My history crush is Nathan Hale.
He was born in Connecticut and graduated with honors from Yale in 1773 at the age of eighteen.
While at Yale, he had a small but close-knit group of friends, and belonged to a prestigious literary fraternity. He and his friends referred to each other using nicknames from Greek mythology. (Nathan was “Pythias.”)
After graduation, he became a schoolteacher, and taught night classes to local girls, believing that they deserved a good education as much as the boys did.
When the American Revolution broke out, Nathan joined the Continental Army, eventually achieving the rank of captain. He was described by his fellow soldiers as energetic, articulate, and compassionate. If a member of his unit was sick or injured, Nathan would sit up with them during the night and pray for them.
When General Washington elected to send a spy behind enemy lines, Nathan was the only volunteer. He was captured by the British forces and sentenced to death by hanging.
Before his execution, he wrote letters to his family and friends, but the British officer in charge of the camp where he was imprisoned confiscated and destroyed them. Nathan also asked for a Bible from the officer in charge, but this was also denied. However, a soldier he had befriended later sent a message, at Nathan’s request, to the Hale family.
Nathan Hale was executed for treason and espionage on September 22nd, 1775. He had turned twenty-one two months earlier. Witnesses, including the kind British soldier, reported that he had conducted himself with dignity and honor in his final hours.
His eloquent last words were “my only regret is that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Although no likenesses made of him during his lifetime exist, he was described as having fair hair and blue eyes, slightly taller than average, with a slender, agile build.
Intelligent, well-spoken, friendly, kind, religious, and extremely brave. What more could you ask for?