The Gene Pool: JTR's Colorful Family History

in remembrance of
NOTE FROM JTR: Elsie Savell, a very special Crane family historian, died in January 1998. Her great wit, wisdom and nurturing spirit will be deeply missed. She was one of my first "online friends" and it was a new type of relationship for me. Elsie had a big effect on me and I truly treasure the time that she "mentored" me!

From: Elsie Crane Savell
Date: March 3, 1996

Dear CRANE Researchers,

I have received a message from Jay HARRISON on the Fidonet BBS that tells of his finding a baptism date for Jasper CRANE -- 1602 in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, England.

Jay searches the FOOTE family that intermarried and interacted with CRANES in England and America as did the WARDS, HUNTINGTONS, OGDENS and other names found in New England and New Jersey in the 1600s.

Jay says that we could probably re-find his information on microfilms at LDS Family History Centers, and I plan to check on that as soon as I can.

If this baptism or christening date is accurate for the American CRANE Progenitor Jasper CRANE, it means that he did live to be about 79 or 80 years of age. We do have records that speak of his living "to a great age," but we have not known if that could have meant that he died a "well-worn" 65-year old or something like that. Ha.

Jay's information came from an AA CD-ROM #100, yielding a baptism of Jasper there on 11 July 1602, on of SIR William CRANE and Unknown Spouse. He has not verified it, but he thinks the m/f of the original baptisms are available at LDS.

We will indeed, be careful about glomming on to this, but it seems so - right- to me the more I think about it. And Barkhamsted/Berkhamstead is nearby. Ellery Bicknell CRANE talks about that place in his introductory pages about the CRANES of the Medieval age.

Oxford is a few hours carriage ride to the west, and Cambridge is the same to the north -- with Bury St. Edmonds, the KNOWN CRANE location just east of Cambridge. Very near Chilton, the CRANE home, is the home of the WINTHROPS. We have stories about CRANES driving swiftly over to rescue the Widow WINTHROP in the late 1500s when some kind of Peasant Riot was threatening. In Branford, part of the New Haven Colony (later Connecticut) Jasper CRANE and WINTHROP -- either the Governor or a son -- were in partnership in the building of the first ship in Connecticut. It was said to be "walt-sided" but set off anyway for England with someone's wife on board. Was it the wife of Theophilus EATON? Anyway, the ship was never heard from again, but it showed that Jasper CRANE was very much "into" early industry in Connecticut.

I thought you would want to hear this news about the birthplace of Jasper Crane. We still must "reconcile" this info with other stories we have heard.

Even if that particular CD-ROM had some inaccuracies, I can not think of any reason why anyone would make up a story of the christening, do you? More likely, we need to bring together the threads of WHICH CRANE families lived here and there in England in the late 1500s and early 1600s when the Puritan sentiments were spreading like wildfire and capturing the souls of devout Christians in the London area and East Anglia.

This information makes Jasper CRANE a youthful 28 when he is in London as a merchant in maritime affairs and a vestryman at St. Stephens, Coleman Street (Anglican) Church, from which he fled to America with their young, charismatic minister John DAVENPORT, keeping him out of jail and out of the clutches of Archbishop LAUD who was galled by the "purifying" activities of these young churchmen and their holding of their tithes in escrow accounts.

Through helpful people on the BBS, we have learned that St. Stephens was burned in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt to a plan by Sir Christopher Wren; then later bombed to smithereens by Hitler in World War II. From a raggedy old book found by Joanne RABUN in Oregon, I have seen a picture of the beautiful woodwork in the interior of the Wren-designed Church and the gate to the Churchyard outside, taken around 1900.

I though you would like to rejoice with me at this new clue. I will holler and stomp a lot before I get the clues checked out. As usual, please let me know if you find anything relevant to our search.

Copies of this quick letter are going to about eight friends and relatives in the CRANE search.

Yours very truly, Elsie

to ELSIE SAVELL (Fidonet Crane Family Wiz)
Subj: Re: Crane History

Speaking of books with a new slant - here's the information on that book we spoke about the other night. It consists of sermons by John Flavel "to Christian readers in the town of Dartmouth [England]" and was published some time subsequent to the only dated sermon I could spot, which is March 14, 1671. The title page is missing, but the cover and construction are clearly of that vintage. In addition, I compared it (side by side) with a 17th century history of English kings owned by my BALDWIN ancestors (but not, I'm sure, since the 1600's) and the similarities in style (format, size, fonts, etc.) The owner, a CRANE, knows for a fact that it was owned at least from the lifetime of a CRANE gr grandfather b 1844. The current owner does not know how long it had been in the family before that CRANE obtained it, but believes that it had been in the family from before 1844. This branch of CRANEs is known to have been very conscious of their family history and extremely active in preserving local history, so it is not inconceivable that this book could have been owned by CRANEs in the lifetime of Jasper or Azariah. What a nice fantasy! The owner agrees, but notes that Jasper had returned to England after the founding of Newark, so he "could" have owned it. Supposedly Flavel was a Puritan, and the fact that he intended the sermons for readers in a particular town may be helpful. I'll see what I can find out this week in NYC, Elizabeth and Newark.

The hour was late, so we agreed to get together this weekend and carefully look at it for margin notes and such. I will also photograph the publication information- perhaps this too will yield a clue about Jasper. This book seems like a natural for microfilming, even if it yields nothing about Jasper. Coincidentally, I had spent the day yesterday with people from the Montclair Historical Society (they own the Israel Crane House) investigating grants. One member of our group recalls using a microfilm of "early NJ books that no longer exist" to study Puritan sermons and other works. That sounds like another possibility, although I doubt Puritan sermons were as anecdotal as the ones given today! Regards - Bev

to: ELSIE SAVELL (Fidonet Crane Family Wiz)
Subj: Crane - Iron

Hi Elsie. I was just reading a book about the iron industry in colonial New England and something made me think of you. This book is called "Ironworks on the Saugus" by E.N. Hartley (1957). In Chapter 13 "Heirs of Hammersmith" (the Saugus works being named Hammersmith for one in England), it discusses the various other attempts to establish works in New England after the general failure of the ones at Saugus and Braintree. It seems that John Winthrop Jr. was very interested in the business and attempted a works between New Haven and Branford Conn. This too didn't exactly go over with flying colors and it was found that rich prospects were found in New Jersey and a works opened there at Tinton Falls, near the present town of Red Bank, Monmouth Co, but in its day within the limits of Shrewsbury, a town settled by Connecticut people about 1664 and the works seemed to be on the land of Col. Lewis Morris (perhaps the man for whom Morris co. N.J. was named??) Now to get to the point, I'll quote a couple of passages from this chapter for you: (this is discussing the New Haven venture by Winthrop) - pp. 282-5

Trouble would probably have arisen had there been one town making the appropriate grants, and one town "bloc" of presumably small shareholders. The fact that there were two of each more than doubled the potential. And Winthrop, one might almost say, characteristically, had rushed into construction under a thoroughly murky legal title. By December, 1655, the dam, built at least in part by the labor contributions of the townsfolk, was fourteen feet high, major expenditures were being made, and it was not established whether the plant site belonged to New Haven, to Branford, to the investors in the two towns, or to Winthrop! .....(some omitted here)

The product of negotiations toward this end was a pair of documents signed in February, 1656. In the first, Stephen GOODYEAR, apparently on his own, and JASPER CRANE and John COOPER, presumably as agents of the investors of Branford and New Haven, respectively, agreed to finish the furnace at their own cost. Winthrop was to be allowed a quarter interest in return for his "discovery," his securing of privileges and immunities, and his promotional costs. .....(more ommitted here)

If caution continued to reign among the ultra-Puritans of New Haven, the two newcomers (Wm. PAINE and Thomas CLARKE [Boston merchants]) were tending strongly in the opposite direction. From a letter which Paine and Clarke wrote Winthrop asking him, as true owner, to support the efforts which JASPER CRANE, at their suggestion, was making to get additional grants and clarification of old ones from Branford and New Haven, we can tell at least what they wanted. ....(more ommitted)

Crane's persuasiveness seems to have worked at Branford; at least, that town made additional grants to the ironworks in the spring of 1658. It is doubtful if New Haven saw fit to extend, now, and to outsiders, more than it had been willing to offer Winthrop when it was bending every effort to persuade him to settle there.

Those are (I think) the only mentions of the name Jasper Crane in these pages, however, since he seemed to be involved with the iron works in Conn. I wonder if it may be inferred that he also had something to do with the developing iron industry in New Jersey? Just thought I'd let you know about this. Seems I've seen you mention that you would like to know what brought him to New Jersey? Don't know if he might have been involved at all with the Tinton works but there is referenced an article "Tinton Manor: the Iron Works," by Dean Freiday, in N.J. Hist. Soc. Proc., LXX (1952), 250-61. There are also supposed to be some papers at Rutgers Univ. on Tinton. Also I'm positive that you're aware of the genealogy on the Crane family which is available from the circulating library of the New England Hist. and Gen. Soc. Vol. 2: Descendants of Benjamin Crane of Wethersfield, Connecticut, John Crane of Coventry, Connecticut. Also of Jasper Crane of New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey and Stephen Crane of Elizabethtown, New Jersey with Families of the Name in New Hampshire, Maryland and Virginia. Don't quote me on this, but it seems that somewhere recently I've read that Newark, NJ was a part of Litchfield Conn. at one time. This book seems to also indicate that apparently the Tinton works doesn't have very detailed information left to historians. Apparently the iron works people were not the best business men and the most fastidious record keepers. I'm also trying to learn more about my husband's ancestor John COBB and fam. of New Jersey. He was involved in the iron works industry in NJ also. He came from Taunton Mass (another not overly unsuccessful N.E. iron venture). My ancestors the JENCKES, of Hammersmith and Providence RI are the reason I bought this book to begin with. Usually when these ventures were started, certain immunities were granted such as no taxes or military service required. Guess that makes it even more difficult to trace ancestors involved with them? They were a litigious bunch though, so court records might prove revealing. Your many postings on the Crane name made me think immediately of you. Persistence may pay off after all. Hope this is a help. Barb

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