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Crane, James H.
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Crane, James H.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 173-174


James H. Crane, now living retired but for many years a leading factor in public life and the business activity of Pittsfield and Pike county, was born in Scott county, Illinois, July 25, 1832, a son of Samuel L. Crane, a native of Weatherfield, Connecticut. Leaving New England he removed to Kentucky, where he was married, and in 1824 he took up his abode in Scott county, Illinois. He was a tanner by trade but lost an arm and afterward gave his time and attention largely to the conduct of a hotel. He was proprietor of the Union Hotel of Pittsfield at the time of his death and for a long time was postmaster of the city, proving a competent and popular official. In his family were five children, of whom two sons and two daughters are yet living: William, who is a miner in Utah; James, of this review; Mrs. D. W. Hyde, a resident of Pittsfield; and Della Crane, who is also living in this city.

James Crane, at the usual age began his education as a pupil of Jon Shastid, of Perry, but largely acquired his education in the public schools of Pittsfield. He afterward learned the printer's trade with George W. Smith and followed that pursuit for some time, being to-day the oldest printer in Pittsfield. He afterward became the assistant of his father in the postoffice and remained with him until after the inauguration of the Civil war, when, on the 23d of August, 1861, he enlisted as a member of Company G, Ninety-ninth Regiment of Illinois Infantry, with which he served for six months. He then returned home in February, 1862, having been honorably discharged by reason of disability occasioned by injuries received in the army. The only important battle in which he participated was at Hartsville, Missouri. He held the rank of first lieutenant.

Following his return home Mr. Crane entered the office of the circuit clerk as assistant to George Jones, who was afterward secretary of state and died in Springfield. Mr. Crane served in the circuit clerk's office until the following election, when he was chosen circuit clerk by popular suffrage, filling the office for four years, after which he was deputy clerk under George W. Archer and others. He was connected with the office altogether for about sixteen years and he was also postmaster of Pittsfield for four years under the administration of President Cleveland. He has since filled the office of justice of the peace for three years, but is now living retired. He has in his possession the old desk which was in the circuit clerk's office in 1856 and which he used when employed there as deputy.

Mr. Crane was married November 6, 1856, to Miss Emma Fisher, of Clermont county, Ohio, who came here with her uncle, Judge Ward, about 1854. Mr. and Mrs. Crane became parents of one son, Samuel Crane, who is now in the office of the Pittsfield Abstract Company. He married Leo Rathburn and they have two children, Catherine and Josephine.

In the year of his marriage Mr. Crane built a home in the west part of the city which he occupied until 1880, when he sold that and purchased his present fine home within six blocks of the courthouse square. He also owns several business blocks and is well-to-do, having made judicious investment in property which yields him a good return. He belongs to the Methodist church, his wife to the Episcopal church, and in the city where they have so long resided they have many warm friends. They have now traveled life's journey together for almost fifty years. In his fraternal relations Mr. Crane is a Mason and Knights of Pythias and also belongs to post No. 515, G. A. R. He has been a member of the Masonic order over fifty years. His political allegiance has always been given the democracy. For many years the name of Crane has been associated with public service in Pittsfield, as represented by father and son, and in this, as in other connections, has ever been a synonym of honor and official integrity.

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