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Suffolk file #: 139373
Date of inquest: "Second day of may...forth Year...George the
Coroner or j.p.: Edmund Bridges
Town of inquest: Pownalsborough Lincoln County
Location of inquest:
Suffolk file 139373 vol. 889 Indictment vs. Jonathan Sampson 15 papers
“Cumberland ss” “At his Majesty’s Superior Court of Judicature...Falmouth...on the Tuesday next after the fourth Tuesday of June, in the tenth Year...George the Third”
“The Jurors...Jonathan Sampson of Pownalborough...Labourer on the Eighteenth Day of November, last at Woolwich...with Force and Arms, feloniously, wilfully, and of his Malice aforethought, assault one Moses Norris...with both his Fists, did, then and there, feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought strike and beat the Moses in and upon the Head, Breast Sides of him the said Moses, thereby giving to him the said Moses several mortal Bruised in and upon the Head, Breast & Sides...of which said mortal Bruises the said Moses Norris thane and there instantly dyed: And so the Jurors...Jonathan Sampson, in Manner and Form aforesaid, feloniously, willfully, and of his Malice aforethought, did kill and murder the said Moses Norris”
“Upon this Indictment the said Jonathan Sampson...pleads not guilty”
[Evidence available; testimony of Phillip Call, Joel Reed, Amos Reed, Jonathan Sampson, Charles Cushing, Alexander Gray, Abigail Shining, Gloria Reed]
Philip Call (signed): Sabbath morning after Thanksgiving in Nov. last wit. met Mr. Jno. Sampson. "called across the River to me to fetcfh him over I went and fetcht him across he askd me if I saw any thing of a man comming up River that morning for he came up with a man from Long Reach as far as Mr. Thwing's the Last Evening askd the man wou'd go home and that he wou'd not come with him and he said he was affraid he was drowned and wou'd never get Home again and on the 8th of April Last I found the dead Body of man in Pownalborough on my Father Calls estate and I inform'd Mr. Edm Bridge Coroner thereof which I suppose to be the man."
Joel Reed (signed): "Mr. Sampson sent over from Mr Thwings to my brother Sam and I wnet over and Mr Sampson was sitting by the Fire with his shoes off I ask'd him what he would of me, he told me he would me to go down to the shore with ihm but seem'd to be in no hurry. Mr. Thwing spoke to him & told him he had better go down for the man would freeze to death. Upon that he put his shoes on and went down & I went down w'th him and when we got to the Bank he said the man is gone and turn'd about and went up again and in going down Sampson said he would go and ____ [illeg.] and what he had with him, and after we went up to the house I went with one of my brothers up along shore about a Quarter of a mile to see if I could see anything of the man and hollow'd several Time, but did not hear nor see anything and I came back to Mr. Thwings and Took Sampson home with me and I ask'd Sampson what he tho't was become of the man, he said he was gone into Eternity, and he had seen Hocko Mecho [sp?] before now. Sampson told me the man was wet up to the middle, and by the conversation I had with Mr Sampson who told me that in coming from Mr Hollys he struck him with his left hand and knock'd him down and after he came on shore at Mr Thwings that in carrying a Tubb of Butter down to the cannoe he fell into the water and wet him up to the middle, and after I got home I heard him say the same that my Mother has related."
Amos Reed (signed): Sat. afternoon after Thanksgiving in November "I saw Two men in a Cannoe coming from Mr Hobbys and I saw one of the men get up and presently one of them disappeared and I saw but one man in the cannoe afterwards. The next morning I went over to Mr Thwings and went down to the shore and on the bank of the river before Mr Thwings Store saw the snow beat down very much and considerable of Blood, and the print of a mans hand bloody in the snow. I went down to the shore with Mr Sampson on the Saturday Evening and Mr Sampson told me the man would never live to get over the river."
Kezia Reed (X): Sampson came to her house Sat. evening after Thanksgiving. She asked him what had become of the man who had been with him & Sampson said "he was gone to the4 Devil. I ask'd him if he had any difference with the man coming up from the reach he told me they came up as good friends as trwo men could do, till they came to Mr Hobbys, they went in and warmed themselves and drank a mug of flip together after they swet off from there he told me the man differ'd w'th him about Stearing the cannoe [i.e. -- JS complained that MN "steered wildly," to which MN responded with rough and abusive language & made ready to strike JS] and said the man was going to kill him and he Sampson said he was going to strike him with his right hand if he thought himself that if he did he should knock him overboard & send him to the Devil in a moment and he said he gave him a Backhanded blow and knock'd him down as Stiff as the Devil and he lay as still as a Miller [Mitter?] until he paddled ashore to Mr Thwings point." She asked Sampson what he thought had become of the man & he told her the man was "undoubtedly dead. I told him I hop'd not for I hop'd he would get somewheres. He said where can he get. I told him he might see the light at Wymans and get across the river. he said no no he will never get across the river nor nowhere Else he will never see the light of another morning. Just before I went to bed I was very uneasy and said to Mr Sampson I could go to Bed a great deal Easier if I knew what was become of that poor man, he made answer and said poh why need you Trouble your self he is in Eternity hours agone."
Jonathan Sampson (signed): "he and Mr. Norris came up the river together and agreed very well together that they came to Mr. Grays and they had some rum that they made some flip and Drank together. They set of[f] from Mr. Grays that Norris was turbulent and that they went ashore at Mr Thwings to rest themselves that Mr Thwing was afrighted and Desired me to call Mr Reed that I went to call Mr Reed but he was not at home I ask'd them whether Joel was at home they told me he was and I desired him to come over & his brother came over I ask'd him how old he was he told me his age and I went to Mr Thwings Com and ty'd up his Creatures [i.e. -- went to the barn & tied up the cattle]. I then went down to the Cannoe I got my things up Norris was in the house in the meantime. That Mr Thwing got some water for him to was[h] his face but he would not wash his face but said he would shew his face to the Col. or to the Devil. Then I went and bro't up one of the Tubs of Butter and set it down and went down after the other the Cannoe lay at the rock and I mov'd his below the rock that it might [keep] the Ice from her. While I was at the shore Norris came down with the Tub that I had carried up and I ask'd him what he meant he said you pirate will you rob me. I went up the bank toward the house to look if Joel Reed was not coming and saws him and I call'd to him and told him to make haste & he came to me and we went down to the shore together and I told Joel Reed and his brother that I would take care of him and what he had and when we went down to the shore he Norris was gone from the Time I went from the shore untill I came down again w'th Joel Reed was about a Quarter of an hour. The rum that we had was about One pint & half between us. That in coming from Mr Grays to Mr Thwings I was rowing cross handed and he Norris was stearing that he rise up and struck at Me w'th his paddle. I fended his blow off with my right arm that he Norris turn'd his paddle and made a Second Attempt. I push'd his paddle on one side of me and that he had like to have fallen overboard and I met him with my left hand and he fell down in the Cannoe backwards and he lay down till we got on Shore at Mr Thwings. that he acted like a Crazy man in the Cannoe."
Charles Cushing (signed): MN lived with wit. for ten days in Nov. last before MN disappeared. The day after Thanksgiving, wit. "sent him to Long reach after some butter, that he was well in good health, that while he liv'd w'th me which was about Ten days he behav'd himself well, as far as I knew. That I sent to Col. Powell (w'th whom he had worked as sd Norris told me) to know his character that he sent word by Mr Hobby that he was given to drink."
Alexander Gray (signed): GN "who I understood was Col. Cushings man came to my house w'th Mr Sampson. He appeared to me to be in liquor. He us'd a great deal of abusive and indecent Language to the people in the house, but agr'd very well w' Sampson." Mr. Sampson appeared to be "in a sober condition. That I wanted to get rid of the man and hint'd to Sampson to try to pursuade him to go away."
Abigail Thwing (signed): the Sat. afternoon after Thanksgiving "Mr. Sampson led a man into my house who I understood then liv'd w'th Col. Cushing the man appeared to me to be in Liquor his face was all Over blood and the crown of his head was bloody likewise that he had a gash of about one inch and a half long over his left Eye and by the conversation that pass'd between Sampson and the Other man I understood that Sampson had heat him upon which I ask'd Sampson how he came to beat a man that was in Liquor he answered he did it in his own defence and as the other man was going out of the house he said Sampson you have beat my head like a Shin of Beaf. I also heard the man told Sampson that there was good and wholsom Laws and inquired if there was not a Justice of the Peace nearby and he said he had good friends that would stand by him and see Justice done him. that while the man was in the house I desir'd Sampson to go and call some of Mr Reeds people and he went part of the way and call'd and he came back and told me that Mrs. Reed said they were in the woods after he came back from calling Mr Reeds people he went down to the Cannoe and brot up one Tube of Butter and set it down in the hosue and went out as I suppose to bring up the other, and whilst he was gone out the man look'd round I saw the Tub of Butter got up and took up the tub & carried it down to the shore and I never saw the man since."
Examination of Jonathan Sampson before William Cushing, Esq., justice of the peace, 5/3/1770: JS's version of the story. As above [plus inserts as noted above]: JS took a tub of butter up & returned to the shore to get the other. JS was fastening the canoe to a rock to avoid the ice when MN came down with the tub of butter that JS had just carried up. JS "endeavour'd to dissuade him from going that night, as it was near night the weather Cold & then about high Water, but he persisted in his resolution of going & endeavouring to get into the Cannoe he fell into the water almost up to his middle" -- that JS "went up to the house, not seeing him get into the Cannoe nor go off, & going up, saw Joel Reed & his brother" who went into the house with him for a few minutes & then went down to shore "to see what was become of Norris, a=t which time it was not day light-in, but that they could not see anything of Norris." JS sayd that he "did not strike Norris any otherwise than aforementioned [earlier, during the quarrel over steering, in the boat], & that that was in self defense."