketch and description of the ring from Providence Evening Press, June 14, 1875. Illustrated by Mark Stutsman.
12. WHITE MAN’S FOOTPRINT: Sondra B. Johnson
13. In Copley's painting of Dr. Joseph Warren his arm is resting on anatomical drawings.