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Revolutionary-Era Patriots Paul Revere and Samuel Adams Believed to Have Buried 1795 Time Capsule

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A copper time capsule buried by Paul Revere and Sam Adams, dating back to 1795 was unearthed in 2014 at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. The contents of the capsule included a coin from 1652 (among others), a copper medal depicting George Washington, several newspapers, and a silver plate which was believed to be engraved by Paul Revere, among other items. As historians processed each item, they documented the story as it unfolded and conservators saved the contents for posterity and to continue telling the epic stories of these American founders for future generations.

Burial and Reburial

Revolutionary-Era Patriots Paul Revere and Samuel Adams Believed to Have Buried 1795 Time Capsule

Photo: Facebook/Fox News

Historians believed that the Revolutionary-era patriots, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, placed the time capsule in the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in 1795 during construction, after historical accounts indicated Samuel Adams (who would have been governor of Massachusetts at that time), Paul Revere, and William Scollay placed the time capsule and its contents that year as part of a ceremony that commenced in downtown Boston and ended at the State House. The original capsule was made of cowhide and was first removed from the cornerstone in 1855, during emergency repairs to the building. Its contents were then placed in a copper box, and it was reburied until such time as future Americans should stumble across it.

X-Rayed for Contents

Revolutionary-Era Patriots Paul Revere and Samuel Adams Believed to Have Buried 1795 Time Capsule

Photo: Facebook/WPRI 12

In December of 2014, while repairing a water leak at the State House, workers spied the time capsule and contacted the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Boston Globe then reported that excavation for the container started at 9 a.m. Just a little smaller than a cigar box, the copper container had to be painstakingly chipped from pieces of plaster (also containing silver coins from its reburial ceremony of 1855) until it was freed and transported to the Museum of Fine Arts to be X-rayed for its contents. And although the box was opened on January 6, 2015, to have the contents fully examined, it was proposed that it eventually be placed back inside the State House cornerstone from which it came, including the possibility of adding new items before reburial.

What Other Mysteries Could Be Buried In Our State Houses?

Revolutionary-Era Patriots Paul Revere and Samuel Adams Believed to Have Buried 1795 Time Capsule

Photo: Facebook/Craig Pettengill

On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, an honor guard complete with white horses, backed by fife-and-drum melodies, and over 1,000 Freemasons marched along Beacon Street in Boston, toward the State House for the official reburying ceremony of the cornerstone time capsule. A 19-gun salute echoed out over Boston and across Beacon Hill as the next generation set out to encase the time capsule once again, including new items from present times. In doing so, they learned of a valuable piece of our country’s history, and secured, for posterity, items they believed to be of importance for future Americans to one day discover. Not having been the first time such a capsule was discovered in Boston (the other being in the head of a golden lion at a former Massachusetts State House), it begs the question: what could be safely buried and encapsulated against time in the Texas House of Representatives, enshrined in beautiful pink granite for future Texans to one day gaze upon?!

Sources:

History

Boston Globe

Museum of Fine Arts Boston