Memorial Day weekend, thousands of tourists converge on
Chestertown to commemorate the 1774 "Chestertown Tea
Party." Townsfolk have long told the story that in May
of that year, a band of patriots stormed aboard a vessel
carrying dutiable tea from London, and threw the
offending beverage into the harbor - just as their
comrades in Boston had done some six months earlier. At
each spring's Tea Party Festival, the event is
commemorated with a rousing reenactment, a parade,
street fair, performances, and raft races.
the fabled Tea Party actually occur? In 2005, students
in Adam Goodheart's course "Chestertown's America"
set out to research the incident ... and what they
discovered rattled more than a few local teacups.
Goodheart later published their research in an essay in
The American Scholar. "Friends started warning me,
only half-jokingly, that I’d better watch my back around
town: people around here can take the colonial past
pretty seriously," he wrote. "A few reminded me about
the “Simpsons” episode where Lisa discovers the secret
pirate confessions of her town’s revered founder, Jebediah Springfield, and ends up as a target for
historical-society hit men."
on the link below to download the article, and read
about the mythology and - perhaps even more interesting
- the reality of what happened in Chestertown during the
mysterious spring of 1774.
Tea and Fantasy PDF