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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Theodore F. Crane

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


THEODORE F. CRANE, during the years of his early manhood and middle age, was employed mostly in agricultural pursuits, but is now retired from active labor and spending his days in the comfort and quiet which he has so justly earned. He is one of the most valued residents of Rantoul, and a man for whom its people have the warmest and most sincere regard.

Mr. Crane was born in Peoria County, near Farmington, Ill., Dec. 9, 1836. He is the son of John M. and Louisa (RANDOLPH) CRANE, natives of New Jersey. The grandfather of our subject, Harry CRANE, was of Scotch ancestry, and located in New Jersey in the Colonial days. There he married, and reared a fine family of sons and daughters who, with one exception, scattered through different parts of the East, John M. having moved to Ohio. He lived in and around the city of Cincinnati several years, where he secured quite a large amount of real estate but lost heavily on account of its subsequent depreciation. He left that locality in 1830, and coming to Peoria, secured possession of a farm where he cultivated the soil, and in connection with it operated a sawmill for a number of years. Afterward, he sold the farm and purchased another, but subsequently abandoned agriculture and removing to the town of Kenney, retired from active business and made his home with his children. His death took place in this county in 1881. Mrs. Louisa Crane survived her husband for a period of nearly six years, and died in Fulton County in January, 1887. The parental household included three daughters, and nine sons, with three pairs of twins, five of them boys. Seven of the children have passed to their long home.

The subject of this history, who was the youngest son of the family, grew to manhood in Peoria County, receiving a common-school education, and remained with his parents until he was nineteen years of age. He then started out on his own account, engaging as a farmer, stock-trader and dealer in real estate. Early in life he had evinced unusual business talents, which developed as years passed by and he soon found himself on the road to a competency. When twenty years of age he was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. MARCHANT, of Fulton County. This lady is the daughter of Jonah and Sarah J. MARCHANT. After their marriage the young people went to housekeeping in Peoria County, where our subject continued nearly a year and then, removing to Abingdon, Konx County, engaged in hotel-keeping. Thence he removed to Fulton County two years later and engaged in farming, but afterward returned to Peoria County, where he remained three years. His next removals were to Stark and Marshall Counties. In the former he engaged for nine years in farming.

Mr. Crane became a resident of this county in 1876, locating one and one-half miles southeast of Rantoul on section 1, where he had purchased 320 acres of the finest land in that locality. For ten years thereafter he followed farming and stock-raising, and the various pursuits incident to rural life, realizing each year a handsome income, and retired in the spring of 1886, upon a competency. Besides his farm property in Rantoul Township, he has 160 acres in the northern part of the county. His farm is now operated by a tenant. The industrious habits of Mr. Crane will by no means permit him to be idle, and he is now dealing somewhat in real estate.

Of the seven children, four sons and three daughters, born to our subject and his wife, two died in infancy. Those surviving are, Anna L., Eva A., Estella M., Cassius M. and Austin T. It is hardly necessary to state that considering the more than ordinary business capacities of Mr. Crane he has been often called into the councils of his fellow-townsmen when deliberating upon questions relating to the various enterprises inaugurated for the welfare of the people. He has taken great satisfaction in the establishment and maintenance of schools, serving as Trustee and encouraging by every means in his power, the moral and intellectual advancement of his community. Mr. and Mrs. Crane became connected with the Christian Church in 1876, of which they have since remained consistent members, and our subject is a Trustee. He votes with the Republican party, and is an ardent Prohibitionist.

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