Saturday, October 26, 2013

Descendent of Insurrectionist Wins Samuel Adams Steinhoisting Competition


Lisa Saunders, Samuel Adams Stein Hoist Winner and author, wouldn’t exist if the real Sam Adams had convinced the government to hang her ancestor, Captain Henry Gale Hanged for High Treason and Rebellion (he was a leader in Shays’ Rebellion)


Mystic, Conn.—Lisa Saunders, the descendent of a Revolutionary War veteran found guilty of treason, and author of "Shays' Rebellion: The Hanging of Co-Leader Captain Henry Gale", won the Samuel Adams Stein Hoisting competition held at Pizzetta in Mystic on October 10, 2013.

Saunders, age 52 of Mystic, held a one-liter Samuel Adams beer stein filled with water with her arm fully extended and parallel to the ground for 5 min., 10 secs. Winning several prizes at Pizzetta, she now heads to Boston to compete for the grand prize--—a trip to Munich, Germany, during Oktoberfest 2014. The New England Championship will be held on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery.

After her surprising win at the Mystic restaurant, Tricia Walsh, President of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, e-mailed Saunders, “I wish you the best in Boston and I hope you make Mystic proud!” Unbelievably,  even United States Senator Christopher S. Murphy wrote to her from Washington D.C., saying: "Keep up the great work and best of luck at the New England Championship!"
Saunders said, “Sam Adams, the revolutionary thinker after which the Boston lager was named, demanded that my ancestor Captain Henry Gale hang for his leadership role in Shays' Rebellion." Henry Gale of Princeton, Mass., was a Revolutionary War veteran who later used threat of force to shut down courts to stop the prosecution and imprisonment of farmers unable to pay their debts and what they felt were unreasonably high taxes. Henry was captured, found guilty of high treason and rebellion, and sentenced to hang. Sam Adams declared, "the man who dares rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death."

            After Henry Gale was marched up the gallows built on the Worcester Common in Massachusetts, the noose was placed around his neck and prayers were said for his soul. Suddenly, the sheriff presented a written reprieve from Governor John Hancock. The reprieve later became a pardon. "If Sam Adams had successfully influenced Hancock to follow through with Gale’s execution on June 21, 1787, I would not exist as I descend from a child conceived after he was set free. So, I got a kick out of winning the ladies' rounds at Pizzetta. I hope I can win a free trip to Munich out of the company that named their lager after Sam Adams!” Saunders descends from Henry Gale’s daughter, Betsey (Gale) Sisson, born four years after the “half hanging” in 1791.

Shays’ Rebellion, listed among History Channel's “10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America, led to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution because it showed the need for a stronger central government. Eventually, imprisonment for debt was outlawed.

Lisa Saunders is an award-winning writer, TV co-host, and part-time history interpreter at Mystic Seaport. A graduate of Cornell University, she is the author of several books, including the humorous travel memoir, Mystic Seafarer's TrailSecrets behind the 7 Wonders, Titanic's Shoes, Captain Sisson's Gold, and Amelia Earhart's Wedding . She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.For more information, visit or write to her at



Photo Caption: Lisa Saunders at Pizzetta in Mystic, CT, after winning ladies’ Samuel Adams Stein Hoisting competition on Thursday, October 10, 2013. Photo by Jim Saunders.

For more information about the New England Championship on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, call the Boston Beer Company at 617-368-5080, 617-368-5000, or visit

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