Home > 002048. James Mattocks > The Murder of Matthew Cannedge

The Murder of Matthew Cannedge

Source: Hosea Starr Ballou, “Dr. Thomas Starr, Surgeon in the Pequot War, and his Family Connections,”
New England Historical And Genealogical Register 96[1942]:272-73.

… in the case numbered 270, it appears that Matthew Cannedge had a house and was master of a fishing boat at Monhegan, and his boat’s crew consisted of Gregory Cassell, John Short and John Barker, the latter called shoreman or headsman. In the middle of October 1654 Cassell’s alleged assault on Cannedge occurred at Monhegan. The island had no constable until nineteen years later (1673), when John Dollen, fisherman and dealer in liquors, was appointed. Cannedge’s death on the 4th of 10th month (December) 1654 occurred seven weeks after the assault. Whether or not Dr. Comfort Starr and Dr. John Clarke meanwhile went to Monhegan to attend Cannedge and dress his wounds before he finally came to Boston is not known.

The following return of the jury of inquest in No. 270 is on file in Suffolk Court House:

‘4-10 mo, 1654

‘We whose names ar vnder ritten; being Called to veue the Body of Mathew Kehnige and to make inQiuery of the suddinnes of his Deth and the cause ther of — by serching of his body we finde on his heade on the left side, a wounde wich wounde we sawe oppenned and ther was corupt blude: and towe small holes out of wich Blude Eissude forth and by what we sawe and by the witnesses Brought in on oth we finde that that wounde on his head as neare as we can Judge was a cause of his Deth

James Euerill
Samuell Bidfield danil Turell
Nathaneel Wales his
Barnabas ffawer Samuell S Sendall
John Phillips marke
James Mattocke his
hugh Drury Godfrey A Armitage [of Lynn]
his marke
Peter P Pl[ace] Henry Blague’.

Of the several witnesses to the assault by Gregory Cassell on Matthew Cannedge (Cenig, Cannege, etc.) only one, John Barker, actually saw the assault. Another witness, named John Short, who saw it, did not testify. The assault occurred on or about 15 Oct. 1654, and Cannedge’s death occurred about seven weeks later, on 4 Dec. 1654.

In the ‘Chamberlain Collection’ is the deposition of ‘John BARKER, aged 27 yrs or thereabout’, who testifies that ‘Gregory Cassell and John Short were the boates crewe and this deponent was Headman to the boate’, and that he was witness of the attack on Matthew Cannege ‘about the middle of october last [1654] (John Short also being present)’ did strike said Cannege with the butt end of a ‘Hamer’ a strong blow, and that the ‘old man bled about tow quarts’. The deposition was sworn to 6 Dec. 1654 before Richard Bellingham, Governor. Barker and Short, by this deposition, saw the assault.

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