The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Peshtigo Homicide
Chicago Times (Chicago, IL), 21 Jul 1866

Full Text
Inquest Upon the Body of the Mate.
Testimony of the Captain and Crew of the Vessel.
How the Affray Occurred.
The Jury Return a Verdict of Justifiable Homicide
Probability that the Wounded Man, Moore, Will Recover.

In THE TIMES of yesterday we gave a full account of the fatal affray which occurred on board of the bark "Peshtigo" while the vessel was lying some distance from the mouth of the harbor. Yesterday the body of the ill-fated mate McCambridge was brought on shore and given into the care of his family, who reside on Jefferson street, near the corner of Indiana street.

About noon the inquest in the case was held by Dr. Wagner in North Market hall; that place being chosen instead of the house of the deceased as the state of the wounded man, Moore who was, of course, the principal witness, rendered it impossible to remove him.

The coroner's jury having been sworn, the witnesses were called as follows:


Andrew Keely having been sworn testified as follows:

I am a sailor and am engaged on the bark "Peshtigo." Know the circumstances attending the death of McCambridge. When the vessel was towed away from the dock at the north pier about half-past 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock last evening, we were called up on the poop to make the mizzen. I saw this man Moore and the mate in a scuffle. This was when we had got about half a mile out. William Moore knocked the mate down. This was the first I saw of the fight. I lent a hand to lift Moore off the mate. At the same time I noticed the mate wave his hand backwards and forwards against Moore. The captain then told Moore to go forward and mind his business, and also told the mate to go forward and get sail on the ship. Capt. McDonnell at the same time was directing the lowering of the centreboard. Then I heard the mate saying "cut, cut" upon uttering which he fell to the deck. That is all I heard he say. I was alongside of him when he fell, but it was dark at the time. I did not see any weapons in the hands of either of them. At the time the mate fell I was five or ten yards from him. The last fight did not last over a minute or two. About ten minutes elapsed between the first scuffle and the second one.


James McDonnell was next sworn, and testified as follows:

I am captain of the bark "Peshtigo." I knew the deceased mate. His name was Patrick McCambridge. I started out from the river to tow out, with the tug alongside, about half-past 8 o'clock last evening. My vessel was towing out end foremost. I was standing upon the poop at the time. It seems this gentleman, (pointing to the wounded man,) William Moore, who came aboard after dark last evening in company with the mate and another man just before we towed out, got into a dispute with the mate; and the fist thing I saw of it was the man Moore on the top of the mate. It seems that they had been quarrelling. I did not see one hit the other. We were then abreast of the north pier. I pulled Moore off the mate while they were scuffling on the poop. I told Moore to go off him, and get to his work; and then told the mate to do the same thing. The latter replied: "Yes, sir, I will." I did not see a blow struck. After I told them to go about their work, the mate, raising both his arms, and stretching them apart, cried on: "Cut, cut." I told the mate to have no more such talk, that I would not allow such words to be used on my vessel. He answered and said that he would not use such words, but that he would go and make sail on the vessel. He then walked off and I knew nothing more about the matter, till some one came to me, and told me that the mate was dead. After I spoke to them they both of them went some distance from me. This time when I was told that the mate was dead was some 10 or 15 minutes after the first scuffle. The man who told me that the mate was dead asked me to stop the tug, which I did. The mate during the scuffle was a little under the influence of liquor, but still not much out of the way. Before we started on the voyage I was waiting at the mouth of the river for him and Moore whom he had engaged that afternoon or evening. When I was told that he was killed, I went to him, and examining him thought that he was dead, not seeing him move afterwards. I then ordered the anchor to be let down. I did not know what the nature of the quarrel was between them, and did not see the second struggle; did not see any knife. The mate and I have been together for the last 13 years. The man was not quarrelsome except when he had liquor in him. He was about 40 or 45 years of age when he died.


The next witness examined was William Moore, who testified as follows:

I am a sailor, and was engaged on the "Peshtigo" for the voyage. I went on board yesterday afternoon for the first time, having only been hired yesterday. Went on board about 7 o'clock in company with the mate and another man. I sailed with the mate some two years ago. After he hired me I went aboard with him and the other man. He hired me on North Water street. We went to a saloon together and had a couple of glasses of beer. I had only drank four or five glasses of beer. The vessel when we went on board was lying at the north pier. When we had been on board the vessel together about 10 or 15 minutes, the mate and myself had a few words together. He commenced blowing about something. I spoke, upon which he said that he was not speaking to me at all; and told me to go about my work. The tug then towed us outside. Just as soon as we went to hoist the mizzen sails the mate came up to me and struck me. Did not say anything to me. He struck me first on the head somewhere, we then clinched, and both of us fell to the deck. He struck me with his fists. The captain then came and called me off. I do not know whether I was on the top of the mate or not. I got off and we went about our work. A few minutes afterwards I went forward. My nose was bleeding. I went on the port side. He met me there, and made right at me. He commenced cutting me with a knife. He said something to me, but I do not know what. He cut at me several times. We came pretty close together. I found I was getting pretty weak, and all cut up; and I had to defend myself. Then I jumped at him and he fell. I had my knife in my pocket. I did not have it in my hand. I could not say whether I used it or not. After he (the mate) fell the captain came forward and called me a "d__d son of a b___h," at the same exclaiming: "What have you done?" Said [ gap in copy ] with the mate I did not see any one around. The last scuffle only lasted a few minutes. I do not understand how I came to get cuts on my back (The witness had 14 deep, long cuts on the left side of his back.) The mate attacked me first. Never had any words with him before.


John S. Jones was next sworn and testified as follows:

I am a seaman, and am serving on board the "Peshtigo." Before the occurrance I had been acquainted with the mate 10 or 12 years. The first time the quarrel commenced, was when we were giving the tug the tow line. I was giving the line out, and asked the tugman if they had got enough; upon which the mate said that I had too much lip, and that he did not want to hear a word out of me, as long as he was there. I think that the mate thought that Moore spoke, and not me. The mate then took hold of Moore, and pushing him told him to go aft, and help hoist the sails. Upon this Moore when aft. The mate also went aft. While we were getting ready to hoist the mizzen sails the mate asked if all the men were aft. Some one said "yes," upon which the mate jumped up and struck Moore with his fist. Moore then clinched him and threw him down, Moore being on the top. The captain stepped forward and took Moore off, telling him to go forward and attend to his business; and said to the mate "what do you mean? I do not want any trouble on the vessel." Shortly after this Moore was going aft with the rest of the crew to the centreboard in obedience to the orders of the captain, when the mate jumped upon Moore who was near the centreboard. They then commenced to strike each other. I did not see any weapons in the hands of either of them. I was too drunk to see them. The mate then stepped back a few paces said, "cut, cut," and immediately afterwards fell back. Before he cried "cut, cut" they parted themselves, the mate jumping back and spreading out his arms.


John Conner, Thomas Leo and John O'Hara, also sailors belonging to the bark "Peshtigo," were sworn and examined. Their evidence simply corroborated that which had already been given.

The knife before mentioned was here shown to the various witnesses and was recognized as belonging to the deceased mate.


The coroner and jury then proceeded to the residence of the deceased for the purpose of viewing the body. previous to the arrival of the jury Dr. Gore had held a post mortem examination upon the body, and when they arrived gave the result of his examination which was as follows:

The wound which had caused death was six inches in length and passed through the heart. At the point where the knife had entered the heart the wound was one and a half inches in width, and at the point at which it had passed out on the other side it was half in inch in width. Beside this wound there was another fearful wound in the left side of this body.


After a few minutes spent in consultation, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased had come to his death from a wound inflicted with a knife in the hands of William Moore and that such wound had been inflicted in self-defence.

The deceased has long been known as a desperate character. It is even said that he once killed a man at Green Bay in a fight or drunken brawl. And he has long gone by the sobriquet, among his class, of "The tartar of Green Bay."

The man Moore, it is probably, will recover, though his wounds are so fearful and so numerous that it will doubtless be long ere he will be able to rise and walk again. On his back, breast and neck there are not less than 27 deep cuts, besides many smaller slashes.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
21 Jul 1866
Personal Name(s):
McCambridge, Patrick ; Moore, William ; McDonnell, James ; Keely, Andrew ; Jones, John S. ; Connor, John ; Leo, Thomas ; O'Hara, John ; Gore, Dr. ; Wagner, Dr.
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 41.8970686601731 Longitude: -87.5086010253906
Copyright Statement:
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Peshtigo Homicide