James Elbert Crane
James Elbert Crane, County Clerk of Alameda county, was born in Newark, New Jersey, March 18, 1837, a son of James H. and Sarah Theresa (Bradford) Crane. The father, a native of New Jersey, was engaged in different lines of manufacture in New Jersey and West Virginia, and lived to the age of about seventy, dying October 7, 1878. His mother, also a native of New Jersey, is living in Oakland, in 1891, aged seventy-seven. Ten children of J. H. and S. T. Crane grew to maturity and six are living, in 1891, the oldest, Mrs. Angeline Barnes, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, being fifty-eight. Three sisters and one brother are living in California: J. E.; Eva, wife of Thomas Schoonover, a farmer of Shasta county; Julia Crane; Josephine, now Mrs. Joseph Burpee, of Oakland; Alice, now Mrs. C. M. Fulton, of Oakland; and Frederick, unmarried.
Grandfather John Crane, a farmer of Parsippany, New Jersey, lived to the age of about seventy-five; his wife, Mary Minton, a daughter of General Minton, lived to be eighty or over, dying in Iowa. She had four sons and one daughter, all of whom grew to maturity, the daughter still living in Iowa. Julia married Mr. Frederick Hovey, a lawyer of Connecticut of some considerable ability, afterward of Cleveland, Ohio, and now retired on a farm in Iowa. His wife (the youngest child), is now about sixty.
Grandfather William Bradford came from England at the age of seven. He carried on the business of merchant tailor on John street, New York, and was a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church on John street, New York. He owned a square on that street. Being kindly disposed to his friends he endorsed for several and lost heavily in the financial crash of 1837, saving, however, a competency. He lived to the age of ninety-nine. His two sons, William and John, came to California early in the fifties, and are still living in this State. He was married to Elizabeth Harrison, who lived to be about ninety, dying in Missouri at the home of J. H. Crane.
His father, after a manufacturing career of three or four years near Morgantown, West Virginia, moved to Pittsburg, building a rolling mill in Warren, Pennsylvania, and was interested in it about three years. Then he moved to Missouri, where he bought 1,200 acres in Clark county; lived there seventeen years, and came to California in 1874; was in the insurance business here (Oakland) up to the time of his death. Their oldest son, William B., was superintendent of the Pilot Knob Iron Works, Mo., when the war broke out; then the works closed down and he came to the coast in 1862, being first engaged on a steamer on the Columbia river as purser, and later had large mining interest at various points--Silver City and Boise City, Idaho, in Nevada, and at Copper City, Shasta county, California, building large works at several points and commercial buildings in Silver City, Idaho. He died in Oregon in April, 1879, aged forty-four. Their father raised the Second Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, afterward known as the Missouri State Militia, General John McNeill Regiment, and was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel by Governor Gamble, and served a year, when he resigned.
J.E. went to school in Newark, afterward at Morgantown Academy, and at the age of sixteen was sent to Thompson, Connecticut, where he studied under Professor Parker, of Thompson Academy, taking a full academic course. He then taught school in Connecticut in Windham county, at the age of eighteen; then rejoined his father, who was engaged in building in Warren, Pennsylvania, and went with him to Missouri. He assisted him in his land enterprise three or four years, until the age of twenty-three or twenty-four.
He was married in Canton, Lewis county, in 1858, to Ruth Jane Goodwin, a native of Pennsylvania, born in 1840 and moved with her parents from Pennsylvania. She is a daughter of Dr. J. H. Goodwin and___(Negley) Goodwin. Her parents lived to a good age. At marriage J. E. Crane went to farming on his own account in Lewis county on 180 acres. He served at the outbreak of the rebellion; was on detached duty in the recruiting service, chiefly in Missouri. He raised three companies and served four years in active work. In 1865 he embraced the profession of civil engineer, and was engaged in the construction of the Missouri, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad, from June, 1866, to June, 1867; then assistant engineer on the Missouri & Mississippi Railroad from June, 1867 to July, 1872 with headquarters at Macon City, Missouri; then on Clarksville & Western Railroad to December, 1872; then appointed March, 1873, resident engineer of the Mississippi Valley & Western Railroad, with headquarters at Hannibal, Missouri, from Keokuk to St. Louis, until June, 1874, when the financial crisis suspended active operations. In July, 1874, he came to California and went to work for the Central Pacific Railroad from July, 1874, to August 1, 1890. He was nominated in the County republican Convention, September 13, for County Clerk, and was elected November 4, 1890, for two years.
He is a member of the I.O.O.F.; passed through all the chairs of University Lodge, No. 144; District Deputy Grand Master, Past, is now and has been for nine years of the General Relief Committee, I.O.O.F.
There are four children; Emma, now Mrs. Edward W. Thurman, of Oakland, who has three children; George, a graduate of the high school of Oakland, clerk in the general offices of the southern Pacific Railroad for about three years; now a real-estate dealer in Los Angeles; Julia Irene, educated in Field's Seminary; Arthur, attending public school, born in this city. Mrs. Crane, mother of Emma and George, died in Keokuk, Iowa, in 1863; and Mr. Crane was again married in Alexandria, Missouri, in 1867, to Ariel Norris, a native of Ohio, and brought up in Missouri. Her father, Elijah Norris, a native of Maryland, was the first passenger railroad conductor in the United States, from Baltimore to Harper's Ferry. He became afterward a farmer in Missouri and lived to be about eighty. Her mother was Martha (Barnett) Norris, born in Harford county, Maryland, and lived to be seventy-six. Grandfather Manasseh Barnett was well advanced in years at the time of his death. He married Mary Morgan, who lived to be over eighty.
It is thought that the earliest settlement of the Crane family was in northern New York, and a branch settled in New Jersey, or both may have been contemporaneous or nearly so,--- a branch in each.
Transcribed 10-28-04 Marilyn R. Pankey
Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 1, page 569-570, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.
© 2004 Marilyn R. Pankey.
California Biography Project
San Francisco County
Golden Nugget Library