J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, December 03, 2015

Tea Burning in Lexington, 13 Dec.

The Lexington Historical Society and Lexington Minute Men are commemorating the town’s burning of tea on 13 Dec 1773, three days before the destruction of newer tea in Boston harbor, with an expanded program this year.

Here is the schedule of events planned for Sunday, 13 December, at the Lexington Visitor’s Center (1875 Massachusetts Avenue) and nearby:
  • 9:00 A.M.: ​Lexington Minute Men encampment open for visitors.
  • 10:00:​ Musket drill, inspection, and run-through of the Manual of Arms at the encampment.
  • 11:00: Demonstrations of 18th-century cooking.
  • 12:00 noon: ​Parade by the Lexington Minute Men in military formation with fife and drum. Militia muster on the town common.
  • 12:15 P.M.: Musket drill, inspection, and run-through of the Manual of Arms on the common, concluded by ten volleys, one for each Lexington militiaman killed on 19 Apr ​1775.
  • 1:00-7:00: S​pecial holiday tours of Buckman Tavern, across the street from the common. (Free for members of the Lexington Historical Society; $5 for others.)
  • 1:30: Ceremonial bonfire of tea at the encampment, with members of the public invited to join reenactors in consigning the hazardous herb into the flames. Music by the William Diamond Junior Fife and Drum Corps.
  • 2:00-4:00 P.M.: Lexington Minute Men encampment open for visitors.
The encampment and events on the common are free and open to the public.


Mary Jean Adams said...

I had heard - or read somewhere - that Boston wasn't the only town to have a tea party. So far, I haven't been able to find other examples. This tea burning at Lexington is the closest. Do you know if there were other "tea parties" similar to Boston's?

J. L. Bell said...

Americans didn't start using the term "tea party" for the destruction of the tea until the early 1800s, and then the romanticization of the Boston act made local historians attach that name to every destruction of tea. So there was nothing on the scale of what happened in Boston in December 1773, but over the following months there were stocks of tea destroyed in Boston (again); New York; Salem; Greenwich, New Jersey; Annapolis; and elsewhere.

Mary Jean Adams said...

That makes sense. One more question which I am sure you know the answer to. How certain are we that we know who was behind the now-called Boston Tea Party? My kids' history books all say the Sons of Liberty, but I don't believe anyone ever 'fessed up. I suspect a few people mentioned the event in their letters or diaries, but people were probably as prone to embellishing their involvement in events then as they are now.