READING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
IN EASTON, PENNSYLVANIA
A mural hanging in the Northampton County Courthouse depicts a famous event in the history of Northampton County, Pennsylvania. On July 8th, 1776, four days after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, it was read to the people of the county from the steps of the old county courthouse, which stood in Centre Square, Easton. A large crowd had gathered. The colonel and field officers of the 1st Battalion were among the select group gatherer' about the entrance to the building. Just before the reading started, a company of Light Infantry marched down Northampton Street to the beating of drums and the playing of fifes. The Ensign of the company carried a flag, the forerunner of our national emblem. A Philadelphia paper, published on July 11th of that year, in describing the ceremonies in connection with the reading of the Declaration at Easton, mentions the flag in the following words: - "the standard, the device for which is the thirteen united colonies, - was ordered displayed." This early flag with its stars and stripes may be seen at the Easton Area Public Library.
As the company of infantry was drawn up in front of the courthouse and the new flag held at attention, Robert Levers, a member of the Committee of Observation and Inspection formed in the county as a result of a resolution passed by the Association of the Continental Congress, read the imperishable document to a large, attentive and serious audience. At the close of the reading the bell in the cupola pealed forth the glad tidings of the birth of the Nation and the spectators "gave their hearty consent with three loud huzzas and cried out "May God long preserve and unite the Free and Independent States of America." Northampton County's liberty bell which pealed from the cupola of the old courthouse in July, 1776, is now on display in the Government Center....Excerpts taken from the book, A Frontier Village, by A.D. Chidsey, Jr., published by the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society, Easton, Pennsylvania, 1940; revised edition 1966.
The painter of the mural is Robert C. Burns, a well-known artist who includes among his works in Easton portraits of Henry F. Marx, at the Easton Area Public Library, and judges of Northampton County which hang in the main Court Room of this courthouse.
The mural was authorized by the Northampton County Commissioners, Martin J. Bechtel, Chairman, Arthur S. Riland and Henry E. Ragot, and has been displayed since February 1961. In 1977, during the renovations to the courthouse and the construction of the new administration building, the mural was painstakingly removed from its location on a wall in the courthouse and temporarily stored. At the completion of the administration building it was rehung in its present location. This move required great skill and was accomplished by local artist Robert Doney.
The Taylor house is open for business. The house downtown on Fourth and Ferry St. was built in 1756 and still stands today, except for the kitchen which was removed to build another building in it's place. The kitchen had extended out of the house down Ferry toward Third St. The kitchens were typically built out from the house because of the open fires used for cooking, and the inherent fire hazard.
The house was built by ??? and after his death was leased to George Taylor. One of the attractions in the house is a table that Taylor brought with him from England.
Taylor was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and is buried at the Easton Cemetery.