Boston Massacre Historical Society


Patrick Carr – One Who Did Not Blame the Soldiers

Patrick Carr deserves a special place among the victims of the Boston Massacre. He was the last, 5th victim of the Boston Massacre. Mortally wounded, he died nine days later on March 14th. During these days he managed to talk about what happened on King street that night. And not in the way patriots like Samuel Adams expected him to.

After arriving from Ireland, Carr worked in Boston in a leather business and was thirty years old in 1770 when the Boston Massacre occurred. On the night of the shooting, just like Samuel Maverick he heard the sound of the bell on the street and decided to go outside. But unlike Maverick who thought it was a fire, Carr who was familiar with soldiers and street mobs probably knew that the trouble had something to do with the British – his neighbor persuaded him to leave behind a small cutlass before he headed to King Street. When the shooting erupted, he was wounded while crossing the street with his friend Charles Connor a shipmaster.

For Carr, shot through his abdomen, death was inevitable. He was carried to his master’s house and was tended by Doctor Jeffries. It took him four days to die, but he refused to lay the blame for his agonizing death upon the soldiers. According to the Doctor’s testimony during the trial, Carr told him that he thought that the soldiers would have fired long before. Were the soldiers greatly abused? Yes, they were. Would they have been hurt if they had not fire? Yes. So they fired in self-defense? Yes, and he did not blame whoever it was hit him. In Ireland he had seen mobs and soldiers called out to quell them, but ‘he had never in his life seen them bear half so much before they fired’. And he had malice toward no one.

For this his honesty, the dying man was denounced by Samuel Adams who clearly was not happy about the missed opportunity to use Carr for further stirring up anti-British sentiment among Bostonians.

On March 17, 1770 Patrick Carr was buried at the Boston Granary burial ground, together with the other victims. Some historic sources speculate that he was buried on a different day because of being the only Catholic among the victims. This speculation is likely unsubstantiated and the different burial date probably has something to do with Carr passing several days after the other victims.



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