U S and Carolina Mathilda (Miller) Crane
.....U S was born in the year 1888, the son of John Hulse and Hattie Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Crane.

.....The name U S for a son's name came about because John H. really admired Ulysses S. Grant as a militant strategist. He wanted to name his son after Grant but did not want him to get stuck with a name such as Ulysses so he just named him U S Crane.  U S married Carolina (Lena) Mathilda Miller in 1916 in Allegan, see the 25th anniversary report below. Lena was born in the year 1906, in Decatur, Michigan where her parents Carl and Mathilda Moller had settled after immigrating to Kalamazoo from Rugen Germany. The name Moller was "Americanized" to Miller. The 1920 census displayed that Lena's mother was living with them plus their daughters Geraldine and Rena.  See the 1920 census page.
U S and Lena had six children. They were all born in the farm house except Jacquelyn who was born in the Douglas hospital.
..
.....Aino Geraldine, born about 1916, married James Wooton;
.....Rena Dorothy, born Oct. 19, 1918, married Fred Thorsen Jr.. She passed away February 15, 2008.
.....Richard Carlton; Born in 1920. He acquired the "old farm" on the north side of M89.

In the photo at right see:
.....Norma Louise, center, married John Hungerford
.....Dixianna, left, married Bill Hungerford, brother to John Hungerford. Some years after Bill died she married Ken . A couple years ago they visited Rugen Germany where her mother parents were from.
.....Jacquelyn Joyce, right, married Bruinsma then Kreaton Cullimore.

.....The map below is two miles wide with the main highway, M89 running across it.  It displays the property plat map of 1895 overlaid on a 1999 aerial photo. From the Pie Pantry, 3/4 miles west is the John Hulse Crane farm which was willed to U S Crane.  John moved into Fennville when U S married and passed away in 1939. Across the road and east was the farm of John's mother, Mrs. Lydia A. (Griswald) Crane, her husband Dwight R. passed away in 1894. This farm became to be know as the old farm, also being the farm that U S s's son Richard purchased.  U S's brother Blakslee became owner of the Harrison and Alvin Hutchins farms which included the Sara Hutchins farm where Albert Crane now lives.

.....The Hutchins Cemetery is just east of Albert's house. In early pioneer days the only way to travel in this area was by the Baily Mill Rd.  To the far left of the map you see "school" marking the Peach Belt School where U S had gone to school with his life long friend who lived across from the school, Clifford Paine.  The Crane girls have many memorable stories about the school.

....."Our mother's parents, Carl and Mathilda came to Kalamazoo where he had a sister and later settled in Decatur, MI with their older children.  Mother was born there.  Her mother was pregnant  with Lena's baby sister, Augusta when Carl became ill and died.  Mother's older brothers had to help raise and support the young family.  My mother never forgot that.  Her dreams of being a nurse were lost.  She and my father later sent Aunt Augusta through nurses training and my mother thought her dream would be realized through Augusta.  Not to be  ! Aunt Augusta died having  mastoid surgery while she was still in training.  Mother never really got over the loss.  Dixie and I often talk about Mother going to the aid of anyone needing help in the community with food and supplies in case of illness or hard times.  Sometimes as children we went with her.  Most people never knew all that my Mother and Dad did to help others.  Later she went on to serve on the Douglas Community Hospital Board.   Our parents taught us one of the most valuable lessons that we learned -- that of 'Giving back'.   So many stories of their caring generosity." Norma Crane

.....U S's oldest sister Ethel first married Peter Cole who owned a factory in Chicago and had a stepson robert who became a lawyer. Peter died when Robert was a teenager.  Ethel moved back to Fennville and cared for her mother Hattie after John H. died.  She later married Clifford Paine who was the engineer for the Golden Gate Bridge. Clifford Paine's farm was almost across from Peachbelt school and he went to school with U S and they and their families were good friends all their life's.

.....When Dixie was visiting her sister Geraldine in California she also visited her Aunt Rena (Lydia Irene) daughter of John H. Crane.  Rena never had any children.  Her husband, Oscar was thought to be the harbor master in San Diego and he was a wonderful tease. He always said, he was going to cut down her swing as she bugged him so much to push her in the swing. They always came to U S's home to stay when they came to Michigan. He was a Mormon although Rena was Methodist. It was said, Oscar installed the beautiful organ in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.  Norma has other memories of Oscar: She said "The women would be chatting and Uncle Oscar would round up the youngest nieces and nephews and take us to a movie in Holland and then to the soda fountain.  We'd sit at the counter and order ice cream sodas and when we received our orders, Uncle Oscar would make a big 'to do' about something or somebody across the room and when we'd look over there, he'd steal the soda of the child  sitting on one side of him or the other and hide it behind his back or hold it under the counter and then tease us about it.  I always tried to sit somewhere out of his reach. Then he would take us to a 'DIME STORE' -- later referred to as a 'VARIETY STORE' and give us money to spend for a coloring book or a paper doll book to take home with us.  I always chose the paper doll book.  I even liked to design and draw new clothes for the paper dolls." 

.....When I was 10 years old I used to write v-mail letters to Howard Beagle from Fennville who was a best friend of my brother Richard.  The paper was thin like an 'onion skin' paper, went through censors, and had to be addressed to a common East or West Coast address for security forwarding.  At one time we sat in our front yard and watched and waved to convoys of American troops going from Fort Custer to Chicago and Westward.   And then there were the occasional "blackout drills' where we turned out all of the lights and pulled down shades and hoped that enemy planes would never come to the U.S. -- or to Fennville, in particular.  I also remember the food stamps, clothing stamps, and the gas rationing." Norma Crane

.....Norma talks to Dixie via email a lot. "Do you remember the gentleman who used to come to visit us in Fennville named Norman Marsh who was a friend of Dad's?  Daddy knew him from college.  I remember him drawing some cartoon sketches and how impressed I was.  He and Daddy would have long conversations when he visited.  The time frame for Norman Marsh's visits to our home is right since he was a cartoonist doing the newspaper strip 1933-43.  It was the middle or latter part when he would have visited us, as I recollect, and he was on his way someplace and always had a tight schedule.  He wrote 'Dan Dunn -- Secretive Operative 48'; the sample at right looked familiar as to the type of characters that I saw him draw.  It makes me think of  the Dick Tracy strip in the Chicago Tribune.

.....Each Sunday our whole family always went to church and Sunday School and afterwards drove to the drug store to pick up the Sunday paper ( The Chicago Tribune -- some copies were put aside for regular customers ) before driving home to the farm for Sunday Dinner. While Mother put the finishing touches on the big family dinner, we children

gathered around Daddy and he read the "funnies" to us.  We'd be peering over Daddy's shoulder and sometimes, he would try to "trick" us by reading the wrong words in the cartoon's "caption boxes" to see if we were paying attention.  We'd say, " Dad--dy ! and he would laugh and when we read to him what it really said, he'd say, "Oh, that's what it says !"  and laugh again.  ( Personally, I preferred the comic " Brenda Starr, Star Reporter,   I think it was called,   -- don't remember the artist/cartoonist though )." Norma Crane

.....Dixie remembers: I did not remember all the kids in the Skinner family until she told me all their names. I do remember that Ruth was the oldest girl and my mom took me over to Skinners where Ruth gave me a permanent in their home. She left it in so long that it burned my hair and it was soooo kinky as I already had naturally curly hair and my mom was sooo upset. I have never had a permanent since. I do remember when I would go over to Alice and Albert Konings who were cousins on my mom's side and play with young Albert. We would hide under the bed when the air raid sirens would go off and put bed spreads over the windows to block out the light. At that time Cousin Al and Alice lived out further than the Skinners but they moved to a farm next to the Skinners.


.....We had two outhouses behind Peachbelt school, one for the girls and one for the boys. Every Halloween night, they would either be tipped over or would be carted off some place (no one knew where) and we would have to wait until the new ones were put up. We never had an out house at the farmhouse as we actually had two bathrooms but one had been closed as it was upstairs in the far back of the house and we had to close it as the pipes froze sometimes way back there by the back stairs. We had heat in the rest of the house but upstairs it came up through a large register in the floor from the heat on the first floor. One year Norma, Jacquie and I stood over the register and looked down to the living room to see when Santa came and we kicked the register and my dad heard us and opened the stair door and said Who is up, up there? and we were very quiet and he said, well, I guess Santa won't be able to come if you are still up. Needless to say, we scurried off to bed very quickly and QUIETLY.

....."I was born in 33 so I remember my folks talking about the depression and because we lived on a fruit farm we always had food. We shared it with lots of other people and we always had a big garden. We always had pigs, cows for milking, horses in the early years so we didn't have to use gasoline. We had a car when we were little and we could all pile in it. It seemed so big. One time when we three girls were in high school, Dad took us on a trip all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit a family who had lived in Fennville, We thought we were in another world. I had never seen such big, mountains. I still vividly remember the Tetons and seeing the ski slopes and the trams which ran up the slopes. Also we went through Yellowstone Park and saw the geysers. Old faithful was a real beautiful sight when the geyser blew and the water went up so many feet into the air. When my kids were grown and out of high school and college, my sister-in-law and my son and his wife and I drove a car and a truck across the U.S. from Maryland to California, going the Northern route and back the southern route.  My kids still talk about it. We had many wonderful adventures. Tried to go to the many places I had been as a child."

....."On the farm, I drove the truck which pulled the hay loader and dumped it on the truck, then we would go back to the barn where there were huge forks that came down and picked up the hay from the trailer and put it over on the hay mound. None of us could go into the barn where the new hay was piled for 24 hours as the rattlesnakes had to come out and they would go out in 24 hours. One time I was driving the pick up truck which was pulling a hay rake and Jacquie was in the back and I ran over a ditch and she flew up in the air and came down still in the back, but when I looked back she was way up in the air and I slammed on the brakes so she would come down still in the back of the truck. One time we had a piece of property which was in the town of Fennville on the west side, very close behind the funeral home and was on the Hutchins Lake road. I was helping to plow it as we grew asparagus on the acre and I couldn't reach the pedals so Richard, my brother put blocks on the petals and I forgot which was the break and the clutch and I ran over a small pear tree which was planted between the rows. My brother was yelling at me and telling me to push the brake and I thought I was but guess I couldn't remember which was the brake or the clutch. My dad let us drive when we were little as we were usually out in the orchards and no other cars were around. I loved to drive and still do."



..... "The reason my family knew Helen and Ike Hutchins was when Helen was still single she helped my mom with Norma and me when Jacquie was born. She was dating Ike. He used to come out to our house and see Helen. I also can remember the Fred Thorsen, Sr. and his wife when we visited Rena and Fred. The Fred Thorsen's lived in Ganges.  Rena and Fred lived in Kalamazoo, when I was in Nursing and would ride to Fennville on the back of Fred's motorcycle after I got off from work at Bronson. It sure is fun to see the pictures and try to associate various remembrances."  Dixianna Crane
 

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