Julias A. Crane M. D., of Santa Ana, is of New England parentage, and was born in Portage County, Ohio, January 21, 1846. His father, Rev. Eber Crane, was a clergyman of the Baptist denomination, born in Clinton, Connecticut (on Long Island Sound), May 3, 1808, and died at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, April 4, 1884. He was educated at the academy in South Reading, Massachusetts, and pursued his professional studies at the Newton Theological Institute, in the outskirts of Boston, at which time-honored institution he was graduated August 20, 1834. He was a zealous and life-long Abolitionist, a coadjutor and personal friend of William Lloyd Garrison, and to the close of his eventful and, at times, stormy life, always and everywhere had ” the courage of his convictions.”
Dr. Crane’s mother, Nancy A. (Knowlton) Crane, was born near the Green mountains, Vermont, January 5, 1817, from which State, while yet a child, her parents moved to the Western Reserve in Ohio. She is a woman of great force of character, strong individuality, beloved by her children and highly esteemed and admired by all who know her.
Dr. Crane received his literary education at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, after which he took up the study of medicine in the city of Cleveland. He was graduated from the Charity Hospital Medical College (now the medical department of the University of Wooster) in the spring of 1870, and on March 15, 1882, received the ad eundem degree of M. D. from the Medical Department of the Western Reserve University of Cleveland. In the year 1873 he was appointed first assistant physician in the Iowa (State) Hospital for the Insane at Mount Pleasant, occupying this position until January 1, 1875, when he resigned on account of ill-health, his resignation taking effect three months later, while the medical staff of the hospital consisted of four physicians, and his office required that he discharge the duties of superintendent. During the absence of that officer-a thing not unusual-yet so well did he meet the obligations and responsibilities of this high position that, upon his retirement, the following letter from Dr. Bassett, the medical superintendent, followed him. The force and nature of this document will be the better understood when it is stated that this hospital is one of the largest and most successful institutions of the kind in the United States, and, indeed, is the one after which the California Hospital at Stockton is largely modeled:
Superintendent’s Office, Iowa Hospital For The Insane. Mount Pleasant, Iowa, April 1, 1875.
Dr. J. A. Crane, Mount Pleasant Iowa:
As your resignation of the office of First Assistant Physician in the hospital takes effect today, I desire in this manner to thank you for the valuable service you have rendered to the hospital, and to myself as its executive officer. During the nearly eighteen months of your engagement here, I feel that I am in no small degree indebted to you for whatever of success has attended its management, and that I should be doing myself an injustice did I not in this way testify to the fidelity and ability which have characterized your professional services in the hospital.
In whatever community your lot may be cast, I trust you may meet with the encouragement and success you so well deserve.
If it is in my power to do you any service at any future time, be assured it will give me pleasure to do so.
Yours very truly,
H. M. Bassett,
On June 2, 1875, Dr. Crane arrived in San Francisco, visiting with friends there for a number of weeks, after which he spent several months in the unfrequented portions of Oregon and northern California. Those halcyon days, many hours of which were passed in wild camp life up among the pines of the Coast Range, or along the water courses of middle and southern Oregon, engaged in hunting and fishing; living, in brief, the outdoor and desultory life of a nomad, soon restored him to a degree of bodily health and vigor, and toward the latter part of December he again found himself in San Francisco. A few days later his face was turned toward Southern California. Traveling leisurely by the Coastline stage, and stopping at short intervals at places of historic interest or to investigate the merits of growing towns or promising valleys, by the middle of January, 1876, he had reached the then “cow county” of Los Angeles. And here, influenced more by a blind intuition or caprice than by any force of reason or conviction, he determined to remain. After passing through the vicissitudes and somewhat rare and unique experiences of early settlement here, at a time when the best and fittest found the “picking” close, he located in the sleepy little village of Santa Ana, to engage in the practice of his profession. And here he has since remained.
Although by no means an enthusiast in his profession, Dr. Crane has been prominently identified with the medical and surgical history and life of the Santa Ana valley. For years his drives often carried him, and not infrequently at night, thirty and forty miles up into the surrounding mountain canons or down the coast, and not a few times over into San Diego County. He was one of the chief promoters of and contributed largely to the organization and support of the Orange County Medical Association. He is an honorary member of the Los Angeles County Medical Society, and also a member of the American Medical Association. He has repeatedly served on the board of health of the city of Santa Ana, and has twice been chosen its health officer; was also, for a number of years, correspondent for the city and valley of the California State Board of Health.
He has always taken a hearty interest in all public matters affecting the interests of Santa Ana, and particularly anything looking to the promotion of the new county of Orange. He had much to do with bringing about the organization of the Santa Ana Valley Immigration Association, and was chairman of the committee to supervise the preparation of the first immigration pamphlet issued in the valley. In the fall of 1885 he was placed in charge of the Santa Ana exhibit of the Southern California Citrus Fair held in Battery D Armory, Chicago, remaining a number of weeks there assisting in its arrangement and conduct. This elegant and, withal, lavish exhibit of the fruits and products of the coast did mere to mold public sentiment East in our favor than, perhaps, any other one factor. Dr. Crane for a time was president of the Santa Ana Gas Company, resigning on account of the press of other engagements. Three additions to the city of Santa Ana bear his name while the character of the improvements made by him, notably his elegant residence at the corner of Ninth and Spurgeon streets, indicates clearly his disposition to do things thoroughly and well.
Dr. Crane was married October 17, 1882, to Mary A., youngest daughter of Hon. O. H. and Mary J. Schenck, of Burlington, Iowa, and formerly of Franklin, Ohio. He is a supporter of the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana, of which Mrs. Crane is a charter member.
Politically he is a Republican, and since his residence in Santa Ana has often represented his party in the county and Congressional conventions. While not so actively engaged in practice as in years gone by, yet he is still open to professional engagements, though avoiding those departments of medical work necessitating undue exposure or fatigue.
In conclusion, probably no one has watched with keener interest the development of Santa Ana, from the straggling little hamlet of rude and unpretentious homes and shops of years gone by, looking out through vistas of wild mustard and malva, into the active, struggling and growing city of today. And surely, none can pay a higher tribute to the indomitable pluck and energy of that little Spartan band of half a dozen heroic souls, to whose calm, dispassionate judgment and eternal vigilance-deaf to the maligners of their good names and the misinterpretations of their words and acts-this consummation, so ” devoutly to be wished,” is wholly and indisputably owing.