Halloween in the Spring. A Series: The Real Ichabod Crane



Photographer unknown. Daguerreotype of Ichabod B. Crane. Official U.S. military portrait. Colonel, 1st Artillery, U.S. Army in 1848.

NOTE: This series, "Halloween in the Spring," is based on the posts I wrote for my Halloween 2020 Take-Over of AHNCA's (Art Historians of Nineteenth Century Art) social media accounts. It's a jolly bit of writing and the inspiration for this blog. I've left the posts almost identical to the originals to preserve the rollicking tone; however, I've added links to the original sources, museum websites, or other information you, dear reader, might find interesting. Without further ado, it's time to celebrate Halloween in the sprintime! 

This stern-looking character is Colonel Ichabod Bennet Crane (1787-1857). Yes, Ichabod Crane was a REAL person! Colonel Crane was born in Elizabethtown (Elizabeth), NJ in 1787. He joined the US Marine Corps at a very young age and served as a Captain in the US Army during the War of 1812. He eventually rose to the rank of colonel in 1843 and fought in the Mexican-American War. Crane was not the sniveling, cowardly, lanky character described in Washington Irving’s "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Instead, Colonel Crane was known for his bravery, severity, and pragmatism.

Irving and Crane were both stationed at Fort Pike, Sackets Harbor, NY in 1814. Irving was serving as an aide-de-camp to New York Governor, Daniel D. Tompkins. We don’t know if the two men ever met. However, Irving recorded Crane’s unusual name in his diary, giving it to his hapless schoolmaster in his famous short essay of 1820. Colonel Crane resented the connection to the character in Irving’s story and despised Irving for using his name.

SHC, photographer. Col. Ichabod Crane’s Gravemarker. Staten Island, NY CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1161510


Colonel Ichabod B. Crane moved to my hometown, Staten Island, NY, in 1850 and remained there until his death on October 5, 1857. You can visit his grave at the Ashbury Cemetery in New Springville.

Photographer unknown. Daguerreotype of Ichabod B. Crane. Official U.S. military portrait. Colonel, 1st Artillery, U.S. Army in 1848.
SHC, photographer. Col. Ichabod Crane’s Gravemarker. Staten Island, NY CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1161510




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