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Jonathan Crane

Jonathan Crane, the second of 9 children, was born December 1, 1658. Jonathan was married to Deborah Griswold Dec. 19, 1678. They had 10 children, two of which died shortly after birth. The name Griswold suggests a lineage from England in the county of Warwickshire.

He was one of the most active and influential men in Windham, Connecticut. On Oct. 6, 1691, he was an original petitioner at the General Court in Hartford for Windham's town charter. He served on various committees, procured a minister, sold tracts of land to settlers and in 1715 he built a sawmill in Windham. He was successful in business, and known well in Windham, Norwich and Lebanon.

Jonathan died in March 12th, 1735 of unknown causes, his burial location is at Trumbull Cemetery in Lebanon, Connecticut.

Jonathan Crane, Trumbull Cemetery, Lebanon, Connecticut
“Here lies Mr Jonathan Crane husband of Mrs Deborah Crane who lived a pious and Godly life and left ye earth for heaven March ye 12th Ano c 1735, and in ye 77th year of his age.” The gravestone was carved by Obadiah Wheeler, often considered the greatest of all eastern Connecticut carvers. Photo credit: Jack Shackles (7/03/2012) - Find A Grave.
Trumbull Cemetery, Lebanon, Connecticut. Photo credit: Karen Carlini (KC) - Find A Grave
Trumbull Cemetery, Lebanon, Connecticut. Photo credit: Karen Carlini (KC) - Find A Grave


The following has been transcribed from “Genealogy of the Crane Family. Volume II.

14. Lieut. Jonathan Crane2 [3], (Benjamin1 ), married Deborah Griswold, daughter of Francis Griswold, Dec. 19, 1678. She was born May, 1661, and died about 1704. Mr. Griswold was in Windsor in 1649. Went, from there to Saybrook, and from thence, about 1660, to Norwich, where he was among the most enterprising of the early settlers. Was called of Windham, Norwich and Lebanon. He died June 6, 1735. He was one of the first settlers of Windham, Conn., erecting the first sawmill in the town. Mr. Weaver says he was known as a blacksmith in 1715.

Dec. 11, 1690, he purchased of John Calkins of Norwich 1000 acres right in S. E. Quarter No. 2. He was at that time called of Norwich.

October, 1696, he was appointed one of the Overseers of the estate of Robert Wade. Appointed by the Assistants a Lieutenant October, 1703. Was chosen Deputy to the General Court from Windham 1701. 1703, 1705, 1707 to 1714, 1717, 1718, 1721 and 1722. Children :

15—1. Sarah, b. Nov. 16, 1680.*
16—2. Jonathan, b. Feb. 2, 1684.
17—3. John, b. Oct. 1, 1687.
18—4. Mary, b. Oct. 20, 1689, m. Jacob Simons April 4, 1710.
19—5. Hannah, b. March 7, 1692.†
20—6. Isaac, b. April 6, 1694.
21—7. Joseph, b. May 17, 1696.
22—8. Elisabeth,
23—9 Deborah, } b. Feb. 1698; both died in 1698.
24—10. Abigail, b. Feb. 15, 1700; m. David Knight Dec. 24, 1718, and lived in Norwich, Conn.

At the first public meeting of the settlers of Windham, Conn., held May 18, 1601, Jonathan Crane was one of the four persons directed to run the town lines, which work had been accomplished by May 28, at which time another meeting was held, and he with Joshua Kipley and Jonathan Ginnings were chosen to make division of the meadows at four shillings per day for their services. During the summer he built and set in operation his grist-mill, which was on the site of what is now known as Brigham’s Mills.

*Norwich Records by Mr. Weaver. †Windham Records by Mr. Weaver.

Jonathan Crane with ten others petitioned the General Court sitting at Hartford, Oct. 6, 1691, to grant them a Town charter, the town to be called Windham. The petition was granted May 12, 1692. At the first public town meeting, held June 12, 1692, Mr. Crane was elected one of the “Townsmen,” and at the same meeting he with Thomas Huntington were directed to take measures for securing a minister. Their efforts were not crowned with success until September of that year, when they agreed with Mr. Samuel Whiting to come and carry on the ministry in that town. He preached his first sermon there January 1, 1693, and the people were so well pleased with him that they ratified the agreement and chose Samuel Roberts and Jonathan Crane “to discourse with him.” He was directed to go with two others “to set to rights the lots at the Ponds,” also one of three persons appointed “Collectors” to levy and gather rate. He resided on the “Hither Place,” now Windham Centre. Was on committee to provide a convenient place for a burying ground; also to run the town lines with Mr. Joshua Ripley and three others. In May, 1695, he was chosen Ensign of a military company, and commissioned Ensign by the General Court in October of that year. January 4, 1695, Mr. Crane exchanged property with Sergt. Wm. Backus, giving his grist-mill and receiving a new dwelling-house in Windham, situated on the house and home lot of Mr. Backus, four acres of meadow lying on the Nochog path by the brook to the little pine swamp, and one acre of meadow in the five-acre meadow. This house and lot was on what was called the Hither Place, and April 11, 1695, Mr. Crane sold it to Exercise Conant, who sold it about one year later to John Abbe of Wenham for £70 silver. In 1696 the town built a house for their minister, Mr. Whitney. The work, except building the chimneys, was accomplished by the townspeople, led in four separate companies or squads, Ensign Crane taking the lead of one of them. That Mr. Crane was one of Windham’s most active and influential men there can be little doubt.

January 30, 1700, he with Rev. Samuel Whiting purchased the front portion of William Backus’s home lot, it being eight by twenty rods square, and gave it to the town for a “meeting-house plat or common.”; This lot was afterwards called “Windham Green,” and here the first meeting-house was erected. In 1698 he with Mr. Huntington purchased in behalf of the proprietors of Windham a tract of land containing about ten thousand acres, lying between Windham and Norwich, and west of the “Nipmuck Path,” called the “Mamosyneage lands.” In the year 1700 this tract was made over to Rev. Samuel Whiting and Jonathan Crane. They took the whole, care of laying it out into lots and selling them to settlers. Lieut. Daniel Mason publicly made claim to this land on Training-day in Windham, May 13, 1701, he having received a deed of it from one of the pretended Indian owners. But the following September the General Court ratified and confirmed the purchase of Crane and Whiting, and granted them a patent, thus preventing further controversy as to the rightful ownership of this tract of land. In the year 1700 Lieut. Crane received permission from the Court at Hartford “to keep a public victualing house for the entertainment of travelers and strangers, and the retailing of strong drink.” Also appointed by the General Court to view Plainfield and see best place to erect a meeting-house; chosen on committee to see the miller and regulate the grinding of corn, it not being satisfactory. October, 1701, on committee to run the town line; October 20, 1702, on committee to see to completing the meetinghouse, and April 19, 1703, on committee to arrange the seating of the same. This same year the town agreed to have but “one ordinary, Lieut. Crane to keep it,” and the General Court commissioned him Lieutenant. In 1704 he was on committee to run out the line “from Appaynage to the southeast corner of the town and c.“

The Indian war broke out afresh in 1704, and Windham reorganized her military company for the protection of the inhabitants. John Fitch was chosen Captain. Jonathan Crane Lieutenant, and Joseph Cary Ensign. Although the people at this time became somewhat alarmed, no serious inconvenience was experienced. In 1705 Mr. Crane was one of a committee to have charge of all town lands; to call meetings to vote on any matters necessary, and to sign the acts to lay out highways, &c. In 1713 the town voted to enlarge the meeting-house, and appropriated £40 to pay for doing the work. The matter was, however, reconsidered, and the subject finally disposed of by deciding to build a new house of worship to meet the demands of the rapidly increasing population. Deacons Cary, Brigham and Lieut. Crane were chosen a committee to agree with the workmen, Mr. Crane to serve as treasurer. The work was speedily and successfully accomplished, the new building having been erected on the site of the old one. In the year 1715 he served on a committee to settle the question whether or not to allow the north parish (Canada) to form a separate religious society. After careful consideration of the matter, the prayer of the petition was granted. In 1726 Jonathan Crane, Joshua Ripley and John Fitch were chosen as representatives of the brethren to act with the newly appointed deacons to constitute the “seven pillars” or councillors of the church. These men were recommended to the pastor, to be called together by him for consultation whenever occasion demanded. Mr. Crane was one of the first set of jurymen empaneled in the County of Windham at the first Court of Common Pleas, holden June 26, 1726. It is reasonable to suppose that more than one occasion demanded the attention of this constituted arm of the Church, the “seven pillars.” But we will quote but one, Nov. 13, 1728: “Whereas. the work and business of the pastor of a Church is very great, and particularly the enquiring into scandal and procuring evidence, and whereas, the Scripture informs us that God has set some in the Church to be helps in the government, voted, That it shall be the work of the Representatives of the Bretheren, and they are hereby desired, with all diligence, to attend upon it. That when there is a public and common report that any person belonging to the congregation hath committed any public scandalous evil, to enquire into such report and bring information and evidence to the pastor, provided that this be not understood to hinder the pastor from taking cognizance of any scandal that may otherwise clearly come to his knowledge, nor to hinder any private brother from bringing a complaint whenever there be occasion for it.”

The following was taken from the records of Wethersfield : “July 3, 1734 : Jonathan Crane of Lebanon Windham Co for the love &c. I have for my two grandsons as follows John Crane of Wethersfield and Abiah Crane of Windham, I give in equal part or share all my right or interest in any lot or lotment of land in Wethersfield. Acknowledged before Jonathan Huntington, Justice.”

This John and Abiah were brothers and the two eldest children of Jonathan’s son John.

The inscription upon the headstone over his grave in the cemetery at Lebanon, Conn., reads as follows : “Here lies Mr Jonathan Crane husband of Mrs Deborah Crane who lived a pious and Godly life and left ye earth for heaven March ye 12th Ano c 1735, and in ye 77th year of his age.”

Crane, Ellery Bicknell. Genealogy of the Crane Family. Volume II. Pages 21-24.

The following has been transcribed from “Fifty Puritan Ancestors.

Lieut. Jonathan Crane, born in Wethersfield, December 1, 1658, received seventy-six acres in the land division in Wethersfield in 1670.5 Was one of the first planters of Windham, Conn., in 1692.

Was Deputy in Colonial Assembly 1703-5-6-8-9-10-11-13-14-17- 18-21-22. Also chosen Deputy to General Court at Hartford several years.

Chosen “Ensign in Train Band of Windham.” May, 1695. Commissioned, Oct. 16, 1695 ; made Lieutenant, Oct., 1703.6

Jonathan Crane had land in Norwich registered in 1672. He removed to Windliam, where he had a thousand-acre right; built the first saw mill, also a grist mill in 1691 in that plantation, was one of the selectmen in 1692; made townsman June 12, 1692, and a patentee of the town, 1703.7

He married Deborah Griswold, daughter of Francis Griswold, December 19, 1678, at Norwich, Connecticut. That Mr. Crane was one of Windham's most active and influential men there can be little doubt. He was one of the petitioners to General Court at Hartford for Town Charter for Windham, Oct. 6, 1691. Appointed to run town lines May 18, 1691, also appointed with Thomas Huntington to select a minister, and made “collector” to levy and gather rates.

January 4, 1695, Mr. Crane exchanged property with Sergeant William Backus, giving his grist mill and receiving a new dwelling house in Windham, situated on the house and home lot of Mr. Backus, on what is now called the Hither Place.

January 30, 1700, lie, with Rev. Samuel Whiting, purchased the front portion of William Backus lot, 8 by 20 rods square, and gave it to the town for a “meeting house plot or common;” later this wns called Windham Green and the first church erected on it.

Chosen, Oct., 1701. on conmhttee to run down lines: Oct. 20, 1702, on committee to see to completing the meeting house; 1703 commissioned Lieutenant by General Court; 1704, Indian War breaking out again, chosen lieutenant: John Fitch, captain. In 1705 Mr. Crane was one of a committee to have charge of all town lands, call meetings, sign acts; made Deacon, also Treasurer of fund of new church; 1726 chosen one of the “seven pillars or councillors of the church."8

Sarah, b. Nov. 16, 1680.
Jonathan, b. Feb. 2, 1684.
John, b. Oct. 1, 1687.
Mary, b. Oct. 20, 1689.
Joseph, b. May 17, 1696.9

6 Caulkins's History of Norwich, p. 136.
7 Windliam Records.
8 Crane Genealoery, pp. 13. 15, 21, 33, 34.
9 Norwich Records. Windham Records.

Nash, Elizabeth Todd. Fifty Puritan Ancestors, 1628-1660: Genealogical Notes, 1560-1900. New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Company, 1902. Internet Archive. Web. 2014. Pages 93-94.