Continued from Tuesdays With Norwood: Colonial America – Part 2

A scene much the same was played in New York the following April and months afterwards at Annapolis, Maryland. The brig Peggy Steward landed with a ton of tea consigned to the ship’s owner, a Scottish merchant of the town. He got as far as paying the duty on the tea before his fellow citizens assembled and offered him the choice of being hanged on the spot or setting fire to his ship, cargo and all. He made the obvious choice and left the country soon after for his health’s sake.

As we have seen, a less militant but no less patriotic demonstration occurred one week later in the then-important town of Edenton, North Carolina. Under the leadership of my thrice-married and thrice-widowed ancestor Penelope Barker, the ladies of Edenton bound themselves not “to Conform to the Pernicious custom of Drinking Tea, until such time as all Acts which tend to enslave our Native Country shall be repealed….” A North Carolina historian records that the ladies substituted for tea “the balsamic ‘Hyperion,’ which was nothing more than the dried leaves of the raspberry vine, a drink, in the writer’s opinion, more vile even than the vaunted Yupon.” (Yupon is a Carolina plant found in few or no herbals; Hyperion was, if not enjoyed, at least known in other colonies as Liberty Tea.)

The home government took an equally determined stand that its tea tax on America must be enforced.