Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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CROSBI, Enoch, patriot, born in Harwich, Massachusetts, 4 January 1750; died in Brewsters, New York, 26 June 1835. He was supposed to be the original of " Harvey Birch" in Cooper's "Spy." In his infancy his parents removed to Southeast, Dutchess County, New York, and by a series of disasters were reduced to poverty. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a cord-wainer. At the beginning of the Revolutionary war he joined the Continentals, and served in the Lake Champlain campaign for several months then became ill and was sent home. On his recovery he shouldered his musket and set out on foot for the American camp. On his journey an incident, of which he took advantage, revealed a deep-laid conspiracy, upon which he successfully studied and acted. The result was the prompt arrest of a band of Tories, and his own appointment to a place in the Secret Service Department. He became a most successful worker, and by his shrewdness prevented various catastrophes to the patriot cause. After many hair-breadth escapes he finally joined the command of Lafayette, under whom he served till the end of the war, when he purchased a farm and devoted himself to agriculture for the rest of his life. The story of his secret-service life, which was thought to be incorporated in Cooper's "Spy" (though Cooper had never heard of him), was dramatized, and Mr. Crosby was on one occasion present at a representation of the play in New York City, and, as the hero, received the plaudits of the multitude. His narrative, taken from his own lips by Captain H. L. Barnum, was published under the title of "The Spy Unmasked" (New York, 1828).
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