Jonathan Crouch

A Short Biography:  Jonathan Crouch, Harvard Shaker  (1758-1837)

by Roben Campbell, Shaker researcher


Jonathan Crouch and his wife Elizabeth followed his youngest sister, Patience and his parents, Mary and David into the Shaker faith soon after Mother Ann and the Elders arrived.[1] Like many other early Shaker, Jonathan and his family remained in their place of domicile, Stow, for some years before moving to the village location.[2]

And, also like many others, he showed support for the construction of the village in many ways. In 1790 he signed a petition, which was sent to the central village in New Lebanon, New York, for advice and consent to build “a House to meet in for the public worship of God” dating to 1790. His father, David, and two brothers Caleb and David, Jr., were also among the twenty-eight signatures.[3] With many others he gave offerings to pay for the build the Meeting House in goods, a leg of pork, a cow, and two pounds of butter[4].

In January of 1794, he was appointed deacon to the Church family, a position he held for twenty-one years. [5] He brought with him one horse, two oxen, one cow, one calf, and three sheep[6]. He first lived at the South house, where the South family still stands today, and in 1795 moved into the Church family proper. [7] As deacon, he was responsible for transferring the many contributions believers made, either in cash or goods.

After the revival of 1808 revival, Jonathan with five others, moved to the North family temporarily to guide new young believers to “manage outward care, and gather, protect, strengthen, and encourage those in the work of God.”[8]

Of the children of Jonathan and Elizabeth, only one remained a Shaker; Mehitabel or Hette. Although their son Oliver left the Shakers in 1801, his name comes up again in the 1822, when a money exchange was noted in an early day journal with his father present, suggesting a business deal. At that time, his place of domicile was Brattleboro, Vermont.[9]

His death was noted in a Church family journal,

“Br Jonathan Crouch deceased 10, min before 8 in the evening. He has gone to receive a good reward.”[10]









[1] RG 34R ‘from Patience Crouch’; WRHS.VI.B.9May 1, 1841, Shaker Manuscript Collection at the Western Reserve Historical Society, WRHS.VI.B.9  (Part VI Testimonies and Biographies, Section B (volumes), number 9)Cleveland, Ohio.

[2] Nourse, p. 151 and 543.

[3] A Book of Records of the Church of the United Society in Harvard Massachusetts, commencing January 1791, Shaker Manuscript Collection, Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, New York.

[4] June 10, 1791, p. 4; July 23, 1791, p. 5; and August 15, 1791, p. 6; Church Family Record Book, FM 1.7, Shaker Manuscript Collection, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA.

[5] May 4, 1815.Harvard Church Record Book, Manuscript Collection at the Shake Museum and Library, Old Chatham, New York.

Three Harvard Church Record Books are extant, the other two at Fruitlands Museum and the American Antiquarian Society, and are all slightly different.

[6] Ibid, p. 6, Aug 16, 1791.

[7] Ibid., Church Family Record Book,

[8] November, 1810, Church Record Book, Shaker Manuscript Collection, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA. The other five leaders who went to the North family were Abijah Worster, Abel Jewett, Dorothy Perham, Deliverance Whittemore, and Hannah Bridges.

[9] April 8, 9, & 10, 1822, Joseph Hammond Journal, FM 1.10, Shaker Manuscript Collection, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA.

[10] February 6, 1837, Church Family Journal, 1828-1838, FM 4.2, Shaker Manuscript Collection, Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA.




All rights reserved. © Roben Campbell, 2016.