1845: Theodore M. Bishop to Dr. Benjamin Hale

This letter was written by Theodore M. Bishop (1821-18xx), the son of William Bishop (1799-18xx), from Lodi, New York. Bishop was an 1841 graduate of Union College. This letter was written in 1845 while Bishop was teaching school at Schenectady and attempting to prepare himself  for the ministry. The gist of this letter seems to be an impending loss, by Bishop, of an aid in his school named Williams, to the faculty of Geneva College. Bishop appears to acquiesce but hopes to gain a situation for himself or at least the support of Dr. Hale.

Dr. Benjamin Hale

In or about 1849, Bishop married Harriet ____ and from April 26, 1849 to 1857, and from August, 1861 to 1868, he was the Rector of Zion Church in Fulton, New York. It appears that Rev. Bishop had a long career with the Episcopal church in New York state and eventually earned a Doctorate in Divinity (DD).

Rev. Benjamin Hale served Geneva College (renamed Hobart College in 1852) as its president for 22 years —  from 1836 to 1858. “Under Hale the faculty and library grew significantly, a variety of capital improvements took place, and the financial situation of the young institution improved dramatically. At a time in American higher education when a great many institutions were forced to close their doors for extended periods, Benjamin Hale managed to keep the College running. In the words of Warren Hunting Smith, a widely regarded historian of the Colleges, “next to Bishop Hobart himself, no other man did so much for the College.”

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Rev. Dr. Benjamin Hale, President of Geneva College, Geneva, New York

Schenectady [New York]
Nove. 13th, 1845

Rev. & Dear Sir;

Page 1

Having resigned my charge of the Academy in Ovid, ¹ I waited for some considerable time for an offer from Mr. Kinsly of West Point, but he did not make me an offer until it was too late to expect a situation elsewhere. I therefore accepted of an appointment in the Grammar School of Union College with the privilege of leaving at the close of any term. The salary in this school is too small — being three hundred dollars. I am anxious to do better for myself. My circumstances require it. The circumstances of my friends who are in very moderate circumstances require it. I could not accept of another situation in the course of three or four weeks, if I had an offer, or if I could be quite sure of a place, I could accept of a place sometime in April next.

Page 2

My object in coming to this place was twofold. In the first place, I was extremely anxious to prosecute my studies and become a candidate for Orders. In the second place, I was anxious to consult books of Mathematics and some English publications upon the languages. To a certain extent, I have secured the latter advantages and besides have become a candidate for orders. I should lose much if I should be deprived of the services of Mr. Williams, but I think by close application such advantage might be in a measure compensated. I am willing to take any school which would secure my interests and would cheerfully act for the benefit of Geneva College. I cannot expect your recommendation to a school, but I think I might present testimonials satisfactory, and I hope I have not lost anything by my experience in teaching. I therefore leave my claims with you.

I am very truly your obedient servant, — Theodore M. Bishop


¹ See: Ovid’s Academy Success Short-Lived.


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