Old South Meeting House


Portrait by Artist to Come




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Built in 1729 as a meeting house for Puritan workship (not to be confused with a church), the Old South Meeting House was the stage for some of the most dramatic events leading up to the American Revolution.

None was more important than the assembly of Bostonians that met on 16 December 1773 to discuss how to handle the delivery of unwanted tea. Nothing came of the meeting, but it was followed that night by the unloading of tea — into the harbor — by disguised Sons of Liberty. Later it was dubbed the Boston Tea Party.

Phillis Wheatley, African-American poet and slave, was also a member of the congregation, a free one, after 1778.

Part of the Freedom Trail™.

Associated People

Washington’s refusal to accept a salary for his services was emblematic of his somewhat ostentatious public virtue. He did open a public expense account, however, and some have claimed that he made money from it by overcharging Congress. In fact, the £150 per month that he requested for expenses was not just for him, but also for his entourage, which sometimes swelled to a crowd. His account books, which still exist, list charges for things like ferry fares, innkeepers’ fees, candlesticks, saddle repair, meat, fruit, mounds of cabbages and beets, and (admittedly) oceans of grog, liquor, and wine. Washington even charged Congress for fifteen shillings Cash paid a beggar by the General’s order. But although he was not averse to placing his headquarters in the occasional mansion, he otherwise made do with precious few luxuries.

Edward G. Lengel
General George Washington: A Military Life (2005)