Meshech Weare Assumes Power In New Hampshire
Meshech Weare was the first Governor of New Hampshire.
Weare was involved in several decisions which led to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, most notably the Pine Tree Riots.
Pine Tree Riots
A decision had been made. The fine would be 20 schillings.
The men being punished were those who participated in the Pine Tree Riots in Weare, NH. The riots took place because the people of this small town were lumberjacks and sawmill owners who harvested trees which were claimed by the King.
When the Sheriff arrived to arrest them, they beat him with pine branches.
The fine of 20 schillings was an extremely light punishment. In 1772, this was an unmistakable act of defiance against the British Crown on the part of the Judges.
One of the four Justices who made this decision was Meshech Weare.
Meshech Weare was a lifelong public servant.
He began as a town moderator and worked his way up through the New Hampshire political scene, eventually becoming a Provincial Assemblyman.
By the time of the Pine Tree Riots, Meshech had become a respected Judge and even had the town of Weare (where the riots happened to take place) named in his honor.
Meshech had sympathy for the rioters, as the laws claiming the best trees for the King were more hated in New Hampshire than either the Tea or Stamp Acts. It is said that the Pine Tree Riots emboldened the rebels who would throw a Tea Party in Boston the following year.
The Most Powerful Man in New Hampshire
After independence was declared by the Continental Congress, the separate States went about writing new Constitutions for themselves.
Weare played a substantial part in creating New Hampshire’s first State Constitution.
After the new government was established, Meshech was elected to the Executive Council. This council took the place of a Head of State and enforced the colonies laws. Weare was chosen as President of the Council, in effect making him the first Governor of New Hampshire.
At approximately the same time, Weare was chosen as Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. This made him the leader of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the State Government.
Throughout the Revolutionary War, Meshech Weare was the most powerful person in the State of New Hampshire.
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