Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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SNY DER, Christopher, called "the first martyr of the Revolution," born about 1755; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 23 February, 1770. During the excitement in 1770 on the subject of non-importation a few merchants continued to sell articles that had been proscribed, and one, Theophilus Lillie, incurred such displeasure that, in order to mark his shop as one to be shunned, a mob, consisting chiefly of half-grown boys, erected near his door a wooden head on a tall pole, upon which were written the names of the other importers, and a hand pointing to Lillie's shop was also attached. One of his friends, Ebenezer Richardson, attempted to remove this figure, but was pelted and driven into Lillie's house by the mob. Greatly exasperated, he appeared with a musket and fired a random shot into the crowd, which mortally wounded a young lad, Christopher Snyder, the son of a poor widow. Snyder died on that evening, and his murder pro(lulled a sensation throughout the country. His funeral, on the 26th, was the occasion of a solemn pageant. A procession of 500 children walked before the bier, and the coffin was taken to Liberty tree, where an assemblage of nearly 1,500 persons had gathered. The bells of the city and of neighboring towns were tolled. The newspapers were filled with accounts of the story and of the funeral, and Christopher Snyder was called the first martyr in the cause of American liberty. The mob seized Richardson and an associate named Wilmot and took them to Faneuil hall, where they were examined and committed for trial. Richardson was declared guilty of murder, but Lieutenant-Gov Thomas Hutchinson refused to sign his death-warrant, and after two years' imprisonment he was pardoned by the king.
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