- Richard Crawford
- , revised by David Warren Steel
(b Framingham, MA, Feb 9, 1771; d Pawtucket, RI, Oct 31, 1815). American composer, tunebook compiler, and singing master. The son of Jeremiah Belknap Jr. and Hepzibah Stone, he grew up in Framingham, where he received a common-school education. He then worked as a farmer, mechanic, and militia captain, and taught singing-schools from the age of 18. Around 1800 he married Mary Parker, with whom he had five children by 1809. In 1812 he and his family moved to Pawtucket, where he died of a fever.
Most of his 86 known compositions were first printed in his own tunebooks, an exception being his most widely published piece, “Lena,” which was introduced in The Worcester Collection (Boston, 5/1794). His ambitious Masonic ode, “A View of the Temple,” was sung at the installation of the Middlesex Lodge of Framingham in 1795. Belknap’s The Harmonist’s Companion (Boston, 1797), a brief 32-page collection, contains only his own compositions, which are written in an American idiom untouched by European-inspired reform. His later compilations, ...