Liberty Pole in the Fields - 1770


Cartoon depicting the Liberty Pole in the Fields (now City Hall Park), 1770, looking north from the Green. This is the only known engraving, made at the time, depicting the Liberty Pole in New York.

This pen and ink drawing on paper is attributed to Pierre Eugène du Simitière (1737, Geneva - 1784, Philadelphia). He was a painter and naturalist. In 1768, he was elected curator of the American Philosophical Society. Source: The Library Company of Philadelphia, From manuscript volume of Du Simitière, inscribed: Papers relating to N. England N. York &c.

According to Stokes (Iconography of Manhattan Island, ... 1915), this was the fifth Liberty Pole raised in New York City, on February 6, 1770: "A more careful study of the drawing in connection with the facts concerning McDougal's imprisonment, which is clearly depicted, fix the date as Feb. 14, eight days after the erection of the fifth pole". Alexander McDougall (1732-1786) was a merchant and a Sons of Liberty leader.

The fifth pole was erected on ground bought by Isaac Sears, near the Montagne's Tavern, on the northwest corner of Murray Street.

The building on the right was the Gaol (prison). The building in the center was the Poor House, back of which are the barracks of the British soldiers.

It seems that the house on the left was the John Harris house used as "a strong watch was set by the citizens" [on March 22, 1767] to guard the pole, but used later by British soldiers who cut down the fourth Liberty Pole on January 17, 1770. At that time, the John Harris property belonged to the City.

Liberty poles was an object of violent confrontation between patriots and loyalists. They were raised as monuments of freedom and then cut down by British soldiers. This sequence was repeated five times, between 1766 and 1776.


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City Hall Park


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Liberty Poles New York


New York 18th century


Liberty Pole Fields


City Hall Park


18th century NYC


NY City Hall Park


Liberty Pole in the Fields - 1770


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