A place of their own: creating the deaf community in America by John V. Van Cleve, Barry A. Crouch

By John V. Van Cleve, Barry A. Crouch

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Cogswell, a prominent physician, had one deaf daughter, Alice, and he was anx- Page 25 ious to open in New England a school for her and for other deaf youngsters. Toward this purpose he and a Connecticut attorney who had five deaf children already had applied to the state government for subsidy until their institution could become self-supporting, but they needed to employ someone familiar with deaf education to work with them. 8 Desiring to establish his own school, Braidwood apparently declined Cogswell's offer, for there is no evidence of further correspondence between them.

The reasons for his reluctance to do so are unclear. 6 Although this may have been true, other reasons probably included the still unpaid debt to the Braidwood Academy, dwindling Bolling financial resources, and the desire of Americans to establish themselves as independent of England in all respects, including their children's education. Whatever the Bolling family's motivations, by 1812 they still had not resolved the problem of finding suitable educational opportunities for their deaf son and presumably their daughter, though they do not mention her.

H]e was taken with a Billious Fever on 29th Agst. and struggled with his disorder with as much patience as ever a poor soul did, 'till the 11th October at which time he expired. 4 The death of the Bollings' oldest deaf son only three months after he arrived home from a twelve-year separation from his parents and family must have been a great shock to the Bollings. John's long education in Scotland was an expense the Bollings could have done without. Thomas Bolling's letter to Thomas Braidwood, in which he recounted the death of John, included a discussion of the Bollings' financial problems; they had been unable or unwilling to pay the Braidwoods the expensive tuition of their children.

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