A Short Biography: Mehitabel Crouch, Harvard Shaker (1780-1821)
by Roben Campbell, Shaker researcher
Mehitable Crouch, also called Hette, was the daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Crouch, and one of the few children who were raised with Shaker values from the early days of Mother Ann. She was not alone. There were quite a few that grew up together in the 1780’s and 1790’s. Nine girls between the ages of eleven and thirteen went to live in the Church family in August of 1793. They lived and breathed the Shaker way of life with a common sense of purpose and devotion. Eight years later only two of the nine remained; Tabitha and Betty Babbit whose father Seth was a trustee for the village, as was Hette’s father Jonathan. What drew the young girls away was nothing obscure, but a desire to be part of the world. Hette was the last of the seven to leave. She left a day after her natural brother Oliver, but she left with a Shaker brother, Bezaleel Edson. She returned a year later, having had enough of the world. Bezaleel sent her chest and cloth for a skirt back to the village. The term commonly used in the record books for Shakers leaving was ‘went away’. Many went away, and probably for a broad range of reasons, one aspect or another of worldly life drawing them. She died a Shaker in 1821.
 Nourse, Henry, p. 151. Vital Statistics?
 August 12, 1793, Harvard Record Book, FM 1.7, Shaker Manuscript Collection, Fruitlands Museum, p. 67. The nine girls were Tabitha and Betty Babbit, Mehitable Crouch, Ruth Dodge, Susanna Edson, Polly Hammond, Rebekah Keep, Betty Mixer, and Susannah Willard.
 Ibid., September 1, 1801, p. 91.
 Ibid., September 28, 1802, and November 14, 1802, p. 49.
All rights reserved. © Roben Campbell, 2016.