This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Juliius Cranston

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

SURNAMES: ATWOOD, BENTON, CHURCHILL, CRANSTON, HAMMOND, KELSEY


JULIUS CRANSTON
, one of the honored pioneers of East Bend Township, is a native of the Buckeye State, born in Champaign County, Oct. 26, 1833.  His father, Stephen, and his grandfather, John Cranston, were natives of Rhode Island, the former born in Foster, Oct. 1, 1793; the latter was an immediate descendant of Scottish ancestry, and the first representatives of the family in this country located in Rhode Island during the Colonial days.  From there John Cranston, in 1813, emigrated to Ohio to Union County.  He purchased a large tract of timber land, where he opened up a farm, and upon it remained until his death.  The journey from Rhode Island to Ohio was made overland with horses and wagons.  The father of our subject grew to manhood in his native state, received a limited education in the subscription schools, and was bred to farming pursuits.  He was twenty years of age when the family removed to Ohio, and six years later was united in marriage with Miss Esther HAMMOND, their wedding occurring July 26, 1819.  Mrs. Cranston was born in Canterbury, Conn., Jan. 1, 1802.  The young people located upon land which the father had purchased, where they resided for many years, but finally removed to a timber tract in Union County, from which Stephen Cranston cleared a farm which he occupied until his death, which occurred on the 10th of May, 1884.  The mother is still living upon the old homestead.  The father of our subject was one of the early Abolitionists, and his house an important depot of the Underground Railroad.  Through his assistance many a fugitive was helped on to freedom.  He was a sincere, whole-souled gentleman, and a member of the Christian Church.

The seven sons and two daughters of the parental family all lived to become men and women, and are located as follows:  George is a resident of this State; John occupies the old homestead in Champaign County, Ohio; James and Stephen are residents of Union County, that State; Edwin is merchandising in Hardin County, Ohio; William died in the Union army during the late war; Phebe became the wife of Hiram BENTON, and was herself a minister of the United Brethren Church, but is now deceased; Melissa married a minister who was of the Methodist persuasion; she was well educated and is now a practicing physician at Topeka, Kan.

The subject of this sketch was the fourth son of his parents, and remained with his brothers and sisters on the farm, pursuing his primary studies in the district schools.  He completed his education in the seminary at Mechanicsburg.  After reaching his majority he was employed as a canvasser mostly in Virginia.  In 1855 he came to Illinois, locating first at Clinton, and engaging as a laborer in a brickyard.  Two years later he came into this county, having previously purchased a tract of land in East Bend Township, which he located upon and still occupies.  In 1868 he sold his land and purchased a farm in Ford County, which he cultivated for a period of eight years, then returned and took possession of his present homestead. 

Mr. Cranston was marred, on the 1st of May, 1859, to Miss Artemesia R. ATWOOD.  Mrs. Cranstron was a native of Stowe, Lamoille Co., Vt., born Feb. 6, 1839, and the daughter of Luke ATWOOD, a native of Woodstock, Windsor Co., Vt., born May 4, 1801.  He was married in the town of Stowe, Oct. 13, 1828, to Miss Roxanna KELSEY, the latter also a native of Stowe, born Feb. 3, 1808.  They located near that town, where they lived until 1851, and then emigrated to Ohio, settling in Champaign County.  Three years later they again gathered together their household goods and started overland for the Prairie State.  Their outfit consisted of four horses and two wagons and they traveled after the manner of the emigrants of those days, carrying with them their provisions, cooking by the wayside and sleeping in their wagons at night.  Mr. Atwood purchased land in Penola Township, Woodford County, which he occupied with his family until 1864, then sold and purchased a farm on section 6 of East Bend Township in this county.  He proceeded with the cultivation of the soil, erected a frame house, and built up a comfortable home, where he passed the remainder of his life.  His death occurred Dec. 5, 1875.  Mrs. Atwood resides on the old homestead.  Mr. Atwood, religiously, was a Universalist in belief.

Our subject and his wife became the parents of the following children, namely, Leslie A., Clara J., Mary E., Lucy R.; Phebe M., now deceased; Stephen C., Grace A. and Artie F.  Leslie graduated from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, in June, 1887, and Mary is now a student in that institution.  Mr. Cranston is a pronounced Republican.  His first ballot was cast for Fremont, and all subsequent ballots for Republican nominees.  He and his wife are members of the Methodist Protestant Church.

The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Cranston, Luke ATWOOD by name, was born in Middleboro, Vt., and on her mother’s side, her grandfather, Nathan P. KELSEY, was born in New Hampshire, whence he removed to Vermont during its early settlement, when he was obliged to cut down the trees and burn them before he could secure a space large enough to build his house.  His father, Giles KELSEY, was born in Scotland, whence he emigrated to America before the Revolutionary War, and became a soldier on the side of the Colonists.  Mrs. Cranston’s great-grandfather, Jacob CHURCHILL, was also a Revolutionary soldier.


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