The Ancestry Of Daniel Prince Crane

(New Jersey ca 1751 - 1815)

 Sanford R. Wilbur and Sally H. Wilbur

November 2015

 The genealogy of Daniel Prince Crane that we have been working on for about 20 years is now finished (for us, anyway; genealogies are never "finished"). If you would like a copy, you can ask for a free PDF download or buy a copy on CD-ROM

   The detailed genealogy starts with Daniel Crane - in the fifth generation of his line in North America. However, we have given details of Daniel Crane's direct ancestors, as well. Below is a draft write-up of the first of this line in North America; the final version is similar, but may be slightly modified and "improved." You can also check our format and coverage for some of the descendants under "Ward and Hennion Families" (link at the top of this page). Again, that was a draft, and the final version is somewhat different.

Even though the genealogy is "complete," we always welcome comments and corrections, and will continue to update the report as new information comes in.



 1. Jasper Crane – For someone whose later life is well documented, and who had many descendants, the origins of Jasper Crane (in early records, sometimes Crayne and Craine) are remarkably obscure. As far as we can tell, there is no certain information on his parentage. His birth has tentatively been given as in London, England, ca 1605 [1], but we found no primary or secondary sources for any date [2].

   Jasper Crane was probably one of a group of London Puritans who met regularly with the merchant Theophilus Eaton and clergyman John Davenport. Eaton and Davenport were among those given a grant to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629. Eaton subsequently found trouble with the English courts over his involvement in the Massachusetts grant, and Davenport's disagreements with the English church caused him to leave England for Holland. With England uncomfortable for both of them, and with Davenport having trouble with the Dutch clergy as well as the English, they resolved to leave Europe. Davenport returned to London, they gathered up a group of their Puritan followers, and sailed for the American colonies in the ship Hector. They arrived at Boston in June 1637 [3, 4, 5].

   The group leaders did not find the political and religious environment in Massachusetts to their liking, and proposed establishing a new colony. They had word of a potential area near the mouth of the Connecticut River, and in the fall of 1637 a party was sent to explore the area. They reported favorably, and immediate plans were made to move the company there. Most of the Hector passengers, augmented by others who had been living in Massachusetts, and some who had arrived at Boston after the Hector, sailed 30 March 1638, arriving at the new colony-to-be on 18 April 1638 [6, 7].

   On 4 June 1639 Jasper Crane was one of the signers of the document establishing the New Haven Colony, in what was to become Connecticut. From the record, it is clear that he became one of the principal leaders of the Colony. There he was a merchant, surveyor, and magistrate. He left New Haven about 1652, moving to the new settlement of Branford, Connecticut, where he again was among the most influential members. In 1666, dissatisfied with the religious implications of the merger of the New Haven and Connecticut colonies, a group of Branford citizens moved to what became Newark, New Jersey. Jasper Crane was apparently not with the first emigrants to New Jersey, but followed with others within a year. He was involved in Newark government and business until his death in 1681 [1].

   Jasper's wife was named Alice, but her family name is unknown [8]. She and Jasper are assumed to have been married in England, where they produced their first son ca 1635, before sailing on the Hector. As no wife is named in Jasper's October 1678 will, she likely died before that date. She is known to have been living in August 1675, when she is noted as a co-grantor on a New Jersey deed [8]. Jasper himself died ca October 1681 [9]. Burial sites for both Jasper and Alice are unknown [10]. 

 Children of Jasper and Alice (___) Crane:        

    a. John Crane  (ca 1635-1694); married 1st Elizabeth Foote; m. 2nd Hannah ____

    b. Hannah Crane  (ca 1639- ); m. 1st Thomas Huntington; m. 2nd John Ward

    c. Delivered Crane (12 July 1642-)

    d. Mercy (or Mary) Crane  (ca 1645-26 Oct 1671); m. Jonathan Bell

    e. Micah Crane (ca1647-); did not marry

 2-f. Azariah Crane (1649-1730)

    g. Jasper Crane (2 April 1651-6 March 1712); m. Joanna Swaine



 1. Crane, E. B. 1900. Jasper Crane of New Haven, Conn., Newark, N. J., and his descendants. Pages 295-466 in: Genealogy of the Crane Family. Volume II. Worcester, Massachusetts: Press of Charles Hamilton.  Jasper Crane discussed on pages 295-301.

 2. One possible clue to Jasper Crane's origins is that a Robert Crane was one of those involved in the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was apparently a Londoner like Jasper. There is no record that he came to America with Jasper, or at any other time.

 3. John Winthrop wrote in his journal at Boston on 26 June 1637, "There arrived two ships from London, the Hector and the (name not given). In these came Mr. Davenport and another minister..."  [Hosmer, J. K. (editor). 1908. Winthrop's Journal - History of New England. Volume One. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.]

   Winthrop named only a few of the passengers on these two vessels. It is widely reported that a list of the passengers of the Hector is included in: Calder, I. M. 1934. The New Haven Colony. Yale Historical Publications, Miscellany, Volume 28.] Calder does list members of John Davenport's congregation and "many inhabitants of the parish of St. Stephen, Coleman Street" (London), who "coalesced" with the initial body, to make the trip to America. Jasper Crane is included on her list, as well as quite a number of other people later associated with the New Haven Colony. It isn't a "passenger list," and it isn't clear if she meant it to be a roster of  expected passengers, or a list created after the voyage (i.e., a roster of those who were known to be in the original New Haven Colony). It is certainly not complete, as it names only a couple of women and no children.

 4. Dexter, F. B. 1877. Sketch of the life and writings of John Davenport. Papers of the New Haven Historical Society 2:205-238.

 5. Anonymous. 1836. Biography of Governor Eaton. American Historical Magazine 1(4):137-145, 1(5):175-180, 1(6):201-213.

 6. Pages 44-49 in Calder 1934 (see Note 3).

 7. Some speculation that Jasper Crane was already in Massachusetts when the Hector arrived may have arisen in part because about half of the New Haven colonists were recruited from the Boston area in the winter of 1637-1638. Jasper's early rise to prominence in the new settlement suggests to us that he was a well-established member of the London congregation, and not someone added to the group in Massachusetts.

 8. Ellery Crane (Note 1, above) identified Jasper Crane's wife as Alice, but with no documentation. He reported that she is named in Jasper's will, but she isn't. The only reference to her name that we were able to find was in an August 1675 land deed: " warrant, April 24, 1694, there was laid out by John Gardner 'a tract at the foot of the mountain, having Azariah Crane on the northeast and Jasper Crane on the southwest.' August 26, 1675, the day after he received the patent for it, Jasper Crane, Sr. and his 'wife Alice,' deeded to their sons Azariah and Jasper all the lands described." [Page 34  in: Lee, F. B. 1910. Genealogical and memorial history of the state of New Jersey. New York, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company.]

   Jasper Crane's wife is identified on many internet websites as Alice Leave, but with no documentation. A more likely identity is Alice Hitchcock. There is a marriage record for an Alice Hitchcock and a Jasper Crane at St. Ann's, Blackfriars, London, England, on 13 January 1634/35. This fits with Jasper's departure for North America in 1637, and with the birth of his first child ca 1635. Another connection may be that a Matthais (Matthew) Hitchcock traveled on the Hector, and was one of the settlers at New Haven Colony. He was of an age to have been Alice Hitchcock's brother.

 9. Jasper Crane's will was written 1 October 1678; his estate was inventoried 28 October 1681. [Nelson, W. 1901. Calendar of New Jersey wills. Volume I, 1670-1730. Paterson, New Jersey: The Press Printing and Publishing Company.] As his name appeared in Newark town records well into the summer of 1681, it has been assumed that he died shortly before the inventory was made, perhaps in September or October 1681.

 10. It is often assumed that Jasper and Alice Crane were interred in the oldest Newark burying ground. While a logical assumption, there is no evidence that they were indeed buried there. The Old Newark Burying Ground was razed in 1888, to make room for city expansion, and all existing bones and grave markers were moved to other locations. However, a comprehensive survey of the graveyard was made in 1847, while the cemetery was still intact, and another was made of all the saved markers in 1888. Neither identified the gravesites of either Jasper or Alice, the earliest certain interment in that cemetery being in 1688. [Anonymous. 1925. Inscriptions from Newark's oldest burying ground. Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Volume 10 (new series), pages 193-201, 321-332, 424-435.] After 200 years, some stones had broken or deteriorated, and undoubtedly some were missing. However, one would think that someone as prominent in the community as Jasper, and with considerable family remaining  in the area long after his death, would have had a significant and well-tended marker.



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