Maps of Boston – 1775
Colonial Boston at the time of the American Revolution
Click maps for high resolution image.
A Plan of the Town of Boston with the Intrenchments of His Majesty’s Forces in 1775
Stars: Red (Town House), Blue (Old South Meeting House), Green (Griffin’s Wharf), Purple (Liberty Tree), and Gold (Edwards House – Ben’s ancestor’s property in the North End)
A Plan of the Town of Boston in 1775 with select buildings and Paul Revere’s route past the HMS Somerset added
A map showing the original 783 acres and the areas of made land
Key events in the history of Boston
Stamp Act – March 22, 1765
The first direct tax on the American colonies. Taxed items included legal documents, newspapers, dice, and playing cards. It was repealed in 1766.
Townshend Acts – June 29, 1767
This act of Parliament imposed duties on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea imported into the colonies. All were eventually repealed except for the tax on tea.
Landing of the Troops – September 30, 1768
British warships, armed schooners, and transports arrive and anchor in Boston Harbor. The following day two regiments of British troops (upwards of 700 men) land at Long Wharf, march into town, and begin their occupation. Engraving by Paul Revere.
Boston Massacre – March 5, 1770
British soldiers fire on a crowd in front of the Town House killing five men – three died at the scene and 2 died later. Engraving by Paul Revere.
Tea Act – May 10, 1773
Gave the British East India Company a monopoly. The company had the right to ship its tea directly to the colonies without first landing it in England, and to commission agents who would have the sole right to sell tea in the colonies.
Boston Tea Party – December 16, 1773
A group of colonists (to date, there are 116 documented participants) board three merchant ships (Dartmouth, Eleanor, and Beaver) docked at Griffin’s Wharf and dump 340 chests of tea into Boston Harbor.
Coercive Acts – March-June, 1774
A series of five laws passed by the British Parliament to punish the Massachusetts Bay Colony for the Boston Tea Party. Among these was the Boston Port Bill, which closed the Port of Boston until damages from the destruction of the tea were paid.
Paul Revere and William Dawes ride – April 18-19, 1775
Learn the details of that famous night and view the video “Paul Revere’s Ride – The Real Story.”
Battle of Bunker Hill – June 17, 1775
The Declaration of Independence is read in Boston – July 18, 1776
From the balcony of the Town House, today’s Old State House, the Declaration of Independence is read to the citizens of Boston on July 18, 1776. An illustration of the event from One April in Boston and an audio excerpt from the Independence chapter follows.
Independence Chapter Excerpt
In the footsteps of Ben’s ancestors
Alexander Edwards (1733-1798) lived on Back Street. He was a cabinetmaker and a member of the Sons of Liberty.
This map of the North End of Boston in 1775 shows the location of the Edwards family home on Back Street.
The lower portion of Salem Street (formerly Back Street) as it appears today. The Edwards property was on the left.
This painting by Cortney Skinner shows the Edwards home (at left) on Back Street as the street may have looked in April 1775. Cortney’s research for the artwork was aided extensively by “Clough’s Atlas – Property Owners of the Town of Boston based on the Direct Tax Census of 1798.”
Walking down the eight-foot-wide passageway (Cooper Street today) we see a portion of the Edwards family home on the left and the cabinetmaking shop of Alexander Edwards on the right.
The Sons of Liberty
The signature of Alexander Edwards on the Boston Citizen’s Non-Importation Agreement of July 31, 1769.
Alexander Edwards’ name appears on this list of the Sons of Liberty who dined at Liberty Tree Tavern in Dorchester, Massachusetts on August 14, 1769.
Acorn Street in Beacon Hill is Boston’s oldest surviving cobblestone street. It was laid out in 1823 and the nine brick row houses that line the street were built by architect-builder Cornelius Coolidge between 1828 and 1829. Back Street may have been paved like Acorn Street. Photo by Ben Edwards.