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John Crane

Crane was a soldier in the French and Indian War, the American Revolutionary War, and a participant in the Boston Tea Party. He was born in Braintree, Massachusetts December 7th, 1744. At the tender age of 12, he had an early military experience when he substituted for his father in the French and Indian War when Mr. Crane received the draft. Early in the American Revolution, Crane became a member of the Sons of Liberty like so many other men in his time. Before the Boston Tea Party actually occurred, the disguised men met at Crane’s home to discuss the night’s events. Interestingly, John Crane was the only American harmed in the Boston Tea Party. He was in the hold of one ship when he was knocked unconscious by a falling crate of tea. His fellow patriots thought him dead and hid him under a pile of wood shavings in a carpenter’s shop off the harbor, only for Crane to recover later. His patriotism did not end there. After working as a carpenter, he joined the militia in Boston. It was his skill and career that earned him the rank of Brigadier General. He was reportedly so skilled at aiming that he “could see cannon ball passing through the air”. Historians are unsure as to which artillery company Crane served in the Revolutionary War. The most famous Boston militia was called “The Train” which was composed of the most skilled artisans and the Sons of Liberty; other famous revolutionaries such as Paul Revere were among its ranks. This unit’s first commander was Adino Paddock, who had received extensive training from the British artillery. And it was under Paddock that Crane first began his military service [this company was later commanded by another Boston Tea Participant, Thomas Crafts]. He later moved to Rhode Island because the Boston Port Bill harmed his business. Here, he took command of a different unit called Rhode Island Train of Artillery after the shootings began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. However, these two companies merged in 1775 and became known as the Continental Artillery Regiment. Only ten years after the Boston Tea Party in 1783, John Crane emerged as top commander of the U.S. Corps of Artillery. He retired and later died in Maine August 21st, 1805 at the age of 61.


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