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Colonial Cases

R. v. Cooke and Cooke [1753]

indigenous people, killing of

Coroner's Court

30 April 1753

Source: Halifax Gazette, 26 May 1753

[2] BOSTON, April 30.

We are inform'd, that on the 13th Robert and Stephen Cooke were committed to Goal in the County of Hampshire, upon suspicion of having on the 11th Inst. murdered an Indian, not far from the Town of Stockbridge. It is thought the Men had stollen a couple of Horses in the Dutch Country, and fearing lest they should be detected, rid in the Night, and came (whether by Design or accidentally we can't say) to a very by-place out of the common Road, where they lodged. The next Morning early they came to the said Indian's Wigwam, who happened not to be at Home, but not long after returned from Hunting, and being informed that a couple of Englishmen had been there with two very good Horses, but neither Saddle or Bridle, and concluding that they had stollen the Horses, he went after them, and found them not far from his Wigwam. What Provocations the Indian offered we can't say: However, an unhappy Quarrel began; they dispossess'd him of his Gun, with which they shot him thro' the Body, and with his own Hatchet chop'd him quite into the Neck-Bone, and with two other mortal Wounds on his Head left him, taking his Gun and Powder Horn, which they afterwards hid, burying the Gun under Ground. The Verdict of the Coroner's Jury under Oath was, The said Indian was wilfully and maliciously murdered by the said Persons.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School