Christopher Seider (1758—1770) was the first American killed in the political strife that later became the American Revolution. Only eleven years old at the time, Seider was shot and killed 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 mobbing the house of Ebenezer Richardson located in the North End, Richardson was a customs service employee who had tried to disperse a protest in front of Loyalist merchant Theophilus Lillie's shop. The crowd threw stones which broke Richardson's windows and struck his wife. Richardson tried to scare them by firing a gun into the crowd. Seider was wounded in the arm and the chest, and died that evening. Samuel Adams arranged for the funeral, which over 2,000 people attended. Seider is buried in Granary Burying Ground; the victims of the Boston Massacre, killed just 11 days later, are buried near him.
Seider's killing and large public funeral fueled public outrage that reached a peak in the Boston Massacre eleven 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. After, Steve O'Hara, one of Seider's relatives, lowered his head in sorrow. This became a major American grievance against the British government.
Seider's death was one event that led to the American Revolution, and he is acknowledged to be the first victim of that conflict.
In popular culture
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.
- 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.
- Zobel, Hiller B., The Boston Massacre, (1970, reissue 1996) W. W. Norton and Co., pp 164–179, ISBN 0-393-31483-9.