Abraham Eltinge Crispell Papers

Finding Aid Completed by Eric Roth, August 10, 2004
Volume: 1 folder, app. 70 items
Acquisition: These photocopies were donated to the Huguenot Historical Society by C. Dean Lausten of Littleton, Colorado in November 2003. Lausten purchased the original documents on Ebay in December 2002. They allegedly came from Abraham Eltinge Crispell's personal trunk found approximately 15 years ago in Hoosic Falls, NY. Lausten did not purchase all of the documents listed for sale, but contacted both seller and other buyers to procure copies of the collection in its entirety.
Access: Unrestricted.
Copyright: Request for permission to publish materials from these records should be discussed with the Archivist and Director of the Huguenot Historical Society.

Biographical Note

Abraham Eltinge Crispell F-115, [1] physician, was born on June 22, 1823 to Peter J. Crispell and Catherine Eltinge in the town of Hurley in Ulster County, New York. He first married Adaline M. Barber of Roxbury, by whom he had two children. After her death in 1854, he married Jane Ann Catlin (1830-1904), daughter of Pierce Catlin and Ann Winegar on May 31, 1830. Dr. Crispell had three children from this second marriage.

Abraham Crispell attended medical school at the Berkshire Medical College at Pittsfield , Massachusetts and New York University. In 1849 he moved to Rondout (Kingston), NY to practice medicine there. [2] He was appointed to Surgeon of the 20th Regiment in the 8th Brigade in the 2nd Division of the New York State Militia in 1853, and according to his obituaries, served as a health officer at Hilton Head, South Carolina during the Civil War. He was appointed Brigade Surgeon of Volunteers in 1862. Dr. Crispell also briefly worked for the Buffalo General Hospital. He died at Kingston, NY, on November 4, 1881. [3]

Collection Description

This collection consists of photocopies of primarily financial documents created by Dr. Abraham Eltinge Crispell of Kingston, Ulster County, New York. Records include receipts, contracts, letters, court papers, and occasional other papers relating to the management of Crispell's personal estate and his career as a local physician and Civil War surgeon. Unfortunately, this collection provides a scattered rather than comprehensive account of his Crispell's activities, both military and civilian. The papers are filed chronologically, regardless of subject, although there are a few exceptions due to size.

Prior to the Civil War, the records document Crispell's activities as a physician in Kingston. These records include receipts for medical supplies, legal contracts concerning real estate, and court papers for cases involving Crispell, often in the capacity of medical expert. Other records pertain to taxes, life insurance, and stock in the Union Plank Road Company. Documents of particular interest include a judgment of Ulster County Supreme Court in the case of Kingston Bank v. Hiram Roosa and Abraham Crispell, 1853; include a handwritten postmortem report on the body of gunshot victim Ed Welsh, 1854; a letter from Robert Morgan, inmate of Ulster County Jail in Kingston to Crispell asking forgiveness for stealing his horse and "buggie" during a drunken stupor, 1855, an agreement for the purpose of storing "Lager Birr (lager beer)" in a tunnel situated in Kingston, 1856, a long list of medical supplies purchased by Crispell of John Aitken, Jr., of New York, 1860, and a document granting Crispell the authority to convey James Diamond, "a lunatic" to the "Asylum at Brattelboro," Vermont, 1860.

The Civil War records concern Crispell's activities as a military surgeon from 1861-1865. Circulars, telegrams, handwritten correspondence, and records of payments chiefly document personnel assignments and leaves of absence, patient records, courts martial, and supply orders overseen by Crispell. There are also staff and patient lists for Buffalo General Hospital and the Hospital of the Sisters of Charity, and advertisement for a dance "sociable".

Another collection of papers relating to Dr. Crispell is held in the archives of the Huguenot Historical Society. This collection includes medical appointments, essays and correspondence, a marriage certificate, and obituaries of Dr. Abraham Eltinge Crispell and his father Dr. Peter Crispell, both surgeons in Ulster County. Some items in this collection also concern the Civil War. Other collections of note include the Bernard/Crispell Family Papers (1837-1922), David and Pierce Catlin Family Papers (1767-ca. 1890),and the Crispell Family Papers (1704-ca. 1823). Other significant collections of papers among the holdings of the Huguenot Historical Society relating to local nineteenth-century physicians can be found in the Brown/Phinney Family Papers: Anna C. Brown Collection (1773-1951), the DuBois Houghtaling Hasbrouck Physician's Book and Papers (1846-1867), and the Recipe Book Collection (1799-1940). Additionally, in 2004 the Society acquired the Abraham Eltinge Crispell Family Photographs and Calling Cards (1860s - ca. 1900).


[1] Hasbrouck, Kenneth E. The Crispell Family in America: Descendants of Antoine Crispell, Patentee of New Paltz, New York. Crispell Family Association, Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, NY (1976).

[2] Obituaries of Abraham Crispell, Kingston Daily Freeman, and Morning Cousin, Rondout, NY (November 5, 1881).

[3] More information about Dr. Crispell's education and career is available upon request.