Ambushed for a Cause

The tension between Tories and Patriots was not limited to the battlefield.

In the port town of Boston, resistance to the increasing control by Britain through taxes levied by Parliament took many forms. Wealthy merchant and Sons of Liberty leader John Hancock made a fortune trying to subvert any suppression of patriot activity.

Mr. Thomas Kirk, who owned pew 53 at King’s Chapel, worked as a customs officer for the infamous Loyalist and Boston Massacre instigator Charles Paxton. One evening Mr. Kirk was sent down to the Harbor to put a stop to one of Hancock’s ships that was set to smuggle in a load of wine.

Around the docks, destructive acts and violent assaults were more often than not the way of making a point against the despised actions of Loyalists. When Mr. Hancock found out that Mr. Kirk was coming down to his ship, and he set up an ambush. They snuck up behind Mr. Kirk, whacked him across the back of the head, tied him up, and stuffed him in the cargo hold overnight while they unloaded their cargo of wine under cover of darkness.

The next morning poor Mr. Kirk awakened with a rather large lump on the back of his head and his clothing soaked in wine. The rebels thought that if anyone smelled Mr. Kirk they would think he had spent the evening drinking, rather than working, thus discrediting any evidence he had of the smuggling operation out of Boston Harbor.