Nathan Hale: Yale 1773 :: Curator: Richard E. Mooney mssa exhibition

Hale's Life in Connecticut  |  The Years At Yale  |  In The Revolutionary War  |  How Sculptors Saw Him  | George Dudley Seymour  | Images & Namesakes

Hale’s Life In Connecticut: Coventry, East Haddam, New London
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Nathan Hale: Class of 1773
Nathan Hale and his older brother Enoch entered Yale together in 1769. Nathan was 14, a good student and a nimble sport, an 18th century "scholar-athlete." By reputation he was a charmer, to chums and more than one lady friend. He and Enoch came on horseback from home in Coventry, east of Hartford. On college records Enoch would be "Hale primus" and Nathan "Hale secundus." (Latin was the language of the campus.) There were 36 boys in their class, barely 100 in the whole college. The three college buildings faced The Green. Nathan and probably Enoch lived in Connecticut Hall, where Nathan's statue stands today.

After graduation Nathan taught boys for two years in one-room schoolhouses, where be nent the boys-only rule with summer classes for "young ladies" in the early morning. Enoch pursued the ministry, fulfilling Yale's essential purpose of preparing clergy. Nathan enlisted as a lieutenant in July 1775, soon after Lexington and Concord. Her served outside Boston and in New York until September 1776 when he volunteered as a spy. He was caught on September 21 and hanged the next day-when he may or may not have said the words that made him famous: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." He was 21.