#01921
John Cutter (MacEdward Leach)

Ye landsmen and ye seamen bold,
it's on you I will call,
The cruel murders on the deep
would make your blood run cold,
Concerning the ship Caroline
across from Boston bound,
When human blood had stained
her deck with slaughter all around.

Our captain's name being John Dwyer,
as you may understand,
And sixteen noble seamen
he had at his command,
Leaving the port of Queenstown
in the month of last July,
But little did they ever think
that in the deep they would lie.

Our captain shipped in Queenstown,
John Cutter as first mate,
He being a wild and foolish youth,
I'm sorry for to relate;
He being a wild and foolish youth
as you may plainly see,
When he murdered four and died
himself in that late massacre.

We cruised the seas for
eleven days in joy and merriment,
From that up to the fourteenth
there arose an argument,
Between our captain and first mate
down in our cabin room,
By it our captain lost his life
and met a watery doom.

From that up to the twenty-first
all things they did go right,
When down below John Cutter goes,
most cruel was the sight;
And with a heavy weapon
struck our captain on the head,
His blood and brains the cabin stained
as he lay on his bed.

Then up on deck John Cutter went
and met the second mate,
He struck him with a marlinspike,
most cruel to relate;
He plunged his body in the deep
to sink beneath the waves,
Far from his friends and native home
lies in an ocean grave.

John Cutter fought another round,
he swore all hands he'd slay,
He shot our Russian passenger,
he wounded him severe;
And as he lay upon the deck,
all dying in his gore,
He swore he'd send us all to hell
and set the ship on fire.

And next it was agreed upon
John Cutter to surround,
To take him home a prisoner,
in irons have him bound;
But as we gathered 'round him
the next was seen to fall,
It was our gallant carpenter
all by a pistol ball.

And now there are four men
lies dead, most wonderful to tell,
Till with an axe he got a blow
and on the deck he fell;
The sailors bound him to a boat
while bleeding from his wounds,
John Cutter he died mad,
raving all in the afternoon.

Here's adieu to friends and parents
that's left behind to mourn,
Likewise our captain, John Dwyer,
left wife and child at home;
Come all good Christians far and near,
I hope that you will pray,
For those brave youths that lost
their lives in that late massacre.

####.... Author unknown ....####

Collected in 1951 from Francis (Frank) Knox [1918-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was also collected in 1951 from Patrick (Pat) J Curtis [1896-1983] of Trepassey, NL, and published as John Carter/Cutter in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

The following notes are excerpted from The Treat Family: A Genealogy of Trott, Tratt, and Treat for Fifteen Generations, p.421:

Ellen Maria Treat [b.1836] married in 1857 to Captain John Franklin Dwyer of Salem, Massachusetts, who was murdered July 30, 1861, by the mate, Patrick Crotter, on board the American bark Czarina, bound from Cronstadt, Russia to Boston.

Crotter abused the crew with improper language, threats to shoot them, and other improper conduct for which the Captain put him in irons. But Crotter begged forgiveness and promised to comply with orders, so Captain Dwyer pardoned him. At the first opportunity, about three in the morning, while he slept in his state-room, Crotter split the Captain's head open with a hatchet. He then destroyed the ship's papers; killed the second mate and threw him overboard; changed the ship's course; and threatened the crew with death if they didn't obey him. The next afternoon, he shot the carpenter off the jibboom, shot Seaman John Lindstorm, and a passenger, Alexis Trekefsky in the shoulder. The crew consulted and decided to secure Crotter.

Armed with anything they could get, the crew formed in line and and marched upon Crotter. He killed the first two, but the third, a carpenter, put an adze through Crotter's skull and he dropped. The crew put him in the long boat where he lived about an hour, They then sewed his body up in canvas and threw him overboard.

The crew then set signals of distress that were answered by the ship B D Metcalf whose mate was put in charge to bring the Czarina into Boston where A US Commisssion determined that Crotter was insane and his murder was in self-defense.


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