Legal Papers of John Adams, volume 3

Arraignment, Impaneling, Crown's Opening and Evidence


Adams’ Minutes of Crown Evidence<a xmlns="" href="#LJA03d017n1" class="note" id="LJA03d017n1a">1</a>: 27 November 1770 JA


Adams’ Minutes of Crown Evidence: 27 November 1770 Adams, John
Adams' Minutes of Crown Evidence1
27 November 1770

James Dodge . . .seemed to come from close before them, i.e. I took it, the snow was flung on Purpose. I took it, the? soldiers 108pushed, to keep the Inhabitants off. Saw no Oyster Shells thrown, and believe there were none. A Cake of Ice covered the Pavement there, and covered up all the shells.

Samuel Clark. Saw White, before the Affray. He stood Sentry. He spoke to me, and asked me how we all did? I said pretty well. No body at all with the sentinel then.2

Edward Gambett Langford. Met 20 or 25 Boys and young Men, by the Centry Box. They said the sentry had knocked a Boy down. White is the Centry. I spoke to him, and bid him not be afraid. Saw Kilroy there that night. The Boys were swearing and cursing at him, but I saw no thing thrown. Centry got up to the Door and tryed to open it, but could not and then, he call'd out, what he Said I dont know. He levelld his Piece, but I told him not to be afraid. Then he took his Gun down. The young Shavers there said he had knocked a Boy down. At the Party, S. Gray came to me, took me by the shoulder and said what is here to pay? I said I dont know but I believe Something or other would come of it, by and by. S. Gray was just by me, when the 1st Gun went off. I stood so near that they might have reached me, and they did. A Bayonet went thro my Cloaths. I heard the Word Fire, twice, once G–d d—n you fire. About 40 or 50 People in the Streets, but others coming from Quaker Lane and Royal Exchange Lane. I had a Stick. I tho't 7 or 8 Soldiers. Dont know who fired the 1st Gun. I stood about ½ Way between the Centry Box and Royal Exchange Lane. I saw Kilroy fire, and Saml. Gray fell and struck my left foot. I knew him before, very well, and know it was he. there was 2 or 3 at Kilroys right. With red coats, but cant say whether armed or not. I said God d—n you, dont fire, or damn you dont, and he fired at once. Gray stood still by me. Kilroys Gun went off and S. Gray fell, and I heard no Gun by his at that time. Gray spoke to nobody but me, that I heard. He had no Weapen, was naked. Threw no snow Ball, or any Thing. Grays Hands were in his Bosom. I was looking Kilroy right in the Face. I heard the Ratling of Guns, but saw nothing flung. I took it Kilroys 109Gun kill'd Gray. Did not see that Kilroy aimed at Gray any more than me. He designed to kill both of us I suppose.3


Francis Archibald Jnr. I Saw Kilroy, that Night, go from the main 111Guard to the Centry. I took it there were 6 besides the Corporal, in the Party. Dont recollect any other. Wa4


Adams Massacre Minutes, MHi MS 2. This MS, as it survives, begins with the minute of the last part of James Dodge's testimony. See Description of Sources and Documents.


Wemms Trial 16:

Samuel Clark, Sworn.

Q. Did you see any of the prisoners in King-street on the 5th March?

A. Yes, before the affray happened.

Q. Which of them was it?

A. It was White. He was standing Sentry at the Custom-house: he spoke to me, and asked me how we all did at home. I immediately went home. Soon after I heard the bells ring, and went into King-street. When I came there, the soldiers were drawn up by the Main Guard.

Q. Was you there at the time of the firing?

A. I was not.

Q. When you spoke to the Sentry, was there any body with him?

A. No, he was walking backwards and forwards by himself.


Wemms Trial 16–19:

Edward G. Langford, Sworn.

I am one of the Town Watch.

Q. Was you in King-street that evening the 5th March?

A. Yes. The bells began to ring, and the people cryed fire: I run with the rest, and went into King-street; I asked where the fire was; I was told there was no fire, but that the soldiers at Murray's barracks had got out, and had been fighting with the inhabitants, but that they had drove them back again. I went to the barracks, and found the affair was over there. I came back, and just as I got to the Town pump, I saw twenty or five and twenty boys going into King-street. I went into King-street myself, and saw several boys and young men about the Sentry box at the Custom-house. I asked them what was the matter. They said the Sentry had knocked down a boy. They crowded in over the gutter; I told them to let the Sentry alone. He went up the steps of the Custom-house, and knocked at the door, but could not get in. I told him not to be afraid, they were only boys, and would not hurt him.

Q. Do you know the Sentry?

A. Yes.

Q. Is he among the prisoners?

A. Yes, that's he. (Pointing to White.)

Q. Do you know any of the rest?

A. Yes, that man. (Pointing to Killroy). The boys were swearing and speaking bad words, but they threw nothing.

Q. Were they pressing on him?

A. They were as far as the gutter, and he went up the steps and called out, but what he said I do not remember.

Q. Did he call loud?

A. Yes, pretty loud.

Q. To whom did he call?

A. I do not know; when he went up the steps he levelled his piece with his bayonet fixed. As I was talking with the Sentry, and telling him not to be afraid, the soldiers came down, and when they came, I drew back from the Sentry towards Royal-exchange lane, and there I stood. I did not see them load, but somebody said, are you loaded; and Samuel Gray, who was shot that night, came and struck me on the shoulder, and said, Langford, what's here to pay.

Q. What said you to Gray then?

A. I said I did not know what was to pay, but I believed something would come of it by and bye. He made no reply. Immediately a gun went off. I was within reach of their guns and bayonets; one of them thrust at me with his bayonet, and run it through my jacket and great coat.

Q. Where was you then?

A. Within three or four feet of the gutter, on the outside.

Q. Who asked, are you loaded?

A. I do not know whether it was the soldiers or inhabitants.

Q. Did you hear the word given to load?

A. I heard the question asked, whether they were loaded? but I heard no orders to load. Somebody then said, are you all ready: I then heard the word given to fire, twice distinctly.

Q. How many people were there before the soldiers at that time?

A. About forty or fifty, but there were numbers in the lane.

Q. Were they nigh the soldiers?

A. They were not in the inside of the gutter.

Q. Had any of the inhabitants sticks or clubs?

A. I do not know. I had one myself, because I was going to the watch, for I belong to the watch.

Q. How many soldiers were there?

A. I did not count the number of them, about seven or eight I think.

Q. Who was it fired the first gun?

A. I do not know.

Q. Where about did he stand that fired?

A. He stood on my right, as I stood facing them: I stood about half way betwixt the box and Royal-exchange lane. I looked this man (pointing to Killroy) in the face, and bid him not fire; but he immediately fired, and Samuel Gray fell at my feet. Killroy thrust his bayonet immediately through my coat and jacket; I ran towards the watch-house, and stood there.

Q. Where did Killroy stand?

A. He stood on the right of the party.

Q. Was he the right hand man?

A. I cannot tell: I believe there were two or three on his right, but I do not know.

Q. You spoke to him you say before he fired, what did you say to him?

A. I said either damn you, or God damn you do not fire, and immediately he fired.

Q. What in particular made you say do not fire?

A. Hearing the other guns go off.

Q. How many guns went off before he fired?

A. Two: but I saw nobody fall. Gray fell close to me. I was standing leaning on my stick.

Q. Did Gray say any thing to Killroy before he fired?

A. He spoke to nobody but me.

Q. Did he throw any snow balls?

A. No, nor he had no weapon in his hand; he was as naked as I am now.

Q. Did you see any thing thrown?

A. No, I saw nothing at all thrown of any kind.

Q. Was you talking with Gray at the time the gun went off?

A. I did not speak with him at that instant, but I had been talking with him several minutes before that.

Q. Was you so near Gray, that if he had thrown any thing you must have seen it?

A. Yes, his hands were in his bosom, and, immediately after Killroy's firing, he fell.

Q. Did you hear any other gun at that time?

A. None, till I had got near to the watch-house.

Q. How near were the people standing to the soldiers, at the time that gun shot Gray?

A. They were standing near the gutter.

Q. Did you see any thing hit the soldiers?

A. No, I saw nothing thrown. I heard the rattling of their guns, and took it to be one gun against another. This rattling was at the time Killroy fired, and at my right, I had a fair view of them; I saw nobody strike a blow nor offer a blow.

Q. Have you any doubt in your own mind, that it was that gun of Killroy's that killed Gray?

A. No manner of doubt; it must have been it, for there was no other gun discharged at that time.

Q. Did you know the Indian that was killed?

A. No.

Q. Did you see any body press on the soldiers with a large cord wood stick?

A. No.

Q. After Gray fell, did he (Killroy) thrust at him with his bayonet?

A. No, it was at me he pushed.

Q. Did Gray say any thing to Killroy, or Killroy to him?

A. No, not to my knowledge, and I stood close by him.

Q. Did you perceive Killroy take aim at Gray?

A. I did not: he was as liable to kill me as him.


MS breaks off thus.

Wemms Trial 19–20:

Francis Archibald, Clerk to Mr. Price, sworn.

Q. Did you see any of the prisoners in King-street, that evening of the 5th March?

A. Yes, I saw Killroy go down with the party towards the Sentry.

Q. How many of them?

A. I took them to be six, besides the Corporal.

Q. Did you see any of the rest there that you knew?

A. No.

Q. Did you see any of them fire?

A. No, I was not near them; I went to Stone's door.

Q. Did you see any snow balls or sticks thrown?

A. No.

Q. Was you looking at the party and the people by them before the firing?

A. Yes. There was a noise amongst them; I was not near enough to hear what was said, but I saw nothing thrown.

Q. Where was you when the party came down?

A. Near the middle of the street.

Q. Did you observe the party to divide themselves?

A. No; the corporal walked in front of them, as he always does at a relief.

Q. Do you know who rung the bell at the Brick meeting house?

A. No.

Q. Did you see any body get in at the windows of the Brick meeting house.

A. No. In Cornhill somebody said ring the bell, but who it was I do not know.

Q. Which bell rung first?

A. The Old Brick, I believe.

Q. Did you see what passed betwixt the soldiers and others at the barracks?

A. About ten minutes after nine, I saw a soldier, and a mean looking fellow with him, with a cutlass in his hand; they came up to me: somebody said, put up your cutlass, it is not right to carry it at this time of night. He said, damn you ye Yankie bougers, what's your business: he came up to another that was with me, and struck him. We beat him back, when seven or eight soldiers came out of the barracks, with tongs and other weapons; one aimed a blow at a young fellow, John Hicks, who knocked the soldier down. As he attempted to rise, I struck him down again, and broke his wrist, as I heard afterwards. I went to King-Street, and when the guns were all fired, I saw several persons dead.