BELFAST — On the night of Dec. 16, 1773, approximately 125-150 New Englanders, frustrated by taxes levied by England, descended on Boston Harbor. What followed has been called the most significant act of the American Revolution.

The Boston Tea Party helped unite a nation to revolution and adjusted the arc of global history.

This week a pair of organizations dedicated to the memory of this keystone American event are commemorating the individuals from Maine who participated in the Boston Tea Party.

“We’re putting up markers from Whiting to Gorham,” said Evan O’Brien, creative manager at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. “We’re on a full Maine tour to honor those Patriots from Maine that participated in the Boston Tea Party.”

The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is partnering with Revolution 250 to ensure the year leading up to the Tea Party’s 250th anniversary is filled with education, celebration and remembrance.

“Beginning Dec. 16, 2022, we’re unveiling a full commemorative year of special programming, special exhibits, performances, in-person and virtual lectures, all geared toward the Boston Tea Party story,” O’Brien said. “It’s all meant to educate visitors and interested people from around the world on what the Boston Tea Party means to, not just New England, but the nation and the world.”

The groups were in Maine from Oct. 2-5 to place markers on the graves of nine individuals who participated in the Boston Tea Party. Three of those individuals are buried in local cemeteries.

“Many people don’t realize these heroes are buried in their communities,” O’Brien said. “We’re working to ensure their patriotism is not forgotten.”

Three commemoration ceremonies were held this week at cemeteries in Northport, Warren and Belfast.

Gershom Collier is buried on what was family land in Northport. Born in Scituate, Massachusetts, in 1738, Collier was 35 years old when he participated in the Boston Tea Party. He was believed to have been a Freemason. Collier married Abigail Nash in 1783. The couple had three children before Collier’s death in Northport in 1822.

Emily Morcos of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum places a commemorative marker at Gershom Collier’s grave in Northport Oct. 4. Photo by Jim Leonard

Benjamin Burton’s burial plot is located in Fairview Cemetery in Warren. Burton was born in Thomaston in 1749. On a visit to Boston at age 24, Burton participated in the Tea Party.

Burton served in the Revolutionary War as an officer and spent four months as a prisoner of war. He married Hannah Chruch in 1779 and the couple had one child.

Benjamin Burton’s participation in the Boston Team Party is commemorated at Fairview Cemetery in Warren Oct. 5. Photo by Jim Leonard

Following the war, Burton served as a magistrate and as a member of the legislature. Burton died in Warren in 1835.

John Cochran’s final resting place is in Grove Cemetery in Belfast. Born in Boston in 1749, he was 24 years old when he participated in the Boston Tea Party. Cochran served in the Revolutionary War as a soldier at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He married Mary Adams and the couple produced two children. Cochran died in Belfast in 1839.

Commemoration ceremonies include remarks from O’Brien and Revolution 250 Coordinator Jonathan Lane. Following the remarks an actor, dressed in period clothing, placed the marker next to the stone.

“We believe as many as 150 people participated in the Boston Tea Party,” O’Brien said. “We have identified 125 thus far.”

To date the organizations have held 106 such ceremonies from Virginia to Canada. O’Brien noted that the remaining commemorations will occur over the next 14 months as the anniversary date approaches.

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum placed this commemorative marker Oct. 2-5, 2022, at the graves of Maine’s Boston Tea Party participants. Photo by Jim Leonard

Plans for the 250th anniversary are as ambitious as the groups travel schedule. Performances and reenactments will take place at Boston’s Harbor Fest and First Night ceremonies. Both events will carry a Boston Tea Party theme. The groups have also extended an invitation to the British royal family. Dozens of performances, discussions and multi-media events will also be held throughout New England.

The East India Company — the same company that lost 340 crates of tea during the raid — has expressed interest in participating in the anniversary in some way. The company currently sends expired tea to the museum for use in reenactments.

O’Brien believes the fanfare is well-deserved.

“These were ordinary men,” he said. “They were farmers, artisans, fathers and sons. Their extraordinary courage changed the course of American history. The idea of protesting against injustice and tyranny are things we can all relate to, even just 250 years later.”

For information and updates on Boston Tea Party anniversary events, visit BostonTeaParty250.com