The researcher is Nichole George of the University of Notre Dame, and the society describes her research topic as:
Riots and Remembrance: America’s Idols and the Origins of American NationalismAs I’ve noted before, processions vilifying Benedict Arnold late in the Revolutionary War and into the early republic bear a startling similarity to New England’s prewar Pope Night festivals. How long did the Arnold parades go on? Was that style of pageantry adapted further to attack other public villains? What was the thinking behind the reenactment of Pope Night in Boston in 1821, as reported in the Boston Daily Advertiser?
This project focuses on popular celebrations and the use of “celebrities” as symbols of the changing dynamics of American nationalism from settlement through the Civil War. Nicole’s research focuses on three main idols: the Pope, Benedict Arnold, and Crispus Attucks, each representing a major transition in American national identity.
I’m not sorry to have missed a talk at the West End Museum last week whose description says:
The famous “Boston Massacre” was not an isolated event, but an outpouring of riots on the ropewalks of a man named John Grey. His brother Samuel was a “Son of Liberty” and also one of the first people gunned down on the Rope walks.John Gray did own the ropewalks where fights broke out between workers and royal soldiers on 2 March 1770. Samuel Gray did work there, and was killed in the Boston Massacre. However, those two men weren’t brothers. John was a very wealthy manufacturer, brother to the province’s Treasurer Harrison Gray. Samuel was a mechanic, and not even an independent one; if he was any sort of close relative to his genteel employer, that would have been reported at the time. I also don’t know of any evidence outside of these fights for Samuel Gray’s political activity. Finally, the Massacre didn’t occur on or near the ropewalks.
(The image above, courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg, shows an 1865 political cartoon of Arnold, the Devil, and Jefferson Davis. New cartoons linking Arnold and the Devil continued to appear at least through the Bicentennial.)