George Robert Twelves Hewes was an interesting figure in the American Revolutionary period was born in Boston, on September 5th 1742. The environment in which he lived saw many transformations throughout his life and Hewes also experienced more inward transformations as well. Hewes life can be defined by some of the more significant events that we personally witnessed and/or participated in. These events also happened to be defining moments in American History. One such incident that worked to transform Hewes as a person was undoubtedly the Boston Massacre in 1770. During this period the city was occupied with a large concentration of British troops that were stationed in Boston to enforce and collect tax obligations from the colonies.
Hewes worked as a shoemaker and one day he had made shoes for a soldier who claimed they were for the captain and then refused to pay for them. The tensions between 4,000 British soldiers who occupied Boston, a town of only about 16,000 citizens, erupted in a series of horrific scenes. In one such event, a local barber's apprentice attempted to collect an overdue bill from a British officer which led to a confrontation on the street. A crowd emerged around the confrontation and George was right in the middle of it. There was an outbreak of violence and five civilians were killed; George personally knew four of them. The event was later referred to in the papers as the Boston Massacre.
This event, among others, led George to become more politically involved. After the Boston Massacre he now thought of himself as a member of the opposition. He was among the ninety-nine who gave depositions to the prosecution against the soldiers for committed the grievance acts that Hewes witnessed that day. George was even invited to attend the trial in which he testified against the captain who was responsible for the soldiers that day. These events helped shape Hewes and move him from a simple shoemaker to something else.
The next major event that Hewes participated was even more radical and recorded as a defining moment in history. The Boston Tea Party which took place on December 16, 1773 and as a volunteer Hewes became a leader in a scheme that was carefully planned by the Whig party of Boston. At the time England had imposed a series of taxes which included a tax on imported tea. The group targeted three ships harbored at Griffins Warf and in the darkness of night they approached the vessels dressed as American Indians.
The group moved silently through the streets and their plan was to dump the tea in the harbor in protest of the taxes. He personally told the story according to James Hawkes who recorded his biography. "I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched to the place of our destination. (Young 2000)." At the time George would have been about thirty one years old now and married with children. He would have also had his own shoe business but given his trade this would have still placed him near the bottom of the financial and social ladder in the social hierarchy of the day.
Yet the people who orchestrated this were a mixture of tradesman and citizens from a multitude of different backgrounds. Hewes even stated that he thought he may have recognized John Hancock himself as they later tossed the tea together. Whatever the case, George had something of an epiphany during the proceedings. He mentioned that he fell in with them as they marched and that they also fell in with him. It is reasonable to believe that Hewes found a sense of belonging and purpose as he associated with like minds during the Boston Tea Party.
One significant incident stands out in the events that unfolded during The Tea Party. Hewes recognized an individual known as Captain O'Conner who George witness stealing tea and hiding it under his coat instead of dumping it in the harbor. At the sight of this the two argued and Hewes tore off his coat. This provides an illustration of exactly how Hewes was committed to the movement. The events that unfolded at The Tea Party that set the…