August 14, 1765, Andrew Oliver, distributor of stamps for Massachusetts, was hung in effigy from an elm tree, which we now call the Liberty Tree, at the crossing of Essex and Orange Streets in the city’s South End. The sheriff, Stephen Greenleaf, was ordered by Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson to take the effigy down, but was opposed by a large crowd. All day the crowd detoured merchants on Orange Street to have their goods symbolically stamped under the elm. At night, a crowd led by MacIntosh, a Seven Years’ War veteran and current shoemaker, cut down the mock Oliver and took it in a funeral procession to the Town House where the legislature met. From there they went to Oliver’s office, tore it down, symbolically stamped the timbers, and took the effigy to Oliver’s home at the foot of Fort Hill. Here, they beheaded and burned the effigy along with Oliver’s stable house and coach and chaise. Greenleaf and Hutchinson were stoned when they tried to stop the mob, which then looted and destroyed the contents of Oliver’s house. Oliver asked to be relieved of his duties the next day. This resignation, however, was not enough. Oliver was ultimately forced by MacIntosh to be paraded through the streets and publicly resign under the Liberty Tree. On August 26, MacIntosh led an attack on Hutchinson’s house. The mob evicted the family, destroyed the furniture, tore down the interior walls, and emptied the wine cellar. Governor Francis Bernard offered a 300-pound reward for information on the leaders of the mob, but no information was forthcoming. MacIntosh and several others were arrested, but were freed either by pressure from the merchants or released by mob action.
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