Elizabeth Crane (Stewart) (1846 - 1915)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Greenock, Scotland
Death: Died in Herriman, Salt Lake County, Utah
Managed by: Leslie Ann
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Immediate Family

About Elizabeth Crane (Stewart)

History

An Enduring Legacy, Volume Nine, p. 49-55

Elizabeth Stewart Crane was born February 3, 1846, in Greenock, Scotland, the daughter of William Stewart and Sarah Thompson. Her mother, a native of Antrim, Ireland, came to Scotland and grew up in the same community as William S. Crane.

As a young girl, Elizabeth was given work in a coloring factory. She and her brothers and sister Annie all had to work to help the family. The children were denied the privilege of attending school, thus their education was very limited as far as books were concerned.

While they were living in Glasgow, Mormon missionaries brought the gospel message to their home. They believed, and were baptized members of the new faith. This, of course, brought persecution and loss of friends to the family. The mother, Sarah, took the lead in their Church activities, and it was she who encouraged them in their desire to go to Zion. She was a very delicate woman who suffered with a heart ailment and dropsy. Not long after her sixth baby was born, she became bedfast, her body bloated with water. In those days, to tap a person meant death, but finally, when the family was told that was all that could be done to relieve her suffering, consent was given. She lived only a few days after this ordeal. Her one desire had been to get well so they might go to Zion where she could be sealed to her husband for time and eternity, and have her children sealed to her. When she knew she was getting no better, she called the family to her bedside and told them to go to Utah so they could more fully live up to the new gospel. Samuel, the second son, promised his mother that he would go on ahead to Zion and prepare a home for his father and the other children. Elizabeth was then eleven years old.

Sarah died in June 1857 when her baby was eight weeks old. The oldest sister, Annie, then sixteen, quit her work at the paper mills and assumed the task of trying to fill the beloved mother's place. Elizabeth had not yet been baptized. Her mother had been troubled because all her children had not been able to see the light of the gospel, and she asked her husband to promise he wouldn't go to Zion and leave any of them behind. This promise he made.

When Samuel was just seventeen, he bade farewell to his family and his beloved Scotland and immigrated to America. He worked for two years as a plumber and his dreams were realized; he had enough money saved to send for his father and the family. What a feeling of satisfaction must have been his to know that he had kept the promise he made to his mother before her death.

When word reached the family in Scotland, there was much excitement. The eldest son, William, now married, had not accepted the gospel and did not plan to go to Zion. As Elizabeth had not been baptized yet and was now engaged to marry a fine young man, she decided to remain behind and live with her brother until her marriage.

The night before the Stewarts were to leave Scotland, Elizabeth was out with her young man. He was fearful she would go with her family, but she assured him she was going to stay there and their plans would all be fulfilled. Upon entering her home, she found that all the family had retired except her father. He was sitting by the table with bowed head on his arms and sobs were shaking his body. So unusual was this that Elizabeth became alarmed and tried to comfort him. He told her he couldn't think of leaving, knowing he would never see her again; that he was failing to keep his sacred promise to her dead mother. His grief and tears were more than this tenderhearted lass could endure. She was torn between the love of her sweetheart and love for her grieving father. The shedding of his tears won her and she agreed to go with him. She never saw her sweetheart again.

Early the next morning they walked out of their comfortable home, leaving all to William and his wife. Their luggage consisted mainly of their clothing. They traveled to Liverpool and met a company of Saints who were going to Utah. On May 21, 1864, they sailed from Liverpool on the ship General McClellan with Captain G. D. J. Trask in command. Eight hundred Latter-day Saints were on board during the thirty-three days' sailing time. For Elizabeth it was a trying time, for her heart ached for the sweetheart she had left behind. Then, too, the Stewart family were all seasick and she was so ill she thought she was going to die. The ship arrived in New York harbor on June 23, and the passengers soon boarded a steamer for Albany; from there they traveled by train to St. Joseph, Missouri. They then made their way to Florence, Nebraska, where they waited three weeks while plans were completed for their long trek. They joined Captain Joseph S. Rawlins' Oxteam Company, which left on July 15, 1864, and walked most of the way across the Plains, only occasionally getting a lift from some kindhearted teamster.

The father finally became ill and could not eat the hard bread that was rationed to him. Fortunately, one of the friendly teamsters showed Elizabeth how to make her first loaf of bread, of which she was justly proud. Her father enjoyed it and started to get well. Food was allotted to each family. One little woman with four children had scarcely enough to eat on the way, so Elizabeth and Annie generously shared their rations with her. They also assisted her greatly in caring for her children along the weary, tiresome journey.

An amusing incident occurred soon after they started across the Plains. Elizabeth and her father were told to gather "buffalo chips" for fuel. After searching several hours, they returned with empty bags saying there wasn't a chip of wood to be found. This aroused a good laugh for everyone, and after they were shown a buffalo chip, they never came back to camp again without their bags full.

Elizabeth was also introduced to the Indian custom of killing the squaw and putting her away with her husband upon his death. The bodies were placed on a bowery built in trees or on posts. They came upon such a spot, and being of an adventurous nature, Elizabeth decided, very much against the advice of the teamsters, to climb up the steps to see what was on top. She never climbed a bowery again to view the top, for she could not forget the ghastly sight of seeing the dried bodies of the two Indians with their scanty belongings heaped about them.

It was more than five months from the time they left Scotland until they arrived in Salt Lake City on September 20, 1864. The Lord greatly blessed them on their journey, for they never wanted for food.

Samuel had married just before they arrived. He met them in Emigration Canyon and took them to his home. Elizabeth was so ill after their arrival that she was unable to raise her head from the pillow for two weeks. When she recovered, she secured a job at the home of Truman O. Angell doing housework for her board and what little they could give her in clothing. If the pay was small, she was richly rewarded in the art of housekeeping and cooking which she learned from that kind, gracious family. She made her home with them until she was married. Elizabeth had become engaged to James Crane to be his second wife.

On February 3, 1865, the two sisters married their husbands in the Endowment House. Annie went with her husband, Andrew W. Heggie, to Clarkston. Since Annie had been like a mother to them, all the family except Elizabeth went with her. The sisters had been close; the death of their mother at such a young age had knitted a bond between the two that is seldom found among sisters. When all of the family moved away, Elizabeth was very lonesome and homesick. Although Clarkston was not too far away, it was a considerable distance in those days, and it was twenty years before she had the privilege of going there to visit her father and Annie. She never spoke of this trial nor complained of her lot in life, but it was always a secret heartache to be separated from her loved ones.

James Crane had baptized Elizabeth into the Church the day before she became his second wife. His first wife was Alice Davis. James took Elizabeth to live with them in their humble home in Sugarhouse. Three sons blessed this union while they lived there. The first wife, Alice, lovingly known as Auntie, had never had the privilege of motherhood. She dearly loved children and Elizabeth very unselfishly shared her babies with her.

One Sunday afternoon, Elizabeth didn't feel well enough to attend church, so after James and Alice left she put her babies to sleep and lay down to rest. Suddenly she wakened, sensing that someone was looking at her. To her horror there stood a huge Indian brave in the doorway of her bedroom. He had a long rope coiled in his hand. She recognized him to be the man who had been there a day or so before begging for food and clothing. James had just bought himself a new hat. He and his two wives were so pleased about it, for now he could have one for everyday and one for best. The Indian, seeing the two hats, asked for one. James told him he could have the old one. Elizabeth turned to James and said that this was the first time he had ever owned two hats and she thought it was a shame for him to give one to the Indian, for she doubted the Indian would ever wear it. The Indian turned to her and called her "stingy squaw." James gave him the hat anyway, and he went away.

Now she was terribly frightened to have him return when she was all alone. She jumped to her feet, pushed past him and ran outside. He slowly followed her out, and laughing loudly he called, "Stingy squaw." Then he slowly walked down the street. Too upset to go to sleep again, she locked the door and anxiously awaited the return of James and Alice. She would never lie down to rest again without securely locking all the doors.

In March 1869, the family moved to Herriman, along with the third wife, Rachel Briggs, whom James had just married. Being a pioneer wife and mother was no easy task, for Elizabeth was born with a love for the finer things of life. As was often the custom of the men who lived in polygamy, James would buy a bolt of material and expected his wives to all dress alike. She was always annoyed by this. She worked hard all day caring for the children, doing housework, working in the garden, picking fruit, and all the other tasks that befell pioneer women. Then at night she would sit up and crochet or knit for hours, or piece quilt blocks. Many times she rode to Salt Lake City on a load of wood to sell some of her berries and beautiful handwork. With this money Elizabeth bought clothing for her children. This helped her husband, for James, like many other polygamists, had a struggle to provide for his families.

Elizabeth was a very good housekeeper. She had a place for everything and everything in its place. She worked hard day and night to make her home a place of beauty for her family. Her curtains were always starched. Her beautiful tidies, wallpockets, fancy bedspreads, and the knitted and crocheted lace on her pillowcases were the envy of many. She loved pretty dishes and kept hers sparkling clean. Although washing had to be done on the washboard and ironing with stove irons, her laundry was beautifully white and her fancy pillowcases and aprons were perfectly ironed. She always kept her dooryard swept clean. One of her sons-in-law said, "She has more affection for her children than the average mother, and she can do more work in one day than any woman on earth that I know of." Her hands were never idle. While Auntie read aloud to her she always did handiwork. She also taught her children and grandchildren to work, and to do things right.

Elizabeth was a short woman, about five feet two inches tall, with snappy brown eyes and dark brown curly hair. She loved good clothes and was very clean and particular in her dress. She always combed her hair before breakfast and several times during the day. No matter how heavy the work she was doing or what time of day it was, she was neat in appearance. She wore pretty checked gingham aprons with cross-stitch designs across the bottom, along with attractive sunbonnets. Her "Sunday best" was nearly always a nice black dress with long sleeves and white ruching at the neck and cuffs. She was always careful with her clothing, changing her best dress for an everyday dress as soon as she returned home.

Occasionally some Scottish words slipped out in her conversation, and her family loved to hear these expressions. She called a nightgown a "higgin." When she saw a fellow that was a dandy she called him a "hooty tooty," and a bag or sack was a "poke." She was proud, independent, reserved, and very modest. She was also hot tempered, but learned to control this and never used bad language. One of her greatest fears was an electrical storm; she was terrified of lightning.

Elizabeth was indeed a true neighbor, never betraying a confidence nor indulging in gossip. Early one morning one of her sons met her carrying a pan of flour, her checked string apron thrown over the pan. When asked where she was going, she hesitated to tell him because she thought he would disapprove; it was for a neighbor who had greatly wronged her. She knew of their need and couldn't allow them to go hungry while she had bread to eat. He said that never in his life did his mother appear more wonderful to him than at that moment. Her religion was always "not to let her left hand know what her right hand did."

Elizabeth loved children but was not demonstrative and did not call them by endearing words. She was the mother of eight and loved them all devotedly. One of her greatest sorrows came to her on the morning of September 16, 1875, when her small son, Brigham, just three years old, choked to death with whooping cough. He was buried in the afternoon of that same day. Her baby, Frank, was very ill with the same disease and they feared for his life too. She never spoke of these trials without tears in her eyes.

She was very proud of the accomplishments of her children. When her oldest son, James, was called on a mission to Scotland, she encouraged him to go, and she slipped many a hard-earned dollar into a letter to send to him. Later she encouraged her son Frank to go into the mission field. He left a wife and two children at home, but she believed that when a call came, it should be accepted. Just before she passed away she learned that Frank had been called to be bishop of the Herriman Ward. She was very happy to know that he had been chosen, and encouraged him to accept this responsibility.

When her children were ill, she nursed them faithfully. After they married and had homes of their own, when sickness came and when the grandchildren were born, she was always there doing everything she possibly could to bring relief and comfort to them. When her daughter Mary was left with three children, she took them into her home and did everything in her power to assist them.

Her husband was ill for over a year before he passed away. He was very crippled and had to be helped to get around and lifted after he became bedfast. Auntie was a frail woman and couldn't do this hard work, so Elizabeth assumed the responsibility of caring for him. He was in so much misery that sometimes he became very impatient and cross. No matter how hard he was to please, she never talked back to him. He died July 6, 1886, leaving two of his wives with young families.

The three wives had associated together closely and the bond of love between them was as dear as that for their husband. When Auntie passed away, she left a will leaving her home to Elizabeth. When the deeds were presented to Elizabeth, she shed tears, for it had been a great worry to her to know she didn't have a home of her own.

Elizabeth was deeply religious, though she never filled any Church offices. She preferred to "relieve Auntie of her household duties so Auntie could do the Church work. Elizabeth was prompt at all times and her word was as good as gold. She was honest in her tithes and taught her children to live the gospel principles.

While Elizabeth was very young, the undergarments she had to wear were made at home from factory cloth. They were bulky and annoyed her very much. One night she decided to cut the sleeves off and be more comfortable. This she did but after she went to bed a terrible pain struck her. She thought she was going to die and called Auntie. When she told her what she had done, Auntie got another pair of garments and put them on her. The pain left as quickly as it had come. This was a testimony to her which she bore all her life to her children and her grandchildren. She was always happy when her family married in the temple, and her advice to them was always to be true to the vows they had made.

Elizabeth died at Herriman December 7, 1915, at the age of sixty-nine years, leaving seven living children, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She had the happiness of knowing that all her children had been to the temple. 'Her one desire was that they would live up to the gospel principles in which she had such a firm and abiding faith, and had tried to live to the best of her ability.—Lillis Crane Hill

Source: "Find A Grave"

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Elizabeth Crane's Timeline

1846
February 3, 1846
Greenock, Scotland
1915
December 7, 1915
Age 69
Herriman, Salt Lake County, Utah
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Herriman, Salt Lake County, Utah