Willis Cronk

Biography courteously provided by Joyce Riedinger, Delaware County Coordinator.


WILLIS CRONK, a well-known manufacturer of Grand Gorge, N.Y. was born in this place, May 4, 1855. The great-grandfather of Mr. Cronk was Lawrence Cronk, who with his wife, Nancy Crary, came to New York from Connecticut, and settling near Grand Gorge, carried on one of the earliest taverns in this part of the country. He lived to be eighty years of age, and was the father of nine children--- John, Hannah, Betsey, Sally, Nathaniel, Edward, Nathan, Phebe, and Rosetta. John, the grandfather of Willis, was born on Clay Hill in the town of Roxbury. When ready to start out in the world for himself, he bought one hundred and twenty-four acres of the D. Lee farm, owned by the Dent family. Selling this later, he bought one hundred and forty acres nearby, put up new buildings, improved the farm, and here lived until his death at forty-four years of age. His wife lived to be sixty years of age, and was the mother of eight children--- Hiram, David, Almanran, Harrison, Lawrence J., Eliza J., John and Isaac. John Crank was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and in politics a Whig.

David Cronk was born on the Dent farm in the log cabin, which was the family homestead. He attended the village school until thirteen years of age, when he commenced working in the tannery of D. Lafrom, his duty being to grind the bark for the tanning. He afterward was employed by A. Moore in the tannery business and later went west to Oxford, and for three years drove a stage. Returning then to Grand Gorge he worked in the tannery business for some months, after which he bought a farm of sixty-four acres near the village, and for a while employed his time in so improving it that he was enabled to sell it to good advantage. After engaging in several farming investments, he removed to Schoharie County, and thence went to Greene County, where he dwelt for six years, having a farm of three hundred acres, and carrying on a large dairy. Again he came back to Delaware County, and after a short residence here bought the house in which he now lives. His wife was Frances, daughter of Philip and Priscilla (Bangs) Sines, by whom he had eight children---Nettie, John, Willis, Addison, David, Ella, Roma and Frank. Mrs. Cronk died at the age of sixty-three, but her husband is still living. He is a Democrat, and has held the office of Constable several times.

Willis Cronk was educated in Grand Gorge, and worked at home on the farm until twenty-three years of age, when he began working at the carpenter's trade. After two years thus employed, he went into the factory of W.P. Moore, a manufacturer of sashes and blinds. Here he rose to be foreman, and in 1887 bought out the business. He has enlarged and remodeled the factory, and continues here engaged, making sashes, blinds, doors, mouldings, and other accessories of buildings. He has an excellent trade, and all his work is done in the best style and with the greatest thoroughness.

When thirty-eight years old, Mr. Cronk was married to Jennie West, daughter of Theodore West, a carpenter of New Haven. Mr. Cronk is a Democrat, and has held several minor offices. Notwithstanding his many business responsibilities, he has shown himself to be a public-spirited man, who his at heart the welfare of his native town.


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