America's Braveheart Remembered on March 15

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Three states along the East Coast will recognize extraordinary Pvt. soldier of the Revolutionary War, Peter Francisco, known as the Hercules of the Revolution, on March 15, Peter Francisco Day. George Washington called him his “one-man army,” and he has also been referred to as America’s Braveheart. He fought in five major battles and was wounded six times, twice escaping death.

For nearly 60 years, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Virginia have observed March 15 as Peter Francisco Day to honor the Portuguese-born patriot who was kidnapped and abandoned by pirates, then bought as a slave. He won his personal freedom and, ultimately, that of a nation, by enlisting and serving in the Continental Army. March 15, 1781, was the date of the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina, during which Peter Francisco fought with fury unparalleled in military history. Wielding the incredible six-foot broadsword fashioned for him by George Washington, Peter cut down eleven British Grenadiers.

The First Peter Francisco Day
The Honorable Edmond Dinis of New Bedford, Massachusetts, where Peter Francisco Square stands, was the first to file legislation designating the date in 1953. Dinis realized that despite Peter Francisco’s heroic contributions for American freedom and independence, he was becoming a “forgotten man.” He also knew that those in the area, including thousands of Portuguese-Americans, would wish to remember and honor those whose sacrifices established the United States of America.

Then-Governor John A. Volpe signed the proclamation into law, proclaiming the first Peter Francisco Day on March 15, 1962. Rhode Island and Virginia soon followed. Travis Bowman, sixth generation descendant of Peter Francisco and North Carolina resident, is lobbying for the same legislation to be passed in that state. "North Carolina has a monument to Peter Francisco, and no one knows that," says Bowman.

Peter Francisco – Hercules of the Revolution
Peter Francisco was called the “Hercules of the Revolution” because of his enormous size, massive strength, and unbelievable bravery. George Washington had a six-foot broadsword made for him and even made the claim that we would have likely lost the whole Revolutionary War without Peter Francisco. His legacy continues today with five monuments that stand in his honor and a US bicentennial stamp that enshrined him in 1976, in addition to the three states that observe Peter Francisco Day. “Peter Francisco’s story is not just another legend from the battlefields of the Revolution,” says bestselling author and film producer Robert Whitlow. “This truly is the American Braveheart story!”

About Travis Bowman
Sixth generation descendant, Travis Bowman, is similar in stature standing the same height and looks remarkably similar to one of Peter’s portrait paintings. As an actor, Bowman enjoys performing dramatic impersonations of Peter with a six-foot replica broadsword similar to the one George Washington had made for him. In 2009, he self-published a historical novel entitled Hercules of the Revolution, and has recently produced the first documentary about his ancestor. Bowman delivered his first performance as Peter Francisco at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park on Peter Francisco Day, 2008. Keep up with Travis on Twitter @PeterFrancisco.

Bowman will be at the Buckingham County 250th Anniversary celebration on April 2nd, which is where Peter Francisco was raised as slave on Hunting Tower Plantation and resided most of his post-war life. For more details about his upcoming appearances, visit http://www.HerculesoftheRevolution.com. To schedule an interview with Travis Bowman, please call (704) 728-5800 or e-mail thebookstand(at)msn(dot)com.

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Heather Walls
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