Ellery Bicknell Crane.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester county, Massachusetts, with a history of Worcester society of antiquity (Volume 2) online

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was twenty years old and has carried it on ever
since. Built a new house, erected new barns and
other buildings and from time to time added by
purchase to his farm. His farm is one of the largest
and most productive in the town. He has a herd
of about fifty cows and his dairy is famous. He
also devotes much of his attention to market gar-
dening and the lumber business. In one winter he
cut some seven hundred cords of wood on his es-
tate. His success, the product of his energy, industry
thrift, is well attested by the broad and well culti-
vated fields. He is active in public affairs and a lead-
ing Republican of the section. He has been over-
seer of the poor of the town of Northbridge, assessor
for thirteen years and selectman for ten years. He
is a member of the Orthodox church.

He married, May 21, 1874, Emma H. Rixford,
daughter of Harvey C. and Harriet (Day) Rixford,
and they have four children, viz. : Samuel H., born
January 17, 1876, attended the public schools, Wor-
cester Academy and Hinman's Business College.
Austin, born March 11, 1881, graduate of Hinman's
College. Harriet E., born August 23, 1883, edu-
cated at Northfield Seminary and Hinman's College.
Lucy D., born July 28, 1890, attends the Grafton
high school.

JOHN C. CRANE. Henry Crane (1), the im-
migrant ancestor of John C. Crane, of Millbury,
Massachusetts, was born in England in 1621. He
settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and is the pro-
genitor of the Milton branch of the family to which
United States Senator Winthrop Murray Crane be-
longs. He bought a farm of one hundred and twenty
acres in Dorchester together with a house, Sep-
tember 1, 1654. A road was laid out through Dor-
chester woods from Braintree to Roxbury passing
Henry Crane's house. This was the first road over
Milton Hill and was laid out by Braintree, now
Quincy. There is an autograph letter of Henry
Crane written May 7, 1677, in the Massachusetts
archives, Vol. 30, page 239, in answer to an order
to dispose of three Indian servants, the colony hav-
ing made it unlawful to hold Indians in bondage.
He was selectman in Milton in 1679-80-81. He was
one of the trustees of the first meeting house in
Milton. He was engaged in iron manufacture in
Dorchester and Milton and acquired considerable
property.

lie married (first) Tabitha , in England.

Sin- died 1681. He married (second), 1683, Eliza-
i insley, daughter of Stephen Kinsley, of Mil-



ton. He died in Milton, March 21, 1709. His chil-
dren : Benjamin, born about 1656, wounded in
King Philip's war in the swamp fight December 19,
1675 ; Stephen, born about 1657 ; Henry, Jr. ; John,
born January 30, 1658-59, see forward; Elizabeth,
born August 14, 1663, married (first) Eleazer Gil-
bert and (second) George Townsend; Ebenezer,
born August 6, 1665; Mary, born November 22,
1666, married Samuel Hackett; Mercy, born Jan-
uary 1, 166S; Samuel, born June 8, 1669; Anna, re-
sided at Taunton.

(II) John Crane, son of Henry Crane, was born
in Milton, Massachusetts, January 30, 1658-59. He
settled in Taunton, Massachusetts, but removed to
Berkeley, where he died August 5, 1716. He mar-
ried, December 13, 1686, Hannah Leonard, daughter
of James and Hannah Leonard, of Taunton. Her
father, Captain James Leonard, was one of Leon-
ard brothers, who started the first forge for iron
work in America. Among their children was John.

(III) John Crane, son of John Crane (2), was
born in Berkeley, Massachusetts, died there October
3 1 . T 777- He married Hannah Adams, a descendant
of Henry Adams, of Braintree. She was buried at
Oxford, Massachusetts. Among their children was
Lemuel.

(IV) Lemuel Crane, son of John Crane (3),
was born in Berkeley, Massachusetts, October 29,
1736, and died in Oxford, September 28, 1814. Dur-
ing the revolution he was a Loyalist and was im-
prisoned with other Tories in the Taunton jail on
account of his political views. This was the reason
he left Berkeley and removed to Oxford, Massa-
chusetts. He married, December 13, 1759, Bath-
sheba Gilbert, daughter of Colonel Thomas Gilbert,
the Tory leader, who left Boston with the British
when the town was evacuated in 1776. Their chil-
dren, all born in Berkeley except the youngest,
were : Lydia, born April 3, 1761, married Rodolphus
Eaton; John, October 3, 1763, see forward; Han-
nah, September 26, 1765, married Gideon Hovey;
Gilbert, July 4, 1767; Bathsheba, April 28, 1769,
married Jeremiah Metcalf; Mary, January 10, 1772,
married Gideon Hovey and Jeremiah Dean; Deb-
orah, December 3, 1773, married John Hudson ; Abi-
gail, married Nahum Pratt; Lemuel, a surveyor;
Oliver, April 1, "1778, married Thomas Kendall;
Margery, September 1, 1780, died September 25,
1825, unmarried.

(V) John Crane, son of Lemuel Crane (4), was
born in Berkeley, Massachusetts, October I, 1763,
and died in Rockport, Maine, October 30, 1845. He
married (first), March 22, 1789, Ruth Humphrey, of
Oxford, daughter of Captain Ebenezer Humphrey, a
revolutionary soldier. He married (second) Abigail
Bunker, of Goldsboro, Maine. Children of John
and Ruth Crane were : John, removed to New
York, married Batcheller ; Calvin, born Feb-
ruary 28, 1793, see forward; Hannah, married Wel-
come Green ; Jared ; Captain Elisha B., married
Eunice Greeley, of Bakers Island, Maine; Lemuel
G, married Clarinda N. Bickford, lived at Golds-
boro, Maine, sea captain ; Aaron B., died at sea,
aged twenty-two years; Bathsheba G., married Fran-
cis Gilley, of Fremont, Maine ; Thomas B., died
at sea, aged nineteen ; Ellen, born January 21, 1817,
at Mount Desert, Maine, married George W. B.
McDonald, of San Diego, California; Esther B.,
married Miles Bickford, of Birch Harbor, Maine;
Henry B., married Abigail Leighton, of Steuben,
Maine, was a sea captain ; Ellis K, married Han-
nah K. Barrett; sea captain of Northport, Maine;
David L., married Nancy Rice, of Goldsboro. Maine.

(VI) Calvin Crane, son of John Crane (5),
was born in Oxford, Massachusetts, February 28,



WORCESTER COUNTY



?59



i/93> and died in Grafton, Massachusetts, June 19,
1862. He was a tanner by trade, a skillful craftsman,
an honest, upright citizen. He resided in Grafton.
He married, January 4, 1827, Hannah Forbes, of
Upton, daughter of John Forbes, who died of yellow
fever in Havana, and who was, in his time, a mill
owner. Their children : Richard Rush, born in
Grafton, November 14, 1832, married Arethusia T.
Barrett, of Belfast, Maine; removed to Dover, Kan-
sas, where he died some years ago ; had three chil-
dren — Burton, Walter and one other; he was a
member of the second company of free state men
who went to Kansas from Massachusetts ; Charles
Robinson was captain of his company and later be-
came the first free-state governor of Kansas. John
Calvin, see forward. Hannah G., Susanna F. and
two daughters who died when young.

(VII) John Calvin Crane, son of Calvin Crane
(6), was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, October
16, 1837, and received his education in the common
and high schools of that town, and the Lancaster
(Massachusetts) Academy. When a mere boy he
was a recognized correspondent of a Boston paper,
which foreshadowed his interest in things literary
later to follow. His father being a tanner, he en-
tered the employ of Captain Jonathan Warren, for
whom his father worked, and later was employed
by Calvin W. Forbush, who had shoe factories in
Grafton and Lancaster, Massachusetts, and while
in the academy at Lancaster he worked in his shop
there in his spare hours. In 1854 he removed to
West Millbury and began work for A. Wood & Sons,
shoe manufacturers, as a cutter, and remained there
until the fall of 1858. Having caught the western
fever he went to Buffalo and made a tour of the
Great Lakes, seeing something also of Canada. He
visited Beaver Island in Lake Michigan to see the
place where a short time before the Mormon king,
Strang, was deposed. Mr. Crane eventually found
himself in Chicago, where he stayed for some time.
Thence he made his way by rail to Prairie du Chien,
there getting his first view of the Father of Waters.
St. Paul was his destination, which he reached in
due time, sailing the pure water of the Mississippi.
By landing at this early period in the land of the
"sky tinted water," he found himself enroled among
the pioneers of that New England of the west, Min-
nesota. For a while his abiding place was near the
scenes depicted in Longfellow's Hiawatha, around
the laughing Minnehaha. From early childhood he
had been interested in the Indian and here he found
full scope to satisfy the desire to learn more of the
red man than the degenerate Hasanamiscos could
furnish. Soon after he arrived In Minnesota Mr.
Crane established a depot for the sale of boots to
the settlers, also traveling about, selling his goods
from a wagon. His depot was at a place called Rich-
field, some four or five miles from Fort Snelling,
and farmers came from a distance of twenty and
thirty miles with wheat to exchange for footwear
made in Massachusetts. At that time, some three
years before the New Ulm massacre, Minnesota
was swarming with Indians, Sioux, Chippewas,
Winnebagoes, and others. Here was his oppor-
tunity to study the red man in the fulltide of his
wild life. Leaving the business in charge of a trust-
worthy friend, Mr. Crane pushed into the Indian
country hunting, fishing and looking into the ways
and customs of those Nomads of the great north-
west. He was reported as having been killed by them
and his friends near the fort gave up all hope of ever
seeing him again, when one day he appeared among
them wearing on his face the real Indian tan, sound
and healthy. The months passed among the Indian
tribes were prolific with results for that which he



sought, and what he then learned has borne fruit.
In 1859 he closed out his business and started for
Xew Orleans, but when he reached southern Illi-
nois, or Egypt, as it was then called, he changed
his mind and decided to take in more of the west
and, later, to see something of the south and its
peculiar institution, human slavery. All this was
accomplished and in early summer he was back in
learned the art of painting on glass, then much in
vogue. He followed this business until the fall of
the Old Bay State, located in Boston, where he
1859, when he returned to work at his trade in Mill-
bury. Having been married in November, 1861, Mr.
Crane and his wife removed to Boston in 1862,
where he engaged in the tobacco trade at 51 Union
street. Draft riots, recruiting, etc., caused stagna-
tion in the business and the trade was abandoned.
He then followed his trade of shoemaker in Wor-
cester for several years, living sometimes there and
sometimes in West Millbury.

Soon after 1880 Mr. Crane began to extend his
literary work and to make researches in family his-
tory, historical sketches, magazine articles, biography,
poems, etc., from his pen appeared in various
periodicals and newspapers, sometimes under his
own name and at others under a nom de plume. In
1883-84 Mr. Crane lectured on temperance in various
towns in the county. He has also spoken by invita-
tion on other subjects in many places. In 1885 he
was licensed to preach by the Millbury Baptist
church, of which he was a member, which privilege
he has used, it is believed, to the eternal welfare of
many. In 1897 he was commissioned a justice of
the peace for the commonwealth by Governor Roger
Wolcott and re-appointed by Governor John L.
Bates in 1904. For years Mr. Crane has been a
member of the Worcester Society of Antiquity, the
New England Historic Genealogical Society and the
Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Eng-
land. His publications have found their way into all
parts of this country and into foreign places as
well. His patrons in genealogical work reckon
among their number many of the distinguished men
and women of the land. In 1889 Mr. Crane wrote
the history of Millbury (forty-one pages of a thou-
sand words each) for the county history published
by J. W. Lewis & Co., that year, and he also wrote
several of the biographical sketches which appear
under other towns, and collected material for other
writers engaged on the work.

Mr. Crane has always taken an interest in the
sources of our rivers and streams. Some years ago
a controversy was had with the late Edward W.
Lincoln, of Worcester, concerning the source of the
Blackstone river. Mr. Lincoln claimed that Tat-
nuck brook and a spring feeding it, having its loca-
tion in Paxton, was the source and Mr. Crane held
to the theory that Ramshorn pond lying between
Millbury and Sutton was the fountain head. No
less an authority than Peter Whitney, the first his-
torian of the county, placed its source in the latter
locality. Along in the eighties Mr. Crane published
an article on the ponds of Worcester county, which
was received with favor. In 1881 Colonel Willard
Glazier, then captain, claimed to have discovered
that in a lake lying a little south of Itasca was the
fountain head of the great Mississippi and Mr.
Crane agreed with him. Ten years later, in 1891,
Colonel Glazier determined on a second trip to the
locality and Mr. Crane became a member of the
expedition, composed of eighteen white men and one
Indian. Mr. Crane felt that a personal investigation
was the thing needed to ascertain the truth of the
claim of Glazier. Before starting on the journey
to the headwaters, he made an extended tour through



260



WORCESTER COUNTY



Canada. The result of the Glazier expedition in
l8gi was favorable to the claim put forth in 1881
bv Glazier, and the party of 1890 so reported. A
full account of the investigation will be found in
the book, "Headwaters of the Mississippi," pub-
lished by Rand, McNally & Co., in 1893.

Mr. Crane has for many years been a persistent
searcher for stone relics of the Indians and has
gathered a large collection, to which he is constantly
making additions. Most of his finds are implements
of the Nipmucks, our local Indians, a few being
of the Micmacs and Narragansetts. Some of his
friends insist that he is an expert at classifying the
stone work as well as in finding it. He makes no
claims to any such distinction, yet he loves the
work, and at the proper time may often be seen
working his way around our ponds, and he rarely
fails to get a handful of treasures.

Mr. Crane has a library of some two thousand
volumes at his home 111 West Millbury. He is the
author of the following publications : "Colonel
Thomas Gilbert, the Leader of the New England
Tories." "Jonathan Holman, a Revolutionary
Colonel," "Asa Holman Waters Memorial," "Peter
Whitney and his History of Worcester County,"
"Rev. William Blackstone, the Pioneer of Boston,"
"Major General Burbank, the early Paper Maker,"
"The Nipmucks and Their Country," "George Sum-
ner Memorial," "What Guns in King Philip's
War?" "History of Millbury," in county history of
1889.

Mr. Crane is a lineal descendant on the paternal
side of William Bradford, the Pilgrim, second gov-
ernor of the Plymouth colony. The mother of
Thomas Gilbert, mentioned above, was Hannah Brad-
ford in direct line, and Colonel Gilbert's second
daughter, Bathsheba, married Lemuel Crane, great
grandfather of John C. Crane.

Mr. Crane married, November 21, 1861, Mary
Ellen Glazier, a descendant of the Lancaster Gla-
ziers, and daughter of Ira and Mary A. Glazier, of
Millbury, Massachusetts. Their children: I. Rich-
ard Forbes, born in Millbury, October 16, 1862, for
several years engaged in the wool business in Bos-
ton and Millbury; in 1S95 he established in Mill-
bury a warehouse for the sale of wool, waste, etc.,
his father being a silent partner in the business.
After four years the business was discontinued. He
is at present superintendent of the extensive woolen
mill of W. W. Windle & Co., at Bramansville. He
married (first) Mae E. Linsley, daughter of Charles
Linsley, of Worcester; married (second) Eva M.
Reed, born Gleason, adopted daughter of Edwin D.
Reed, of Orange. Massachusetts; married (third),
1894, Barbara A. Stickney, of Boston; his child by
the third wife, Dorothy Bradford, was born in Mill-
bury. 2. Florence E., born June 2. 1874, married
Frederick E. Putnam, of Sutton, and they have one
child — Ralph E. Putnam, born in Millbury.

OWEN FAMILY. Samuel Owen (1), the im-
migrant ancestor of Henry A. Owen, of Whitins-
ville, Northbridge, Massachusetts, was born in
Wales, Europe, A D., 1651. He and his wife, Pris-
cilla Belcher, with their son Josiah, came to America
about 1685. Like 111. st ^f the early settlers he came
to seek civil and religious liberty and to follow hus-
bandry as his occupation, lie came first to Massa-
chusetts, hut finding the colony of Rhode Island
most independent in matters of conscience and re-
ligious opinion he went thither and settled in that
part of Providence now known as North Providence
and not far from the pre cut Pawtucket turnpike.
His il -viiil. mts have been an industrious and re-
spectable class of men, and one of his great-grand-



sons (Daniel, born 1732) was chief justice of the
supreme court and lieutenant-governor of the state
of Rhode Island. There is reason to believe that
Samuel was a Quaker, as his son Josiah was. Chil-
dren of Samuel and Priscilla Owen : Abigail, mar-
ried, March 13, 1717-18; Elizabeth, married at
Smithfield, October 14, 1719, Benjamin Paine; Marg-
ery, married, March 11, 1723-24, Ralph Woolman;
Josiah, born 1681, see forward.

(II) Josiah Owen, son of Samuel Owen (1),
was born in Wales, 1681, and came with his parents
to America when a child. He married Hannah

— : and lived at Providence, Rhode Island. Their

children: John, born March 24, 1703; Thomas,
born 1706, see forward; Joseph, born 1708; and
probably several daughters.

(III) Thomas Owen, son of Josiah Owen (2),
was born according to the records of the Society of
Friends at Glocester, Rhode Island, July, 1707, and
died September 14, 1798, at Smithfield, Rhode
Island. Among his children were Solomon, born
1731, see forward; Hon. Daniel, born 1732, judge
of supreme court, lieutenant-governor of Rhode
Island.

(IV) Solomon Owen, son of Thomas Owen
(3), was born in Rhode Island, 1731. His children:
Thomas, born 1757; Solomon, 1759; Benjamin, 1761,
see forward; Oliver, 1763; William, 1765, and sev-
eral daughters unknown.

(V) Benjamin Owen, son of Solomon Owen (4),
was born in Rhode Island, 1761. His children:
Silas, born 1786; Benjamin, 1800, see forward, and
daughters.

(VI) Benjamin Owen, son of Benjamin (5),
was born in Ashford, Connecticut, 1800. He died
at Auburn, Massachusetts. His children : Oscar
G., born 1836, see forward ; Mason S., 1840, father
of Clarence; George M., 1847, father of George;
Ledoit, 1834 (twin) ; Leander (twin), 1834.

(VII) Oscar G. Owen, son of Benjamin Owen
(6), was born 1836. He resides in North Grafton,
Massachusetts. He married Harriet M. Robbins.
Their children: Oscar L.. born 1862; Nellie; Her-
bert (twin), born 1871 ; has son, Oscar Colburn;
Henry A. (twin), born 1871, see forward.

(VIII) Henry A. Owen, son of Oscar G. Owen
(7), was born at Stafford Springs, December 14,
1871. He was educated in the public schools of
Worcester, at the Millbury, Massachusetts high
school, where he studied two years, and at the
Rhode Island Technical Drawing School. He studied
architecture and civil engineering. He became con-
nected with the Whitin Machine Works, July 1,
1889, and has been since then in the engineering
department of this concern. He is a member of the
Whitinsville Lodge of Free Masons and of the
St. Elmo Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; also of the
Whitinsville Lodge of Odd Fellows. He is a Re-
publican in politics, and an attendant of the First
Universalist Church, Worcester, Massachusetts.

He married George Spaulding Walcott. daugh-
ter of George and Harriet (Carroll) Walcott, of
Foxboro, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of the
State Normal school at Framingham, Massachu-
setts. She taught school before her marriage, at
Peterboro. New Hampshire; at Milton and Whitins-
ville, Massachusetts. They have two children : A mev
Elizabeth, born August 16, 1904: Henry Walcott,
born June 12, 1906.

WILLIAM WALKER JOHNSON. Solomon
Johnson, Sr., (1), was a proprietor of Sudbury in
1631. He was the immigrant ancestor of William
Walker Johnson, of Worcester. Very little is known
of him. Both he and his son, Solomon Johnson,





^e4i^^rUa7Ct^.



WORCESTER COUNTY



261



Jr., were proprietors in 1645. That is the last record
of Solomon, Sr. He probably returned to England
or died soon afterward.

(.11) Solomon Johnson, Jr., son of Solomon
Johnson (1), was born in England, and may prop-
erly be called the immigrant ancestor of the John-
sons of Shrewsbury, Framingham, Marlboro and
Worcester. He came to New England early. In
1638 he shared in the division of the Sudbury
meadows. He was closely connected with the settlers
at Watertown, and in 1651 was appointed herdsman
of Watertown with headquarters near the Sudbury
line. He was admitted a freeman in 1651. He mar-
ried (second), in 1654, Hannah Crafts, at Water-
town.

(III) John Johnson, eldest son of Solomon John-
son (2), was born in England, about 1636-37; he
married in Sudbury, Massachusetts, November 19,
1657, Deborah Ward, daughter of William Ward.
She was born in 1637. Her father was one of the
proprietors of Marlborough in 1657 with his father,
Solomon, and both shared in the first division. John
Johnson resided also in Lancaster for a time, and
in 1675 served on the committee to meet Philip's
warriors. He was admitted a freeman in 1690.

(IV) Daniel Johnson, second child of John
Johnson (3), was born in 1675, during King Phil-
ip's war. He married Deborah Lamb, of Framing-
ham. She died January 7, 1760. They lived at
Marlboro.

(V) Solomon Johnson, eldest son of Daniel
Johnson (4), was born in Marlboro, about 1700,
and died in Worcester, in 1704. He married Abigail

— , probably of Framingham, and lived in that

town until about 1730. He was in Leicester until
l 733> when he removed to Worcester. His estate
was administered in 1795 by his son Peter.

(VI) Peter Johnson, eldest son of Solomon
Johnson (5), was born in Framingham, Massachu-
setts, and baptized in the church there July 7, 1723.
He removed to Worcester with his parents when a
young boy of ten, and helped clear the forest for
the first home of the family. He settled in Wor-
cester and carried on a farm there. He died in 1798,
and his estate was administered in 1799 by his son
Thomas.

(VII) Thomas Johnson, third child of Peter
Johnson (6), was born at Worcester, about 1766,
and died there July 12, 1834, aged sixty-eight years.
He married Sarah Eaton, at Worcester, March
30. 17S9. She was the daughter of Thomas
and Susannah Eaton, born January 1, 1769, at
Worcester, and granddaughter of Samuel and
Ruth Eaton, first settlers of the town of Wor-
cester. Thomas Eaton was born in Worcester, May
25, 1749. died August 25, 1788. He was a private
in Captain David Chadwick's company, Lieutenant-
Colonel Benjamin Flagg's regiment, and marched
to Hadley by desire of Brigadier General Warner,
August 28, 1777, on alarm at Bennington. Susannah
Eaton, his wife, died April 25, 1786. The children
of Thomas and Sarah Johnson, all born in Worces-
ter, were: Thomas, born September 8, 1789; Lewis,
born January 19, 1793, died March 30, 1830 ; Sarah
Eaton, born April 6, 1796, married Seth Bannister,
of Boylston, September 29, 1836; Peter, a lawyer,
born July 20, 1798, died January 25, 1837 ; Mary, born
March 22, 1803, died August 21, 1838; George Wash-
ington, see forward; Frederick, born June 23, 1808;
James M., born February 13, 181 1, died November
10, 1847.

(VIII) George Washington Johnson, sixth child
of Thomas Johnson (7), was born at Worcester,
Massachusetts, May 2, 1806. He received his edu-
cation in the common schools of the city. He was



born in that part of Worcester which has for many
years been known as Tatnuck. The land upon which
the Tatnuck school building stands to-day was a
part of the Johnson farm when he came into the
world, and this land was deeded by him to Worces-
ter before it became incorporated as a city. Mr.
Johnson's boyhood and early life was spent in Wor-
cester although then only a village of a few thou-
sand inhabitants, was a place of considerable im-
portance from the fact that it was one of the relay
points on the great stage line running between
Boston and New York by way of Springfield, Hart-
ford and New Haven. In politics he was a Whig,



Online LibraryEllery Bicknell CraneHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester county, Massachusetts, with a history of Worcester society of antiquity (Volume 2) → online text (page 76 of 133)