1816 Autograph Document Signed by Major Ichabod Crane, probable namesake of Washington Irving’s schoolmaster character in the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
“The Real Ichabod Crane”
Ichabod Crane, Washington Irving’s fictional character in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” is said to have been based on Ichabod Bennet Crane (b. 1787), an American artillery officer, whom Irving encountered during the War of 1812. Crane and Irving purportedly met in 1814 during the War of 1812, at Fort Pike in Sackets Harbor, where Irving served as aide-de-camp to Governor Daniel D. Tompkins.
This 1816 military document confirms Major Crane’s receipt of dining ware for the officer’s mess at the camp in Portland, Maine: “Received of Capt. Perez Loring actg. as the Deputy Qr. Master General, the following articles of furniture, being purchased for the use of the Mess of Officers, with the funds arising from the compensation paid by the Sutler for the privilege of supplying the Company…” A list of items then follows, providing insights into the officers’ domestic arrangements in camp: kitchen and dining ware, utensils, a coffee mill, 12 chairs, table cloths, wine glasses and decanters, the set-ups for tea and coffee drinking, etc.
Crane later commanded troops in the Black Hawk War in 1832, the Second Seminole War in 1835 under future President Zachary Taylor, and during Canada’s Patriot War in 1838 along the US-Canadian border.
Major Crane looked nothing like Irving’s lanky schoolmaster, and he was reportedly displeased with Irving’s choice to use his name.
Description: 1816 Autograph Document Signed by Major Ichabod Crane, probable namesake of Washington Irving’s schoolmaster character in the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
Portland, Maine, January 1, 1816. p. ADS. Folio. Laid paper. Folds; very good.