The American Colonies – Part 1

The American Colonies made a bold move on April 19, 1775 by fighting the British at the Battle of Lexington and Concord (245 years ago). By mid-1776, most of the delegates were ready to break with England. Thomas Jefferson wrote the second Declaration of Independence with assistance from Franklin. It was approved on July 2, 1776. John Hancock was the first to sign the new Declaration of Independence in a large both signature. He was also the only one to sign it on July 4, 1776. The other delegates signed it by August 2, 1776.

Most American colonists – many of your ancestors (from Massachusetts to Georgia) before the outbreak of war were economically very sound and well off. Farm production was tremendous and the trading of goods with other regions excelled. It was only when the English of Great Britain wanted to make more money through taxation on the colonists that the Americas resisted.

The Spirit of 1776 and the 13 original colonies gained their independence from Great Britain after being victorious during the American Revolutionary War, which went to September 1783. Those who have ancestors are especially proud they are related to patriots who help gained America’s independence over 237 years ago. Yet, very few Americans, even historians, know of some of the more unusual, unique and even bizarre specifics related to America become the United States of America. If you had a patriot (either as a soldier or provider of supplies) you will want to add some information about these events.

To begin with there were actually two separate Boston tea parties. Colonial Americans were upset over the increased tax on goods by the English, especially on their favorite beverage, tea. The first protest concerning the 3 cents a pound increase tax on tea brought about 100 Boston citizens dressed as Mohawk Indians to dump 342 chests of the newly arrived English tea from three ships into the harbor on December 16, 1773. To show their dissatisfaction still with the English crown, because nothing was repealed on the tax, the citizens dressed again on March 7, 1774 as Indians and dumped 16 cases of tea into the harbor. Both acts cost the English government quite a bit of money. Similar acts of protest were repeated in other colonial coastal ports.

Benjamin Franklin had long been in support of the 13 colonies breaking with Great Britain. Back in 1754, Franklin first suggested a plan to create a group of united colonies, independent of England. Over the next 25 plus years, he continued to work towards achieving America’s independence. He even drafted the first declaration of independence in 1775 which was presented to the Continental Congress.

A novel idea but one with no good deal of support from the other delegates was to have to the first submersible vessel / submarine in 1775. Its purpose was to attach explosives to the underside of British ships. It was a watertight hull constructed of thick oak timbers and coated with tar. George Washington provided funds and support of this vessel. It was first attempted against the British HMS Eagle on September 6, 1776 in the New York harbor. It was not a success because the submarine named ‘American Turtle’, even though it was manned by one human operator got tangled in the rudder bar of the HMS Eagle. The keg of explosives could not be attached to the ship, but rather drifted off and explored later when it reached an island. All other attempts failed and the ‘American Turtle’ was sunk by the British in late 1776 while on its transport ship.

This is Part One of some unusual happenings during the American Revolution. Part 2 will be April 19th.

Photos: Patriot; Boston Tea Party of 1773; and ‘American Turtle’

Related Blogs:

American Revolutionary Rolls

American Revolution Ancestors

Help from DAR to Find Patriots

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