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Richard Cranch

Birthplace: Kingsbridge, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Death: October 16, 1811 (84)
Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Cranch and Elizabeth Cranch
Husband of Mary Smith
Father of Elizabeth Cranch; Judge William Cranch; Joseph Cranch and Lucy Cranch
Brother of Andrew Cranch; John Cranch; Joseph Cranch and William Cranch

Occupation: Watchmaker, later postmaster, judge, colonial senator
Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Richard Cranch

Albany Institute Cranch/Greenleaf letters Scope and Contents of the Records This collection has no historical connection with the Albany area except that the Greenleaf donors lived in Loudonville. The collection concerns the families of Rev. William Smith (1706/7-1803), Richard Cranch (?-1811), William Cranch (1769-1855), Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813-1892), Daniel and John Greenleaf and their relatives, friends and neighbors of Boston, Quincy and Hingham, Massachusetts. These friends and neighbors included Mr. and Mrs. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Boylston Adams, as well as members of the Peabody, Apthorp, Whitney, and Dawes families. The correspondence of these vibrant, well read, informed individuals covers local gossip, family matters, legal problems, litigation, national politics and international business from the late 18th century to the middle of the 19th century. There are letters by John and Abigail Adams, poems by John Quincy Adams, and a sketchbook of Christopher P. Cranch, clergyman and artist. The collection as a whole gives a fascinating picture of life as it was lived by some of the men and women who helped to establish the principles upon which our country was founded. The correspondents are judges, lawyers, politicians, farmers, druggists, watchmakers, clergymen, merchants, and artists whose home addresses range from Boston to St. Christopher and Antigua in the West Indies and from Washington D.C. to London and Paris. One of the most interesting series of letters is a group written by various members of the Cranch family about Lucy Cranch and her romance with John Greenleaf (blind from birth but a student at Harvard) whom Lucy eventually married in spite of the reams of advice given by the family.

Richard Cranch, the first of the name here was born Oct.26,1726 at Kingsbridge, Co. Devon, England, a seaport town between Plymouth and Dartmouth, a son of John Cranch and grandson of Andrew Cranch and first wife Ebuff, and great grandson of Richard Cranch, a Puritan who belonged to the church of Rev. John Flavell of Dartmouth. The family were engaged in woolen manufacture and his grandfather Andrew carried on the business of serge - making.

He was the youngest son, born Oct.26,1726 at Kingsbridge, Co. Devon, came to America in the ship "Wilmington", Capt. Adams commanding, arriving in Boston Nov.2,1746. He and Gen. Joseph Palmer were watch makers on School St.(nearly opposite City Hall) Boston and came to Braintree in 1751, buying land at now Germantown. Richard Cranch sold his part in 1760 and in 1761 bought 32 acres and buildings in the Stony Field section of Quincy, now called Cranch Hill. He became Representative for the old town of Braintree at the General Court and later served as Senator, and was one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, was a Justice of the Peace and was appointed the first postmaster in the town of Quincy Apr.1,1795.

The post office was in a small building on his land on School St. nearly opposite St. John's R.C. Church, and he remained postmaster until his death. He also received an honorary degree from Harvard College in 1780.

In 1792 he was asked to furnish a name for the new town and he proposed Quincy in honor of Col. John Quincy which was accepted. Of him, President John Adams said - "A man who had studied divinity and Jewish and Christian antiquities more than any clergyman now existing in New England." He died Oct.16,1811 a. 85 and presumably was buried in Hancock Cemetery as Rev. Mr. Whitney preached a funeral sermon which was published, but no marker exists and the place of his grave is unknown.

He married Nov.25,1762 at Weymouth Mary Smith, sister of Abigail wife of President John Adams, and daughter of Rev. William & Elizabeth (Quincy) Smith of Weymouth. She died Oct.17,1811 the day following her husband's death. He was admitted Mar.5,1749 to West Church, Boston. Richard Cranch was dismissed from the West Church, Boston to First Church, Braintree in 1752.

From the Boston Newsletter of Apr.13,1775, "Richard Cranch, Watchmaker, hereby informs his customers that he has removed from his house near the Mill-Bridge, Boston, to a house in Braintree, nearly opposite the Rev. Mr. Winslow's Church, a few rods south of Mr. Brackett's Tavern, where he proposes carrying on the watch-makers business as usual. And as he has a number of watches in his hands, belonging to his customers, he desires such as cannot conveniently call for them at his house in Braintree to leave a line for him at the Shop of Messieurs Nathaniel & Joseph Cranch, who will convey the same and receive the watches for the owners as soon as they are finished."

For Richard Cranch's own account of his origin and family see Register Vol.27, pp.40-1

He was elected Representative 1778-82. He sold his interest in Germantown to Gen. Palmer in 1760. In 1781 he bought a farm on present Cranch Hill in Quincy remaining there until he rented a place on School St., the Verchild Estate, where he died.


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Richard Cranch's Timeline

October 26, 1726
Kingsbridge, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
September 16, 1767
Quincy, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
July 17, 1769
Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
October 16, 1811
Age 84
Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States