Arundel History

October 22, 2006

Annapolis doesn't have the bragging rights of Boston when it comes to tea parties before the American Revolution. But the 1774 Peggy Stewart story lives on the state capital.

On Oct. 19, 1774, local sea merchant Anthony Stewart caused an uproar when he arrived at City Dock with thousands of pounds of tea from England, certain to inflame the colonies, whose denizens were outraged by the high tax on tea.

A mob of patriots marched to Stewart's home and gave him an ultimatum: a public lynching or burning the cargo of tea aboard the docked Peggy Stewart. Stewart complied with the popular will and set fire to his vessel, down to the last tea leaf.

On Thursday, Mike Carter, owner of the Alchemy Tea & Trading shop in Annapolis, led a mock re-enactment of the spectacle, attended by city residents including Mayor Ellen O. Moyer. He said the ceremonial tea dumping could be the start of a new tradition.

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