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"TREE OF LIBERTY" Newport, Rhode Island Deed of Its "Tree of Liberty & of the lands whereon it Stands" by Town Clerk of Newport, Official True Copy to August 17th, 1818
April 14th, 1766-Dated, Historical Manuscript Document Signed, Town Clerk Official True Copy dated to August 17th, 1818 of the "Tree of Liberty" of Newport, Rhode Island. An Original Historical Research Document and Archive containing Four Items with Six Pages. Includes the official period "True Copy" of the Deed of the Tree of Liberty & of the lands whereon it Stands written by Town Clerk William Read." Also documenting the authorized Trustee's Decendants to care for the Tree from that day forward: "chosen by the Survivors of them, upon the decease of either of them, forever, in such succession, a certain large Button Wood Tree, standing at the North End of Thames-street, in Newport,...". Newport, Rhode Island, Very Fine.
This amazing historically important Archive is specific to the history of Newport, Rhode Island's Colonial Period "Tree of Liberty," which was deeded to Newport on April 14th, 1766 per a remarkable Patriot legal Document by William Read. This Archive included a fully Handwritten on period laid paper, styled copy of as an updated and entered record into the official "Book of Land Evidence" 17th August 1818.

The original Deed of 1766 was apparently updated from time to time as the Trustees of the TREE and Land changed hands to other decendants of the original Trustees including: "William Ellery, John Collins, Robert Crook, and Samuel Fowler, and to such other person or persons as shall or may be chosen by the Survivors of them,...". It authorizes: "chosen by the Survivors of them, upon the decease of either of them, forever, in such succession, a certain large Button Wood Tree, standing at the North End of Thames-street, in Newport,...". That being the original LIBERTY TREE and describes its prominent location in the town.

Its highly charged Stamp Act inspired Patriotic content reads, in part:

"That the said Tree, forever hereafter be known by the name of TREE OF LIBERTY, and be sett apart to them for the use of the Sons of Liberty, and that the same stand as a Monument of the spirited and noble opposition made to the Stamp Act, in the year One thousand seven hundred and sixty-five, by the Sons of Liberty in Newport, Rhode Island, and throughout the Continent of North America, and be considered as Emblematical of Public Liberty; of her taking deep root in English America; of her strength and spreading protection by her benign influence, refreshing her sons in all their just struggles against the attempt of Tyranny and oppression; and furthermore, the said TREE OF LIBERTY is destined and set apart for exposing to Public Ignominy and Reproach all offenders against the Liberties of their Country, and Abettors and Approvers of such as would enslave her..."

The other accompanying Documents include a manuscript page further recording the history of the Liberty Tree up to March 3rd, 1860, a small partial document split along its centerfold in Colonial era handwriting with the reverse side half including the Docket reading, in full: "When the present Tree of Liberty was set out. - and a sole signature "Wm. Ellery". The final manuscript is dated with a continued history titled, "Tree of Liberty" handwritten on a later, perhaps Civil War era paper, with the latest entry, referring to "a noble affirmation made to the Stamp Act in the year 1865 (sic=1765), by the Sons of Liberty in Newport R.I. & throughout the Continent of North America."

On March 18, 2016 the Newport Historical Society posted the following information, thus marking the commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the deeding of Newport's Liberty Tree and the Repeal of the hated British Stamp Act. In 1765, the Sons of Liberty began rallying to protest the British Stamp Act on land owned by Captain at the corner of Thames and Farewell Streets.

Newport's Liberty Tree was probably inspired by Boston's Liberty Tree, where in 1765 the Sons of Liberty gathered beneath a Boston elm tree to protest the Stamp Act. In 1766, Capt. William Read deeded the plot of land, including a large buttonwood tree that grew there, to William Ellery and Newport's Sons of Liberty.

Upon its dedication Read insisted that, "The said tree forever hereafter be known as the Tree of Liberty, and be set apart to and for the use of the Sons of Liberty, and that the same stand as a Monument of the Spirited and Noble Opposition made to the Stamp Act in the year One Thousand seven hundred and Sixty-five, by the Sons of Liberty."

Word of the Stamp Act's repeal arrived in Newport in May 1766. There was reportedly much public rejoicing at the news including displaying an 8 x 14 foot painting of Newport Harbor to highlight "the Advantages which LIBERTY gives to COMMERCE".

In December 1776, at the start of the three year British occupation, the first Liberty Tree was cut down by British troops. A new tree was planted in 1783 which lasted until the 1860s. A third tree was planted in 1876, but didn't survive. The current tree was planted in 1897 and appears to have been moved from the original deeded plot of land to the adjacent Ellery Park. (So named after William Ellery, Signer of the Declaration of Independence for Rhode Island.) The "HISTORICAL MAGAZINE" of August 1868, page 91, shown in full online, reprinted the full text of the "Original Deed Of The Newport (R.I.) LIBERTY TREE.", its complete text found in its entirety on our EAHA auction website. It is difficult to place an estimate on such a wonderful archive of great importance and significance in American history. A unique opportunity to become the current "curator" of this remarkable "Tree of Liberty" Deed document and related archive. (4 items)
ORIGINAL DEED OF THE NEWPORT (R.I.) "LIBERTY TREE."

To all People to whom these Presents shall come, GREETING: --

I, William Read, of Newport, in the County of Newport, in the English Colony of Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations, in New England, in America, merchant, for and consideration of the love of my country and an ardent desire to perpetuate to the latest posterity the Liberties and Privileges handed down by my glorious Ancestors, and also for the further consideration of five shillings, Lawful money, to me in hand paid by Wm. Ellery, John Collins, Robert Crook, and Samuel Fowler, merchants, and all of said Newport, the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge, that this Deed may be held good and sufficient in all constructions of Law, have given, granted, sold, and conveyed, and do hereby give, grant, bargain, sell and convey to them, the said William Ellery, John Collins, Robert Crook, and Samuel Fowler, and to such other person or persons as shall or may be chosen by the Survivors of them, upon the decease of either of them, forever, in such succession, a certain large Button Wood Tree, standing at the North End of Thames-street, in Newport, aforesaid, and at the North End of my lot of Land there, being with the Land on which it stands, bounded as follows: Easterly, on Farewell-street, about twenty-six feet; Southerly by my said Lot of Land, about eleven feet; and Westerly on Thames-street, making a Point to the North, being in the form of a Triangle, with the Appurtenances - To have and to hold the same to them, the said William Ellery, John Collins, Rob't Crook, and Samuel Fowler, and their successors as aforesaid, to and for the uses, intents and designs as following, viz: That the said Tree, forever hereafter be known by the name of TREE OF LIBERTY, and be sett apart to them for the use of the Sons of Liberty, and that the same stand as a Monument of the spirited and noble opposition made to the Stamp Act, in the year One thousand seven hundred and sixty-five, by the Sons of Liberty in Newport, Rhode Island, and throughout the Continent of North America, and be considered as Emblematical of Public Liberty; of her taking deep root in English America; of her strength and spreading protection by her benign influence, refreshing her sons in all their just struggles against the attempt of Tyranny and oppression; and furthermore, the said TREE OF LIBERTY is destined and set apart for exposing to Public Ignominy and Reproach all offenders against the Liberties of their Country, and Abettors and Approvers of such as would enslave her; and that the same may be repaired to upon all rejoicings on account of the Rescue and deliverance of Liberty from any danger she may have been in of being subverted and overthrown. And furthermore, that the said TREE OF LIBERTY stand as a memorial of the firm and unshaken Loyalty of the American Sons of Liberty to his Majesty, King George the Third, and of their inviolable attachment to the happy Establishment of the Protestant succession in the illustrios house of Hanover; and, in general, said Tree is hereby conveyed to and set apart for such other uses as they, the true-born Sons of Liberty shall, from time to time, from age to age, and in all times and ages, forever hereafter, apprehend, judge and resolve may subserve the glorious cause of Publick Liberty.

And I, the said Wm. Read, do hereby covenant to and with the said Wm. Ellery, John Collins, Robert Crook, and Samuel Fowler, and their successors as aforesaid, that I am the true and lawful owner of said bargained premises; that I have good authority and full power to dispose, grant, sell, and convey the same as aforesaid; and that I will warrant and defend the same to them, the said Wm. Ellery, John Collins, Robert Crook, and Samuel Fowler, and their successors as aforesaid, against the lawful claims and demands of all persons forever hereafter.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, the said Wm. Read, have hereunto set my hand and seal, this fourteenth day of April, in the Sixth year of his Majesty's reign, George the Third, King of Great Britain, &c. Annoqui Domini, One thousand seven hundred and sixty-six. - signed, WILLIAM READ. (Seal.)

Signed, sealed and delivered

in presence of us:

JOSEPH G. WANTON,

GIDEON WANTON,

JACOB RICHARDSON,

BENJAMIN HALL,

HENRY MARCHANT,

BENJAMIN ELLERY

SAMUEL HENSHAW,

DAVID ANTHONY,

EBENZ'R DAVENPORT,

WILLIAM MERRISS,

ROB'T HULL,

PAUL COFFIN,

PHILIP PECKHAM,

JOHN BARKER,

LEWIS BULOID,

JOHN STANTON,

JONATHAN DAVENPORT,

JOHN READ,

ABIEL SCOTT,

DANL. DENHAM, JR.,

CHARLES COZZENS,

TIMO BALCH,

CONSTANT BAILEY,

CHRISTOR. TOWNSEND, JUNR,

ROB'T TAY'R SHEARMAN,

JOSHUA SAYER JUNR.,

JEREMIAH CHILD, JUNR.,

BENJAMIN STANTON,

HENRY WARD,

SAMUEL WEEDEN.

COLONY OP RHODE ISLAND, &c.

NEWPORT, April 14, 1766.

Personally appeared Capt. William Read, and

acknowledged the foregomg Instrument to be

his voluntary Act and Deed.

Before HENRY WARD, Just Peace.

___________

William Ellery was born in Newport, Rhode Island on December 22, 1727, the second son of William Ellery, Sr. and Elizabeth Almy, a descendant of Thomas Cornell.

He received his early education from his father, a merchant and Harvard College graduate. He graduated from Harvard College in 1747, where he excelled in Greek and Latin. He then returned to Newport where he worked first as a merchant, next as a customs collector, and then as Clerk of the Rhode Island General Assembly. He started practicing law in 1770 at the age of 43 and became active in the Rhode Island Sons of Liberty.

Statesman Samuel Ward died in 1776, and Ellery replaced him in the Continental Congress. He became a signer of the Articles of Confederation and one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The size of his signature on the Declaration is second only to John Hancock's famous signature.

Ellery also served as a judge on the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, and he had become an abolitionist by 1785. He was the first customs collector of the port of Newport under the Constitution, serving there until his death, and he worshipped at the Second Congregational Church of Newport

Ellery died on February 15, 1820 at age 92 and was buried in Common Burial Ground in Newport. The Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the Revolution and the William Ellery Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution make an annual commemoration at his grave on July 4th.
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Item #108202Price: $6,750.00Add to Cart
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