Dozens gathered on a cold and wet Sunday morning at Green Street Cemetery to commemorate Dr. Elisha Story of Marblehead, a known participant in the Boston Tea Party.
2023 marks the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, the historical event that involved American colonists dumping hundreds of chests of tea into the harbor in protest of being taxed by the British without representation. The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum (BTPSM) and Revolution 250, an effort made up by various organizations to honor the 250th anniversary of events that led to the American Revolution, have set out to place commemorative markers on every known participant’s gravesite by Dec. 16, 2023. To date, 121 markers have already been placed.
“Of course, ceremonies such as this one are part of these commemorative efforts honoring those who risked everything to take part in an act of protest that would ultimately define a nation,” said BTPSM Creative Manager Evan O’Brien at the beginning of the ceremony.
Story was born in 1743, and was 30 years old at the time the Tea Party occurred. He became a doctor and a surgeon during the Revolutionary War, and practiced in and around the area of Boston. In 1765, his practice was broken into during the Stamp Act Riots, and he witnessed the testimony of several people during the Boston Massacre Trial.
On November 29, 1773, Story volunteered to guard the Dartmouth as the East India Company tea was entering Boston Harbor.
BTPSM Research Coordinator Kristin Harris said that finding and researching some participants in the Tea Party were challenging, but researching Story was an easier task.
“He was a very well-known historical figure and also a very well-to-do person in society so oftentimes people like Dr. Story, it’s not that hard because they have a decent record,” said Harris. “Some of our working class people, it’s very very difficult because they don’t have as much.”
Many of Story’s descendants were in attendance for the commemoration, including Judith Goodwin O’Leary, who called the commemoration a “special” event.
“Of course we’re proud of him,” she said.
William Cloutman, another of Story’s descendants who attended the commemoration, said that he feels a sense of pride living in a town with such a rich history.
“One of the gentlemen was talking about pride and the town, and I absolutely feel that,” said Cloutman. “I am so, so proud to be from Marblehead.”
After the Tea Party, Story, according to his pension records, served in Capt. Cogswell’s company, which responded to Lexington and Concord and was supposedly present in the Revolutionary War battles fought in those locations.
Story eventually started his own practice in Marblehead and married Ruth Ruddock, before marrying a second time to Mehitable Pedrick following Ruddock’s death. He had 20 children between his two marriages and after an eventful life, Story passed away on August 27, 1805.
“Our hope is that these markers will encourage visitors to remember and reflect upon the deeds of the common yet critically important citizens that are responsible for the formative years of our region and our nation,” said O’Brien.
He thanked Pam Peterson from the Marblehead Historical Commission, Town Historian Don Doliber, the Cemetery Commission’s Cathy Kolbiaka, and Eric Berg from the Philanthropic Lodge of Marblehead, where Story was Worshipful Master, for their efforts in making the ceremony possible. Revolution 250 Coordinator Jonathan Lane gave his remarks before the ceremonial marker was placed alongside Story’s grave. A gun salute was performed at the end of the commemoration by members of Glover’s Regiment.