Abel Buell, Who are You?

Perusing the Birmingham-Burlington section of the B’s in Encyclopedia Americana, we came across the relatively obscure entry of Abel Buell, then compared the conventional entry to the Wikipedia entry.  For the most part, concrete facts matched up, but there were a couple anomalies.  The print encyclopedia explicitly states that Buell was imprisoned for forgery in 1764, and later pardoned.  The Wikipedia site goes into the subtleties of the case more deeply and we find that he was not so much imprisoned as put under house arrest.  Not a glaring discontinuity, but one nonetheless.  Also, Wikipedia has two separate years listed for the man’s death: 1822 at the top and 1825 closer to the bottom.  Doubtless the result of a typo, but still an example of a potential problem with largescale collaboration.  But still, without seeking out hard copies of death records, it’s hard to either corroborate or refute some “facts.”  In this case, since 1822 matches the Americana entry, it probably safe to say that he did in fact die in that year.

We also checked Britannica.com and found no entry for at all for Abel Buell.


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