The Edenton Tea Pot, Edenton
This memorial marks the spot where the women of Edenton gathered in 1774 to protest the British tax on tea. The marker is a 250 pound cast bronze teapot with an upright Revolutionary War era cannon serving as the base. The teapot is highly decorated. Featured prominently on one side (north) is the scene from the Great Seal of North Carolina showing the figures Liberty and Plenty in relief above the words North Carolina. On the south facing side is the inscription.
ON THIS SPOT STOOD THE RESIDENCE / OF MRS. ELIZABETH KING IN WHICH THE / LADIES OF EDENTON MET OCT. 25, 1774 / TO PROTEST AGAINST THE TAX ON TEA
Prior to 1906
36.057260 , -76.608300 View in Geobrowse
"Historic Tea Pot, Edenton, North Carolina,” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link
"The Edenton Tea Party," from Stories of the American South by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, (accessed July 3, 2012) Link
"The Edenton Teapot. Commemorative Sculpture, 1905," in Penelope Barker House Welcome Center, ehcnc.org, (accessed July 31, 2017) Link
Kickler, Troy L. "Edenton Tea Party: An American First," North Carolina History Project, (accessed May 6, 2012) Link
Wenger, Ansley. “Edenton Tea Party,” NCpedia.org, (accessed April 15, 2016) Link
“Chowan County Courthouse,” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link
“English Caricature of Edenton Tea Party , Oct. 25, 1774 At Edenton, N.C.,” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link
“The Edenton Tea Party,” The Pinehurst Outlook (Pinehurst, NC), March 9, 1907
“Unique Things In East Carolina,” The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, NC), March 20, 1906
Teapot: bronze. Cannon: cast iron
Women in Edenton led by Penelope Barker resolved to stop buying English imports in support
of the actions and resolutions of the First Provincial Congress. Meeting on October 25, 1774,
the women drew up resolves, declaring their intention to boycott English tea and English cloth.
The women signed and mailed the document to England. An account of the event appeared in
the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser on January 16, 1775, along with a drawing
portraying the women in a less than flattering light. The event went unreported in North
Carolina at the time and remained unknown until the late 1820’s or early 1830’s. A United
States naval officer, William T. Muse, whose mother was from Edenton saw a rendering of the
cartoon in a barber shop on the Mediterranean island of Minorca and purchased it. It was then
taken to Edenton and displayed in the courthouse.
It is doubtful that a gathering of all 51 women who signed the resolves ever took place. The home of Mrs. William King was too small for such an assembly and the wording of the resolution does not indicate a gathering, but rather an agreement. There is no doubt, however, that the ladies of Edenton sent the document to England in 1774, making the resolution among the first public political acts by women in America.
In 1908, a plaque commemorating the Edenton Tea Party was unveiled in the Rotunda of the North Carolina Capitol Building in Raleigh, NC.
The Tea Pot is located on Colonial Avenue just off the green in front of the historic Chowan County Courthouse built in 1767. The courthouse address is 117 E. King Street, Edenton, NC. A short distance to the south end of the courthouse green of the old Chowan County Courthouse is the Joseph Hewes Memorial. The Chowan County Confederate Soldiers Monument originally stood right behind the Joseph Hewes memorial in front of the historic Chowan County Courthouse on King Street. It was moved to its present location on South Broad Street in June 1961. Edenton Bell Battery C.S.A. cannons are facing the waterfront at 505 South Broad Street on the side lawn of the Penelope Baker House Welcome Center.
The memorial is surrounded by old shady trees and seasonal greenery.