Richard Waldron IV

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Richard Waldron IV
Harvard College in 1740
Harvard College about the time Richard Waldron IV graduated
Born (1719-12-20)December 20, 1719
New Hampshire
Died 1745 (age 25)
Occupation Harvard student
Spouse(s) unmarried
Children none
Parents Richard Waldron (Secretary) and Elizabeth Westbrook

Richard Waldron IV's 1735 handwritten transcript of Harvard College laws or regulations is considered the earliest extant example of the use of the slang word "John" to describe a washroom or bathroom or privy.[1]

Birth and parentage[edit]

Richard Waldron IV, a member of a prominent colonial New Hampshire family, was born December 20, 1719,[2] and baptized in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on January 10, 1719/20.[3] His parents were Richard Waldron and Elizabeth Westbrook, daughter of Colonel Thomas Westbrook. The oldest of eight children, he was fourth in a direct line of Richard Waldrons stemming from his great-grandfather, Major Richard Waldron.

Impact of a young Harvard College student's assignment[edit]

Young men of well-to-do colonial New England families were often sent to Harvard College at about age 14. Richard Waldron IV's own father had graduated in 1712 after entering at about the same age.[4] One of a new student's first tasks was to hand-write a copy of the College laws or regulations and have these signed by the college president or one of the fellows. Richard made his copy on June 24, 1735, "in his own immature hand and erratic orthography". One of these laws read: "20. No freshman shall ... go into the fellows' cuzjohn."[5] This has been described by an Oxford dictionaries contributor and author[6] as the "first recorded use of john for a privy."[7]

Graduation and decease[edit]

Richard Waldron IV graduated in 1738.

He was "lost at sea" in 1745.[8] "My eldest Son left me abt 2 yrs agoe, to seek his fortune abroad, nothing at home offering to his mind, and him I have not heard of since, but under such circumstances as give reason to believe, yt ye vessel in which he went, with ye whole Company perish'd in ye Deep. This is a gloomy Dispensation..."[9] Richard IV was one of six children of Secretary Richard and Elizabeth Westbrook Waldron to pass away early. He was unmarried and left no children.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Quinion, "John" In: World Wide Words (website) accessed August 18, 2010 at http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-joh1.htm
  2. ^ C.H.Cutts Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family, (Albany, 1892) p.34 at http://www.archive.org/details/genealogyofcutts00howa accessed August 18, 2010
  3. ^ "Richard Waldron" In: "Class of 1712" In: Sibley's Harvard Graduates, vol. 5, pp. 654, 657
  4. ^ "Richard Waldron" In: "Class of 1712" In: Sibley's Harvard Graduates, vol. 5, pp. 653 - 657
  5. ^ "Richard Waldron - A Freshman Guide (1735)" In: William Bentinck-Smith, The Harvard book: selections from three centuries, pp.161-2, accessed August 18, 2010 at http://books.google.ca/books?id=_4uo4_pfWLwC&pg=PA161&lpg=PA161&dq=%22richard+Waldron%22+harvard&source=bl&ots=czDlQI5n1Z&sig=XlfhCfpiVxEmAn_SENXouYCm3UM&hl=en&ei=X6xsTLDoMYWCsQO9hI2wBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22richard%20Waldron%22%20harvard&f=false
  6. ^ "Michael Quinion's Personal Page" (webpage) http://www.worldwidewords.org/personal.htm accessed Aug 18, 2010
  7. ^ Michael Quinion, "John" In: World Wide Words (website) accessed August 18, 2010 at http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-joh1.htm
  8. ^ C.H.Cutts Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family, (Albany, 1892) p.34 at http://www.archive.org/details/genealogyofcutts00howa accessed Aug 18, 2010
  9. ^ Nathaniel Bouton, "Correspondence... From Hon. Richard Waldron to Gov. Belcher" ("7br" 4th, 1747) In: Provincial Papers: Documents and records relating to the province of New Hampshire, Vol 6, p.40 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=APs7AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=%22Richard+Waldron%22+Wentworth&source=bl&ots=x-ciTHLAKA&sig=U-Yj5P35eIz2cPXJVqKikKvaDYw&hl=en&ei=w7uzTI3HA5KisQP3lryVCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22Richard%20Waldron%22%20Wentworth&f=false
  10. ^ C.H.Cutts Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family, (Albany, 1892) p.34 at http://www.archive.org/details/genealogyofcutts00howa accessed Aug 18, 2010