SPECIAL EDITION THE REVOLUTIONARY SHORE: December 16, 1773, THE BOSTON TEA PARTY

December 16, 2023
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Boston Tea Party

By Kellee Blake

On this very day, 250 years ago . . .

Eastern Shore residents went about their usual tasks completely unaware of the world altering events happening some 500 miles away in Boston. Though Shore merchants and the sailing community knew of rising discord regarding tea, it would be weeks before Shore folks fully understood what the Massachusetts colonists had done. 

First, the Bostonians had disallowed three vessels carrying East India tea to offload the offensive “brine.”  Then, on December 16, 1773, after a long day of protest and politicking known as “a meeting of the body of the people,” the irrevocable act occurred.  When the sun went down a group of demonstrators crept aboard the vessels and dumped some 340 casks of tea (worth an estimated $1.7 million dollars today) into Boston Harbor.  So much tea was cast into the waters that Bostonians soon complained the taste of their fish had changed.  

Retribution came quickly and Bostonians paid dearly for their protest.  British forces poured into the city and closed the harbor. The cascading events demanded Eastern Shore voters evaluate their loyalties and alignments.  Within a year, the farmers of Northampton County rendered their support to the struggling Bostonians with an enormous shipment of freshly harvested corn.  There was no turning back now.  

DON’T MISS a chance to share in the commemoration of the Boston Tea Party!  In addition to national news segments, there are opportunities to watch the live reenactment:

  1. Livestream from www.bostonteapartyship.com at 8:00 PM (pre-show at 7:15).
  2. C-Span rebroadcast of the “Boston Meeting of the Body of the People” at 11:00 AM.
  3. Fox Nation (subscription) promises to stream the entire day’s activities live beginning at 3:15 PM.  

Lastly, have a cup of tea! 

Look for a segment on the “Great Corn Shipment of 1774” next summer and join us here on the 4th of each month to learn more about Virginia and the Shore’s role in the War for Independence.  Get ready for the Revolutionary Shore!

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