Click here to RETURN to the Cook Cnty ILGenWeb USGenWeb HOME page

Cook County ILGenWeb Genealogy User Submitted Data



                                       OSRO A. CRAIN
                                         Biography
                                    Cook County, Illinois

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Information contributed for use in Cook County ILGenWeb by
        Sherri Hessick, added May 2001.




                     OSRO A. CRAIN

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County,
Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended
(Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 41-43

OSRO AMANDOR CRAIN, a resident of Cook County for fifty-five
years, was born at Stockton, Chautauqua County, New York,
September 17, 1819.  He is one of a family of nine children
born to Charles Crain and Fidelia (Case) Crain, both of whom
were born near Middlebury, Vermont.  The Crain family is of
Welsh extraction.  Owing to religious persecution, seven
brothers of that name came to America in a sailing-vessel
during the Colonial period.  They settled in Vermont, and
their posterity is now numerous in many states of the Union.
James Crain, the grandfather of Osro, was a Revolutionary
soldier and a prominent farmer of Middlebury.  His eldest
son, Ezra, became a resident of Illinois, settling at
Bloomington, where he died a few years since.

At the age of nineteen years Charles Crain married and moved
to New York.  Thence he went to Geauga County, Ohio, and
later to De-Kalb County, Indiana, where he died in the
seventy-third year of his age.  Mrs. Fidelia Crain was a
daughter of Timothy Case, a native of Vermont, who entered
the Continental army at the age of sixteen years and served
four years in the struggle for American independence.  He
was an early settler of Cook County, Illinois, his death
occurring at Niles, commonly known as “Dutchman’s Point.”
Following is the record of Charles Crain’s children:
Irving, who was fatally gored by a bull at Hamilton,
Indiana; Leander, a retired farmer near Durand, Wisconsin;
Osro A.; Anna, Mrs. L. Burroughs, of Evanston; Charles and
Fidelia, who died while residing at Evanston, the latter
being the wife of Daniel Kelly; Jackson, residing at Farm
Hill, Wisconsin; and Martha, Mrs. Little, who died at
Hamilton, Indiana.

Osro A. Crain was about sixteen years old when the family
removed to Indiana.  On attaining his majority he left home
and, with his brothers, Charles and Leander, came on foot to
Chicago, a distance of one hundred and eighty miles,
bringing all his earthly possessions in a pack on his back.
His first employment was at chopping wood, for which he
received $10 a month and his board.  He subsequently learned
the cooper’s trade at Gross Point, and, being naturally
ingenious and handy with tools, he was able to make a
perfect barrel in one week from the time he began, a feat
which naturally astonished his employer and fellow-workmen.
At the end of three weeks he had thoroughly mastered the
trade, and was made foreman of the shop.  In 1844 he
purchased twenty acres of land in the present city of
Evanston, including the site of his present residence on
Ridge Avenue.  This land, which cost him $5 per acre, was
covered with heavy timber.  He built a six-room frame house,
at an expense of $300, which surpassed in size and
pretension any other residence on the Ridge Road north of
Chicago.  Mr. Crain subsequently purchased other tracts of
land in this locality, owning at one time over three hundred
acres, and has always been a dealer in real estate to a
greater or less extent.

In 1849 he became imbued with the California fever, and
started overland for the new El Dorado with a team of oxen,
making the trip from the Missouri River in seventy days.
The damaged provisions, which were the only food obtainable
in the mines, were ruinous to health, causing the death of
thousands of men; and by the advice of his physician he
started for home in the following November.  He sailed on
the steamer “Panama,” on her first trip from San Francisco
to the Isthmus, whence he went by way of New Orleans to St.
Louis, arriving in the latter city on New Year’s Day, 1850.
From that point the journey was continued by stage and team
to Shabbona Grove, Illinois, where his wife was staying at
the residence of her father.

Having recuperated his health, on the 10th of April, 1850,
Mr. Crain again turned his face toward the West, and with
three companions and a number of horses and mules,
re-embarked upon the long journey across the plains.  This
time they consumed but sixty days in covering the ground
beyond the Missouri River, making a brief call at Salt Lake
City, where some of their jaded animals were traded for
ponies, with which to complete the trip.  He engaged in
mining at a place still known as Crain’s Gulch in
Georgetown, near Coloma, and later at the Arbuckle Diggings,
in the Trinity Mountains, where he was foreman of a mining
company.  He refrained from drinking or gambling, and
thereby avoided many of the difficulties in which miners are
apt to become entangled.  As leader of the Vigilance
Committee, he was influential in driving out the gamblers
and other vicious characters who visited the camp, and on
one occasion saved the life of a comrade who was threatened
by one of the banished class.  Having accumulated about
$6,000, in 1856 he returned home, by way of Panama, and has
since been a permanent resident of Evanston, where a street
was named in his honor.  In 1860 he made another trip to the
West, spending a few months in Colorado.

In 1843, Mr. Crain was married to Olivia A. Hill, daughter
of Aruna Hill, an early settler at Gross Point, in whose
cooper-shop he had been employed.  Mrs. Crain died on the
13th of May, 1873, at the age of fifty-two years, leaving
one son, William Edgar Crain, who resides in Colorado.  In
1874 Mr. Crain was married to Mrs. Diadama Siter, daughter
of Robert A. Morse, an early pioneer of Chicago.  Mrs. Crain
was born at Ithaca, New York, and by her first marriage has
one daughter, Clara S., wife of Arthur Rose, of Omaha.  Mr.
Crain is an honorary member of the Masonic order, with which
he has been connected for thirty years.  He cast his first
Presidential vote for William H. Harrison, and has been a
steadfast adherent of the Republican party since the birth
of that organization.  His career has been one of integrity
and consistency, and he commands the respect and esteem of
an extensive circle of acquaintances.





-------------------------------------------------------------------------
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any
format for profit or presentation by other organization or persons.
Persons or organizations desiring to use this material, must obtain
the written consent of the submitter or their legal representative,
and must contact the listed Cook County ILGenWeb Coordinator(s)
with proof of this consent.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Contact the Cook County ILGenWeb County Coordinators for written permissions.

Click here to return to the Research & Links page OR use your {BACK} icon on your browser...

Click here to return to the User Submitted Data page OR use your {BACK} icon on your browser...



This USGenWeb site is generously
Hosted by RootsWeb
Hosted by RootsWeb
© 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
by the Cook County ILGenWeb County Coordinators.   All rights reserved.
This PAGE was last updated: 12 May 2001 by the Cook County ILGenWeb County Coordinators.