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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


JOHN A. CRAIN, a dry-goods merchant and banker of Waverly, is senior member of the firm of J. A. Crain & Co., and has been a resident of Morgan County since March, 1846. He was born in Fleming County, Ky., Nov. 5, 1822, and is of English ancestry. His paternal grandfather, James Crane, was born, reared and married in England and emigrated to America about 1728. He made settlement in Fauquier County, Va., where he resided until 1798, then with his son Samuel, removed to Fleming County, Ky., the wife and mother having died in the Old Dominion. Grandfather Crain was a farmer by occupation, reared a large family and lived to be over ninety years old. His children settled mostly in South Carolina.

Samuel Crain, the father of our subject, was born in 1760, and served four years as a private in the Revolutionary War under the direct command of Washington, and was present at the surrender of Yorktown. In 1785 he was married to a Virginia lady of English descent. In 1798 they removed to Fleming County, Ky., where the wife and mother died about 1810. The children born of this marriage were named respectively, Simeon, John, William, James, Lewis, Elizabeth, Lucinda, Phebe and Sarah. After the death of his first wife Mr. Crain was married, in 1819, to Jane Moffett, a native of Kentucky and of Irish and German parents. He became owner of a plantation where he spent his remaining years, being successful financially. He owned a number of slaves, several of whom were freed at his death, which occurred in June, 1825, the result of a fall. Of his second marriage there were born six children, viz.: Thomas, John A., Charles, Samuel, Elijah and Louise, all of whom, with the exception of the subject of this sketch are deceased.

John A. Crain continued a resident of his native State until a young man of twenty-four years. Then coming to Illinois he located in Waverly, establishing the pioneer store in the place, which he conducted with signal success. It was probably also the oldest store in the county. In 1870 he established a private bank, which is still in operation. He has at different times owned large tracts of real estate, sometimes as high as 2,000 acres. He disposed of a large portion of this, having now 600 acres besides his town property.

Mr. Crain has been twice married, first in 1848 to Miss Elizabeth Manson, whose parents were early settlers of Morgan county. She was born in Emmettsburg, Md., and died in 1852, leaving two children, both daughters: the elder, Mary, became the wife of Byron L. Carter, and died in Waverly, leaving three children; Lucy married James Dennis, and died in Waverly, leaving one child. Emma also died in Waverly. In 1856 Mr. Crain married his second wife, Eleanor M., daughter of Dempsey and Mary (Roberts) Kennedy; this lady was born in Pennsylvania, and came to Illinois with her parents when quite young. Of this union there have been born six children, the eldest of whom, Kate, is the wife of Rev. George R. Beatty, and resides in Ocala, Fla.; Ella is the wife of Newton H. Rohrer, of Waverly; Maude was the third child; Oliver remains with his father, and has charge of the bank; Chase is a resident of Florida, and Thomas resides at home. Mr. Crain, politically, is a Republican, and in religious matters has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since 1840.

1889 Index
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