Jonathan Ware (1767 – 1838)

”Ware, Jonathan. A new introduction to the English Grammar, composed on the principles of the English language, exclusively. By Jonathan Ware, Esq. Windsor, Vt.: Printed for the author by Jesse Cochran. 1814. sm. 4to, pp. 48.

—History of Vermont, (ms.) 4to, pp. 726.

Being a general history of the State brought down to about 1810. It has been stated that this work was presented to the Vermont Historical Society; but it has never been in its possession; the writer traced it to the possession of Ware Butterfield, Esq., of Concord, N. H., a relative of the author; and in 1876 ascertained, through correspondence, that Butterfield had ‘gone west,’ but to the present date (1880) his whereabouts have not been discovered.”

(Note:  See Biography of  Jonathan Ware Butterfield in the Index.)

”—Polyglot Lexicon of the old Testament, (ms.) The story of Jonathan Ware’s life is that of remarkable ability and learning directed to but little practical purpose, and makes a very curious chapter in the history of Vermont literature. He was born in Wrentham, Mass., April 24, 1767, of parentage, especially on his mother’s side, of strongly marked character and no mean literary and scientific culture. He graduated at Harvard in 1790, studied law at Bennington, Vt., married at Pomfret in 1794. and soon after began the practice of his profession at Peacham. Here he was instrumental in starting the Green Mountain Patriot, the first newspaper in that part of the State, and was active in public affairs. He was, however, unfortunate in his practice and in money affairs, and so abandoned the profession and moved to Danville. During the war of 1812 he was in the army a short time at Burlington and Plattsburg, and in 1813 moved to Pomfret. where he settled on a rough farm in a secluded part of the town, and there began the literary work and study which only ended with his life. He first wrote and published the little grammar, mentioned above. Intending to follow it with a larger work on the same subject; but the book was too eccentric to be useful, and the plan fell to the ground. Becoming pressed for money, he left home and for two or three years taught Greek in schools at Boston and New York, then returned and opened a select school in a log building—which he called an ‘Academy,’ on his own farm. This enterprise was soon abandoned, however, and from about the year 1823 to the time of his death, he lived quietly, working on his farm and preparing the manuscripts named. The most remarkable of these is of course the ‘Lexicon,’ which as a monument of persevering toil, is doubtless without a rival in American scholarship, although from its nature it could at most have been useful to but a very few scholars in the end. There seems to have been nothing to lead him to undertake the Herculean task except an enthusiast’s love of the subject and of the work involved. The plan under which he began included only four languages, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English, but finally four others, French. Spanish, Italian and Russian, were added, and Ware toiled on through chapter after chapter, selecting such words as he thought worthy of notice and giving definitions in all the tongues, often very copiously. The manuscript took all his spare time for fully a dozen years, and was within six months of completion, when, in January, 1838, he went to Harvard College to consult some books. He was taken sick on the way back and died at the home of one of his daughters in Andover, N. H.. February 1, in the year last named. The manuscript has been bound, and is preserved in the Harvard College Library.”

Source:  The Bibliography of Vermont, Vol. 1, by Marcus Davis Gilman, printed by the Free Press Association, Burlington, 1897, page 321


Jonathan Ware (1767 – 1838) — 1 Comment

  1. Jonathan was indeed a very intelligent individual and dedicated to his studies. Thank you Vicki for this informative post.


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