1774 Tea Controversy
Isaac Jones was both a tavern-keeper of the Golden Ball Tavern and an overland hauler of goods. As things heated up politically in Boston and the surrounding towns in response to Britain's more repressive measures to bring the colony under control, and after the more radical groups called for a complete boycott of British tea, Isaac continued to sell tea in his tavern. This was Dutch tea that he had bought in New York on his hauling trips there; it was not British tea. But by then tea had become a symbol more than a commodity, and the Patriots turned their anger against Isaac.
Loyalist or Patriot?
Isaac Jones was a known Loyalist until early into the Revolutionary War. Why did he change his loyalty and begin to haul goods for the Patriot cause? We have one provocative piece of circumstantial evidence that might shed light on this. A piece of cardboard was found pressed onto the back of a primitive portrait of Isaac's daughter. Printed on the cardboard was a copy of a ship's bond that would have been required of any New England overseas shipper stating that he would forfeit a large amount of bond money if he tried to sell his cargo in any country besides England, Ireland, or one of the Crown colonies in the West Indies. The bond was a requirement of a 1775 British law, The New England Restraining Act, the objective of which was to totally restrict the colonies' foreign trade. In addition, New England ships were barred from fishing in the area known as the North Atlantic Fisheries. This Act had a major impact on the economy of New England. The Act was later extended to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, South Carolina, and Virginia.
What was Isaac doing with a copy of the bond? Why did he save the bond and press it into the back of his daughter's portrait? We know that his neighbor and friend, Samuel Savage, a Patriot, visited Isaac, and we conjecture that he brought this bond with him and possibly said, "Look Isaac, now you have to admit that England is trying to enslave us economically." It must have worked, because sometime after that visit, Isaac did become a Patriot.
WILLIAM PITT JONES MINIATURE
On ivory, 1845 by renowned 19th century miniature portraitist Moses B. Russell (born NH/MA – 1809, died 1884).
Portrays Isaac Jones’ son, William Pitt Jones (1766-1854) who was named after William Pitt, the British statesman. Miniature portraits such as these were considered the pocket photos of their time.
PAUL REVERE EARLY ENGRAVING
An early work of Paul Revere. One of five copies known to exist. Signed “P. Revere Sculpt.”
SAMUEL SAVAGE SNUFF BOX
Oval silver snuffbox, conforming hinged lid with agate panel. Under base engraved “Sam’ P Savage.”
Samuel Savage (1715-1797) was a Weston resident (as of 1765) and a Patriot who moderated the meetings at the Old South Meeting House which led to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. In later life, Savage and Isaac Jones became friends and Isaac went on to serve as a pallbearer at Savage’s wife’s funeral. John Singleton Copley painted portraits of both Samuel Savage and his wife, Sarah Tyler Savage (the latter is at the Worcester Art Museum).
BROWN BESS (or British Short Land Musket) Circa 1769
Reportedly found in a field behind the Golden Ball by a Jones family member after a British skirmish (Jones Family Collection). Engraved with image of Crown and “GR” - possibly George ‘Rex’ (Latin for King).
LETTIE FROST JONES DIARY
Lettie Frost Jones (1843-1918) wrote this moving account of the death of Abraham Lincoln at the age of 22: “It was the most solemn week I ever knew and I think those much older than myself would say the same.”
FAMILY BIBLE WITH GENEALOGY
“Baskett Bible” - Mark Baskett, London 1769 – Baskett Bibles were produced by three generations of the Baskett family in England throughout most of the 18th century – The Jones family Bible was the same edition of the Bible that was used to swear in George Washington as the nation’s first President. (Jones family vital records first page. New Testament folio edition.)
Joseph L. Ross, cabinetmaker and manufacturer, 1798-1879
Presumed to have descended in the Jones family, which owned and occupied the former Golden Ball Tavern between 1768 and 1963. The piece was present in the house when it became a museum. Gothic Revival oak teacher's desk manufactured by Joseph L. Ross, a prominent school furniture maker in Boston. Learn more here!