Christopher Seider (or Snider) (1758—1770) was the first American killed in the political strife that became the American Revolutionary War. He was 11 years old when he was shot and killed by loyalist Ebenezer Richardson in Boston on February 22, 1770. His funeral became a major political event, with his death heightening tensions that erupted into the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770.
Seider was born in 1758, the son of poor German immigrants. On February 22, 1770, he joined a crowd outside the house of Ebenezer Richardson in the North End. Richardson was a customs service employee who had tried to disperse a protest in front of the shop of Loyalist Theophilus Lillie. The crowd threw stones which broke Richardson's windows and struck his wife. Richardson fired a gun into the crowd, wounding Seider in the arm and the chest. The boy died that evening. Samuel Adams arranged for the funeral, which was attended by more than 2,000 people. He was buried in Granary Burying Ground; the victims of the Boston Massacre are buried near him.
Seider's killing and large public funeral fueled public outrage which reached a peak in the Boston Massacre 11 days later. Richardson was convicted of murder that spring, but then received a royal pardon and a new job within the customs service on the grounds that he had acted in self-defense. This became a major American grievance against the British government.
In popular cultureEdit
Seider's death, his funeral, and the subsequent Boston Massacre are featured in the 2015 television miniseries Sons of Liberty and season 2 of the 2016 television docuseries Legends & Lies: The Patriots.
- "Christopher Seider: The First Casualty in the American Revolutionary Cause". New England Historical Society. 2015-07-31. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
- J.L. Bell (2006). "Christopher Seider: shooting victim". Retrieved December 18, 2011.
- Alex R. Goldfeld (2009). The North End: A Brief History of Boston's Oldest Neighborhood. Charleston, SC: History Press.