Beyond Boston: 9 tea parties you probably haven't heard about

Every schoolchild can tell you the story of the patriots dressed as Native Americans who sneaked aboard ships in Boston Harbor on Dec. 16, 1773, and tipped tea into the water (costing the East India Company more than a million dollars, incidentally) to protest tea taxes imposed by the British government. But how about the Wilmington tea party? You'd think one in New York would be famous, right? From Joseph Cummins' new book Ten Tea Parties: Patriotic Protests That History Forgot, here are nine tea party protests you may not have heard about.

1. The Philadelphia Tea Party

Ayres negotiated with patriot leaders inside Independence Hall in Philadelphia. By Dan Smith

The Philadelphia Tea Party took place in December 1773 (9 days after the Boston Tea Party) when a ship docked near Philadelphia with the largest shipment of tea the East India Company had ever sent to the American colonies. The ship's commander, Captain Ayres found a note pinned to his ship threatening him with tarring and feathering – "ten Gallons of liquid Tar decanted on your Pate" – if he didn't leave and take the tea back to England. Ayres met with one of the merchants and told him that he and the other merchants  who had ordered the tea needed to officially register that they no longer wanted it and instead wanted it shipped back to England. As the men discussed the matter, 8,000 people gathered outside, waiting to hear what would happen. When Ayres announced that he was cooperating fully and would leave the next day with the tea, the crowd cheered.

1 of 9

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.