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Edenton Tea Party:

Several Vail women and their relatives were among the 51 women who took part in the Edenton Tea Party organized by Mrs. Penelope Barker at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth King on October 25th, 1774.

From the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, January 16, 1775, comes the following contemporary account of the Edenton Tea Party and the only authentic list of signers of the resolutions.

"Extract of a letter from North Carolina, Oct. 27.

"The Provincial Deputies of North Carolina having resolvd not to drink any more tea, nor wear any more British cloth, &c. many ladies of this Province have determined to give a memorable proof of their patriotism, and have accordingly entered into the following honourable and spirited association. I send it to you, to shew your fair countrywomen, how zealously and faithfully American ladies follow the laudable example of their husbands, and what opposition your Ministers may expect to receive from a people thus firmly united against them"

Edenton, North Carolina, Oct. 25, 1774.

"As we cannot be indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country, and as it has thought necessary, for the public good, to enter into several particular resolves by a meeting of Members deputed from the whole Province, it is a duty which we owe, not only to our near and dear connections who have concurred in them, but to ourselves who are essentially interested in their welfare, to do every thing as far as lies in our power to testify our sincere adherence to the same; and we do therefore accordingly subscribe this paper, as a witness of our fixed intention and solemn determination to do so. "


Abagail Charlton

Mary Blount

F. Johnstone

Elizabeth Creacy

Margaret Cathcart

Elizabeth Patterson

Anne Johnstone

Jane Wellwood

Margaret Pearson

Mary Woolard

Penelope Dawson

Sarah Beasley

Jean Blair

Susannah Vail

Grace Clayton

Elizabeth Vail

Frances Hall

Elizabeth Vail

Mary Jones

Mary Creacy

Anne Hall

Mary Creacy

Rebecca Bondfield

Ruth Benbury

Sarah Littlejohn

Sarah Howcott

Penelope Barker

Sarah Hoskins

Elizabeth P. Ormond

Mary Littledle

M. Payne

Sarah Valentine

Elizabeth Johnston

Elizabeth Crickett

Mary Bonner

Elizabeth Green

Lydia Bonner

Mary Ramsay

Sarah Howe

Anne Horniblow

Lydia Bennet

Mary Hunter

Marion Wells

Tresia Cunningham

Anne Anderson

Elizabeth Roberts

Sarah Mathews

Elizabeth Roberts

Anne Haughton

Elizabeth Roberts.

Elizabeth Beasly



The Edenton Tea Party was one of the earliest organized women’s political actions in United States history.  On October 25, 1774, Mrs. Penelope Barker organized, at the home of Mrs. Elizabeth King, fifty-one women in Edenton, North Carolina.  Together they formed an alliance wholeheartedly supporting the American cause against “taxation without representation.”

In response to the Tea Act of 1773, the Provincial Deputies of North Carolina resolved to boycott all British tea and cloth received after September 10, 1774.  The women of Edenton signed an agreement saying they were “determined to give memorable proof of their patriotism” and could not be “indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country . . . it is a duty that we owe, not only to our near and dear connections . . . but to ourselves.”

News of the Edenton Tea Party quickly reached Britain.  During the 1770s, political resistance was common.  But an organized women’s movement was not.  So, the Edenton Tea Party shocked the Western world.  From England, in January 1775, Arthur Iredell wrote his brother, James Iredell, describing England’s reaction to the Edenton Tea Party.  According to Arthur Iredell, the incident was not taken seriously because it was led by women.  He sarcastically remarked, “The only security on our side … is the probability that there are but few places in America which possess so much female artillery as Edenton.”  The Edenton women were also satirized in a political cartoon published in London in March 1775.  Even though the Edenton Tea Party was ridiculed in England, it was praised in the colonies.  The women of Edenton represented American frustrations with English monarchical rule and the need for American separation and independence.


Excerpts taken from: and

Other notable links about the Edenton Tea Party: