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W. A. Crane is now living retired, his home being at No. 1654 College Avenue in Racine. For many years, however, he was actively identified with farming and dairying interests in this County and his persistent and intelligently directed efforts constituted the foundation upon which he built his success. He was born in the town of Mount Pleasant, Racine County, September 11, 1844, a son of Augustus B. and Lavina (Baldwin) Crane. The father was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was early left an orphan, after which he was reared by an uncle. It was in the year 1839 that he arrived in Racine County, at which period the work of progress and development seemed scarcely begun here. At the Rapids, in January, 1843, he wedded Lavina Baldwin, who was born near Syracuse, New York, and whose parents removed with their family from the Empire state to Kalamazoo, Michigan, making the journey around the Lakes with ox teams and in 1842 coming from Kalamazoo to Wisconsin. The young couple began their domestic life in Mount Pleasant Township, where they spent their remaining days. Mr. Crane secured a tract of new land from which he cleared the timber and then turned the furrows, whereby the place was converted into productive fields. Throughout his remaining days he continuously and successfully carried on general farming up to the time of his death, which occurred February 15, 1908. He was quite prominent in the community and was frequently called upon to fill public offices, the duties of which he discharged with promptness and fidelity. His widow survived him for little more than a year, passing away in April, 1909, their remains being interred in Mound cemetery.
W. A. Crane pursued his education in the district school at Mygatts Corners and remained upon the home farm until February 10, 1865, when he responded to the country’s call for troops, enlisting for three years’ service or during the war. He was at the front for about five months, being on patrol duty in Tennessee until he received his discharge. When the country no longer needed his aid he returned and began farming in Mount Pleasant Township, near the city of Racine. Thirty-eight years ago he built a house and purchased forty acres of land, to which he added until he was the owner of one hundred and twenty acres. Upon that farm he continued to reside until 1896, when he took up his abode in the city, but during much of the intervening period he has given his time and personal attention to the further cultivation and improvement of the farm. For thirty-five years he was engaged in the dairy business, but in the fall of 1915 he retired to enjoy a well earned rest. He has sold forty acres of his land and it is platted in town lots, and recently he has platted another forty-acre tract. From the sale of his property he has derived a very gratifying income and he well deserves the success which has crowned his efforts, as it is the direct result of persistency of purpose intelligently and honorably directed.
In 1867 Mr. Crane was united in marriage to Miss Laura T. Lathrop, a daughter of A. H. Lathrop. They have become the parents of six children, as follows: Louise C., who is the wife of Mark Wadmond, teller in the First National Bank of Racine; George A., who is head salesman in the service of the Garfield Truck Company of Chicago; Genevieve and Charles A., both at home; H. W., who conducts a garage in Chicago, and Lucy, deceased.
In politics Mr. Crane has been a lifelong republican, as was his father before him. His loyalty to his party has ever been unwavering, for he believes that its platform contains the best elements of good government. On one occasion he served as a member of the town board, but would not again accept office, preferring to leave office holding to others, while he has concentrated his efforts upon his business affairs. He is a member of the Baptist church, in which he has served as deacon for a number of years, and he has also been one of the directors of the church at Mygatts Corners, which he aided in building and which was dedicated in 1858. Fraternally he is connected with the Grand Army of the Republic and at one time was commander of his post. The name of Crane has been closely, prominently and honorably associated with the history of Racine County since his father, at the age of sixteen years, arrived here, afterward serving as clerk in the first post office in Racine. W. A. Crane has ever manifested a spirit of enterprise and progress in relation to the public life of the community and his efforts have been far-reaching and beneficial.