Dr. Joseph Warren, Namesake
On March 9, 1836, the Virginia General Assembly formed the County of Warren, named after Dr. Joseph Warren, one of the earliest Founding Fathers of America. Born June 11, 1741, he became the youngest doctor in Boston, Massachusetts at the age of 22, boasting such notable patients as Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, and John Quincy Adams. In 1774, Dr. Warren served as President of the revolutionary Massachusetts Provincial Congress, advocating on behalf of the interests of the Colonies while under the rule of Britain. Later that same year, he responded to British Parliament's "Intolerable Acts" legislation by penning the Suffolk Resolves, a set of radical resolutions calling for a boycott of British goods and for local militias to prepare for armed resistance, resolutions which were endorsed by the Continental Congress.
On the fifth anniversary of the Boston Massacre, Dr. Warren delivered a rousing oratory commemorating the tragic event, a now-famous speech for which he dressed in a Roman toga to symbolize the rising of democratic ideals in the Colonies. Later in 1775, he would dispatch Paul Revere and William Dawes on their midnight rides to warn of the advance of British troops on Lexington and Concord.
On June 17, 1775, while other Sons of Liberty were convened in Philadelphia as delegates to the Continental Congress, Dr. Warren borrowed a musket and volunteered to fight in the Battle of Bunker Hill against troops led by British General Thomas Gage. Before the battle, despite being appointed to the rank of Major General, he declined to take charge of the colonial forces and instead joined the privates in the trenches to fight. That day, only six days after his 34th birthday, Dr. Warren was killed by a musket ball to the head, becoming immortalized as a martyr for the American Revolution. Upon hearing news of his death, General Gage reportedly said, "Warren's death is equal to 500 men", and another British commander took solace in his death, calling him "the greatest incendiary in all of America."
In his last letter to his mother, Dr. Warren is quoted to have written, "Where danger is, dear mother, there must your son be… I will set [America] free or die", and it is upon this patriotism and legacy which the County of Warren was founded.