Peter Lurvey (1739 - 1775) MP

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Birthplace: Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
Cause of death: Killed in battle
Managed by: Martin Eriksen
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Immediate Family

About Peter Lurvey

DAR Ancestor #: A072444

Peter Lurvey (Dogtown cellar hole 25) became Gloucester’s most celebrated Minuteman in August 1775, when the British ship “Falcon” sailed into Gloucester harbor. Lurvey quit working in his field and ran to the harbor recruiting comrades along the way. The “Falcon” was driven out to sea, but Lurvey was killed in the action. Over a century later, his heroism was the subject of a poem by Gloucester’s banker-poet Hiram Rich: "Morgan Standwood, Cape Ann, 1775"   Click here to hear it recited by Stephen Scotti  

Morgan Standwood, Patriot! Little more is known; Nothing of his home is left But the door-step stone! ...

Biography

Another Commons citizen was martyred in the famous Falcon incident during the war. Peter Lurvey (#25 Commons Road) was a Commons farmer. His daughter would marry Johnny Stanwood, the cobbler. In August of 1775 Lurvey was huckle berrying when he received word that the British frigate Falcon was in Gloucester Harbor. The rumor was that Captain Lindsey, a British combatant at Bunker Hill two months before, was planning to raid the Commons and capture sheep for food.

Lurvey grabbed his gun, and, enlisting other men en route, dashed to the harbor. In the subsequent skirmish, shells from the Falcon landed on the Gloucester streets and one cannon ball landed in the First Parish Church. The Gloucester militia then managed to trick the Falcon into chasing what appeared to be a cargo-laden ship. The craft was deceptively low in the water due to a worthless payload of sand. After luring the Falcon into range, the Gloucester troops fired on her, exacting some casualties. Before being driven out to sea, however, the Falcon's shells killed a deacon's hog and two Gloucestermen: Benjamin Rowe and Peter Lurvey.

Lurvey was the first resident of the Commons to die at war. His widow, a sister of Abram Wharf, lived to be 104, and spent her waning years in Dogtown.

From In the heart of Cape Ann, or The Story of Dogtown. by Charles Edward Mann, pp 52 ff  

"On August 8, 1775, the British sloop-of-war Falcon, which had assisted in the capture of Bunker Hill, chased a Salem schooner into Gloucester harbor, where she grounded on the flats between Pearce’s wharf and Five Pound Island.  Capt. Lindsay of the Falcon attempted to board her with several barge loads of marines.  The people of Gloucester, an alarm having been given, hauled two swivel guns to a point opposite Vincent’s Cove, and with the aid of muskets prevented a capture.  Then Lindsay, full of wrath, cannonaded the town (one shot hitting the First Parish Church, where it is now suspended in the vestry) and landed men at Fort Point to fire the village.  The firing party were made prisoners, and the boarding party were also captured by the intrepid villagers.  In the engagement Benjamin Rowe was instantly killed and Peter Lurvey mortally wounded.

The above is the story substantially as told by Babson and Pringle.  It is one side of the picture.  I will now give the other, as handed down by his wife and daughter, and related to me by his descendants.  On that fatal morning Lurvey, his wife and little Mary Millett - afterwards Mary Riggs - were over on Pearce’s Island huckleberrying.  Hearing the alarm, Peter Lurvey bade his wife good-by, hurriedly rowed across to the other shore, ran up to the house, and got his gun, thence across the fields and pastures to the Harbor Village, where he met his death. . . . ."

More About Peter Lurvey:

  • Peter was one of the noted residents of Dogtown.  His residence, #25 Common Road, is well documented.
  • Baptism: 15 October 1738, Third Parish, Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts 169
  • The dates of birth and baptism are noted to be inconsistent. " I suspect that the date of birth is the more accurate."

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Peter Lurvey's Timeline

1739
August 14, 1739
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
1764
March 29, 1764
Age 24
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
1765
May 22, 1765
Age 25
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
1766
September 27, 1766
Age 27
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
1768
December 4, 1768
Age 29
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
1771
April 21, 1771
Age 31
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
1773
August 22, 1773
Age 34
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
1775
August 8, 1775
Age 35
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts