Hannah’s Letter

The following is a transcript of “Hannah’s Letter.” The first part, in blue, is believed to have been written by Hannah (Keith) Towne. Carol (Boyer) Stafford produced a typewritten version and sent a copy to various family members. The part in green was her postscript to that letter.

Scan of Crawford Letter

I cannot remember but a very little of what I have heard grandma and Ma tell of their people, but probably possibley can give you a little information. Grandma’s Old Bible will give some dates. Will begin with Grandpa Crawford. Hiram Crawford was born Sept 10, 1795, but I cannot tell where, but think in Orange Co. N.Y. If I remember correctly he lived with his grandparents from childhood until he was able old enough to go for himself. Cant remember why he had to do that. He was a good scholar, and a great reader, taught school a good deal. Was not as particular about his dress as some of his son’s. Grandma said he used to come and see her with his shoes laced with tow strings. Should have thought it would have been all up with Nancy and Hiram then.

Grandmas father and Mother. John Comfort was born Aprill 10th, 1767. Died Jan 1830. Catherine Harris was born Oct 10, 1777[1]. Died Aug 10, 1840. They lived in Orange, Co. N.Y. Was Were farmers and quite well to do. When the Colonies began to U.S. and England began to talk war 1812 he had to get out of the U.S. for he was a rank tory, and did too much talking. For his loyalty to England King George the English government gave him quite a tract of land near Beamsville, Ontario. Grandma has told me about his getting across Niagara river. The two governments were very careful about letting people go from one country to the other, and when they got to Niagara the officers rather objected to letting them go across the river, so grandfather treated them to all they wanted to drink, and while they were feeling good he got his teams onto the ferry boat, and after they had crossed the center of the river he swung his hat and hurrahed for King George. Presume there was a sore lot of officials watching him.[2] After a while Hiram Crawford drifted to Beamsville[3] and liked the people well enough to stay and teach school and in time he, and Nancy Comfort married then he bought land six miles east of London on the Thames river and built a tannery. Was there a number of years, their eleven children were all born there. Ma[4] was the oldest and Uncle Pross[5] the youngest. When he was about four years of age, grandfather sold out his business and came to Mich, with the intention of locateing in Grand Rapids as they were booming that town then. When they got to Galesburg they had to stop on account of sickness. Uncle D.C.[6] was sick and the Dr, said he had typhoid fever. He was about twelve years old. Some of the people wanted –

Mildred[7] thinks Auntie[8] wrote this, but who she was writing to – and where the rest of the letter went I don’t know. Anyway, Grandpa Crawford’s name was Hiram. Have copied it just as Auntie wrote it.


P.S.   –     I wonder if maybe he was buried in that old cemetery in the northwest corner of Galesburg where Grandma Betts[10] and Great-Great Grandma and Grampa Keith[11] are buried.

[1] Family trees in Ancestry.com show John and Catherine were married in July of 1782. Either the marriage date or their birth dates appear to be incorrect as John would have been 15 years of age and Catherine only 5 at the time of their marriage

[2] The following was e-mailed to Jay Crawford by Brian Bartley: “John Comfort originally supported the Revolution, but later changed his affiliation. In July 1782 he married Catherine Harris daughter of Francis and Catherine Harris a strongly Tory family. At the end of the war John and the Harris family went to Nova Scotia where they received land grants. Due to difficulty of making a living on his grant he returned to Montgomery Township, Orange County, New York before 1790 and was happily reinstated by his family and community. However with the approach of the 1812 hostilities his pro-British feelings caused problems and he soon left for Canada with his wife and seven younger children and suitable credentials. He apparently requested land in June 1812 and was granted 400 acres. Two hundred acres were in Clinton Twp. Lots 21 Con VII and 18 Con VIII. He later purchased Lot 19 Con VI in Clinton Twp. He also received 200 acres in Dawn Twp. Lambton County.”

[3] Beamsville, Ontario, Canada

[4] Sarah Crawford

[5] Lucius Prosper (“Pros”) Crawford

[6] David Caleb (“D.C.”) Crawford

[7] Mildred (Harris) Cripe

[8] Hannah (Keith) Towne

[9] Carol (Boyer) Stafford

[10] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[11] Hannah (Willcutt) and Charles Luke Keith Sr.

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