CRANE, JOHN. (1744–1805). Continental officer. Massachusetts. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, on 7 December 1744, John Crane served in the Seven Years' War, enlisting to fill his father's place at the age of 15. After the war he became a housewright. He was one of Boston's Sons of Liberty and took part in the Boston Tea Party. During that action, a tea chest fell on Crane as he was working in the hold, knocking him unconscious. Believing he was dead, his companions nearly buried him, but he revived before they could complete the task and later recovered. The next year, 1774, he moved to Providence because business in Boston was at a standstill. As a captain in Richard Gridley's regiment of Massachusetts artillery he took part in the siege of Boston (3 May 1775). Meanwhile, he was active in skirmishes at the Neck (near Marblehead), and on 8 July he led a successful attack against an advance post. On 10 December 1775 he was named the first major in Henry Knox's Continental regiment. He was wounded in the foot on 14 September 1776 while shelling a man-of-war in the East River. On 1 January 1777 he was named a colonel in the Third Artillery. After raising this regiment he was mentioned for his service in John Sullivan's operations at Newport and in the defense of Fort Mifflin (Red Bank), New Jersey. On 17 June 1783 he took over from General Knox as the commander of the Continental artillery. On 30 September he was brevetted brigadier general, resigning on 3 November 1783. After the war he went into the lumber business, but failed at this enterprise. He moved to a 200-acre land grant at Whiting, Maine, which he had received in recognition of his war service. In 1790 he became a judge in the court of common pleas, holding that position until his death on 21 August 1805.
SEE ALSO Knox, Henry.
revised by Michael Bellesiles