Stephen CRANE

Family tree of Stephen CRANE

Author

AmericanBorn Stephen CRANE

American novelist, short story writer, poet and journalist

Born on November 01, 1871 in Newark, New Jersey, USA , United States

Died on June 05, 1900 in Badenweiler, Hessen, Germany

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Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey, to Reverend Jonathan Townley Crane, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church, and Mary Helen Peck Crane, a clergyman's daughter. He was the fourteenth and last child born to the couple; the 45 year old Helen Crane had lost her four previous children, who each died within one year of birth. Nicknamed "Stevie" by the family, he joined eight surviving brothers and sisters—Mary Helen, George Peck, Jonathan Townley, William Howe, Agnes Elizabeth, Edmund Byran, Wilbur Fiske, and Luther.



The Cranes were descended from Jaspar Crane, a founder of New Haven Colony, who had traveled there from England in 1639. Stephen was named for a supposed founder of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, who had, according to family tradition, come from England or Wales as early as 1665, as well as his great-great grandfather Stephen Crane (1709–1780), a Revolutionary War patriot who served as New Jersey delegate to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Crane would later write that his father, Dr. Crane, "was a great, fine, simple mind" who had written numerous tracts on theology. Although his mother was a popular spokeswoman for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and a highly religious woman, Crane did not believe that "she was as narrow as most of her friends or family." The young Stephen was raised primarily by his sister Agnes, who was 15 years his senior. The family moved to Port Jervis, New York in 1876, where Dr. Crane became the pastor of Drew Methodist Church, a position that he retained until his death.

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As a child, Stephen was often sickly and afflicted by constant colds. When the boy was almost two, his father wrote in his diary that his youngest son became "so sick that we are anxious about him." Despite his fragile nature, Crane was a precocious child who taught himself to read before the age of four. His first known inquiry, recorded by his father, dealt with writing; at the age of three, while imitating his brother Townley's writing, he asked his mother, "how do you spell O?" In December 1879, Crane wrote a poem about wanting a dog for Christmas. Entitled "I'd Rather Have –", it is his first surviving poem. Stephen was not regularly enrolled in school until January 1880, but he had no difficulty in completing two grades in six weeks. Recalling this feat, he wrote that it "sounds like the lie of a fond mother at a teaparty, but I do remember that I got ahead very fast and that father was very pleased with me."



Dr. Crane died on February 16, 1880, at the age of 60; Stephen was eight years old. Some 1,400 people mourned Dr. Crane at his funeral, more than double the size of his congregation. After her husband's death, Mrs. Crane moved to Roseville, near Newark, leaving Stephen in the care of his brother Edmund, with whom the young boy lived with cousins in Sussex County. He then lived with his brother William, a lawyer, in Port Jervis for several years, until he and his sister Helen moved to Asbury Park to be with their brother Townley and his wife, Fannie. Townley was a professional journalist; he headed the Long Branch department of both the New York Tribune and the Associated Press and also served as editor of the Asbury Park Shore Press. Agnes took a position at Asbury Park's intermediate school and moved in with Helen to care for the young Stephen. Within a couple of years, several more losses struck the Crane family. First, Townley's wife died of Bright's disease in November 1883 after the deaths of the couple's two young children. Agnes then became ill and died on June 10, 1884, of cerebrospinal meningitis at the age of 28.



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