• Edenton Teapot

Edenton Tea Party

“North Carolinians vigorously protested unfair British taxation policies of the 1770s, and the Tea Act of 1770 aroused particular ire. Delegates from throughout the colony met in New Bern in August 1774 independent of the royal governor in the First Provincial Congress. This meeting, which “fully launched North Carolina into the revolutionary movement,” passed a series of non-importation and exportation agreements that include refraining from wearing British cloth and drinking British tea. Despite the realization that these measures were ominous signs for Edenton’s mercantile and shipping interests, the local citizenry supported the actions. Later that Fall, fifty-one ladies from five counties signed a resolution, dated October 25, 1774, and vowed “… it is a duty which we owe, not only to our near and dear connections, but to ourselves…, to do everything as far as lies in our power to testify our sincere adherence” to the provincial agreements. The Edenton Tea Party has been backed as the earliest known instance of political activity on the part of women in the American colonies.” The resolution was never, as far as is known, published in a contemporary North Carolina newspaper, but was printed several weeks later in the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg. The event is best known by a caricature printed in March 1775 by a London print-seller. The reputed leader was Penelope Barker, a prominent Edenton native and the wife of lawyer, merchant, and colonial agent Thomas Barker.”

The teapot is a familiar and beloved icon of Edenton, and a memorial stands in the side yard of the Homestead on the town’s Courthouse Green.

Text taken from Edenton: An Architectural Portrait by Tom Butchko