"The Remains of young Snider, the unfortunate Boy who was barbarously Murdered the 22d of February last ..."
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[ This description is from the project: Coming of the American Revolution ]
This article describes the burial of young Christopher Seider (sometimes spelled Snider) on 26 February 1770. The eleven-year-old was killed on 22 February 1770 when Ebenezer Richardson, a customs informer, fired a musket through a broken window in his house at a crowd of young men and boys who had been taunting customers of a store selling British imports. Seider was considered a young martyr and the burial was a significant event. The article describes that the procession started at the Liberty Tree and was comprised of about 2,000 people. The article describes the inscriptions on the pall, the Bible verses on a sign the Sons of Liberty affixed to the Liberty Tree, and the plans to raise money for a monument.
A Young Martyr
On the morning of 22 February 1770, a sign bearing a single word -- "Importer" -- appears in front of Theophilus Lillie's North End shop. Drawn by the prospect of a scuffle, a group of young men and boys gathers to taunt Lillie's customers. Ebenezer Richardson, a known and despised customs informer, attempts to topple the sign and disperse the crowd, but they pelt him with dirt and sticks and chase him back to his nearby home. Barricaded in his house with mariner Richard Wilmot, Richardson retrieves a musket and fires through a broken window, mortally wounding eleven-year-old Christopher Seider (Snider). Four days later, patriot leaders, eager to implicate the much-loathed customs commissioners in Seider's death, stage a spectacular funeral procession for the young martyr.
To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, 5 March 1770.
Questions to Consider
1. Why did so many people attend Seider's funeral?
2. One of the Latin inscriptions on Seider's coffin is Innocentia nusquam tuta (Innocence is nowhere safe). Why do you think that patriots selected this particular inscription?
3. According to the newspaper article, who is going to raise money for a monument to Christopher Seider? What is the significance of this particular group erecting a monument to the eleven-year-old boy?
4. Draw a picture of the funeral scene.
5. What is the connection between Christopher Seider's death and the Boston Massacre? Read some additional documents on the Boston Massacre for more clues.
- Seider (Snider), Christopher
- Rihardson, Ebenezer
- Boston Massacre
- Sons of Liberty