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William and Keziah Crapnell Family

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Contacts - David William Crapnell kindly supplied us with some "family stories" quoted below. David is an artist - watch for his credits on TV. He tells us the Crapnells were a restless bunch and liked to explore new territory. He has found Crapnell records in England but has yet to make a connection.

William B. Crapnell was born in England. He died 9/4/1859, age 61 yr 20 mo 12 dy, and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. His wife's given name was Keziah but we do not know her surname. She was born in England and died 11/16/1871, age 71, and is buried with her husband in New Boston Cemetery. Several of her children had a middle initial "A" which might be a clue to her maiden name if we could find a record of what the "A" stood for.

We are not certain when the Crapnells arrived from England. Their last son, Henry, was born 1834 in England. The History of Mercer County 1882 says the family of E. A. Crapnell settled in New Boston Township in 1838, so their arrival was sometime between those dates. David tells a family story of the first Crapnell (probably William) traveling out to Illinois in the 1830's by flat-bottom boat. When they came to a place where the river was traveling the 'opposite direction' and where the river made a 'big cross' he had them put him ashore. He hiked inland, through the swamp and the woods, as far as he could in one day. The next morning he carved his initials into a couple of trees. Those initials were still seen on an old abandoned farm when David visited Mercer County about 30 years ago. As most of the early settlers did, he then sent for his family, or perhaps went back to get them. David was also told that the Crapnells knew the Willits family before any of them moved to Illinois. (It will be interesting to verify the River geography mentioned and to trace where they might have known the Willits family.)

There is no record of a public land purchase for any of the Crapnells, but the History says they settled on Section 14. E. A. Crapnell is shown owning the SE1/4 of Section 14 on the New Boston Township in 1875 and his sister Ellen is shown owning adjoining land, the NE1/4 Section 23. William Crapnell probably purchased from a private party and the children inherited the land. There should be a probate for him in Mercer County.

The family is found in Township 14 North Range 5 West (future New Boston Township) in 1840: William Crapnell engaged in trade; 1 male 30-40 [William], 1 male 15-20 [William, Jr], 1 male 10-15 [Edwin A.], 2 males 5-10 [Charles & Henry]; 1 female 30-40 [Keziah], 1 female 15-20 [Keziah, Jr.], 2 females 10-15 [Rachel and Ellen].

There is a notation under New Boston Township in the History of Mercer County 1882 that "The Baptist society was organized in 1844 by Elder Hovey, with the following members, viz:...E. A. Crapnell and wife, William Crapnell, William Noble and wife... ." This note is a bit puzzling with the reference to "E. A. Crapnell and wife," since son Edwin did not marry until the 1850's and was only about 16 in 1844. The reference to a wife for E. A. in 1844 is probably simply an error and she was a later member. The "William Noble and wife" referred to William and Keziah Crapnell Noble (next paragraph). The "William Crapnell" probably refers to William, Jr. as he remained a Baptist, becoming a trustee of the Aledo Baptist Church when it was organized January 5, 1867.

In Township 14 North, Range 5 West in 1850 we find: #400 William Crapnell, 50, shoemaker, real estate valued $3000, born England; Kesiah, 47, born England; William, Jr., 27, harness maker, Eng; Rachel, 25, Eng; Ellen, 21, Eng; Edwin, 20, farmer, Eng; Charles, 19, farmer, Eng; Henry, 16, farmer, Eng; Emily, 5, born Il; Alfred F. Noble, 4, Ill. Emily is named as Emily Crapnell, but she was Emily Noble. That William B. Crapnell was indeed a shoemaker is born out by a bill presented into the estate of Isaac Willits in the 1840's (here translated to the best of our ability).

"Personal appeared before me Wm Crapnell who being sworn deposeth and saith the within account is just and correct and that there is a balance due him of $00.37 1/2 which is yet unpaid. /s/William Crapnell. Sworn to before me on this 1st day of Dec 1845 /s/John W. Nevins. P.J.P." This portion of the bill is reproduced at the top of the page showing William Crapnell's signature. " Dec 20, 1843 shoes mending 0.50; Dec 29 girls shoes 1.87; Feb 18, 1844 boots mending 0.62; March 2, 1844 shoes soll heel 2 prs 0.75; Mar 12 Wife shoes mending 0.37; Milton shoes soll heel 0.75; May 29, 1844 New calfskin shoes 2.50; June 12, 1844 Wife's shoes mend 0.25; July 3, 1844 Milton Pin?? $1.25; July 13, 1844, ?? New shoes 1.87; July 20, 1844 M. W. new Pin?? 1.37; Sept 23, 1844, W. New shoes 1.50; Oct 16, 1844, girls shoes mend 0.62; Nov 6, 1844, Milton shoe soll heel 0.75; Sept 7, 1844 New boots 4.00; Dec 8, 1844 Girls new shoes 1.87; Mrs W new shoes 1.50; Total $22.37 [for math fanatics we have not included partial cents in the amounts]; Credit by rent of 11 acres of ground at 2.00 $22.00. Balance due 0.37." This is interesting for giving us an idea of the prices of various items in that time period and as an example of the barter system in those cash poor days where the shoemaker's bill was offset by renting a parcel of land. The "cash poor" is underscored by the trouble that was gone to to collect 37 1/2 cents from the estate. After William's death, Keziah lived with William, Jr. (see below).

More on the Children of William and Keziah Crapnell

Keziah Crapnell Noble

Daughter Keziah Crapnell was born in England and died 10/29/1846 in Mercer County, age 29 yrs 10 m 15 dys. She is is buried in New Boston Cemetery next to her husband. She married William B. Noble, son of Lewis and Betsy Burgess Noble, on 12/18/1843 in Mercer County. They had children Emily J. Noble, born 4/21/1844, and Alfred F. Noble, born 1846. Keziah no doubt died as a result of the birth of Alfred.

Husband William B. Noble died 9/3/1849, age 25 yr 10 m 15 dy, and is buried with his wife among the Crapnells. The two children were raised by their Crapnell grandparents. Emily J. Noble never married, died 1/24/1906, and is buried in New Boston Cemetery.

Alfred Noble never married. He enlisted from Aledo in Company F, 140th Il Infantry, on May 12, 1864 and died of wounds at Memphis, Tennessee, July 24, 1864. The National Roll of Honor lists him. He was originally buried at Memphis but was moved to the Mississippi River National Cemetery in Tennessee on the Memphis and Ohio Railroad intersection with the Memphis and Raleigh plank road - 6 miles from Memphis, where 32 states and 537 regiments are represented by burials. A letter from "H. S." of the 140th Regiment was published in the Aledo Weekly Record on July 13, 1864 (we will be posting this letter on our Civil War page). Companies I and F had been engaged in guarding the Memphis and Charleston Railroad from guerrillas and a number of Mercer County boys were wounded in a skirmish, including Fred Noble. The letter describes him being shot in three places: "one shot through the neck, the breaking of one arm, and one shot thro' the body, supposed to be fatal. The latter wound was inflicted after he was taken prisoner; they presented a pistol to his head for the purpose of blowing out his brains - he entreated them to spare his life - the pistol was withdrawn, when up stepped another fiend of h__l, and discharged his piece as above stated, through the body of as brave a boy as ever shouldered a knapsack, Poor Fred!"

Rachel Crapnell Hudson

Daughter Rachel A. Crapnell was born in England and died 9/30/1851, age 28 yrs 10 mo 9 dys, in Mercer County. She is buried in New Boston Cemetery with her Crapnell relatives. Rachel married John Wesley Hudson on 10/8/1850 in Mercer County and no doubt died at the birth of her first child. (see the Lewis Noble family for more on John Wesley Hudson

Edwin and Hannah Willits Crapnell

Son Edwin A. Crapnell was born 5/6/1829 in England and died 3/29/1901 in Mercer County and is buried in New Boston Cemetery. He married Hannah M. Willits, daughter of Reuben and Mary Harris Willits, on 8/10/1851 in Mercer County. Hannah was born 4/13/1833 in Wayne County, Indiana, came to Mercer County as an orphan, and died 1/12/1894. She is buried with her husband in New Boston Cemetery. They had children: Harry A. Crapnell (1855-1930); Charles A. Crapnell, about 1856; Clyde P. Crapnell (1858-1922); Albert E. Crapnell (1860-1933); William R. Crapnell, about 1861; Frederick A. Crapnell, about 1864; Ada M. Crapnell, about 1868; Arthur Crapnell (1873-4/9/1874).

Harry married Cuanna Mills 8/31/1876 (1857-1931). We do not know Cuanna's parents. Charles Crapnell married Carrie Longshore, daughter of James and Sarah Longshore, on 3/22/1883. Albert E. Crapnell married Sue Miller (1863-1939). There was a Susan and a Susanna Miller in Mercer in 1870 so we are not sure of her parents nor have we found a marriage record. William R. Crapnell married Emma J. Miller 12/8/1886. There were four Emma Millers in Mercer County in 1870 so we are not sure of her parentage either. Susan Miller and Emma Miller were sisters and daughters of Gilford and Sophia Miller of Perryton Township, so perhaps the two Crapnell men married sisters. Frederick A. Crapnell married Mamie Mosley 6/8/1889. We do not know Mamie's parentage. Adda Crapnell married John E. Gilmore on 9/25/1884. We do not know John's parentage. We will be putting up Mills, Miller, Mosley, and Gilmore pages. All those shown with a death date are buried in New Boston Cemetery.

Edwin and Hannah are found in the 1860 census in New Boston Township: #1809 Edwin A. Crapnell, 28, farmer, born England; Hannah, 26, born In; Henry [Harry], 5, born Il; Charles, 4, Il; Clyde, 2, Il. In 1870: #16 Edwin Crapnell, 39, farmer, En; Hannah, 35, In; Harry, 15, Il; Charlie, 13, Il; Clyde, 11, Il; Bert, 10, Il; William, 9, Il; Frederick, 6, Il; Ida, 2, Il; Anna Johnson, 17, housekeeper, Sw; Jasper Commons, 27, farmer. On 10/19/1875 the following advertisement appears in the Aledo Weekly Record: "Choice winter apples including Janet, Willow Twig, Winesap, Jonathan, Yellow Bellflower, and other varieties, carefully picked and for sale @ $1 bushel. Also a few well-bred Poland China boar pigs. Call at my residence 3 miles northwest of Joy, if you want either apples or pigs. E. A. Crapnell." He is listed on a committee of New Boston Lodge #59 on 3/11/1874.

Edwin and Hannah are found in the 1880 census in New Boston: Edward Crapnell, farmer, 51, born England; Hanah M. Crapnell, 48, born In, parents born In; Charles A. Crapnell, works on farm, 23, Il; Clyde P. Crapnell, works on farm, 21, Il; Bert E. Crapnell, works on farm, 20, Il; William R. Crapnell, works on farm, 19, Il; Fred A. Crapnell, works on farm, 15, Il; Ada M. Crapnell, 12, born Il. Son Frederick A. Crapnell married Mamie Moseley 6/8/1889 in Mercer County.

William B. Crapnell, Jr

William Crapnell, Jr., never married as nearly as we can determine. He turned from harness making to farming and horticulture. At the Annual Meeting of the Mercer County Agricultural Society on January 24, 1860, William B. Crapnell was elected as one of the directors At the 6th annual fair held 11/1/1859, William B. Crapnell won an award for the best sample honey; sister Ellen Crapnell for currant wine; and brother Edwin Crapnell's wife for the best bouquet of natural flowers. In an advertisement in the Aledo Weekly Record 4/9/1861 "Evergreens, ornamental trees and shrubs, fruit trees, grapevines, currants, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries at Crapnell's nursery near the bluff 4 miles East of New Boston. William B. Crapnell." He is listed as reading a paper before the Mercer County Scientific Association which was organized in February 1878. His paper was titled "The Birds and Animals we are Losing and Gaining." The Association changed its name to the Mercer County Scientific and Historical Society in December 1879 and W. B. Crapnell of New Boston Township was listed as a member. He is also mentioned as scheduled to lecture before the New Boston Lay Society in February 1864.

William Crapnell Jr is listed as head of household in the 1860 census in New Boston Township: #1661 William B. Crapnell, 37, farmer, real estate valued $6500, personal property $1500, born England; Keziah, 60, Eng; Ellen, 26, Eng; Emily J. Noble, 16, Ill; Alfred F. Noble, 14, Ill; Peter Johnson, 23, laborer, Sweden; Jerry McCue, 18, laborer, Sweden; Gilbert Fortner, 16, laborer, Iowa.

In 1870 Keziah is listed as head of household: #174 Keziah Crapnell, 67, born En; William, 40, farmer, En; Ellen, 38, En; Ellen Noble, 20 (actually 26), Il. In 1880: William Crapnell, farmer, 57, Eng, parents born Eng; Elen, sister, keeping house, 41, Eng, parents born Eng; Emily J. Noble, niece, 26, born Il, father born In, mother born Il; Dan McGran, laborer, 62, born Ire.

One notices a pattern here often seen in census records where the females grow younger with each passing decade (actually we have noted this fairly often for men as well!). William died in 1881 according to a note in the records of the Mercer County Scientific and Historical Society (we do not find a tombstone record).

Ellen Crapnell Stevenson

There is a marriage record for Ella R. Crapnell to one David Stevenson on 7/5/1877 in Mercer County. Sister Ellen Crapnell is shown keeping house for brother William in 1880 but she should probably have been listed as Stevenson unless there was a temporary separation. There is a tombstone record in New Boston Cemetery: Ellen Crapnell, wife of David Stevenson, 1827-1915. She is buried next to David Stevenson born Ireland, died 1/16/1902, age 70. The age on the tombstone matches fairly well with Ellen's first census record in 1850 (perhaps the tombstone was worn and actually reads 1829 - then it is a perfect match). We have the 1880 census on CD-ROM and found a perfect match for David Stevenson in District 6, Precinct 6, Montague, Texas. He was living with a Joseph Dempsey, millwright and family. David is listed as age 48, born Ireland, parents born Scotland, occupation "mill business." When time permits we will check the 1900 census in Mercer County to see if he had returned home by then.