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 Christopher Snider

Christopher Snider

Birth
Death 22 Feb 1770 (aged 12–13)
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 6910 · View Source
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First martyr to the cause of the American Revolution, twelve-year-old Christopher Snider died two weeks before the Boston Massacre, and is buried in a common grave with the five men who died in the Boston Massacre. Very little is known about Christopher's early life, as his story was initially lost to history and to the events of the American Revolution. At the end of the Seven Years War (known in America as the French and Indian War) between England and France, the British government enacted a series of taxes to pay for the costs of winning the war. These taxes were extremely unpopular in the colonies, and in the British colony of Massachusetts, resistance to the taxes took the form of public protest and angry confrontations with tax collectors. In 1768, Governor Thomas Hutchinson, fearful of public unrest, asked for and was sent 4,000 troops, to maintain order. Due to lack of barracks space, the soldiers were often forcibly quartered in the homes of Boston citizens, further increasing citizen anger. A colonial resistance group, the Sons of Liberty, formed to oppose the occupation, and fueled British fears of a potential rebellion. During the winter of 1769-1770, groups of citizens harassed the soldiers at every opportunity, pelting them with snowballs, and engaging off duty soldiers in fistfights. In this period of increasing mob hostility and divided loyalties, a local Boston merchant, Theophilus Lillie ignored the call for a boycott of British taxed goods, claiming that he would rather be ruled by a single tyrant than by a mob of tyrants. The patriots responded by placing a pro-British effigy of him outside his store, to warn other citizens that Lillie was a loyalist and not to purchase from him. On February 22, 1770, another loyalist, Ebenezer Richardson, attempted to destroy the effigy, and a mob quickly gathered to stop him. Throwing rocks, the crowd soon drove Richardson back to his house, and when they began to storm the house to wreck it, Richardson fired several shots at random from his window, killing young Christopher Snider and wounding several others, until he was rescued and taken into custody by a squad of British soldiers responding to the sounds of the gunshots. Snider was buried following an elaborate funeral parade from the Liberty Tree to the cemetery, during which angry protest speeches were made, demanding revenge for young Snider's death. Snider's death was overshadowed two weeks later with the Boston Massacre, in which five men were killed and eight others wounded. When the headstone was made for the five victims of the Boston Massacre, Christopher Snider's name was added to the grave marker. The grave marker reads: "Here also lies buried the body of Christopher Snider, Aged 12 years. Killed February 22nd, 1770. The innocent, first victim of the struggles between the Colonists and the Crown, which resulted in Independence. Placed by the Boston Chapter, SAR [Sons of the American Revolution], 1906" (This stone replaces the worn, original stone marker). Ebenezer Richardson was eventually tried for the murder of Christopher Snider and found guilty, but was pardoned by the Royal Governor after serving two years in prison. Christopher Snider has been called the First Martyr of the American Revolution, although most Americans have forgotten his name.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 11 Nov 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6910
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Christopher Snider (1757–22 Feb 1770), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6910, citing Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .