The Boston Tea Party

Posted December 16, 2014 by Amanda | One Comment

Do you have ancestors who participated in the Boston Tea Party? 241 years ago today, dozens of American colonists boarded three ships in Boston Harbor and threw 342 crates of tea overboard in protest of the Tea Act. An iconic event in American history, the Boston Tea Party helped pave the way for the American Revolution.


“No taxation without representation.”

Organized by the Sons of Liberty, the political protestors, some disguised as Native Americans, took to the wharf to destroy an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company, which controlled all the tea imported to the colonies. The participants had come from many different backgrounds and included men of all ages and occupations. Although there were countless witnesses on that night, many of the participants remained anonymous for many years after the event, and even to this day, not all of the participants are known.

Public reaction to the Boston Tea Party was mixed, even amongst the Founding Fathers. Although his participation in the event has been disputed, Samuel Adams immediately worked to publicize and defend it. In contrast, George Washington condemned the action, believing that the events were hurtful to their cause. It was the British government’s harsh reaction to “the Destruction of the Tea in Boston” that rallied the colonists and led to the American Revolution.

Some of the most well known participants included:

Thomas Crafts


A tradesman, Crafts is believed to have helped make the American Indian disguises worn by some participants. During the American Revolutionary War, Crafts commanded the artillery unit where Paul Revere served.

George Hewes


A shoemaker, Hewes was a leader of one of the three boarding parities. Upon boarding the Dartmouth, Hewes was the one who approached the captain to demand the keys to the tea chests. In recollections of the account, he stated it took three hours to empty every chest of tea and throw it into the Boston Harbor.

Thomas Melvill


A close friend of John Hancock and Samuel Adams and a member of the Sons of Liberty, Melvill was just 23 when he participated in the Boston Tea Party. Did you know that he is the paternal grandfather of famous writer Herman Melvill?

In honor of the 241st anniversary, explore the Boston Tea Party genealogy project on Geni and see how you’re related to some of the participants!

View the Boston Tea Party Project


Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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