Sarah Crouch

A Short Biography: Sarah Crouch, Harvard Shaker  (1750-1833)

by Roben Campbell, Shaker researcher


Sarah Sterns Crouch came from Littleton, Her husband David united with the Shaker faith soon after Mother Ann arrived in 1781. Sarah was reluctant to join. One evening when the Shakers were meeting when Believers were meeting about a half-mile from where she lived. She was pondering upon this new and strange doctrine, and desired to know if there was any good in it. Sarah asked for a sign which she thought in her heart was impossible to be granted: that, if her husband’s sister Patience and her Aunt Mary (Worster) should turn down her road while under the operations of the power of God, she would believe in the testimony of Mother Ann. The following account records the story:

Soon after meeting commenced Patience and Mary were taken under operations, and commenced turning Soon they were whirled out doors & took the direction of Sarah’s house. They continued to turn till they reached the dwelling [and] was then turned into it and were turned around Sarah several times. They then left the house without speaking a word.

Sarah could no longer resist the testimony, but soon confessed her Sins and was ever a true & upright follower of Mother & the Elders.[1]

 Ten years later, in 1791, she offered the following items towards the building of the Harvard Meeting House: a small amount of cash, a quart sized basin, pewter plates, knives, forks, teaspoons and four yards of woven checked cloth.[2]

During her fifty years as a Believer she resided in the North and Church Families.[3]  Sarah often repeated a saying of one of the Elders: “No soul could travel one step in the way of God only in tribulation.”[4]  She died at the Square House, where Mother Ann had lived, at age 84.[5]  A Harvard sister noted her death, “Thus another faithful child of our Blessed Mother, has gone to receive her glorious reward in the mansions of peace & rest.”[6]







[1] Testimonies and Wise Sayings, Counsel, and Instruction of Mother Ann & the Elders, Collected and transcribed by Eunice Bathrick, 1869, from the Shaker Manuscript Collection, WRHS.VI.B.10, pp. 196-197.

[2] Harvard Shaker Record Book, Shaker Manuscript Collection at Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, Roll 1 on microfilm, item 8?, p. 8

[3] Joseph Hammond Journal, Shaker Manuscript Collection at Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, FM 1.10, entries on January 6, 1821, and September 17th , 1822. Also Membership Records at Fruitlands Museum, FM 1.1.

[4] Incidents Related by some of the Ancient Believers… Gathered and Recorded by Roxelana Grosvenor, WRHS.VI.B.9; [pages not numbered], sheet 34, right side.

[5] Ibid.

[6] 12-10-1833, entry from a Harvard Church Family Daybook, FM 4.2, Shaker Manuscript Collection at Fruitlands Museum, Harvard.





All rights reserved. © Roben Campbell, 2016.