A Shoemaker and the Tea Party

George Robert Twelve Hewes, a Boston shoemaker, participated in many of the key events of the Revolutionary crisis. Over half a century later, Hewes described his experiences to James Hawkes. When Parliament passed the Tea Act in 1773, colonists refused to allow cargoes of tea to be unloaded. In the evening of December 16, with Hewes leading one group, the colonists dressed in “the costume of a Indian.” They boarded the ships in Boston harbor and dropped the tea overboard. Hewes’ account shed light on how resistance became revolution. The“Boston Tea Party,” as it became known in the 19th century, became a powerful symbol of the Revolution. And Hewes, artisan and ordinary citizen, was celebrated as a venerable veteran of the struggle for Independence.