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John Colman

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John Colman

John Colman (died September 6, 1609) was a crew member of the Half Moon under Henry Hudson who was killed by Native Americans by an arrow to his neck.

Biography

On September 6, 1609, only five days after the arrival of the first Dutch and English sailors, John Colman was reportedly killed by attacking Native Americans by an arrow to his neck.[1] Colman was an "accomplished sailor" and served as second mate on Henry Hudson's ship. The Half Moon sailed into New York Harbor and was anchored between Coney Island and Sandy Hook. Colman was part of a 5 man crew that was aboard a rowboat that was scouting the area. Allegedly, two canoes filled with Native Americans attacked and fired a volley of arrows, killing Colman and wounding two others.[2] The survivors of the attack returned to the Half Moon at 10 a.m. on September 7, 1609 with Colman's body. He was buried that day either at what is now Coney Island, Staten Island, Sandy Hook or Keansburg, New Jersey. The forgotten location was then named Colman's Point. A contemporary account of his death was written in the journal of Robert Jouet, the first mate of the Half Moon.[3][4]

Legacy

The murder of John Colman was the basis for a poem by Thomas Frost, "The Death of Colman", where he writes:

Then prone he fell within the boat,
A flinthead arrow through his throat
And now full many a stealthy skiff
Shot out into the bay;
And swiftly, sadly, pulled we back
To where the Half Moon lay;
But he was dead our master wept
He smiled, brave heart, as though he slept.

His death is commemorated by a mural at the Hudson County Courthouse in Jersey City. The New York Times has called it "the first recorded murder in what became metropolitan New York".[3]

See also

  • Penelope Stout

References

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