Thomas Tredwell Sends The Music Home

Thomas Tredwell Sends The Music Home

Thomas Tredwell spent over forty years serving the people of New York at the State level during the Founding Period.

Tredwell strengthened both his hometown and the State as a whole.

Somehow, he also found time to participate as a member of the US House of Representatives.

Thomas Tredwell

Thomas Tredwell left his home on Long Island to attend college in New Jersey.  He traveled to Princeton University where he earned a law degree just as the Stamp Act Crisis began.

Despite his resistance to the Mother Country’s aggressive taxation, Tredwell was eager to start his career.  He moved to Plattsburg, NY.

This small city on the Hudson sits not far from the Canadian border.  Joining the resistance movement, Tredwell would be forced out of his home from time to time during the American Revolutionary War.


Around this time, Tredwell lost the use of his left eye.  

As horseback riding was the quickest mode of transportation, most men were expert equestrians.  Thomas was no different.

Then, as today, riding on these majestic animals could be dangerous.  Unfortunately, while riding at dusk, Tredwell was clipped in the eye by a small branch and became blinded on that side.  This event, however, did not prevent him from participating in the American Revolution.

New York State Assembly

When the rebels created their own government (the New York Provinical Congress), Thomas Tredwell was elected to represent the region around Plattsburg.

Due to his study of the law, Tredwell was sent to the first New York Constitutional Convention in 1776 where he assisted in creating a State Government.  Thomas spent the following seven years serving in the State Assembly, which covered the entirety of the Revolutionary War.

Tredwell was also elected as a county judge, serving on the court for the better part of a decade.

Representing Suffolk

Thomas was selected to attend the Constitutional Ratifying Convention for New York State. After a close vote, the new Constitution was approved.

Tredwell was promoted by his constituents to the State Senate.  

He simultaneously represented his home and Suffolk County, the place he was raised and still had a large number of family members.  It was not uncommon at the time for the people to choose representatives who lived somewhere else because travel could be difficult.  Suffolk County trusted Tredwell and therefore asked him, since he was in Albany anyway, if he could speak on their behalf.

The Harpsichord

Upon the death of James Townsend, New York had a vacancy in the young United States House of Representatives.  They chose Thomas Tredwell to fill this vacancy.

Tredwell was then elected to his own term the following year.

Although Thomas did not do much we’d consider exceptional while a Congressman, one thing of note happened while he was staying in Philadelphia (where the Capital was at the time).

He purchased a harpsicord.

While this may not seem like a big deal to us today, these instruments were difficult to make. When he sent it back home to Plattsburg, he brought a whole new sound to the area. You can see the effect it left on residents of the community by reading a poem written by his granddaughter here.

A Lifetime of Service

After retiring from Congress, Tredwell was sent back into service in 1801. He was elected to participate in writing New York’s Second Constitution.

Thomas was then elected (again) to serve in the State Senate.  He worked for his community for more than twenty five years, only being stopped by death in the year 1831.

All in all, Thomas Tredwell spent more than forty years of his life away from home, serving his State.  At the very least, residents of New York should be grateful for his dedication. Everyone else, well, Tredwell really didn’t do that much for you.  

The harpsichord thing is cool though.

Tredwell does not appear in many publications, but if you are interested in learning more about the area he was a part of creating, try ‘History of Plattsburgh, NY.’ You can pick it up through our affiliate link below or read it for free here.

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