Author, Boston historian and tour guide Ben Edwards has introduced thousands of individuals to Boston’s remarkable history since 2004 through his walking tours of historic Boston. Ben’s passion for history comes from a very personal connection. Four generations of his Edwards ancestors lived in Boston from 1700 to 1852. Among them was Ben’s sixth great grandfather, a sea captain named Benjamin Edwards who battled pirates in the Caribbean in 1722.
Tour participants, especially children, enjoy learning about the Edwards family connection to Paul Revere. Ben’s fourth great grandfather, cooper Benjamin Edwards, was a 10-year-old orphan in April 1775 living just down the street from the Old North Church when two signal lanterns were shown from its steeple and Paul Revere made his midnight ride. Ben lived with his uncle, a member of the Sons of Liberty, and toward the end of the American Revolution his older sister Sally Edwards married silversmith Paul Revere Jr., firstborn son of the famous patriot.
Intrigued by family stories and clues he was given as a child, the modern day Ben Edwards embarked on a six year journey of discovery about his ancestors. Along the way he located fascinating artifacts including a painting of Captain Benjamin Edwards, as well as the sea captain’s 300-year-old family Bible with all of his handwritten family records. This research into his family and their connection to colonial Boston formed the basis for a children’s book called One April in Boston. Ben’s book teaches not only American history, but the power of imagination and the value of goal setting. It is currently being marketed as a film or made-for-TV movie.
Ben Edwards has an extensive collection of rare documents and historic newspapers that he shares with tour participants both during the tour and online. He is founder and producer of Primary Source Audio — a series of audio products that brings primary sources to life for educators and history buffs. Ben has lived in Boston’s Back Bay for more than a decade, knows the city inside out, and is happy to offer a wealth of information/suggestions to groups and families taking a private tour.
Follow Ben on Twitter @BostonHistory