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List of Tea Party Participants

Who actually boarded the ships and dumped the tea overboard on December 16, 1773?

Over 5,000 colonists participated in the fateful meetings at Old South Meeting House that decided the fate of the tea in December of 1773, but only about 100 to 150 men actually boarded the ships to destroy the tea. Participants in the destruction of the tea swore themselves to secrecy and did not acknowledge each other when aboard the ship. Had the men's names become known to British authorities, they would have been arrested and punished. Even years later, some retained secrecy for fear of lawsuits by the British East India Company. Some of the participants' families had become well-to-do and were not proud of identifying with this act of "civil disobedience," although today it is seen as one of the most significant acts leading to the American colonies' break with Great Britain.

The following list was compiled by Benjamin Carp for his book Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America (available in the Old South Meeting House Museum Shop.) Carp’s list includes only those participants who made a written claim of their participation before the year 1853, and excludes a few pre-1853 names that he considers to be unlikely participants. We thank him for generously sharing his research with us.   

Abbreviations and Notes:

  • Approximate birth and death dates follow in parentheses.
  • Abbreviations include: “NEC” for North End Caucus, “SOL” for Sons of Liberty, “MAS” for members of St. Andrew’s Lodge of Freemasons, “petition” for signers of the November 1773 petitions to town selectmen, and “watch” for the volunteers who guarded the ships at the wharf.
Nathaniel Barber, (1728-1787): merchant and insurer, NEC, SOL, petition
Samuel Barnard, (1737-1782): farmer
Adam Beals, (1754-1834): cabinet-maker
Thomas Bolter (Bolton), (1735-1811): housewright or ropemaker
James Brewer, (1742-1805): pump and block maker, watch
Thomas Brimigion, (1754-1843): later a farmer
Stephen Bruce, (1746-1806): merchant, SOL, MAS, petition, watch
Benjamin Burton, (1749-1835): mariner, ship carpenter
Jeremiah Cady, (1752-1848): mason
Nicholas Campbell, (1732-1829): sailor
Thomas Chase, (1737-1787): distiller, Loyal Nine, SOL, NEC, MAS, watch
Benjamin Clarke, (1727-1783)
John Cochran, (1749-1839): later an innkeeper
Gilbert Colesworthy, (1744-1818): caulker
Adam Collson, (1738-1798): leather dresser, NEC, SOL, MAS, watch
James Foster Condy, (1746-1809): bookseller, NEC, petition, watch 
Charles Conner, (1734-1793): coastal trader, innkeeper, horse trader
Samuel Coolidge (1753-1816)
Samuel Cooper, (1755-1840): cooper’s apprentice
John Cowdery, (1757-1835): later a soldier and prison supervisor
John Crane, (1744-1805): house carpenter, SOL, watch
Edmund Dolbeare, (1757-1796): cooper’s apprentice, later ship carpenter
Joseph Eaton, (1750-1825): hatter
Joseph Eayres, (1733-1790): housewright, SOL, watch
Benjamin Edes, (1732-1803): printer, SOL, Loyal Nine, NEC, watch
William Etheridge, (1739-1776): mason
Nathaniel Frothingham, (1746-1825): coachmaker
John Gammell, (1751-1828): carpenter
Thomas Gerrish: mariner
Samuel Gore, (1751-1831): painter
Moses Grant, (1743-1817): upholsterer, NEC, petition, watch
Nathaniel Greene, (1738-1791): merchant, SOL
Samuel Hammond, (1749-1842): farmer
William Hendley, (1748-1830), mason
George Robert Twelves Hewes, (1742-1840): shoemaker
John Hooton, (1754-1844): oarmaker’s apprentice
Elisha Horton, (1757-1837): later a papermaker
Samuel Howard, (1747-1840): caulker
Edward Compton Howe, (1741-1821): ropemaker, petition
Richard Hunnewell, (1737-1805): 1731-1805: mason, watch
Daniel Ingersoll (Ingollson), (1750-1829): carpenter
Samuel Larrabee, (1753-1844): coastal trader
Joseph Lee, (1744-1831): merchant
Amos Lincoln, (1753-1829): housewright’s apprentice
Matthew Loring, (1751-1829): leatherworker
Ebenezer MacIntosh - 36, 1737-1812, early revolutionary.
John Martin, (1752-1817): journeyman, distiller or trader
Thompson Maxwell, (1742-1832), farmer and teamster
Archibald McNeil, (1750-1840): ropermaker
Henry Mellus, (1752-1832): mariner
Thomas Melvill, (1751-1832): merchant’s clerk
William Melvin, (1742-1832)
William Molineaux, (1718-1774): hardware merchant, SOL, NEC
Francis Moore, (1740-1833): baker
Thomas Moore, (1753-1813): operator of a commercial wharf
William More
Anthony Morse, (1753-1803): later a tavern keeper
Eliphalet Newell, (1735-1813): later a tavern keeper
Samuel Nowell, (1744-1833): boat builder or ship carpenter
Joseph Pearse Palmer, (1750-1797): merchant, petition, watch
Joseph Payson, (1743-1833): housewright
Samuel Peck: cooper, MAS, watch
William Pierce, (1744-1840): barber
John Peters, (1732-1832): mariner or shopkeeper
George Pillsbury, (1753-1832): schoolteacher or mariner
Lendall Pitts, (1747-1787): merchant
Thomas Porter, (-1800): merchant
Henry Prentiss, (1749-1821): merchant
Edward Procter, (1733-1811): merchant, tavern keeper, SOL, NEC, MAS, petition, watch 
Henry Purkitt, (1755-1846): cooper’s apprentice, later a farmer
John Randall, (1750-): farmer
Paul Revere, (1735-1818): silversmith and engraver, SOL, NEC, MAS, petition, watch
Benjamin Rice, (1722-1796)
Isaac Ridgeway, (1758-1840): caulker’s son
Joseph Roby, (1753-1836): tinman or trader
John Russell, (-1778): mason
William Russell, (1748-1784): schoolteacher
Robert Sessions, (1752-1836): laborer, later a farmer
Joseph Shed, (1731-1812): carpenter, later a grocer
Benjamin Simpson, (1755-1849): bricklayer’s apprentice
Peter Slater, (1760-1831): ropemaker’s apprentice
Ephriam Smith, (1752-1835): mariner
Thomas Spear, (1753-1812): blacksmith
Samuel Sprague, (1753-1844): mason’s apprentice
John Spurr, (1749-1822): carpenter
James Starr, (1740-1830): cooper
Phineas Stearns, (1736-17980: farmer, blacksmith
Ebeneezer Stevens, (1752-1823): carpenter
Elisha Story, (1743-1805): physician, SOL, NEC, watch
James Swan, (1754-1831): counting house clerk, NEC, petition
Abraham Tower, (1752-1832): shipbuilder, farmer, fisherman
Lemuel Trescott, (1750-1826): carpenter
Bartholomew Trow , (1736-1806): cordwainer
Thomas Urann, (1723-1792): ship joiner, NEC, MAS, watch
*Thomas Wells, (1746-1810): blacksmith, MAS
Alexander Whaley, (1746-1833): later a blacksmith or gunsmith
Nathaniel Willis, (1755-1831): housewright, watch
Joshua Wyeth, (1758-1832): blacksmith’s apprentice
 
*Although Thomas Wells does not appear on Benjamin Carp's list of participants because his name did not appear in a written claim before 1853, we have included his name here because extensive research by his descendant Charles Chauncey Wells indicates that he was present at the Boston Tea Party. Thomas Wells was a member of St. Andrew's Lodge of Freemasons, many of whom participated in the Boston Tea Party. 

Benjamin Carp and many other historians have contributed greatly to our understanding of the Boston Tea Party and its legacy, including Alfred Young, Benjamin Labaree, Jill Lepore and Francis S. Drake, whose 1884 book “Tea Leaves,” remains a useful classic. We are also grateful to Charles Chauncey Wells for sharing his extensive research on participants in the Boston Tea Party, and for the generous donation of a Chinese tea crate label handed down through the Wells family as a souvenir of the Boston Tea Party. You can view that tea label on permanent exhibit at Old South Meeting House.