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Nutting, Rufus (1793-1878) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Nutting, Rufus (1793-1878)

Historical Note:

Rufus Nutting was born in 1793. Encouraged by his brother he also was a graduate of Dartmouth. His first employment seems to have been as preceptor of a Female Seminary at Catskill, New York. As he could not have been much above his majority he needed all his unusual dignity and piety for so delicate a position. He married one of his pupils Miss Marcia Manning and the wedding was in church according to the forms of the Dutch Reformed Church. which in those days made marriage an event so solemn that it was hardly joyful. The ceremony took a full hour during which the parties remained standing. The husband left an exquisite account of the proceedings making a story as quaint and picturesque as can be imagined. But for its sacredness it deserves to be in print. Later he also became preceptor of the Randolph Academy. While at Randolph he published Nutting's English Grammar; in this work for the first time the attempt was made to represent the true simplicity of English. He discarded some modes of the verb as being irrational and needless and the passive voice which really has no existence as a grammatical form in our language and in many ways simplified and reduced to the actual the whole science. The work was long used in the schools of Vermont and though now superseded it has exerted a strong influence upon later writers.

At the establishment of the new College for Ohio at Hudson he became professor of Latin and Greek in its faculty a place which he filled for many years. The needs of his growing family and the small and uncertain salary of his chair led him to return to academy work then much more promising. High schools were then rare and the academy was in its glory. His popularity as a teacher was also great that he had only to announce the opening of a school though in some little hamlet to have it crowded with pupils. In his hands Latin and Greek were no longer dead languages and English was a revelation.

He continued in this work till he had filled out fully fifty years of teaching, then for some years he became a city missionary in Detroit where he d in 1878 of sheer old age. His wife Marcia had preceded him by some years and he had married Mrs Mary Eaman.

Sources: Nutting, John Keep. Nutting genealogy: A record of some of the descendants of John Nutting, of Groton, Mass. C. W. Bardeen, 1908.

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