J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Charles Conner Testifies About Patrick Carr

On 15 March 1770, the day after Patrick Carr became the fifth death from the Boston Massacre, coroner Thomas Dawes took this deposition from a man who had been with Carr on the night of the 5th:

I Charles Conner of Boston, of lawful Age being duly sworn to Testify and Say; that on the evening of the fifth of March, between the hours of nine and ten of the Clock in the evening: I was in Kingstreet with Mr. Patrick Carr, the occasion of my going, was the Cry of Fire and bells ringing:

we was their but a few minutes before several Small Arms was fired from a Detachment of Regiment soldiers drawn up near the Custom house

instantly upon the guns firg., the said Patrick Carr, who stood next to me and who had no Stick or any sort of weapon whatever about him, said to me, Conner; that was he wounded

I told him I hoped not, but asisted in carrying said Carr to a House in Fitch’s Alley and imeadiatly went for a Doctor for said Carr; seing of him badly wounded: the said wounds was received by the ball or balls that was fired by said detachment.

It was not the first gun that was fired, by which said Patrick received his wound. but a Second or Third;
The coroner then apparently asked Conner about the size of the crowd because he then wrote, “and semingly not more than 50 or 60 people there,” followed by a footnote:
Almost every one that have given Evidence agree that there was but a few persons in Kingstreet when the Guns were fired Some say about 50 Some 60—Some that there may be thereabouts &c.
This document is in the Chamberlain collection of the Boston Public Library’s manuscripts department, along with many others that seem to have been either rescued or liberated from legal files in the late 1800s.

TOMORROW: Who was this Charles Conner?

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