Deposition of Elisha Nye1

[Barnstable, Mass.] May 31, 1775.

I, Elisha Nye, Inholder Living on one of the Elizabeth Islands, Commonly Called Naushan, and near to Tarpalan Cove, Testafieth and saith, that some Time about the 5th of May, the Sloop of War called the Faulkland [Falcon], Command'd by Capt. [John] Linzey, came into the Cove, and as soon as the Vessel had come to Anchor, the Captain came on Shore with his Boat's Crew, all Armed, and came to the House and Said unto the Deponent "you need not be Scard;" upon which he told him it was Enough to Scare any Body to see so many Men come on Shore Armed; And the Women are all Fled and to where he knew not; upon which Capt Linzey told Him to call them in, for he did not mean to hurt any Body — upon which Promise, I & my Family were Satisfyed; Soon after that, the Captain asked to walk with him; which he Comply'd with; and in the Course of the walk, he demanded to know what Stock I had, and Added to tell him Right, for if he did not, he would take all that he met; upon which I gave him the Account. Then the Captain told me, the Deponent, if I sold any one of them he would take the Remainder by force; upon which I told him, if he were here when they were fit for market he might have them, paying the Price I used to have. — Soon after, he went to Rhode Island, and Return'd back in a few Days; after which, he used to pass & Repass the Island allmost every day, mostly in Company with the Doctor of the Ship, leaving down the fences Repeatedly, which let the Cattle often mix together, which I told the Doctor was a great Damage.   the Doctor's Answer was, "then you may put it up yourselves for I will not," and often talked in an Abusive Insulting manner that he, the Doctor, would soon take what he wanted without any pay — On the 26th Instant a Sloop came into the Cove, with about Twenty Passengers, Men, Women, & Children in great Distress for Provisions, and made application to me for Supplyes. Capt Linzey knowing that, (his Boat having boarded her) sent his Boat on Shore, and forbid my letting them have any, Than I advised them to apply to Capt Linzey, and see if they could not prevail upon him to let them have some; accordingly they went; Afterwards the Captain of the Sloop told me, that he absolutely Refused them, and said "Damn the Dog that would let them have any; and if they were not gone immediately, he would Sink them.["] upon which, they set sail Immediately without any Supplyes — And further, the Deponent Declareth, that the Doctor came on shore, and said that the Captain's Orders were, that I should go with him, the said Doctor and Destroy all the Boats belonging to the Island. I told him I could not go upon such Business as that; he said he would send me on board the Ship if I did not go; upon which I found I must Comply, and Accordingly went with him, and saw him, the Doctor, Stave three Boats. — On the 29th, about Eight o'Clock in the Evening Lo, the said Doctor came on Shore, and told me he had come for my Sheep, upon which, I told him they were out in the Pasture and I could not get them into the pen it being Dark, but would fetch them in as Early in the Morning as he pleased — the Answer from the Doctor was, "Damn you! what did you turn them out for?" — the Reason, I told him, was, that they had got out their own Sheep, and did not say any thing more about when they should want mine, and I thought it best the Sheep should be let out to feed; upon which, the said Doctr said to me, "Damn you! go on Board the Ship and I'll see what they were turnd out for." — I told him I would not, but would go and try to get the Sheep up: he said "Well, Damn you! make haste"! and Swang his Sword over my head, — but upon Trial I found it so Dark I could not get them in; but, on my Return, was Inform'd that he, the Doctor had sent onboard for more help to Carry me & my Brother on board the Ship; upon which, with the Abuses & threats I had Received before, I thought it Time to make my Escape, which I did, to the main land and begged the Assistance of the People, who Readily came to my Assistance. — When I Return'd, which was about three o'Clock in the Morning, Some of my Family told me, they had been on shore, armed, and taken all my Calves, being Seven in Number; two of the poorest & Smalest, they sent on shore in the Morning, the Others, with four Sheep they had some days before; they carried them off without paying any thing for them. — I do further Declare the Abuses and threats I Received from Capt Linzey & the Doctor were the Occasion of my Moving off the Island, leaving my Interest, and I Declare that I never Refused Capt Linzey or any other person Belonging to any ship of war, Entertainment in my House or Supply of Provisions that I had on my farm that I could Spare and I further Declare that on the night of the 29th instant afforesaid [the] Doctor (as my wife Informs me) Came on Shore and Demanded my gun with his Sword in hand which she Delivered to him and I have not Seen it Since tho the only weapon of Defence that I had on the Island:   the value of the Sheep Calves and Gun which they took frome me and the use of my Horse and well are as follows viz: —

Elisha Nye
Lawfull Money
four sheep value£2-16-0
3 Calves four Month old3- 6-0
3 Calves two Months old 2- 8-0
4 Quarters of Veal, weight 60 pounds Sold before and delivered 0-16-0
one Gun, taken out of my House by the Doctor of the Ship of great value3-00-0
Riding my Horse and use of my Well3-00-0
£15- 6-0
Elisha Nye
Barnstable Ss May the 31st: 1775

then the within and above Named Elisha Nye made oath to the within and above written Deposition and account as the Truth and by him Subscribed —

Before me — Thos: Smith, Justce of the Peace

1. Mass Arch., vol. 193, 321-324.
Source: Naval Documents of the American Revolution, I, 576-8