Stanley, Henry
Manuscript Journal of Rev. Henry Stanley, of Le Roy, Genesee County, New York, kept while a student at Geneva Academy, dated 1839-1840.

Small quarto, bound in contemporary full sheep backed flexible wrappers, somewhat rubbed and scuffed, with 172 manuscript pages, neatly written in ink, in a very legible hand.

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Stanley's "Personal Journal" begins June 17, 1839 and it ends on April 15, 1840 and covers his entire junior year at Geneva Academy.  His journal describes his life at Geneva Academy, his professors and tutors, his course of study and examinations. He also describes his friends and social activities at the school, such as: boating and swimming at a lake, picking strawberries, attending local holiday celebrations, and in one case being invited to meet Henry Clay. There is even mention of a very disturbing event on the campus, the tossing of body parts from a cadaver being dissected, by a medical student at another, non-medical student, which caused a near riot on the campus:

"A circumstance happened last night, which had excited the students considerably. Young Ford with those brother medicals was dissecting a body belonging to them, and seeing several of our students looking upon them from an opposite window, he threw a piece of human flesh in their faces. This open insult gave rise to many rumors, calculated to breed disturbance, one of which was that part of a man's liver had been thrown in the spring, where it had been seen by three students. Ford was talked of throughout the day and many threats were uttered against him. The Tutors & President were invited to a party this evening at Prof. Webster's, and they accepted. The way was now clear for them to execute their threats. The students were all apprised that the tutors were absent, that Ford was in the dissecting room with several others, and that he would be disturbed, by some of the Students. This drew out some few wild ones, who commenced throwing stones through the windows of the room where they were dissecting, and the rattling of the stones, the juggling of the glass, and the loud voices of those throwing, brought others out, until nearly all were on the ground, in front of the College. More stones were thrown, until the Medical put out their lights, when they stopped.

Their design was to trouble and disturb them till an apology was offered for the insult, and to get the person of Ford if they were able, and inflict upon him such corporal punishment as they should think he deserved. Hats and caps were interchanged as the Faculty would son be apprised of it, and some caution was necessary to prevent detection. Prof. Irving, just at that time was seen coming from his house and every one started for his room in haste. He came only far enough to see that the ground was cleared, and then returned. As soon as he was out of sight two or three began to batter against the front door with a rail which soon burst open. One panel was broken and another cracked, though it was of hard wood and heavy construction. The Faculty came upon us before any thing more was accomplished, and as they seemed disposed to stay, we could do nothing. At half past ten, the Dr. went to the Medicals and told them, that they could leave the building in safety, as all the Students were in their rooms. They had lain under their dissecting tables all the evening, to save themselves from the stones thrown through the windows."

An investigation was conducted the next day by the Medical Faculty of the College and the student who instigated the incident was severely reprimanded. This wasn't the only time the college would be the scene of excitement, later in the year Stanley describes students running the halls, screaming and shouting, blowing tin horns and rolling cannon balls along the floors. This was followed by someone lighting a privy on fire.

The journal is also peppered with news from back home, of friends and family, of sickness and death, or simply gossip and reports of the family and their circle of friends and the community of LeRoy.

Henry has written an "Introduction" where he states his reason for keeping his journal:

"My intention in commencing this work is my own improvement..... This in several ways, may be attained. The intellectual powers like those of the body are strengthened by exercise and there is no kind of employment better for this purpose than the use of the pen...."

Stanley relates an incident which induced him to improve his writing skills:

"The question "Which affords the greatest display of Eloquence the Pulpit, or the Bar," was one of interest. When called upon to debate, I arose, and after uttering a few half-broken, incoherent sentences, was obliged to sit down and the laughs and jeers of my fellow-members. I attended a little closer to the arguments brought forward, and when my turn again came, I poured forth such a strain as set the House in violent convulsions, not at my wit, but at one or two most hideous mistakes; which slipped from my teeth unbidden. Still, I obtained for myself some honor, and a little satisfaction, by wiping off the ridicule I had before incurred."

He shows a poetic side when upon receiving the news of the death of his "Uncle Adino," he writes a short requiem or elegy:

"Thou art gone from this troublesome Earth,

From those thy affection held dear;

In the morn of thy life, in the fullness of youth,

Thou hast left us, they mourning friends here.

Thou wast willing, when Christ bid you come,

Except for the wife you were leaving,

But that God will support her, when left here alone,

Whom you trusted on Earth, and adore now in heaven."

Henry also expresses his strong feelings and sense of propriety at times, for instance when he hears the news that his father has hired a man to help work the farm that he disapproves of:

"In the same letter comes the news that Elisha Simons is at work at our house. I had rather have heard that he was away, as he possesses considerable influence with my sisters, and that influence is a bad one. And 2dly, his conversation in the field with any one is not such as the boys should hear and 3dly, he is slow to work, and so he is not the one that father wants. The first two, are unknown most likely to Father; the third objection is overruled by his sense of duty mingled with compassion - a feeling which is not wanting in Father."

There is also a good account of a 4th of July celebration at Le Roy where:

"The patriotic people of Le Roy were to have a Celebration in which all were to join, Whig & Tory; high and low, rich and poor; person of every rank and party; from the grey-haired sire of ‘76 to the curly-headed urchins."

At Geneva where Stanley was at school, they too brought in the 4th with a bang:

"4th. We were awakened this morning, by the ringing of bells, and the firing of the Federal Salute which announced the rising of the Sun. I started to go down, though only half dressed, and here the reports of the cannon echoed upon the Lake, and as I opened the door, a small cannon fired in the hall, gave me a most terrible shock, and shivered the glass in the windows to atoms. From this time till the procession, squibs, fire-crackers, and fire-works of various descriptions, were discharged profusely."

Stanley marched in the parade, with his fellow students as follows:

       "The firemen came first, then the Lyceum Students, then the College Students, Authorities of the town, &c."

Later that night, still celebrating the holiday, one of Stanley's fellow students was involved in a brawl with some laborers:

"Two of the laborers of the town came to the place where we were sitting, enjoying ourselves by throwing crackers upon each other, and they now and then, received one. A slight made, slender fellow, of the Students, without thinking of anything more than sport, threw one at the short, bulky figure of one of them, who jumped up and struck him in the back. The Student turned round, and gave him a blow with his fist, which sent him to the ground, and then struck blow after blow, till he roared "enough," three times most hastily. He left the grounds holding in his hands, his bleeding nose, and in about half an hour, he returned with a numerous band of half drunken loafers, all armed with clubs, and eager for a battle, which surely would have happened had not the aforesaid student left the ground, and persuaded his fellows to leave with him."

Overall, the journal offers a very interesting look at a student's life at Geneva Academy at the time.

Biography of Rev. Henry Stanley

The Rev. Henry Stanley was born on October 22, 1820, at Le Roy, New York. He was the son of Elisha Stanley, of Goshen, Connecticut. His father was a farmer at Le Roy for many years having moved to Le Roy from Goshen in 1811. Elisha Stanley served as one of the officers of the newly formed St. Mark's Church in 1817. Later he served in 1847-1848 as the president of Leroy Village. He died in 1888 at Le Roy at the age of 89 having served as an officer of St. Mark's Church since 1817.

Henry Stanley graduated from Geneva Academy in 1841, received his M.A. from that institution in 1844 and then attended the Geneva Theological Seminary, graduating in 1845 and was ordained the same year. Geneva Academy later became Hobart College.

He was minister of Lockport, New York's Christ Church from 1846 to 1849. About 1850 he was sent to the Diocese of Maryland, where he was assistant rector of Ascension Parish in Washington City. He was appointed rector at that church from 1854-1857. He had also served in Western New York as a missionary at Pulaski and Mexico in Oswego County and in Illinois. He died at Little Falls, New York, on April 8, 1870, while acting as the minister of the Emmanuel Church where he had been since 1865.

On February 10, 1848, at Lockport, Henry married Rebecca Wickham Crooke Wood (1810-1880), the daughter of Major John Wood (1770-1826) of Newport, Rhode Island, commander of the forces defending Newport Harbor during the War of 1812. Rebecca's mother was Rebecca Wickham Crooke.
Together Henry and Rebecca Stanley had at least two children. His daughter Rebecca W. C. Stanley married Harry H. Falkner an insurance agent of the village. They had three children. Henry's sister Cornelia married a Dr. Edmond Taylor and continued living at LeRoy.