Biography of Jackson B. Crane

Jackson B. Crane. Although the founder of the Crane family in Kansas, Jackson B. Crane was neither born nor died in this state, he spent forty-five years here, the best part of his life, and his name deserves preservation in the country’s enduring annals. His was one of the first pioneer cabins built in 1854 within a radius of eleven miles west of Leavenworth, then the frontier. He was one of that hardy band that not only dared the privations of the wilderness but had the resolute will that accepted a life that, at that time, positively demanded eternal vigilance because of savage strife. Through his almost fifty years here he worked effectively for the best interests of this section in every way, and courageously advocated reforms when only truly brave men did so.

Jackson B. Crane was born in Ohio, owing his baptismal name, perhaps, to the fact that his birthday occurred on or very near the day that General Jackson captured New Orleans, January 8, 1815. In manhood he left his native state for Iowa, accompanied by his aged father, who died at Muscatine and was buried there. Mr. Jackson Crane remained at Oskaloosa, Iowa, until 1854, in the meanwhile becoming a trusted and valued citizen of Mahaska County, which he served two terms as sheriff. He had always been a democrat, a Jacksonian democrat, but the time came when his opinions changed to some degree on the subject of slavery. This attitude gave him some trouble with his neighbors after he had moved to Kansas, in 1854, but he was unyielding in his views in regard to the further spread of slavery. Hence, when the infant republican party came into existence, in 1856, with its main platform of prohibition of slavery in the territories, it found in Mr. Crane a conscientious supporter, to such an extent that he sent his eldest son back to his old neighbors in Iowa to give them his views, as having had more experience of slavery than they in its practical workings, and to urge them to approve the principles of the new party and vote for its first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, as was his own intention. It is on record that many of them did so.

Jackson B. Crane and his wife had thirteen children: Columbus, Alexander Pope, James, Miner, Leonard, John, Robert, Stephen, Jackson, William, Ann, Emeline and Mary. After a residence of forty-five years in Leavenworth County, Jackson B. Crano and wife left Kansas and moved to Perry, Oklahoma, where both died in advanced age. Of their surviving eleven children, the ages run from fifty-two to eighty-one years.

Columbus Crane, the eldest son of the founder of the family in Kansas, married Miss Permelia Jones, a member of a family that came to Kansas in 1855 from Ohio. To them were born five children, three sons and two daughters: Lafayette Fremont, who was born in 1858; Emma, who is now Mrs. Tork, lives at Holton, Kansas; Josephine, who is Mrs. Blossom, lives at Rutland, Vermont; Alfred E., who was born in 1863, at Leavenworth, is an attorney at Topeka; and Calvin C., who is a temporary resident of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Alfred E. Crane married Miss Lillian M. Woodburn, a member of a family that came to Kansas in 1860. Rev. J. A. Woodburn still survives, having been active in the ministry for sixty years. The family and its connections are all prominent in the state. One son, F. T. Woodburn, is a district judge at Holton, Kansas. An uncle of Mrs. Crane, John Quincy Adams Roberts, who was one of the early pioneers, still survives at the age of eighty-seven years, a resident of Newcastle, Indiana. He was a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war. Mr. and Mrs. Crane have one son, Harry Alfred, who was born in 1902.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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