The Virginia Tea Party of 1774

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On July 18, 1774, Thomas Nelson, Jr. and Dudley Digges organized a town meeting for York Town, Virginia. Mr. Nelson, Jr. informed the citizens that Parliament ordered beginning the first of June that the British Navy had barricaded all of the Boston sea ports in Massachusetts for the dumping of the East India's Tea into the harbor by the Sons of Liberty. He informed them this would destroy Boston's sea trade and cause great hardships to the families of Boston. Mr. Nelson, Jr. said this was an Act of Oppression which they could not abide, Boston's "Cause" was now their own.

The citizens of York County helped their sister's colony during their time of need. That summer Mr. Digges collected and sent supplies, funds, and food to the Boston families from the good York County citizens of Virginia.

On November 4, 1774, Capt. Howard Esten who sailed the Atlanta trade route for Mr. John Norton, a London Merchant in England, arrived with the East India Company's tea to the Port of York in Virginia. This tea shipment was for Mr. John Prentis, a merchant in Williamsburg. Within hours of its arrival York Town and Gloucester citizens were enraged that London's tea was aboard the vessel named "Virginia".

On November 7, 1774, several men boarded "Virginia". There, according to The Virginia Gazette, "they waited some Time for the Determination of the Meeting of several Members of the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, who had taken this Matter under consideration. A Messenger was then sent on Shore to inquire for a letter from the Meeting, but returning without one, they immediately hoisted the Tea out of the Hold…" and Mr. Thomas Nelson, Jr. threw the Tea into the York River.

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Copyright © 2017, The Virginia Gazette
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