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Lewis J. Crans
L. J. Crans, one of the best-known attorneys and an early settler of
Cloud county, is a native of Philadelphia. The date of his birth was
January 26, 1826. He is a son of Peter and Harriet (Lewis) Crans. His
father conducted a boot and shoe business in the early days of
Philadelphia. He was a native of Orange county, New York, and was a
soldier in the war of 1812. His family were numerous in New York; his
ancestry were of German and Dutch origin and belonged to the early
settlers of that section of the country. The paternal homestead went into
the hands of the distinguished William A. Seward, who was a relative by
marriage. The maternal ancestors were of English and Irish origin. His
grandparents died when our subject was a mere child.
Mr. Crans is the eighth of a family of nine children and with the
exception of one, all lived to ripe old age. He has one unmarried sister
living, who is ten years his senior; her residence is in Philadelphia. Mr.
Crans' last brother, Peter, died about two years ago at the advanced age
of eighty-six years. With the exception of a brief time in Kansas this
brother spent the greater part of his life in the city of Philadelphia.
Mr. Crans received his education in the public schools of the Quaker City
and graduated as a member of the second class from the Central high school
and subsequently had conferred upon him by that institution the degree of
master of arts. After his graduation he took up the study of law in the
office of his brother, Peter Crans, but before his admission to the bar he
removed to the town of Kirbysville, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in
lumbering and mercantile business. Mr. Crans was admitted to the bar at
Clearfield in the early fifties. He was unanimously elected district
attorney of Clearfield county, and devoted his entire attention to the
practice of law in that city.
In the year 1861 he removed with his family to Philadelphia, where he
continued the practice of law. He has striven for success in his
profession and has been well rewarded for the effort made to gain the top
round of the ladder of fame. While engaged in getting forces into the
field for Governor Curtin, not as a soldier, but as a private citizen, Mr.
Crans, through an accident, lost the use of a limb, which entirely
unfitted him for service and prevented him from entering the army, and
through this circumstance, he removed to Philadelphia.
||He later located in Jersey City
and in 1871 emigrated to Concordia, Kansas, after stopping a short
time at junction City, awaiting the opening of the land office at
Concordia. From that date he has been actively engaged in the
practice of law in Cloud and the northern counties of Kansas. His
practice has been extensive and extended.
Mr. Crans was married on the 21st of July, 1847, to Margaret A.
Peterson, a daughter of John and Naomi Peterson. Mrs. Crans' father
was of Swedish ancestry who were early settlers on the Delaware
river. Her maternal ancestors were among the English families who
came over with William Penn. Mrs. Crans was born in Philadelphia.
Mr. and Mrs. Crans' family of six children were all born in
Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Five of their children are still living.
Charles, deceased, unmarried. The others are all married and have
families living in different parts of Kansas. One son, Merwin, is a
resident of Concordia. A daughter, Margaret A. Richardson, with her two
daughters, live in the home of her father. Mrs. Crans, the loving,
faithful wife and devoted, unselfish mother, after many years of patient
suffering, was called to her eternal home. The touchingly beautiful
devotion of her bereaved husband was universally remarked. He moved his
office to the residence that he might be constantly by her side. Had she
been spared her family a few months longer they would have celebrated the
proverbial golden wedding, a magic time, a consummation hoped for by
congenial companionship. Her death occurred May 17, 1896. The family of
Mr. Crans are members of the Protestant Episcopal church and while he is
not a regular attendant of any church Mr. Crans has a reverence for
everything good and holy.
In November, 1901, the semi-centennial of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, was
celebrated and Mr. Crans was the only living man at that time who
participated in the organization of that body. Concordia was in its
infancy when Mr. Crans settled there in the early part of 1871. J. F.
Hannam, who was then a farmer west of Concordia, moved Mr. Crans, his
family and their effects to Granny creek (now White's creek), where he and
several of his children had entered land, whereon they anticipated
devoting their attention to agriculture only.
Concordia consisted of but a few houses, and a number of active and
energetic men engaged in the erection of other buildings with a
determination to establish a thriving business point. The whole country at
that time was covered with a soft carpet of short buffalo grass and only a
very few trees to break the view-a long stretch of level land, but to the
eye of a farmer great possibilities were discernible. The greater part of
the country was uninhabited and the soil produced very little for the
support of the settlers. This drawback caused the necessity of Mr. Crans
moving into Concordia in order to eke out an existence and where shortly
afterward an accident opened up to him the means of support through his
profession. He found himself a failure as a farmer and his family were not
inclined to remain without him upon the lands they had selected.
|A difficulty having sprung up between the
citizens of the town and the county, which claimed the title to
the land, Mr. Crans, at the request of F. W. Sturges, Milton
Reasoner, A. A. Carnahan and others, proposed what was then
commonly called "jumping" the town site. In 1873 Mr. Crans
consented to act as attorney for the inhabitants in a contest
against the Town Company to enable them to throw open to actual
settlers the most of the land contained within the town of
Concordia. He became associated with judge Sturges and Judge
Carnahan. The Town Company abandoned its claim to what was yet
government land, but through an arrangement between they local
land office and the Town Company homesteaded and pre-empted claims
for such lands as were entered.
The gentlemen named with Mr. Crans then entered contests and after a
hard struggle before the United States land office, succeeded in
securing to all the citizens and those who might afterward become such,
the unpatented lands within Concordia.
Mr. Crans removed his family into the city, where he has continued to
reside and always, not only as a lawyer, but a law-abiding citizen, with
the welfare of his townsmen ever uppermost in his hopes, well knowing
prosperous men make a thriving town.
Source: Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas:
biographies of representative citizens; published 1903, 915 pgs.
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