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.