Pine Tree Riot Commemoration

by Tom

Revolutionary War Flag of New England

A commemoration of the event that is often credited as the first act of rebellion in the American colonies against the British Crown will be held in Weare, NH on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

On the same day in 1772, Ebenezer Mudgett, a citizen of Weare, led a group of his neighbors to the “Pine Tree Tavern“, owned by Aaron Quimby and “assaulted the offending officials. Their faces blackened with soot, the rioters gave the sheriff one lash with a tree switch for every tree being contested. They then cut off the ears and shaved the manes and tails of Whiting and Quigley’s horses, after which Whiting and Quigly were forced to ride out of town through a gauntlet of jeering townspeople.

These “offending officials” were the Sheriff of Hillsborough County, Benjamin Whiting, and his deputy, John Quigly, who came to Weare to serve a warrant for the arrest of Mudgett and some local mill owners.  The heinous crime was cutting and milling certain trees from his property claimed by the Crown to become ships masts.

Seems Mudgett had the silly notion that his paid-for property was his to use as he saw fit, not property of the government.

Mudgett, and the local mill owners who processed the trees, hired Samuel Blodgett to plead their case to the colonial Governor, John Wentworth, who was responsible for this unpopular law being enforced nearly 50 years after its passing.  Sadly, Blodgett proved to be a coward and caved into an offer to become an official “Surveyor of the King’s Woods”, selling his clients out.  Mill owners from Goffstown paid their fine but those from Weare refused, and the rest is history.

In the end, the rioters were charged in Amherst Superior Court for their participation and all pleaded guilty, receiving light fines and having to pay for the cost of the proceedings – essentially, getting away with the act of rebellion.

Many have said that this soft-handed result became an inspiration for the Boston Tea Party.

Appeal to Heaven Revolutionary War Flag

So, whenever you drive through Weare, or you see the inspired “Appeal to Heaven” flag (and if you look carefully, you can still see these flags flying in the Weare area today), remember these men and their willingness to stand up to tyranny and government theft.

You may also see this symbol used heavily by a local and very popular beer brewer who named their company and their first beer offering after this event.

And, if you can, come out on April 13 to honor them directly, near the site of their brave and selfless act.

Pine Tree Riot/Tax Day Event

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
6pm-8pm
Weare Town Hall (16 N Stark Hwy, Rt114)
Weare, NH

 

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