The winners of the American History Essay Contest for 2021 read their original essays about the Boston Massacre for the members of the St Joseph Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the winners’ family and guests at the February DAR meeting.
Each essay was written in the first person, telling this historic event and its impact on them, friends, and the country. This was the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, one of the reasons the National DAR choose it as the topic for the American History Essay Contest.
Each first-place winner from Faith Christian School grades 5 through 8 was introduced by DAR American History Chairman Mazie Stone. The winners each received a check, pocket Constitution and Declaration of Independence and a medal.
Each of the first-place winners’ essays was sent to the DAR state level. The following are the essays of the fifth-grade winner, Adam Richards, and the seventh-grade winner Jakob Prine.
My name is Adam Richards and I am 12 years old. I was in the crowd on King Street when the Boston Massacre took place. My father is a watchman and he was trying to break up the crowd. I felt horror and anger towards the British. I also felt sadness because of all the deaths, injuries, and bloodshed.
After the Boston “massacre,” Father told me that we needed to speak. I pulled a chair out from the table and sat down in it.
“I hated the day that Thomas Preston ordered,” Father said, as I abruptly cut him off.
"You mean “supposedly” ordered his troops to fire,” I corrected.
“Okay then. I hated the day that ‘Captain’ Thomas Preston ‘supposedly’ ordered his troops to fire. They killed Crispus Attucks, an alleged, escaped slave from an inland town, Sam Gray a ropeworker at John Gray`s Ropewalk, James Caldwell a sailor, and seventeen-year-old Samuel Maverick. The fifth man that died was Patrick Carr.
“What will happen, Pa? Do you and I have to go to war with those lobsterback, redcoat, British murderers?” I asked.
“No, son.” he replied dully. “But if it comes down to it, I have a musket and musket bullets. I also have an American cutlass. You have a rifle with ammunition, ” Pa said.
“But what will happen to Mom, sister, and Ferdinand if you and I go to war?” I asked.
“I do not know. I guess we should pray about it.” he said at a loss for words.
“Even if we could fight back or make a stand, the 14th and 29th regiments are not the whole British army. There are surely going to be reinforcements,” Father said.
“Boston has many men as well, right? Right, Pa?” I asked nervously.
“Well, yes but-” Pa said, as I cut him off.
“But what?” I asked
“If they choose not to fight, `tis just less men on our part. We shall have to thrive the best we can until they leave.” he said.
“Yes sir, I believe we shall, Father.”
The family of the people that died, will never be the same; the dead will not be forgotten. The British are occupying the land and will always be remembered as terrorists. King Street will be commemorated for its bloodshed and violence.
My name is Samuel Maverick. The date is March 5, 1770. I was shot earlier this evening. If I die tonight, I have asked my friend John to write an entry into my journal as my final send-off. My master under whom I apprentice and his son, Mr. Isaac and John, walk into the room, and we begin to have what is likely to be our final talk.
“Mr. Isaac, John, it’s horrible! I knew something was wrong when I ran out of the building and saw no fire anywhere. Why would they ring the church bell if there is no fire? I feel terribly weak! Can’t the doctor help me?”
My best friend John softly demands that I tell him the whole story.
“Well, as soon as I heard the church bells ring, I rushed out of the attic, skipping three of the steps on the ladder. I did this assuming there was a fire in one of our neighbors' houses. That’s when I saw the enormous mob surrounding eight British redcoats – “
I am interrupted by Mr. Isaac Greenwood yelling at the doctor.
The doctor tells him that there is no saving me. No matter what he does.
My heart beats wildly. He can’t save me? But what about all my friends? John! Mr. Isaac! What about my apprenticeship? No! He has to help me!
John coaxes me back to reality. He gets me to continue relaying my story to him.
“There was a huge crowd surrounding eight English soldiers in the street. I pushed my way to the front and asked a man who he was and what was going on.
He told me that his name was Crispus Attucks. He said that a British soldier had hit a civilian with his gun. The man’s last name was Garrick. He was the wigmaker’s apprentice. I asked him why the soldier had hit him, and he shrugged his shoulders.
Crispus said that when a crowd had begun to form, the soldier called for help. He said that that’s when more soldiers arrived.
I then felt enraged that--”
Pain sears through my wound. I let out a cry for it to stop. The doctor rushes to my side. He applies more bandages to my wound. The pain subsides slightly a few moments later. I feel as if I cannot continue my story. I know I am even weaker than before.
But of course my stubborn friend urges me on. I try to recall where I was.
“Um, a mob was surrounding some--”
He tells me that I already told him this part.
“Oh, umm, I was enraged. They hurt a poor, defenseless man! I lobbed a chunk of ice at a soldier. I then decided to come speak to you. I wanted to get you to come, but I got distracted. I thought, ‘What if he’s already there?’, and I ran back into the crowd.
There I ran into our buddy Patrick Carr, who was headed to the front of the large crowd.
I asked him what he was doing.
He replied by grabbing a handful of oyster shells and hurling them at an English soldier.
He told me that that’s what he was doing.”
John interrupts me.
He asks where Patrick Carr is. He asks what happened.
I tell him it will come later in the story. I dread the time that it does. He was our best friend. I choke back a sob. I feel so weak…
I try to continue.
“Well, I then tried to follow him, but he got too far ahead and lost me. I decided to head to the front again.
All around me people yelled at the British soldiers to fire their guns, but a familiar face shakes his head. Captain Preston was the leader of the eight sold--”
Mr. Isaac says something about Preston being a good-for-nothing loyalist redcoat. John tells him to shut up.
“The cries continued to grow louder from the crowd. A colonist approached Preston. They began to have a quiet conversation. The cries from the mob around me died down
completely. A single cry from somewhere to my right demanded that the soldiers fire. The front soldier fired, and the surrounding soldiers fired, following his lead. That’s when the bullet went into my stomach and out my back. I looked over to see Patrick with a fatal wound as well.”
John lets out a gasp. I continue painfully, as a tear trickles down my cheek.
“That’s when your dad came and got me. That’s why I feel like I could never repay you, Mr. Isaac!” A smile comes to my face, because of how grateful I am towards my friends, no, my family!
My body then goes through another burst of terrible pain. The doctor comes to my side again. He lets me know that I am dying. I start to cry, but suddenly I feel at peace knowing the pain will soon be over. I catch my final glimpse at the people I love so much, knowing I will see them again later.
3/ 18/ 70 - Samuel Maverick’s Journal
This is John Greenwood, Samuel Maverick’s best friend. He died earlier this month from a bullet hole that went all the way through his stomach and out his back. I will always remember him, and he will also always hold a spot in American history. He was the youngest of the five who died from this massacre. I pray that his legacy, along with others, such as Crispus Attucks and Patrick Carr, will spark a revolution. We must rebel against King George III of England! I will try with all my might to help organize a revolution. No matter how long it takes! Parliament was wrong, but we can fix it! We must all stand for a new America!
This article originally appeared on The Star: Boston Massacre focus of DAR essay contest