Alpheus Crosby by S. P. Hadley

Prof. Alpheus Crosby, ninth son of Dr. Asa Crosby, was born in Sandwich, October 13, 1810, died in Salem, Mass., April 17, 1874. He married for his first wife, Abigail Grant Jones Cutler, daughter of Joseph and Abi C. Grant (Jones) Cutler, of Newburyport, Mass., August 27, 1834, who died in Paris, France, March 25, 1837. He married, for his second wife, Martha Kingman, daughter of Joseph Kingman, Esq., of West Bridgewater, Mass., a teacher in the Normal School, Salem, Mass. He was childless.

Professor Hagar says: "When in his tenth year he was taken to Hanover, the seat of Dartmouth College, and was placed temporarily under Professor Adams in algebra and Euclid, under Professor James Marsh in Latin, and under Tutor Rufus Choate in Greek; and these gentlemen pronounced him fitted for college. He was subsequently put to the study of Hebrew, under the Rev. John L. Parkhurst, and was sent to Exeter Academy; but in 1823 he entered college, passed through the four years' course of study without a rival and far beyond rivalry. His power of acquisition and retention was marvelous.

"After his graduation, he spent four years at Hanover; the first, as the preceptor of Moor's Indian Charity School, and the following three as tutor in the college. He subsequently spent nearly two years at the Theological Seminary in Andover, Mass. He was appointed to a professorship of Latin and Greek in 1833. In 1847 he was released from the Latin and became professor of Greek only, which office he held until 1849, when he resigned; but he remained professor emeritus until his death."

Professor Crosby was one of the earnest Greek scholars of eminence that New England can boast, being precocious in his scholarship, and so a little in advance of Professor Felton, of Cambridge, who was a year or two older. Both graduated in 1827, Felton at Harvard, and Crosby at Dartmouth; and this, as it happens, was the year in which the first Greek lexicon, with definitions in English, came into the hands of pupils in any part of the world. It was the work of John Pickering, a Salem man, who for many years stood almost alone as a great Greek scholar in America, having preceded Crosby and Felton by more than thirty years. The young men took up the work where Pickering laid it down, and began not long after they became Greek professors in their respective colleges (Felton in 1832, and Crosby in 1833,) the task of preparing grammars, readers, and editions of authors, for the studious youth of the land. Crosby's Greek grammar and his edition of Xenophon's Anabasis soon came into common use, and have been of great service in promoting the elementary instruction of thousands of Greek scholars since; as also have Felton's Reader and his editions of Aristophanes, etc. The learning of Hadley, Goodwin, and other recent professors has gone beyond that of these pioneers in extent and accuracy, but it is doubtful whether they have done so much for rudimentary scholarship.

Professor Crosby belonged not to us alone, but to all New England,—to the whole land. Our country is poorer by the loss of an eminent scholar, one of that small band of classical scholars in America who are known and honored at foreign seats of learning. In the latest, freshest, and most original Greek grammar of Professor Clyde, of Edinburgh, the author acknowledges his obligations to four distinguished scholars, three Europeans and one American; and the American is Professor Crosby.

Professor Crosby published "A Greek and General Grammar"; "Greek Tables"; "Greek Lessons"; an edition of Xenophon's Anabasis; "Eclogæ Latinæ"; "First Lessons in Geometry"; also many religious and political tracts, and elementary school-books, which have been widely useful among the freedmen and Indians.