First Death, Birth And Marriage
Two children of the family of Alexander Revis, died in 1833, and are supposed to be the first deaths that occurred among the early settlers. The father and mother followed them some years later, and were laid to rest beside their sleeping little ones near what is known as Revis Springs. But few, if any, are now living who can point out the exact spot where the mortal remains of most of this pioneer family lie buried. The first wedding to occur in the township, so far as we have been able to ascertain, was that of John Mounts and Jane Summers. This happy event, by which two hearts were made to beat as one, transpired in 1830. No doubt John could exclaim with the poet (slightly varied),
"I would, were she always thus nigh,
To the squaw wife of James Price is accorded the honor of becoming the mother of the first child born in what is now Crane Creek Township. If living, he has been reared among the kinsmen of his mother in the Far West, and may, for aught we know, even now be quietly surveying the situation, from the camp of Sitting Bull, preparatory to spreading consternation throughout our Western frontier settlements.
Among the early Justices of the Peace, the names of Ira Patterson, Henry Norris and Robert Turner occur. Patterson and Norris were officers when this was yet included in the limits of Menard County. Turner was perhaps the first after the organization of Mason County. Patterson, after filling this and offices of minor importance for some years, went West to grow up with the country. And that he did grow well is attested by the fact that, a number of years ago, he was chosen to the important position of Governor of Oregon. The first deed to a piece of land the Henry Sears ever had made, was drafted by the late martyred President, Abraham Lincoln. In the good old days of Whigs and Democrats, this section was Democratic, and, since the organization of the Republican party, the township has continued to march under the same banner. The scarcity of money in the days of the early settlers was a great source of annoyance, and yet, any one with a liberal amount of industry could easily supply himself with an article, which, for purposes of barter and exchange, was in as high favor as the "dollar of our daddies" of to-day. Coons were plentiful, and a good coon-skin was taken by the merchant in exchange for goods as readily as the value of it in cash would have been taken. J. M. Estep says that the first pair of boots he ever had he purchased of O. m. Ross, in Havana, in 1836, and paid the entire cost in coon-skins. That the early settler would sometimes tax his ingenuity and exercise his physical frame in an unusual manner in order to obtain a little of the "O-be-joyful," is evinced by the following incident: William Summers, who was fond of his "toddy," but who was often without the "wherewithal" necessary to obtain it, laid a wager on a certain occasion, that he could gallop, horse-fashion, on his hands and feet one-quarter of a mile within a given length of time. The feat was accomplished, and Summers, having obtained his quart of "old rye," remarked to his friend Jess Baker, "We can contrive many ways in order to obtain our whisky, rather than to pay cash." The second apple orchard planted in the county was in this township, near Crane Creek. The trees were obtained from the Gardner Nursery in Fulton County, which was established in 1824. The trees reared here from the seed seemed admirably adapted to the climate and soil, and at an early age bore well. The fruit, generally speaking, was remarkable for keeping well for long periods. It was not generally of the largest size, but good in quality and variety. The township most probably took its name from the great numbers of sand-hill cranes that were found here in an early day. The evidence, however, on this point, is by no means conclusive. And thus having traced its history as best we have been able, guided by an earnest desire to place it properly on record, we part company with the settler of 1829 and those that have succeeded him, but not without regret.