William Alfred Millis,
The History of Hanover College
From 1827 to 1927

(Hanover, Indiana: Hanover College, 1927).

Hanover Historical Texts Project

Scanned and proofread by Sadiye Amcaoglu, Nida Khan,
Julie Merkel, Jonathan Perry, Faiza Shah, and Cory Sims in November 2000.

Chapter II
John Finley Crowe

[Page 11] IF, As Mr. Emerson once said, an institution is but the lengthened shadow of a man, Hanover College is the extension and embodiment of the spirit and purpose of John Finley Crowe." Many other equally devoted and able men have made vital contributions, but to none of these is the debt so great as to the rugged pioneer preacher and teacher who was "twice the founder." A proper appreciation of his personality and character is essential to the understanding of this first church college of Indiana. No picture of the man drawn at the close of the century can so fully depict his zeal for religion, his energy and devotion, and the modest, prophetic beginnings of the College, as the "Succinct History of Hanover College," published in the first catalogue issued by the institution January, 1833, and evidently prepared by Dr. Crowe. It is reprinted in full:

"In the year 1825, two ministers of the Gospel, John M. Dickey and John F. Crowe, who had entered Indiana as pioneers and had settled near to each other, where eight or ten churches and as many counties, were entirely dependent on them for ministerial labors, laid the 'foundation on which has been erected this institution.

"They had been long laboring to gather up the lambs of Christ's fold, who were literally as sheep without a shepherd, and they had been fervently praying the great shepherd of his sheep to send forth more [Page 12] laborers. Often were their hearts cheered by the arrival of young brethren, whom they were disposed to regard as sent in answer to the prayers that were daily offered up on this subject; but as often were their hopes blasted and their hearts discouraged, by seeing them either return to more promising fields of usefulness east of the mountains, or falling victims to the fatigues and privations of a new country.

"With feelings wrought up almost to agony by such disappointments, in connection with the Macedonian cry which was heard on every hand for help, they came to the conclusion that men must be raised up on the ground, with habits that would enable them to 'endure hardness as good soldiers,' to supply the church 'in the wilderness.' This, at the next meeting of the Presbytery, they urged on their brethren with so much effect, that they were, by the Presbytery, appointed a committee to select a spot for the location of a Presbyterial school, and to draft a plan for its organization.

"The site selected was the site now occupied by the College, and the plan was that of a manual labor school. Their report was adopted by the Presbytery; but a suitable teacher could not be procured. Wearied by delays and disappointment, one of the individuals, the Rev. John F. Crowe, with whom the plan originated, after much prayer and deliberation, determined to make a commencement, hoping that after the school was organized and in successful operation, there would be less difficulty in procuring a teacher.

"Consequently, a log cabin was prepared, 16 by 18 feet, and on the first day of January, 1827, the school was opened with six students and solemnly dedicated to God. Not one of the students was pious, though children of prayer; for they were all sons of ruling elders in the Presbyterian church. The number gradually increased, until the winter session of 1828 opened with fourteen students. About this time, in answer to the prayers that were daily offered up for the object, God poured his spirit on the school and eight of the [Page 13] fourteen became the hopeful subjects of regenerating grace.

"This display of Divine mercy not only encouraged the breast and strengthened the hands of the teacher, but excited a degree of interest in the surrounding churches that resulted in a considerable increase of promising young men. The next session consequently, numbered twenty students, of whom fourteen were members of the church and hopefully pious.

"At this time our log building was found 'too strait for us,' and the school was removed to the meeting house. As this accommodation could not be calculated on permanently, the necessity of a more commodious house urged itself on the mind of the teacher, and he determined on the erection of a brick building, 25-by-40- feet, two stories high. But he found himself without funds, and without patrons who could supply them. The object, however, of keeping together the little band of devoted youth, who were ardently desirous to serve their master in His vinevard, and of preparing, with the blessing of God, a supply for the increasing wants of the church, appeared so important, that he determined to go forward in the enterprise; trusting to God for its accomplishment.

"For this purpose a subscription was opened, of the following kind: The students pledged themselves to throw up a sufficient quantity of earth to make 80,000 bricks. The teacher bound himself to board the hands while making the brick, and to furnish the wood to burn them. Another individual subscribed rock for the foundation, and another the building of it. One man subscribed a sufficient number of stocks at the sawmill to make all the lumber needed for the building; and another the hauling of the lumber, etc.

"In this manner the work was carried on, and a building completed worth $1,000, while the amount of cash expended was less than $400. One-fourth of this sum was paid by two individuals and the balance was obtained in Madison and the neighborhood. William- [Page 14] son Dunn, Esq., donated the beautiful lot which forms the college campus, together with six lots in the village.

"The Presbytery, which had hitherto patronized the school only by attending its semi-annual examinations now felt that it was of sufficient importance to justify an effort to obtain a charter. Application was consequently made to the State Legislature for this object. Influenced by a liberal and enlightened policy, they granted a charter, with ample privileges to a corporate body, under the style, 'The Board of Trustees of Hanover Academy.' And, that the manual labor system might be put into operation, Judge Dunn and John Finley Crowe gave to the corporation each fifty acres of land, lying adjacent to the Academy, for a farm.

"In the following autumn, 1829, Presbytery gave up the superintendence of the Academy to the Synod of Indiana. This body immediately entered into a compact with the trustees of the institution, to append to it a Theological Seminary, under the provisions of its charter.

"At the same meeting, the Rev. Dr. Matthews, of Shepardstown, Virginia, was unanimously elected by Synod, Professor of Theology in their Seminary. On being informed of his appointment the Doctor deemed it important to visit the institution; and although he found it located in the woods, and struggling for existence, yet he determined to cast in his lot with those whom he found laboring under a burden beyond their strength; consecrating his time and his talents to the noble object of building up a school of the prophets in the 'far West.'

In the spring following Dr. Matthews moved his family to Hanover, and engaged in the arduous duty of giving instruction in the Academy, as there were no theological classes yet formed. Shortly after, a mathematical teacher was employed and the Academy assumed, in its operations, something of the forms and regularity of a college.

[Page 15] "But in the autumn of this year, 1830, in the mysterious providence of God, the faith and patience of the Board were severely tried. With great effort, and in the case of a few individuals, with great sacrifice too, a respectable brick house had been erected for the accommodation of Dr. Matthews' family. The building, when nearly completed, was seen wrapped in flames and was completely consumed.

"What could now be done? The corporation was now in debt, their means exhausted, and their professor and his family lodged in a temporary building, in which they could not be comfortable. Should they abandon the enterprise? The thought could not for a moment be indulged: for there were now nearly twenty young men, of hopeful piety, who were lookng up to them for instruction, which, with the Grace of God, might qualify them to go forth as ambassdors of Christ. The Board convened. They had previously appointed several agents to spread the wants of the institution before the public and solicit aid; yet nothing had been done.

"They, therefore, after mature deliberation, resolved that the individual who had been principally instrumental in the establishment of the school, should take an agency east of the mountains, and give the Christian philanthropists of that region an opportunity of aiding in their noble enterprise. This agency was undertaken, and resulted in the collection of upwards of three thousand dollars in cash, and several hundred dollars' worth of books.

"With their treasury thus replenished, the Board resolved to erect, in addition to the Professor's house, a brick building 40 by 48 feet, 2 1/2 stories high, for a boarding house. These buildings were completed in 1831.

"In the spring of 1832, the boarding house was opened, and the manual system regularly introduced. Notice of this fact having been given in the public prints, the number of students was suddenly swelled to [Page 16] eighty. This unexpected and overwhelming increase seemed to impose the necessity of erecting additional public buildings; as neither dormitories nor recitation rooms could be furnished for such a multitude. And although the treasury was overdrawn, the Board deemed it to be their duty to erect, with all possible despatch, a large edifice 40 by 100 feet, three stories high.

"This building, when finished, will furnish a chapel, four recitation rooms, two library rooms and thirty-two dormitories calculated to accommodate two students each. The estimated expense was between six and seven thousand dollars.

"Nor was this all. The manual labor system could not be successfully prosecuted without workships. They therefore resolved to erect them. In obedience to this resolution, the following buildings have been erected, viz: A carpenters' shop, 20 by 40 feet, two stories high; a coopers shop, 25 by 48 feet; and a wagon maker's shop, 20 feet square. And in addition to all this, they found it necessary to build eight dormitories, 12 feet square, each of which would accommodate two students.

" The Board felt fully aware that, by the sober, calculating part of the community, they might and probably would be censured for imprudence, rashness, and even presumption, in thus involving themselves in debt. But a firm conviction that the interests of the institution, the interests of education in the West, and above all, the interests of the western churches demanded it, determined them to go forward. In this determination they were moreover strengthened by past experience. They had seen the institution rising and prospering, contrary to the predictions of its enemies, and altogether beyond the hopes and expectations of its most sanguine friends. No improvement had been attempted, no expense had been incurred, until it was seen to be absolutely necessary. Their God had uniformly raised up for them friends to supply their needs.

[Page 17] "Besides, they had witnessed so much liberality in the feeble churches in their own states and in the few cases in which application had been made in other states, that they felt it would at once be a reflection on the benevolence of the Christian community, and an almost unpardonable want of confidence in the kind providence of God, to indulge the thought for a moment, that they would not be sustained. In this confidence they have gone forward. The result will show whether they were mistaken.

"But to return. The Board had become fully convinced that in order to make a fair experiment of the manual labor system it would be necessary to carry students through the entire course without interrupting his industrious habits. They therefore appointed a committee of their own body to apply to the Legislature for an enlargement of the privileges of their charter, whereby collegiate powers might be given them.

"This committee presented their petition to the Legislature now in session; who, with a liberality which does credit alike to the Legislature and to the state, granted the prayer, the illiberal and untiring opposition of some of those connected with the state institution to the contrary notwithstanding.

"Finally, they would remark that although their building is now up, and their system in successful operation, yet there remains much to be done before the institution will be able to support itself. The labor of the young men is yet almost exclusively devoted to improvements for the corporation, in opening the farm, preparing shops, etc. For all this the corporation has to pay the way of satisfying the steward's bill for boarding. But they cheerfully cast themselves on the providence of God and the benevolence of the Christian community, confidently believing that there are many who will esteem it a privilege to aid them in this noble enterprise; by contributing a part of ihe abundance which God has given them for the purpose [Page 18] of establishing, on a firm and permanent basis, a self-supporting institution, at which poor and pious young men may be able to sustain themselves while preparing for the work of the ministry, and by which the necessity of the whole beneficiary system will be superseded."

Dr. Crowe was born in Green County, Tennessee, then a part of North Carolina, June 16, 1787. With his parents he moved to Bellevue, Missouri, in 1802, a lad of fifteen. He taught the neighborhood school for several years and was brought to recognize a call to the gospel ministry under the powerful preaching of a Mr. Ward of the Methodist church. In 1809 he came back to Kentucky to enter upon the necessary studies for his chosen calling. After two years of private study he entered Transylvania University at Lexington, from which he was duly graduated in 1813, at the age of twenty-six. During his student days Mr. Crowe devoted a part of his time and energy to the rather irregular publication of an abolitionist paper, which did not contribute to his popularity in the Blue Grass country. He also became a member and an elder in the church of Rev. James Blythe whom he later induced to become the first president of Hanover College. In 1814 Dr. Crowe was sent as a commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, meeting at Philadelphia, a no mean recognition of the ability of the young layman. The year 1814 to 1815 he studied in the Princeton Theological Seminary, was ordained to the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in 1815, and took charge of the Academy at Shelbyville, Kentucky, the same year. Later be became pastor of two rural churches near Shelbyville, but his anti-slavery views and advocacy of temperance made him so unpopular at Shelbyville that he gladly accepted the call of the Hanover church in 1823.

[Page 19] At once upon settling at Hanover Dr. Crowe began to agitate the establishment of a system of schools to supply ministers for the rapidly growing population of the states north of the Ohio and to the West, and to serve the cultural needs of the new country. In the April meeting of the Presbytery in 1824 he moved for the appointment of a committee to investigate the possibility of establishing a school, the committee to report the following spring. W. W. Cheever, class of 1838, writes: "My father who was teaching school in Paris, Jennings County, Indiana, was prevailed upon by Rev. John Finley Crowe to remove in 1825 to Hanover and open a school in the old stone meetinghouse, which was to become in part a sort of feeder to the classical academy which Mr. Crowe intended to open at no distant date." About the same time Dr. Crowe was a member of a committee appointed by, Presbytery, probably at his suggestion, to induce the General Assembly to locate the Western Theological Seminary in Indiana. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, however, was chosen as the location. In the fall of 1825 Presbytery definitely decided to establish the proposed academy at Hanover, and Dr. Crowe devoted a year to the effort to procure a "teacher." The fall of 1826 Presbytery asked him to take the post himself, which he promptly did, and held his first classes January 1, 1827. The new school operated thus at first as a private venture, being recognized as "Hanover Academy" under a special charter granted by the State Legislature and effective February 26, 1829. In the reorganization Mr. Crowe was elected principal, which office he held until the Academy was superseded by "Hanover College." By a resolution adopted by the trustees September 24, 1832, Dr. Crowe became Vice-president of the new institution, with his former pastor as President. The vice-presidency of the College he held with the exception of a brief interruption at [Page 20] the time of the removal to Madison, until his retirement in 1857. During the thirty years of his active connection with the institution he was for a time its only instructor, and after its elevation to college rank, the "Professor of Logic, History, Belles Lettres, and Political Economy. " During all of this period he was also a member of the Board of Trustees, much of the time its president, and for many years its secretary. Added to these numerous burdens Dr. Crowe in critical periods served as financial agent, subjecting himself to exposure, undue fatigue and humiliation in soliciting funds to keep the College going. His own story of his experiences in a trip "beyond the mountains" during the winter of 1830-31 reveals not only his stubborn devotion to the College, but the nature of the struggle which all pioneer colleges were compelled to make. It gives a very good picture of the inevitable lot of the solicitor of endowments. The reprint is from Dr. Crowe's manuscript:

"The subject of the agency was then taken up. Dr. Matthews stated, that as none of the young men in the Academy were sufficiently advanced to commence the study of Theology, and as none from abroad had offered themselves, he was willing to take charge, for the time, of the Academy in order to permit the principal to take an agency east of the mountains.

"By a resolution of the Board, the Treasurer was then directed to pay to the Theological Professor $600, the present year's salary and, as the Treasury was then empty, the Rev. J.M. Dickey, President of the Board, was appointed an Agent for the Synod of Indiana, in hope that the sum needed might easily be raised. Mr. Dickey assumed the agency, and having ascertained that 25 cents for each member of the church, within the bounds of the Synod of Indiana, would amount to something over the sum needed, he commenced his agency on that principle. Having vis- [Page 21] ited most of the churches in Madison Presbytery, taking subscriptions where it was not convenient to pay down, he solicited the aid of the ministers in the other presbyteries to carry out the plan in their respective bounds. I need hardly say that the plan proved a failure. Not over $100 was ever realized from it.

"The principal of the Academy having arranged the classes and placed them under the care of Dr. Matthews and Mr. Gregg, prepared himtelf for the agency. On the sixth of December, 1830, he commenced by steamboat and stage his journey east. In due time he reached Philadelphia, and succeeded in getting a number of the city pastors together with the venerable Dr. Green at their head. He then laid before them the object of his mission, the spiritual destitution of the country, the importance of educating young men on the ground to meet that destitution, the favorable commencement that had been made, the loss of the Professor's house by fire, and the utter inability of the Board without aid from abroad, to repair that loss.

"Having heard his appeal the brethren present came to the unanimous conclusion, that, while they highly approved the object, they were decidedly of the opinion that the present was a most unfavorable time to attempt making collections in the city, inasmuch as at that season of the year, merchants, who were the giving men, were doing no business. They therefore advised the Agent to go farther east and present his object; and after two or three months to return to Philadelphia, when the spring business would be active and men's hearts opened to the calls of benevolence.

"Submitting to the judgment of the good fathers and brethren, the agent went on to Princeton, where he was not only very cordially received by his highly venerated friends, Drs. Alexander and Miller, but by them favored with letters which proved passports to the confidence of all to whom they were presented. Having arrived at New York and having with some [Page 22] difficulty secured a meeting of the brethren in the ministry, he was met by precisely the same objection that he had encountered at Philadelphia, and was kindly advised to turn up the North River to Albany, a city not engaged in the western trade, and consequently not influenced in its benevolences by the seasons of the year.

"This state of things was peculiarly trying to the feelings, if not to the faith of the Agent; for his funds were exhausted, and he was unable to go forward or to remain where he was. But he had been favored with a line of introduction from Dr. Alexander of Princeton to Dr. Snodgrass, at that time pastor of the Murray Street Church, New York, and to him he disclosed his difficulty. The Doctor at once very kindly invited him to the hospitalities of his house, gave him a letter to his friend, Dr. Sprague, pastor of the Second Church, Albany, and loaned him the funds necessary to take him there.

"He reached Albany between Christmas and New Year's and found the city intoxicated with excitement, the Legislature just convening, and the city crowded with strangers. But the fraternal manner in which he was received by the Rev. Dr. Sprague, was peculiarly soothing to his feelings. The Doctor seemed to appreciate fully the importance of the object of his mission and to sympathize most sincerely with the infant institution in its recent loss, and with the Agent in his disappointments; yet he was decided in the opinion, that an attempt to collect money for any object would, at that time, prove an utter failure. His advice therefore was to visit Troy and Lansingburgh and some other towns north, and then to return to Albany, after the temporary excitement had subsided.

"Favored by Dr. Sprague with a letter of introduction to the Rev. Mr. Tucker, pastor of the First Church in Troy, the Agent proceeded to that city. But when he called on Mr. Tucker, though received with great kindness, he was frankly told that he had come [Page 23] at a most unfortunate time, inasmuch as the Great Head was just favoring them with the reviving influences of his Holy Spirit, and that he could not consent to have the attention of his people diverted to any object, however important. The Agent expostulated, told him that he had traveled through inclement weather more than a thousand miles, the humble agent of an infant institution, the character of which was everywhere approved, and its claims on the benevolence of the churches by all admitted to be very strong, and yet he had been pushed from place to place with the very consoling words: 'Be ye warmed and filled,' without having received a single dollar. But the pastor remained firm in the position taken, and would neither himself recommend the object to the people, nor permit the Agent publicly to present it.

" Those who have consecrated their time, their talents, their influences, their all" to the promotion of some great enterprise, and yet have been unable, so far, to enlist the sympathies of others in its behalf, as to secure their cooperation, may form some idea of the mental distress of the Agent at that time. In his distress he called on God, renewed to him the dedication of himself and of the object for which he labored, and resolved to go no further, until he had made appeal to Christians in its behalf.

"Mr. Tucker had kindly urged him to aid in the revival by attending with him prayer and conference meetings; making his house his home, until some opening should be presented for the prosecution of his agency. This led to an acquaintance with several prominent church members. Among the acquaintances thus made was a gentleman who had formerly been a minister of the gospel, but who for some cause, had turned his attention to mercantile pursuits. Having dined with this gentleman, the Agent took occasion after dinner, during a pleasant conversation, to mention the object of his mission to the East, stating concisely the spiritual destitution of the country; what [Page 24] had been done toward founding a school of the Prophets in the Wilderness, the loss of the Professor's House by fire, and their inability without aid from abroad to repair the loss, closing with an earnest request that he would give his name together with such sum as he thought the subject merited. Mr. Russell gave his name with $10 annexed.

"This small sum made the Agent's heart leap for joy; and he asked his friend to add to his kindness by giving him the names of such persons in the congregation as he thought would feel an interest in the subject. But he begged to be excused from doing what his pastor had refused to do. Thus was his way still shut up. But he had been invited by a young gentleman, who was a subject of the work then in progress, the son of a wealthy widow lady, to dine with him, and in the course of a pleasant conversation in the family circle, the Agent took occasion to state the spiritual destitution of Indiana, the difficulty of obtaining ministers, the efforts that were being made to supply the want by educating young men on the ground, and the object of his visit to the East. The young man seemed to be deeply interested in the subject, and without solicitation handed over the agent $25, and then without hesitancy gave a list of the names of persons who he supposed would feel interested in the enterprise.

"Here the Agent, like Paul at the three taverns, blessed God and took courage; afterward calling upon the individuals whose names he had been given, the agent patiently gave to all, who had patience to hear, a brief account of the object of his visit, the encouraging prospects that were opening before the pioneer laborers of the West of reaping a rich harvest of souls, could they only obtain the funds necessary to carry out their plans for preparing more laborers. And having received such donations as were made in the city of Troy, the Agent visited Lansingburgb, Waterford, Salem and some other small towns in that region, making collections of small sums in each of them, and [Page 25] returned after an absence of some three weeks to Albany.

"He was very cordially received by Dr. Sprague, and kindly invited to make his house his home during his stay in the city. The experience of a few days however convinced him that but little could be effected there in favor of his object. The metropolis of the Empire state seemed quite indisposed to come down from its lofty position, to care even for its own children, scattered over the western wilderness. And after receiving the contributions of a few Christian friends, he turned his face toward New York City.

"A letter from Dr. Sprague introduced him, by the way, to the Rev. William Chester, then pastor of the First Church in the city of Hudson. Mr. Chester took him kindly by the hand, and at once introduced him to his people by giving him his place in the pulpit at the weekly evening lecture.

"A tremendous snow-storm came on that night, laying an embargo on all public conveyances, and confining the Agent for a whole week under the hospitable roof of Mr. Chester. But in the meantime he was not idle. With some difficulty Mr. Chester conveyed him in his sleigh to the neighboring towns of Catskill and Cooksankie, giving him and his object a most favorable introduction to several wealthy and benevolent men in these places. Consequently the week was both profitably and pleasantly spent. While at Hudson Mr. Chester proposed a sleigh-ride to Berkshire, Mass., which proved unproductive in funds, but resulted in securing a very energetic man to take charge of the boarding-house, and superintend the manual labor operations of the students. The Agent had been instructed by the Board to obtain, if possible, a man qualified to act in this two-fold capacity. While at Great Barrington Mr. Thomas Kendall was recommended as being just the man for the place; pious, prudent, energetic and moreover, wishing to immigrate west. (Note: Mr. Kendall was well known as [Page 26] the manufacturer of the most accurate thermometers then in the United States.)

"He called on Mr. Kendall at his residence, near New Lebanon, N. Y., and gave him an account of the enterprise in which a few devoted men in Indiana were engaged, and pointed out the means by which they hoped to accomplish it. Mr. Kendall at once expressed his high appreciation of the object, and suggested but one difficulty in the way of his engaging in it. His venerable father, upward of 80 years of age, was a member of the faculty; and he supposed that the old gentleman would not consent to abandon the home of his youth and subject himself to the perils and privations of a journey to the far West. He suggested, however, that he would leave it to his father to decide, and if he should decide in favor of going, he would regard it as an indication that it was the will of God that he should go. And much to the surprise of all, the answer of the venerable patriarch was, 'I will go if my son thinks it best.' The way now appeared to be open for the entering into an agreement with Mr. Kendall. He supposed that he could make his arrangements so as to be in Hanover by midsummer, prepared to enter immediately on the duties of the office to which he was called, and the Agent gave a pledge that the place should be kept open for him. This was all he then asked, being willing, as he said, to bear his part in such an enterprise.

"About the first of February the Agent reached the City of New York, feeling convinced of the wisdom and goodness of God, in thwarting his plans and leading him in a way he had neither known nor intended. His absence of six weeks had not only thrown him on a much more favorable time for success in the city, but had given him an amount of experience in the work, which was essential to success.

"He soon succeeded in getting up a meeting of the leading Presbyterian ministers of the city, who [Page 27] after having heard his statements, favored him with the following recommendation of his object:

"The undersigned are acquainted with the Rev. Mr. Crowe, and have great confidence in recommending the institution with which he is connected to the patronage of the Christian community in this city. They regard it to be of vital importance to the religious interests of the Valley of the Mississippi, and entertain the hope that its pressing necessities will meet with the favorable considerations of the benevolent.

"New York, Feb. 3rd, 1831."
To this document the following signatures were attached, viz:


He was at the same time favored by a long list of the names of those persons who were in the habit of doing benevolent things, and immediately commenced "the gracious work," as one expressed it, "of ferreting out every benevolent man in the city," and by a laborious effort of four weeks he succeeded in collecting something over $1,600.

He then returned to Philadelphia, Where a recommendation similar to the one given at New York, was drawn up by the venerable Dr. Green, and subscribed by the following ministers, dated March 3, 1831:


[Page 28] Thus recommended he commenced operations in Philadelphia, and after spending nearly three weeks in the same laborious course of "ferreting out the benevolent," returned home with upward of $3,000 in cash, together with about one hundred volumes of books for the library.

Another experience of Dr. Crowe, "agent," illustrates besides the ordinary embarrassment of the solicitor, the difficulties occasioned by theological controversy. In 1836 the College was facing bankruptcy as the result of the manual labor system which the Board was required by the charter to maintain. Dr. Crowe was asked to come to the rescue and undertake another canvass "beyond the mountains." Again we let him tell his own story:

"In this emergency it was resolved to send the writer on another agency east of the mountains. The money market had become comparatively easy in the large commercial cities, and it was hoped that relief might there be obtained. Abandoning all the comforts of home, he commenced his journey in the month of January, and passing through the cities of Baltimore and Philadelphia without making any stop, hastened on to New York, a city prominent for its public spirit and liberality, as for its commercial enterprise and wealth.

"But he reached the city just in time to behold the smoking ruins of one of the most extensive and disastrous conflagrations that had ever occurred in the United States. The devouring element had swept over forty acres of the business district of the city, destroying two millions worth of property and leaving thousands houseless and homeless. Under such circumstances the men most noted for their liberality and benevolence had no patience to listen to a detail of the pecuniary difficulties of a college away off in Indiana.

[Page 29] "After consultation with a few judicious friends the Agent resolved to visit Boston and to make an appeal to the children of the Pilgrim Fathers, who had nobly endured so many sufferings and privations in establishing religious liberty, in what was then called the Great Western Wilderness.

"Having reached Boston, he heard that a society had recently been formed and a committee appointed, to examine and decide upon the merits of all claims upon their benevolence, coming from the West. The Agent succeeded in getting a meeting of the Committee in the Missionary Rooms. Some hours were spent in catechising the Agent and in deliberation. They wanted to know the origin and object of the institution. How much had been done for it abroad, and how much at home. These and other such like questions were, perhaps, all satisfactorily answered. But there was another subject which seemed to be of more importance in the estimation of the Committee, on which they wished information, and on which the Agent's answers were evidently not so satisfactory.

"Some years before a wealthy and benevolent gentleman by the name of Lane had made a very liberal donation to the Presbyterian Church for the purpose of founding a theological seminary in the neighborhood of Cincinnati. A location was made on Walnut Hills, some two miles from the city and an agent was sent east to obtain additional funds that the institution might be got into operation. The Agent succeeded in securing foundations for two professorships, on the condition that Dr. Lyman Beecher and the Rev. Mr. Biggs were made the first incumbents. These gentlemen were both elected professors of the Seminary and signified their acceptance.

"But Lane was a Presbyterian institution and it was consequently necessary for Dr. Beecher to become a Presbyterian before his inauguration. For this purpose he presented himself before the Cincinnati Presbytery and proposed to unite with them. Dr. Wilson [Page 30] opposed his reception on the ground of heterodoxy. This led to a very animated controversy. The Old and New School Parties took sides and much feeling was called forth.

"The Committee at Boston was fully posted upon this subject and wished to ascertain the position of Hanover College in regard to the Lane Seminary. They therefore asked the Agent if his College expected to patronize the Lane Seminary by sending their students there? He answered no, because they had a theological school of their own, placed under the wing of their charter. The next question was, supposing you had no such department in your college, would you in that case patronize Lane? The Agent replied that he was not authorized to answer for anyone but himself ; but candor compelled him to say that in consequence of a difference of opinion on some theological points he had no doubt Princeton would be preferred to Lane.

" The examination here closed, the committee retired, and after some hours' deliberation, informed the Agent through their chairman, that they were not prepared to recommend his object to the patronage of their churches.

"The Agent then proceeded east as far as Newberry Port, hoping that the Presbyterian churches there would feel an interest in his mission. But although kindly received by Dr. Dana and his brethren, their good people evidently felt that we had got, away out there in Indiana, beyond the limits of their charity; they had objects claiming their sympathies moreover nearer home. A few contributions were made, amounting to less than $100."

The Academy was chartered as such by special act of the Legislature of Indiana in December, 1828, becoming effective the following February. On December 10, 1831, the Board petitioned the Legislature for a new charter of the institution as a standard liberal arts col- [Page 31] lege. The memorial was referred to the Committee on Education which at once acted favorably, but before the report was made on the floor of the House the President of the Board of Trustees of Indiana College, now Indiana University, appeared before the Committee and secured the reversal of its action with the argument that the population of Indiana would never support more than one college and that since Indiana College was already established, its rights in equity would be violated by the grant of a college charter to Hanover. This reversal called out a letter from Dr. Crowe which shows that he was a practical logician as well as a teacher of logic. He also had some satisfaction in "lifting" Indiana's professor of mathematics. A portion of the letter addressed to the Chairman of the Committee on Education is here incorporated. It was written January 6, 1832, and although it failed to secure favorable action before the close of the session, its weight with the Legislature, together with Dr. Crowe's agitation, overcame the influence of Indiana College in the next session and the desired charter was received, effective 1833, a year before the first class was ready for graduation.

"Chairman of Com. on Education
Dear Sir:
We feel constrained by a sense of duty to the interests of the institution with which we are connected, to notice and correct some statements made in a communication recently addressed to yourself by the President of the Board of Trustees of Indiana College, relative to Hanover Academy; which communication we have reason to believe effected an entire revolution in the decision of your Committee. We are ready to give full credit to the writer in his expression of respect for the founders of the Academy, and say in all sincerity that the feelings are reciprocated. We more- [Page 32] over most cordially unite with him in the sentiment, that in "this as well as in other subjects we should learn wisdom from the experiences of other states of our Union." But we cannot refrain from an expression of something more than surprise at what he calls the facts presented to us on this subject.

The first quasi fact is, That New Hampshire chartered Yale College, and the Legislature of that State ever after refused to grant collegiate powers to any other institution within their limits. Now we take it for granted that the writer intended to say that Connecticut chartered Yale. But is it a fact that the Legislature of Connecticut ever after refused to grant collegiate powers to any other institution within her limits? No, it granted collegiate powers to one at Middletown and to another at Hartford.

The second "fact" is, That Pennsylvania has fifteen or eighteen colleges, not one of which has any eminence in public estimation. Now to say nothing of the rashness to throw into the background such institutions as Dickinson and Jefferson Colleges: institutions which number among their alumni, men of the first talents in the nation: we would just say that we do not admire the logic which leads to the conclusion, that because Pennsylvania has run to one extreme therefore Indiana should run to the other.

The third "fact" of the writer is, "That Ohio, with one exception, that of Kenyon College, has refused to charter any other than her state colleges." Her state colleges are her two universities, located at Oxford and Athens. But has the writer yet to learn that there is a chartered college at Hudson, Western Reserve, and one at Ripley? And unfortunately for his doctrine of monopoly, Miami University has arisen to her present elevated position while four other colleges were in operation in the state.

We pass by the writer's "facts" with respect to Kentucky with the single remark, that some of her colleges have not only secured public confidence, but [Page 33] are rapidly rising to preeminence among the seats of literature in the West, all attempts of adversaries to disparage them, by calling them nurseries of sectarianism, to the contrary notwithstanding. But the last, though by no means the least unfortunate "fact" adduced by the writer is, "That Tennessee has her State College, which stands high, but there is no other institution in the state which confers college degrees." We point him to three others which confer them: Washington, Greenville, Knoxville.

"Thus you see that the writer's alleged facts all turn out to be sheer mistakes. And I need not remind you that the inferences drawn from them are consequently worthless."

The great sorrow of Dr. Crowe's life was the threatened destruction of the College by the attempt of President McMaster's administration to surrender the charter, property and traditions which had gathered around Hanover in order to establish Madison University in the city of Madison, Indiana. The account of this crisis in the affairs of the College will be told elsewhere. It is enough to say in this connection that on the same day that Madison University opened its doors Dr. Crowe, assisted by his son, and supported by the Session of the Hanover Presbyterian Church, opened "The Hanover Classical and Mathematical School," which in a few weeks they renamed "Hanover Academy" upon discovery that the original charter was still active. Within a year he had succeeded in restoring the College to its old foundation. He thus has the unique distinction of having twice founded the same institution.

Dr. Crowe's health failed with advancing years. For a brief interval prior to the incident referred to above he withdrew from the College to recuperate his health, for a part of which time he resumed the local pastorate. In 1857 he resigned the professorship, and [Page 34] was made Professor Emeritus by the unanimous action of the Board. He continued to teach a few classes, however, until January 24, 1859, at which time he presented the following letter to his faculty associates:

"Jan. 24, 1859.

Dear Brethren:
Recent changes in my general health induced my family to urge me, at least for the present, to suspend any further connection with the College as Professor. Indulging in the hope that I might in a few days be able to attend to my classes in a way that would be profitable to them, I resisted their importunities, and have been trying to bring my mind to bear again on subjects with which I was formerly familiar; but, I am constrained to say that I have failed to accomplish my object, and that I am satisfied it would be doing an injustice to my classes and to myself, to continue longer my attention to them.

I need not say how trying it has been to my feelings to reach this conclusion; but having reached it, I feel that I ought not to stand a single day in the way of those who are competent to perform all the duties belonging to my department. I trust that I may have your prayers that I may be sustained under the trial, and preserved from either murmuring or repining. God is good and merciful as well as just."


Possibly no man is more truly known, outside of his family circle, than by his intimate associates in daily work. The following appreciation of Dr. Crowe prepared by the Faculty in response to his notice of retirement, has special value as a measure of the man:

"The Faculty of Hanover College has listened to the letter of Dr. Crowe with no ordinary feelings of regret. They deem this a proper occasion to testify [Page 35] to him in the most emphatic terms, not only their regret in parting with a beloved and revered associate, who has also been to all but one of them a beloved and revered teacher; but also their sense of the inestimable services which he has rendered for more than thirty years to Hanover College, and to the literary and religious elevation of the Great West.

"In 1827, moved by a deep sense of the religious destitution of the country, he opened in a log cabin a Classical School with six pupils,-the germ of Hanover Academy and Hanover College. Of this College he enjoys the peculiar distinction of having been twice the founder, and to its welfare he has dedicated himself, his time, talents, fortunes, influence and prayers, with a devotion, and perseverance not often equalled. He will need no other memorial of his faith and patience. Si momentum quaeris, circumspice.

"And now, when be is retiring from the scene of his long and arduous labors, we earnestly pray that his life may be prolonged to see the complete establishment of his beloved institution, and that the goodness and mercy of God may attend him to his latest hour. In the name of the millions whom he has aided to bless with the light of knowledge and religion, we say to him with reverence, 'Well done, good and faithful servant'."

Almost a year later, January 17, 1860, the "Teacher" was called to the higher school, founded by Him whom he had with utmost consistence followed as his Master. Again the Faculty recorded its appreciation of their leader in the words with which this inadequate sketch closes:

"That in the death of the venerable John Finley Crowe, D. D., Senior Professor of Hanover College, the Lord has taken from us a man, in whom were combined talents adapting him in a high degree to the great work performed by him on earth; especially an [Page 36] indomitable perseverance, which influenced him to labor for the benefit of the College of which he was the founder, in all the vicissitudes and discouragements which have marked its history, until, having arrived at a good old age, and being comforted with the assurance that the institution whose welfare he had so much at heart, would continue a blessing to the Church, he yielded up his spirit with peace and joy into the hands of his Redeemer."

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