Elisha Crane


According to subsequent information, Albany resident Elisha Crane was born in October 1756. He was a native of Newark, New Jersey and was living there when he enlisted in the Revolutionary army. However, a number of same-named individuals appear to be at risk in the American Northeast.

He appears to have been a soldier during the war. Later, his heirs applied for a pension. We seek particulars of his wartime activities.

He seems to have arrived in Albany sometime in 1779. His holdings were not found on the Albany assessment roll for March. However, beginning in October 1779, his properties ("Mr. Crane with son-in-law" and a second entry for only Elisha Crane) were valued on Albany assessment rolls.

In January 1781, he married Ruth Phelps at the Albany Dutch church. Perhaps, that was his second marriage as his older daughter would marry a newcomer cabinetmaker in Albany in 1804. No children from Crane's second marriage were christened at the Albany Dutch church.

In 1781, he was acting as an agent for the Albany-based operations of William Duer.

During the 1780s, Crane was an Albany merchant with a number of partners including John Batchelor (they "purchased" city docks in 1785), and with Douglass & Hitchcock. Beginning in February 1783, the New-York Gazetteer and other papers advertised that he sold candles and soap (by wholesale or retail) and cider opposite the city hall.

In 1786, he signed a small note which later became due to the estate of Dr. Henry Van Dyck. In October of that year, his account was paid out of the city treasury.

In 1788, his first ward house and holdings were valued on the Albany assessment roll.

In December 1790, his Albany "dwelling house" was identified as a polling place.

In February 1791, a drawing for lots in the far reaches of Rensselaerswyck (closer to Schoharie) was to be held at Crane's Albany dwelling house.

In 1790, his first ward home included three men, two boys, and four females. In 1800, the census showed his household in the same general location with four children and an older couple. By 1810, Elisha Crane's Albany household consisted only of an older couple and four free people of color.

Perhaps early in 1794, the convicted arsonist slave Pomp confessed that he had stolen mail (postal) from Elisha Crane's house.

In 1794, he was among those who subscribed to support the founding of Union College.

Probably, it was his son and namesake who was in the furniture business with John Meads during the 1800s.

In May 1808, he was identified as "my worthy friend Elisha Crane or his heirs" and was bequeathed "all my property in Albany" in the will of Solomon Johnson of Pennsylvania.

Albany resident Elisha Crane died in February 1811 leaving a widow and three surviving children.

In 1813, the household of grocer and widow Lydia Crane at 154 Court Street was one of three Cranes listed in the first Albany Directory. However, these Cranes may not have been the family of this Elisha Crane.

In 1839, Orlando Meads wrote a letter of inquiry regarding his grandfather's pension application which seems to have been filed during the 1830s. Awaiting further clarification of his pension scenario, we move on for now!

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the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Elisha Crane is CAP biography number 7713. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.
Perhaps a later Elisha Crane was an Albany cabinetmaker.

first posted 7/20/10; last updated 1/12/15