Uncovered History of the Wappinger Tea Party
Hudson Valley history surrounds each hamlet, village and town. There's a story to tell of those who came before us to help pave the way in our community.
Some of the history that lies in the Hudson Valley is known while parts of it remain unknown. Historical markers share fascinating details about the past, those who lived here and how it impacted our area today.
Which County Has Your Favorite, Historical Story?
An Unknown Historical Moment Took Place In The Hudson Valley
Have you ever heard of The Wappinger Tea Party? As far as history goes, I can only recall the Boston Tea Party. I have never heard of anything like this happening in the Hudson Valley.
What Historical Events Helped Create The Wappinger Tea Party?
According to The Town Of Wappinger Government page, the first official settlement in what we know now as Dutchess County was actually Wappinger. It became a place for Christians to find religious freedom, mostly coming from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1659. The settlement for these folks was short-lived though. A couple of months after settling near Wappinger Creek, Dutch authorities came to remove them.
"It wasn't until 1685, when Francis Rombout and Gulian Verplanck were the first to legally purchase 85,000 acres from the Wappinger Native Americans. This would later be known as the Rombout Patent. "
In the early 1700s, Elias Van Benschoten purchased land and then settled there in New Hackensack which is a hamlet. This was the first legal land purchase that was made in the Town of Wappinger. Other families decided to follow him as well.
The Wappinger Tea Party Was A Community Effort To Make A Statement
According to The Town Of Wappinger Government, in the 1730s, Nicholas and Adolphus Brewer, who were Dutch millers at the time, bought over 700 acres of land. This was near the Great Wappinger Creek. We know this today as Wappingers Falls.
During the years of the Revolutionary War, a stone house that Nicholas built was being used by his son. At that time it was known as "a spy headquarters" which was for the Committee for Detecting Conspiracies.
At that time, The Wappinger Creek was a,
"major port for ships and barges established by George Washington for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War."
According to the Wappinger Historical Society,
"Mesier purchased the Homestead, farmland and mills from Matthew VanBenschoten, who had owned it for roughly 1 month before selling. The Homestead had been built in two phases by a gentleman named Nicholas Brower. "
Peter Meiser ended up buying the house which is now known as the Meiser Homestead.
The Wappinger Tea Party Happened At A Hudson Valley Homestead
Peter Mesier had a store from his home in which he sold tea. However, Meiser charged a high price for tea which caused his neighbors to become outraged.
According to The Town Of Wappinger Government,
"In May of 1777, [the neighbors] broke in to the Mesier’s store, beat and tied Peter, his wife, and his slaves then locked them in the basement, drank their wine, and then took all of the tea. This became known as the Wappinger Tea Party."
What Happened After The Wappinger Tea Party?
After the shocking events of The Wappinger Tea Party, Mesier had to make some changes, including in his political views.
He then became a "well-respected" member of his community.
Have You Heard Of The Meiser Homestead?
Driving past or even visiting the Meiser Homestead, some may not know the significant historical story that it holds. After its final residents in 1891, the homestead was then sold with its hundreds of acres of estate.
According to The Wappingers Historical Society,
"The Mesier Homestead and surrounding property was sold to the Village of Wappingers Falls in 1891, with the understanding that it forever be known as Mesier Homestead and Mesier Park."
2 Spring Street
Wappingers Falls, NY
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