Johnny Tremain: Character Profiles
Mrs. Bessie is the Lyte’s cook. She dislikes Lavinia Lyte and knows a secret about Lavinia. She is a Whig and remains in Boston when the Lytes decide to return to London.
Aunt Best is a relative of the Lytes. She is described as an “ugly, cross old woman” and walks with the help of two gold-headed canes. She is also present at the Lyte home when Johnny arrives to show his cup to Mr. Lyte.
Mr. Justice Dana
Mr. Justice Dana is the magistrate who oversees Johnny’s case of theft against Merchant Lyte. Dana is swayed by the touching story Isannah tells in the courtroom.
Billy Dawes is known for his ability to impersonate others, and he dresses as a drunken farmer in order to slip out of Boston the night before fighting begins. Dawes is selected by Paul Revere to get a horse outside of Boston, so that Revere can ride to warn the people of Lexington and Concord of an impending military expedition.
Dove is the oldest apprentice to Mr. Lapham. Dove is somewhat overweight and lazy, and he resents the fact that Johnny, who is two years younger, is allowed to command the other apprentices. A prank played by Dove leads to Johnny’s injury.
General Gage is the main commander of the British forces in Boston. Gage upsets King George because of his inability to suppress the actions of the patriots. Gage is slated to be replaced by three other commanders.
Goblin is a skittish horse owned by Mr. Lorne and used by Johnny to deliver his copies of the Boston Observer. Johnny takes pride in the fact that he is able to master riding Goblin.
John Hancock is the owner of Hancock’s Wharf and the richest man in New England. Hancock owns the Laphams’ house and comes to Mr. Lapham to have him create a silver sugar bowl. Hancock’s softer side is revealed through his revulsion of Johnny’s crippled hand and his distaste of violence.
Gran Hopper is the old midwife who attends to Johnny’s injured hand. Though she helps his hand to heal, she binds it in such a way that the hand becomes crippled.
Jehu is a young slave belonging to John Hancock.
Dorcas Lapham is the second oldest of Mrs. Lapham’s four daughters. Dorcas longs to be elegant.
Ephraim Lapham is the master silversmith to whom Johnny Tremain is apprenticed. Mr. Lapham is a kindhearted and pious man. He believes that Johnny will make a fine silversmith one day and has promised him his business when he marries one of his granddaughters. He chides Johnny for being too proud, and releases Johnny from his apprenticeship after Johnny is injured.
Isannah Lapham is the youngest of Mrs. Lapham’s daughters. She has long, golden hair, but is weakly. Isannah’s beauty captivates many people, including Lavinia Lyte, who takes her on as her protégée and ultimately takes her to London.
Madge Lapham is the oldest of Mrs. Lapham’s four daughters. Madge marries a British soldier, Sergeant Gale.
Mrs. Lapham is the daughter-in-law of Ephraim Lapham, Johnny Tremain’s master. She admires and respects Johnny while he is healthy, but seems to have no use for him once he becomes injured.
Priscilla “Cilla” Lapham
Cilla Lapham is the third oldest of Mrs. Lapham’s four daughters. At fourteen, she is the same age as Johnny. Initially, it has been decided that she will marry Johnny; however, when Johnny is injured those plans are changed. Though she often teases Johnny, Cilla has a deep affection for him.
Mr. Lorne is the owner of the Boston Observer, a paper Mr. Lapham despises for its anti-English views. Mr. Lorne is Rab’s uncle.
Jenifer Lorne is Rab’s aunt.
Lydia is the laundress at the Afric Queen. She sides with the Whigs and passes on important information to Johnny.
Jonathan Lyte is a rich Boston Merchant. Lyte is disliked by the Whigs because, although he pretends to support the Whigs, his actions work against them. Johnny possesses a cup with the Lyte family crest and motto, which he is to show to Merchant Lyte if he ever falls upon dire straights. When Johnny reveals the cup to Lyte, Lyte has him arrested. Lyte becomes sickly and must leave Boston for London.
Lavinia Lyte is Merchant Lyte’s daughter. She is very beautiful but possesses one physical flaw: “a tiny perpendicular line” between her brows. She is known as somewhat of a showoff, but is very striking and is admired by most people in Boston. Lavinia takes on Isannah as her protégée, but she does not treat Isannah well.
Dusty Miller is Mr. Lapham’s youngest apprentice. Dusty is eleven years old and has a great deal of respect for Johnny, but he also sympathizes with Dove. Dove eventually runs away from the Laphams.
James Otis is a member of the Boston Observers. Many of the Observers think that he has lost his senses. However, during the final meeting of the group Otis delivers a stirring speech about the true reason to go to war with the British: that “a man can stand up.”
Pumpkin is a British solider who wants to desert and establish a farm in America. In exchange for Pumpkin’s musket, Johnny gets farmer’s clothes and arranges for Rab’s uncle to smuggle him out of Boston. Later, Johnny sees Pumpkin in front of a firing squad.
Josiah Quincy serves as Johnny’s attorney in his trial against Merchant Lyte.
Quincy is a member of the Sons of Liberty and represents Johnny free of charge.
Rab is a young apprentice at the Boston Observer. His uncle, Mr. Lorne, is owner of a printing shop and publisher of the Observer. Rab treats Johnny kindly and is responsible for Johnny getting hired at the Observer. Rab has a tremendous influence on Johnny. Rab longs to help the patriots fight and is wounded in Lexington, during the opening skirmish of the American Revolution. He later dies from his injuries.
Rabbit is the name Johnny gives to Mrs. Lorne’s child. Johnny often watches the child and comes to care deeply for him.
Paul Revere is a famous silversmith in the Boston area. Johnny goes to him to seek advice to improve his work on John Hancock’s sugar basin, and later Revere asks Johnny to perform some very important duties.
Cousin Sewall works for his uncle, Mr. Lyte. He is present when Johnny arrives to show his cup to Mr. Lyte, and he throws Johnny out of Lyte’s office. Later, Johnny learns that Sewall is actually a Whig.
Colonel Smith is a British commander. He leads the expedition against Lexington and Concord.
Lieutenant Stranger is a British officer who respects Johnny’s ability to ride Goblin. He teaches Johnny how to jump Goblin.
Cousin Talbot is a relative of the Lytes. He is present at the Lyte home when Johnny arrives to show his cup to Mr. Lyte.
Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain is the novel’s protagonist. He is an apprentice to a silversmith and is clever with both his hands and his head. Johnny is generally likable, loyal, hard-working, and industrious. Early in the novel, Johnny is seriously injured in an accident. This accident has a significant impact on the course of his life.
Percival Tweedie is a journeyman silversmith from Baltimore. After Johnny is injured, Tweedie is brought to the Lapham house in hopes that he will keep the business going and marry one of the Lapham girls. Tweedie is very timid and is disliked by Johnny.
Dr. Warren a local Boston doctor. He is a Whig and a member of the Boston Observers. Warren asks Johnny to perform some critical duties following the Boston tea Party and eventually convinces Johnny to allow him to operate on Johnny’s hand.
The Webb Twins
The Webb twins are young apprentices at the Boston Observer.