John Crane (1744 - 1805)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Massachusetts, USA
Death: Died in Massachusetts, USA
Managed by: Bernadette Roback
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About John Crane

Participant in Boston Tea Party at age of 29; one of two dressed as "an indian". Later a colonel in the Revolutionary War.

From a historical record: For the following sketch I am indebted to the Hon. William Eustis, a highly respectable surgeon in the hospital department during the revolutionary war: COLONEL JOHN CRANE, AND OTHERS. The mechanics of Boston and its vicinity may take a just pride in having furnished from their ranks some of the bravest and most useful officers of the revolutionary army, and, among them, no one more brave or more useful than John Crane. In adverting to the sources whence they derived their knowledge of discipline and of service, our first object is to show, from facts and experience, the utility and importance of a well-organized militia, and to defend this invaluable institution from the reproaches of the ignorant and assuming, who would sap the foundation of the national defence; and secondly, to inspire the young mechanics with zeal in the military profession, that like their predecessors they may become the able and substantial defenders of their country. Previous to the war of the revolution, there was in Boston a company of artillery, commanded by Captain Adino Paddock, by profession a chaise-maker. It was composed principally, if not altogether, of the mechanics of Boston, and was distinguishing by its superior discipline, by the exactness of its manoeuvres and the accuracy of its firings. Paddock had tory connexions, adhered to the British, went to England, was consulted repeatedly by the British ministry, and was invested with the military command of the island of Guernsey. In this company were raised Colonel John Crane, Colonel (now General) Ebenezer Stevens, with others, all of whose names are not recollected. Crane and Stevens were house-carpenters, Perkins was a shoe-maker, Seward a hatter, Popkins a tailor, Allen a sail-maker, Carnes a rope-maker, Lillie a cooper, Johnson a painter, Treat a cooper, Burbeck a -, Hall a mason, D. Bryant a chair-maker, Cook a butcher, Thomas a cooper, and Allen a sail-maker. The greater part of these with others formed a regiment of artillery, not exceeded in discipline, valor, and usefulness by any regiment in service. Crane was made a major in 1776. An uneducated man, he had all the pride and ambition of a soldier. He was constitutionally bold and daring, courting danger wherever it was to be found. In 1775, when Boston was beseiged, his station was in Roxbury. On Boston neck a breastwork was constructed, and so soon as cannon could be procured they were mounted. Crane had the command, spent a great part of his time there, and was never more delighted than when he was permitted to fire on the British intrenchment. Our stock of powder was then small. It was on this theatre that he first displayed an undaunted courage, and a knowledge of the art of gunnery, not often displayed by old artillery officers. He repeatedly dismounted the cannon in the embrasures of the British works, killing and wounding their men. After the evacuation of Boston, he marched to New York. Whenever a British ship-of war appeared in the East or North rivers, or any firing was heard, Crane was on horseback, and galloped to the scene of action. Being reproached on an occasion when he exposed himself alone, riding through Greenwich-street, under the constant broadsides of a passing ship, he replied, "The shot is not cast which is to kill me." Not long after, a frigate run up the East river, and anchored on the Long Island side, near Corlaer's Hook. Four field-pieces were ordered to annoy her. They were only six-pounders. Crane, as usual, was present, and pointed the pieces. His sight was remarkably true - his aim was sure. He had from habit and the acuteness of his vision the faculty of seeing a cannonball on its passage through the air. A falling shot from the ship he kenned in a direction to strike him, as be thought, the lower part of his body. Not having time to change his position in any other way, he whirled himself round on one foot; and the ball struck the other foot while raised it in the air, carrying away the great toe and ball of the foot. Thus ended his usefulness for the campaign. He was afterwards removed to New Jersey, and, surviving the perils of a partial jaw-lock, so far recovered as to go home on furlough. He returned the next spring, and continued in service till the peace. The nature of this work will not allow us to follow him through the remainder of his career; but we cannot refrain from stating a closing anecdote, illustrative of his independent spirit. He had been among the number of those who thought the army had been neglected by the country, and spake as he felt, indignantly, at the treatment they had received. A board of general and field officers, with two hospital surgeons, were appointed to examine the wounded officers and soldiers in camp at the close of the war, and to report the rate of compensation to which they were severally entitled. A friend and brother-officer, who well knew the nature of his wound, waited on Colonel Crane, represented to him that, on his return to private life, his activity of mind and body would lead him to some kind of labor, and that having lost the ball of his foot, the bones would come through the cicatrix (scar tissue), and his wound open again, asking the favor of him to walk over, and suffer his foot to be inspected. Stamping the wounded foot on the floor, he replied, indignantly, "No sir; they never shall say that I eat their bread when I have done serving them." He entered afterwards on active and laborious business, and prospered for a number of years, met with adverse circumstances, his wound broke out again, he could no longer labor. After many years he came to the friend who had admonished him of the consequences of his wound, and said to him, with tears in his eyes, "My friend, I am now a humbled man, you may do with me as you please." He was immediately placed on the pension-list, but did not live a year to enjoy his pension. http://www.americanrevolution.org/t1783.html

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John Crane's Timeline

1744
December 7, 1744
Massachusetts, USA
1768
1768
Age 23
1805
August 26, 1805
Age 60
Massachusetts, USA
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