Warren’s author details the rest of Dr. Joseph Warren’s story | News, Sports, Jobs
For Warren County namesake, Dr. Joseph Warren, there’s no way to know for sure.
His life ended at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, ending 10 years of resistance activity against the British Crown.
Author Christian Di Spigna, who has researched Warren for 20 years and spoke at the Warren County Historical Society’s annual meeting Tuesday night at the courthouse, has an idea.
“I think Warren would have been just as important in the post-revolutionary era as he was in the pre-revolutionary era,” he said.
But getting to know Warren the Man proved difficult.
“There is no long paper trail on Warren,” said Di Spigna. “In recent years the things that have been published about Warren (have tended) to be more fictional. Before there was Washington, there was Dr. Warren.
Warren himself destroyed many of his papers before Lexington and Concord, while two house fires in the 1800s destroyed other Warren artifacts.
Steeped in Freemasonry and a Harvard graduate, Warren was trained as a physician by Dr. James Lloyd.
“He really is Warren’s first mentor,” Di Spigna said, explaining that apprenticeship was also where he learned to be a gentleman.
His work during a smallpox epidemic, he explained, enhanced his reputation and placed him in a unique position politically.
“Warren has good on either side of the political divide,” he said, with patriotic and loyalist patients. This is “why he becomes an attractive figure for both groups…. He built this reputation for generosity and helping people.
But he fell solidly on the side of the Patriots.
“His fingers are everywhere” the Boston Tea Party, Di Spigna said. “He helped plan it.”
=Suffolk solves, a “statement of rights and grievances that Warren drafts” were read to the First Continental Congress and everyone adopts it unanimously. (It’s) amazing how similar the language is to the Declaration of Independence.
Warren was shot in the head and killed instantly in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
“His body is mutilated, hit with the bayonet several times”, he explained and stripped.
It was “catapulted to this martyr status” after his death, but “Nobody remembers 10 years of resistance activities.”
Di Spigna highlighted the irony of Warren’s memory by focusing on his death as “Fighting General of This Afternoon” despite years spent saving lives.
“You see it being mentioned with men” like Washington before falling into obscurity in the mid-1800s. “You have to remember how young Warren is,” killed just days after his 34th birthday.
What if Warren had lived? “Think how easily Warren could have made that transition to George Washington.”
For Di Spigna, the 20-year journey that culminated in the publication in 2018 of his book “Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the Lost Hero of the American Revolution” started with the discovery of an 1835 book on Warren and the question “How come no one ever wrote about this guy…. I consider him a founding grandfather.
He is now also executive director of the Dr. Joseph Warren Foundation, which aims to resurrect his legacy and celebrate his life.
Di Spigna said the foundation will provide a $500 scholarship to a Warren County student as part of the effort.