Crosman, Rufus (1798-1891)

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Rufus Crosman came to the Shakers with his father and sister, Betsy in 1818. He lived at the North Family, Mount Lebanon, from 1823 to 1841, signing the covenant in 1829. He went to live at the Second Family in 1841, and was there until 1858. He then lived at the East Family from 1858 until its closure. He came at last to live at Mount Lebanon's Church Family in 1872. After the great fire suffered by the Church Family in 1875, which destroyed the dwelling house among other structures, he lived in the cooper's shop. As a young Shaker, he assisted with peddling \brooms and garden seeds and other goods, worked in the sawmill, and worked in the gardens. In his later years, he was known for his work at coopering, specifically at making "fancy pails" comprised of alternating bands of various woods.


"...Br. Rufus Crosman, who is 91 years of age, calls at the office, and we enjoy a very pleasant, social chat. Br. Rufus enjoys excellent health for one so aged, and is still able to do considerable work in his shop. During the past year he has made a large number of fancy pails. He also makes all the bales, ears and hoops. The staves are [Page: 252] from some four or five kinds of wood, and when finished are very pretty. Br. Rufus has no machinery in his room, but does all his work with a few hand tools. He has no use for spectacles, and taking up the Manifesto, read with ease the finest print. His hearing is equally as acute, and he enters into a conversation with the ease of a person carrying a much less number of years..." [Source:( The Manifesto , 19:11, November 1889, p. 248]


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Shaker Museum Crosman, Rufus (1798-1891). Accessed on December 1, 2023

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Shane Rothe

Curatorial Associate

Shane Rothe (they/them) joined Shaker Museum in July 2023, working with independent curator Maggie Taft on an exhibition for the new museum space in Chatham. Shane is an artist as well as a curator and continues to create in the mediums of painting, sculpture, writing, and performance. Shane holds a BFA from CalArts and an MA in art history and curatorial studies from the University of Chicago.