Mrs. LaphamMr. Lapham’s daughter-in-law. She manages the household with care and efficiency. She is unpretentious and does not bother with genteel manners. Although she and Johnny have disagreements throughout the novel, he eventually realizes that she is a dedicated mother who does the best she can for her family.
DoveOne of Lapham’s apprentices, Dove is sixteen at the start of the novel. No one remembers his first name. He is lazy and jealous of Johnny's skills as a silversmith. He is eventually fired and goes to work as a stable boy for Colonel Smith.
Dusty MillerMr. Lapham's youngest apprentice. He is eleven years old at the start of the novel and looks up to Johnny.
Johnny TremainA fourteen-year-old apprentice to Mr. Lapham, a silversmith. He is skinny and has light hair. Johnny is good-natured, hard-working, and well-liked, but he is also haughty and rude at times. After his hand is burned by some melted silver, Johnny must make a new life for himself as the American Revolution brews in Boston.
Cilla LaphamCilla is the pretty, intelligent daughter of Mrs. Lapham. As part of Johnny's apprenticeship, it is agreed that he will marry her when she comes of age. However, this arrangement is cancelled when he burns his hand and is unable to continue with his career. She is fiercely attached to her younger sister, Isannah. As she grows older, Cilla becomes a charming young woman with a talent for drawing.
Isannah LaphamThe youngest daughter of Mrs. Lapham. Isannah is eight years old at the beginning of the novel. She has an angelic appearance that often draws comments from passers-by, a fact that eventually goes to her head. Adults love her, but Isannah has no scruples about lying and doesn't think very well for herself. She is often taken care of by her older sister, Cilla.
Madge LaphamThe eldest Lapham daughter. She is eighteen years old, friendly, and “handsome in a coarse-grained, red-faced, thick-waisted way” (6). She eventually marries a British officer.
Dorcas LaphamThe sixteen-year-old daughter of Mrs. Lapham. She is snooty and tries very hard to be 'elegant,' adopting the clothes and airs of women of higher social class. She elopes with Frizel, Junior, which results in Cilla being briefly betrothed to Mr. Tweedie.
Mr. LaphamMrs. Lapham's father-in-law and the owner of the silversmith business. He is sometimes referred to as "Grandpa Lapham." He is extremely pious and serves as the deacon at Cockerel Church. As he has gotten older, he has become withdrawn and less interested in the business, which means Johnny often has to make decisions.
John HancockA wealthy merchant and one of the most important men in Boston. He becomes a rebel leader and occasionally interacts with Johnny.
JehuJohn Hancock's young African slave.
Miss Lavinia LyteMerchant Lyte's young daughter. She seems to be in her late teens or early twenties, and is one of the most beautiful and elegant women in Boston. However, she is also a snob and treats people from the lower classes poorly. Despite her mostly rotten personality, she does have some good instincts and ultimately tries to help Johnny.
Lavinia Lyte TremainJohnny’s mother. She died of illness when he was fourteen, but she did her best to ensure a bright future for him. She taught him to read and write and moved from Maine to Boston so that he could be an apprentice to Mr. Lapham after her passing. Johnny eventually learns more about her early life as a Boston socialite, which she gave up to marry a French prisoner of war.
Paul RevereA silversmith and a rebel who offers to buy Johnny’s spare time from Mr. Lapham. He is known for his exceptional metalworking skill and has started a prosperous business. He eventually becomes a spymaster for the rebel movement and fights bravely in the Revolution.
Gran' HopperThe midwife who treats Johnny’s burn.
Mr. Percival TweedieA silversmith from Baltimore who is hired as Mr. Lapham’s assistant after Johnny’s injury. He has rude manners and often shows up to the house uninvited. As part of his hiring agreement, he is allowed to marry one of the Lapham girls. He is very fickle about which one he will choose, something that causes much stress and anxiety since none of the girls want to marry him.
Rab SilsbeeA printer's apprentice at the Boston Observer. Rab becomes a friend and role model to Johnny. He participates in many rebel groups, including the Sons of Liberty and the Boston Observers.
Uncle LorneThe printer of the Boston Observer. He employs Rab and eventually Johnny. He is a Whig and although he does not like fighting, he contributes to the revolt by printing 'seditious' newspapers and pamphlets.
Frizel, JuniorA suitor who has agreed to marry either Madge or Dorcas Lapham.
SewallA kind young clerk who works for Merchant Lyte. He is in love with Lavinia.
Aunt BestAn ugly, mean, old relative of Merchant Lyte’s.
Josiah QuincyA young, famous lawyer who defends Johnny for free when he is accused of burglary by Merchant Lyte.
Mr. Justice DanaThe judge in Johnny’s burglary case.
GoblinThe irritable horse owned by the print shop. Johnny must learn to ride Goblin in order to work as a delivery boy.
Aunt LorneUncle Lorne’s kindly wife. Her first name is Jenifer, and she has one child, a baby boy.
Sam AdamsA leader of the rebel movement in Boston and an active Boston Observer. He makes major contributions to the revolutionary effort, but Forbes characterizes him as having a childlike appetite for violence.
SukeySam Adams’s African-American slave girl.
GrandsireRab’s grandfather, who has lost his mobility due to an old wound from the French and Indian Wars. He lives in the countryside near Lexington with the rest of Rab's family.
RabbitJohnny’s nickname for Aunt Lorne’s infant boy. Rabbit is very well-behaved and never cries, sometimes to the frustration of his mother, who cannot always tell when and why he is in pain.
The Webb twinsTwo young apprentices to Uncle Lorne.
Reverend Sam CooperA Whig minister who often discusses politics in his sermons. The Lornes take Rab and Johnny to his services every Sunday.
James OtisAn intelligent and passionate Boston Observer. Despite his brilliance, Johnny and some other characters suspect that he is going insane, so they stop inviting him to meetings.
Dr. ChurchA member of the Boston Observers. Although he is an upstanding citizen, Johnny suspects that he is crooked.
Dr. WarrenA Boston Observer and a kind and skilled surgeon.
RotchA twenty-three-year-old Quaker who owns the Dartmouth, one of the East India Company ships that is raided in the Boston Tea Party.
Governor HutchinsonThe Tory governor of Massachusetts. Rab and Sam Adams both characterize him as stubborn and unwilling to accommodate the Whigs.
General GageThe moderate general whom the monarchy sends to replace Governor Hutchinson when Boston is put under martial law.
Mr. ShurtleifA moderate Whig from Cambridge who turns out to be a secret Tory leader.
Mrs. BessieMerchant Lyte’s houskeeper and cook. She is secretly a Whig and passes information to Paul Revere.
Lieutenant StrangerA good-natured but pompous British sergeant who tries to commandeer Johnny’s horse, Goblin. When Johnny prevents this from happening, Lieutenant Stranger drops the issue and offers to give Johnny and Goblin lessons in jumping.
LydiaThe maid at the Afric Queen. She is a Whig and helps Johnny spy on Colonel Smith.
Colonel SmithA high-ranking British officer who employs Dove as a stable boy and leads the assault on Lexington and Concord.
PumpkinA young British enlisted man who works in the stable at the Afric Queen for extra money. He likes America and wants to desert and become a farmer.
Billy DawesA rebel who acts like a drunken farmer in order to get out of Boston and warn Lexington and Concord of the impending attack.
Robert NewmanThe sexton at Christ’s Church. He hangs two lanterns in the church spire to warn the Minute Men in Lexington and Concord that the British are coming.
Major PitcairnA British officer famous for his use of profane language
Johnny Tremain Essays and Related Content
- Johnny Tremain: Major Themes
- Johnny Tremain: Questions
- Johnny Tremain: Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- Esther Forbes: Biography
- Johnny Tremain Summary
- About Johnny Tremain
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Quotes and Analysis
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 1
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 2
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 3
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 4
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 5
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 6
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 7
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 8
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 9
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 10
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 11
- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 12
- Children and Teenagers in the American Revolution
- Related Links on Johnny Tremain
- Suggested Essay Questions
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 3
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 4
- Author of ClassicNote and Sources