COLRAIN — Nestled in the back corner of Chandler Hill Cemetery is an inconspicuous headstone marking the grave of David Lyons, the only known Franklin County resident to participate in the Boston Tea Party nearly 250 years ago.
This headstone was marked with a memorial plaque Tuesday morning at a ceremony hosted by the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and Revolution 250, who embarked on a nationwide campaign to commemorate the Boston Tea Party’s 250th anniversary in 2023. Evan O’Brien, creative director of the museum, said the two organizations are undertaking the project to recognize the efforts of patriots who helped revive the American Revolution.
“The majority of these names, like Mr. Lyons, are almost never mentioned during times of historical commemoration,” O’Brien said. “This work we are doing today is important because David Lyons and others like him are just as important to the history of our region as household names like Paul Revere, John Hancock and Samuel Adams.”
The Lyons to Colrain marker is one of more than 100 that will be placed in towns across New England and even as far away as Ohio and Virginia as the museum attempts to find the graves of all 125 known participants. O’Brien hopes to cover all participants in New England by the end of the year and complete the large-scale graves by the anniversary in 2023. The campaign will culminate in a series of memorial programs throughout long of 2023 and a re-enactment by the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 2023.
Born in Roxbury in 1737, David Lyons – known at the time as David Lyon – served as a tax collector and town constable. Not much more is known about Lyon’s life in Roxbury except that he joined the Boston branch of the Sons of Liberty on the night of December 16, 1773 when more than 100 men disguised as Native Americans boarded three British East India Co. ships and destroyed 340 crates of tea before dumping 92,000 pounds of tea into Boston Harbor in one of the pivotal events that led to the American Revolution a few years back. later. After the Boston Tea Party, Lyons and his family moved to Colrain around 1784 where they lived until his death in 1803.
O’Brien said the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and Revolution 250 undertook this project to commemorate the historic moment, which is not always adequately portrayed, and how its ideals resonate today.
“Its principles and values cross generations,” O’Brien explained. “Ideas of protest against injustice and tyranny are things we can all relate to, even 250 years later.”
Additionally, O’Brien said the museum hopes the Boston Tea Party commemoration can dispel some of the false narratives that people see as “one of the most instantly recognizable events in American history,” particularly the Native American disguises used, he said. were simple outfits that were more symbolic than useful.
“Everyone thinks the Sons of Liberty got drunk one night,” O’Brien said of how the plan came to fruition. “It was a very carefully thought out and planned event. … It’s nothing like you see in art.
O’Brien was joined by Colrain Selectboard member Thom Griffin and Revolution 250 coordinator Jonathan Lane, who both made brief remarks.
After the ceremony, Lane related some of the historical background of Massachusetts and Franklin County’s involvement, from the Boston Tea Party to the American Revolution. He noted that at almost all times during the war, Massachusetts had more men in the field than any other colony, and communities throughout the state were the “strongest supporters of the cause”, as the Municipal assembly votes sent funds and other forms of support. war effort.
“In the Boston seat, Franklin County is heavily represented,” Lane said of workforce and strategic advantages. “This location is critical for troop movement.”
While the closest major battles took place in Saratoga, New York and Bennington, Vermont, Lane said there were a few smaller skirmishes between British Loyalist and Patriot forces as the two groups worked to expand their affecting. Most notable, he said, was the raising of a Liberty Pole – a sign of support for the revolution – in Deerfield which was later destroyed by loyalist forces.
“It was direct action to stop the spread of royal authority,” Lane said. “That back and forth, that’s the kind of stuff you’ve seen in smaller communities.”
For more information on the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum Memorial Campaign, or more historical information about the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution, visit the museum’s website at BostonTeaPartyShip.com.
Chris Larabee can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4081.