Samuel Maverick was seventeen years old when he was killed in the Boston Massacre, the same age as another victim, James Caldwell. Unlike the mob that came that night to King Street to provoke a fight, Maverick happened to be in front of the Customs House almost accidentally.
The facts about his participation came to light during the Boston Massacre trial. One of the witness whose testimony was recorded during the trial was Jonathan Carrey, the father of one of Samuel’s friends. In court he was asked, “Did you know young Maverick, who was killed by the firing in King street, on the 5th of March? Yes very well. Did you see him that night? He was at my house that night at supper with some young lads, and when the bells rung, as we all thought for fire, he ran out in order to go to it.
According to the court papers, private Matthew Killroy was charged with the murder of Samuel Maverick who was mortally wounded in the shooting. A ball went through his belly and was cut out at his back. He died next morning.
In the History of the Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770 By Frederic Kidder and John Adams, Maverick was described as a promising youth of seventeen years of age, son of widow Maverick, and an apprentice to Mr. Isaac Greenwood, joiner (carpenter) in Boston. In other sources Greenwood’s occupation is described as dentist. Greenwood lived near Clark’s Wharf in what is now a North End neighborhood and was a customer at Paul Revere’s shop.
His master paid Maverick small wages for his work, but gave him meals and allowed him to live in his home, where he shared a bedroom with his son John. The two teenagers became fast friends. In 1770, Maverick, dined at the home of some teenaged friends, the Carys. Later that night they heard the street bells and then went out, thinking it was a fire. He and John’s older brother Isaac approached troops gathered on King Street near the customs House shortly after 9pm. But were separated. Maverick worked his way toward the front of the crowd that was harassing British soldiers. Residents shouted at the troop, some screaming “kill them!”
At the height of the dispute, when the frightened soldiers raised their muskets to threaten the crowd, Maverick shouted, “Fire away, you damned lobsterbacks!”. They did. The musket fire killed Maverick and four others and sent fifteen-year-old Greenwood spiraling into a deep depression over the loss of his close friend in what was quickly called the Boston Massacre by the press. Greenwood wrote in his journal “After his death, I used to go to bed in the dark on purpose to see his spirit, for I was so found of him and he of me”. John Greenwood later became one of the youngest enlisted men in the Continental Army.
Samuel Maverick was buried from his mother’s house on Union Street. In the present day his name is commemorated by Maverick Square in Boston.