Miscellanea Manitobiana

No. 3
The Crandell family,
founders of Crandall, Manitoba

By John Blythe Dobson

[Note: This is the archival version. A corrected and updated version of this article is also available.]

The present issue, following after a regretably long gap in the publication of this magazine, is a brief one. The present writer acquired some materials relating to the families treated herein by happenstance, his step-grandmother, the late Philippa Marjorie Oxenham (Menzies) (Mark) Blythe, having been first the wife of Alvin Edwin Mark, of Winnipeg, whose paternal grandmother, Martha Ann (Moon) Mark (1857-1929), was a niece of Alice Rattenbury, wife of Dr. Byron Crandell.[1] It would seem a shame not to share this information with those with a more personal interest in it than his own; and he has attempted to round out the account with other readily-available materials. The Chronicles of Crandall, published in 1971 by the Crandall History Society (note the difference in spelling generally observed between the names of the family and the town[2]), is a treasure-trove of genealogical information, although the accounts are sometimes disorganized and unclear. The Crandell family is treated in pp. 172-174.

    The fact that the earliest known ancestor of the Manitoba Crandells was named Reuben immediately suggests, to anyone with an interest in colonial American genealogy, a possible connection with the Crandalls of Rhode Island; and with some effort, an account of these persons was found among the strays at the back of the large 1949 Crandall genealogy.[3] This account, so far as it goes, is remarkably well-informed, being obviously derived from family members, and actually mentioning Byron Crandell, M.D., of Manitoba, and his son Morley. Unfortunately, it offers no clue as to the parentage of Reuben Crandell, and a search of its pages for other Crandells in Saratoga Co., New York, from which he is said to have come, failed to find a family into which he might fit. We also searched for occurences of the name Elmore, the middle name given to Reuben Crandell’s eldest son, but the few examples that were found were too late to be relevant, and have to be written off as coincidences. We must therefore must begin our account with:

Reuben Crandell, Sr., of Crandell’s Corners (later Borelia), near Port Perry, Reach Tp., Ontario Co., Ontario, said to have been b. 24 Oct. 1799 at Saratoga, New York, d. 7 Oct. 1874 at Port Perry aforesaid. He m. 20 Nov. 1819 in “Haldimand” (i.e. Haldimand Tp., in Northumberland County), Catharine Moore, of unknown parentage, said to have been b. 7 May 1800 in Pennsylvania (?), d. 30 July 1871 at Port Perry. We take these dates from the 1949 Crandall genealogy; a brief biographical notice of their fifth son, Clarke Crandell, gives the dates slightly differently and states that they were both “natives of the State of New York.”[4] “The Crandells,” says an early local history, “came from New York State to Prince Edward County in 1812, and from there to Reach in 1821 through the Township of East Whitby. … The forest was so dense it took Crandell two days in clearing a road sufficient to get his ox team there [from Goodman’s mill].”[5] It will be noticed that this account implictly combines two generations into one: the present Reuben Crandell, born in 1799, can hardly have come to this country on his own accord at the age of thirteen. Nevertheless, the 1949 Crandall genealogy likewise also specifically states that this man “came to Prince Edward Co. during the war of 1812.” But surely if Reuben Crandell’s family was in Canada so early as 1812, he was brought here by some older family member. And no matter who this person was, if he came in 1812 he certainly does not deserve the designation of United Empire Loyalist which is so incongruously applied to him by the local historian Samuel Farmer.[6]
    Attempts to identify earlier Crandells in Saratoga Co. (which was set off from Albany County in 1791) resulted fairly readily in the discovery of the well-known Elder Reuben Crandall, said in a contemporary obituary notice to have been b. at Saratoga in 1768; he d. 28 Sept. 1853 “at his residence in Malahide [Tp.],” Upper Canada.[7] According to this obituary, he was licensed as a preacher at the age of 19 years, came first to Cramahe Tp. (now in Northumberland County) and served as pastor there until 1810, then came to the Jersey Settlement in Ancaster Tp. (now in Wentworth County), then in 1821 to Malahide Tp. (now in Elgin Co.), then to South Dumfries Tp. (now in Brant County), where he served for seven years, then back to the Jersey Settlement. A largely compatible account, published in 1930, states, “In 1785 a young man, Mr. Reuben Crandel [sic], 18 years of age, came from New York State, and settling near West Lake … began the first Baptist work in Upper Canada. In 1799 Mr. Crandel was ordained as an evangelist and spent 18 years of his life in pioneer missionary work in this and adjoining counties.”[8]
    When a daughter of this minister, Mary (Crandell) Hammill, died on 28 Jan. 1858, she was described in an obituary notice published in the Christian Messenger as “eldest daughter of the late Rev. Reuben Crandell, formerly pastor, successively, of the Baptist Churches of Ancaster, St. George, Southwold, and Alymer, C.W. [recte Aylmer, a village in Malahide Tp.]. She was born near Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, N.Y., on the 24th of October, 1791. … Her father’s family returned to Canada while she was quite young.”[9] Clearly, if Reuben Crandell had returned to Saratoga before the birth of his daughter Mary in 1791, he could still have been there at the time of the birth of our younger Reuben only eight years later. Moreover, the township (Northumberland) in which the younger Reuben Crandell was married was immediately adjacent to that (Cramahe) in which the elder Reuben Crandell is recorded a decade earlier.
    The inference that the Rev. Reuben Crandell was in Saratoga in 1791 is supported by the appearance of a “Ruben” Crandell at Saratoga in the 1790 census, along with a Caleb and Jeremiah Crandell.[10]) In 1800, a Caleb “Crandle” and a Joshua “Crandle” were in Northumberland Tp., Saratoga Co., but no Jeremiah or Reuben is to be found.[11] Caleb and Joshua in turn disappear from the census record in 1800, when the only persons of this name was an Eber “Crandal” of Milton Tp.
    Depite the corresponding places of residence for these two men named Reuben Crandell, it does not seem possible for them to have been father and son; for according to the 1949 Crandall genealogy the elder Reuben (1768-1853) had a son Reuben (1820-1903) of different dates than ours and who is otherwise accounted for; and this work receives corroboration on the point from another genealogy published in 1964, which while not completely independent of it supplies significant additional detail from contemporary sources.[12] Even if the reconstruction in these published genealogies were false, it is difficult to believe that the descendants of our Reuben (1799-1874) could have been unaware of their descent from so prominent a person as the Rev. Reuben Crandell (1768-1853) were he indeed a direct ancestor. Perhaps, though, he was an uncle or some other kinsman, and played a role in bringing the younger Reuben to Canada.
    For its possible value as onomastic evidence, we give a list of the children in this family from the 1949 Crandall genealogy and other sources. The second through sixth of the children were born at the original homestead in Reach Tp., and the last five at Crandell’s Corners:

  1. Stephen Elmore Crandell, b. 4 April 1820 in “Haldimand” (i.e. Haldimand Tp., in Northumberland County), d. 11 Oct. 1900, having married and had issue.
  2. Lucy Ann Crandell, b. 1821.
  3. Benjamin Crandell, b. 1824-25 (per 1881 census).
  4. George Crandell.
  5. Caleb Crandell.
  6. Reuben Crandell, of Port Perry, b. 27 July 1832; he m. 22 Aug. 1857 at Port Perry, Thyrza Rattenbury, sister of the wife of his brother Byron, below, and had issue.
  7. Eleanor Crandell (position uncertain), born at Whitby.
  8. Clark(e) Crandell, of Port Perry, b. 1837.
  9. Janet Crandell.
  10. Byron Crandell, b. 1839-40, who follows.
  11. Ruth Crandell, b. 13 July 1842; she m. (1) 18 July 1866 at Port Perry, George Henley, and (2) in 1874, Robert Buck, and had issue by both husbands.
  12. Mary Adelaide Crandell, b. 1849.

Byron Crandell, M.D., son of Reuben Crandell and Catharine Moore, was b. in 1839-40 (aged 26 at his marriage) at Crandell’s Corners (later Borelia), near Port Perry, Reach Tp., Ontario Co.,[13] and d. 9 March 1921 in the registration district of Miniota, Manitoba, aged 81 years.[14] He m. 15 Oct. 1865 in Ontario Co., Ontario,[15] Alice Basmith Rattenbury, b. probably in 1844 (aged 21 at her marriage, and 36 in 1881) in England, d. 12 June 1922 in the Miniota registration district,[16] daughter of William Rattenbury, of Milton Damerel, Devon, by his wife Frances Blight.[17] Their marriage record names their parents, but fails to state their places of residence. By 1879 Dr. Byron Crandell had acquired 100 acres of lot 26 in the 16th concession of Howick Tp., Huron Co., near the town of Clifford.[18] At the taking of the 1881 census, Byron Crandell is found in the town of Clifford, in a household which included a servant.[19] According to The Chronicles of Crandall, which gives a much fuller account of him than we have attempted here, “Dr. Byron Crandell and Mrs. Crandell came to the district from Clifford, Ontario, where he had practised his profession for many years. In 1887 their son, Morley, had come and purchased a farm, 35-13-25, part of which is now the location of the town of Crandall.” They had an only child:

Albert Morley Crandell, b. 1873-74, (aged 7 in 1881), d. in 1941. He m. 7 Dec. 1904 at Brandon, Manitoba,[20] Mary E. Ariss, of Clifford, Ontario, b. 1872-73, d. in 1937, aged 64 years, sister of Victoria Rose Ariss, who m. Jock McKenzie, of the Arrow River district, Manitoba,[21] and possibly the Mary Ariss found as an 8-year-old daughter in the household of George and Hannah (——) Ariss in the 1881 census of Clifford, Ontario.[22] They had five children, for an account of whom see The Chronicles of Crandall. Although he is called “Albert M. Crandell” in the record of his marriage, it does not appear that he ordinarily used his first name. According to The Chronicles of Crandall, which again gives a much fuller account of him, “Morley Crandell came west from Clifford, Ontario, in 1887 and purchased half section 35-13-25. … In 1898 the C.P.R. was build from Hamiota to Miniota. It was surveyed through Morley’s farm and he cut a road through his field of green wheat where the town of Crandall now stands in order to allow the men to lay the rails. The C.P.R. had designated a townsite approximately every ten miles in their plans, and consequently a townsite was chosen on the northeast quarter [of] 35-13-25. It was named ‘Crandall’ for Dr. Crandell.”


1.  A passage of The Chronicles of Crandall: A History of Crandall and Surrounding Districts (Crandall History Society, 1971), p. 295, which we believe was written by Earl Mark, states: “Edwin Mark was born in 1860 in Port Perry, Ontario. In 1881 he was married to Martha Ann Moon at Clifford, Ontario. Clifford was the home of my mother’s [i.e. Martha Ann Moon’] aunt, Mrs. (Dr.) Crandell, and Mrs. Moon’s sister, Mrs. Moon having passed on when mother was quite young.” How exactly Martha Ann Moon was the niece of Alice Rattenbury, we are unable to say with certainty, although there is reason to believe she was a daughter of William Moon and Elizabeth Rattenbury.
2.  Many early references to the town spell its name Crandell, agreeing with the spelling used by the Canadian family. But the spelling drifted toward Crandall, perhaps because it is a more common spelling of the surname.
3.  John Cortland Crandall, Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and his descendants (New Woodstock, New York, 1949), pp. 687-88. The first six generations treated in the main body of this work are revised in Rodger Crandall, Descendants of John Crandall, available online at http://www.usgennet.org/usa/pa/county/lycoming/family_histories/ crandall/crandalls1.html.
4.  Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of York, Ontario (Toronto, 1900), p. 571.
5.  J.E. Farewell, [The] County of Ontario (Whitby, 1907), p. 38.
6.  Samuel Farmer, On the Shores of the Scugog, rev. ed. (Port Perry, 1934).
7.  Births–Deaths–Marriages [from the] Christian Messenger, vol. 1, November 1854 – July 1857 (Hamilton Branch Ontario Genealogical Society, 1960), p. 25. Thomas S. Shenston, A Jubilee Review of the First Baptist Church, Brantford, 1833 to 1884 (Toronto, 1890), p. 29, supports the date of death but gives the age as 62, which is in serious disagreement with other sources.
8.  The Rev. Austin Edwards, writing in the centennial edition of The Picton Gazette, 29 Dec. 1930; quoted in Richard and Janet Lunn, The County: The First Hundred Years in Loyalist Prince Edward [County] (Prince Edward County Council, 1967), p. 180. Conner & Coltson’s Directory of the County of Ontario for 1869-70 states, “Borelia … was first settled by Mr. Reuben Crandell, sen., in 1821, who was also the first settler of the Township, and his second son, Mr. Benjamin Crandell, has the honor of being the first white man born in the township.” W.H. Higgins, The Life and Times of Joseph Gould (Toronto, 1887), p. 141, makes a similar statement: “Reuben Crandell, who has left numerous descendants, is said to have been the first white settler [of Reach Tp.], and his son Benjamin, lately deceased, always claimed to be the first white child born in the township.” The family is mentioned repeatedly in Samuel Farmer’s book, which should be consulted for further details.
9.  Shenston, op. cit., p. 47.
10.  1790 U.S. Federal Census, New York, Albany Co., series M637, roll 6, p. 333; we used the original, but the record has also been extracted in RootsWeb’s 1790 Census Database – Saratoga County, New York, at http://www.rootsweb.com/~nysarato/1790_int.htm. The following households are listed consecutively:
                   Free White Males     Free White Females
                    16+   under 16    (ages not distinguished) 
Caleb Crandell      1       2                 3
Jeremiah Crandell   1       1                 3
Ruben Crandell      1       1                 1
11.  1800 U.S. Federal Census, New York, series M32, roll 27, p. 51 [verso]. The following households are listed five entries apart:
                  Free White Males           Free White Females
             -10 10-16 16-26 26-45 45+   -10 10-16 16-26 26-45 45+
Joshua Crandle 2     2     -     1   -    1     -     -     -   1
Caleb Crandle  1     -     1     -   1    -     -     1     -   1
There were also a Henry “Crandle” in Saratoga Tp. and a Richard “Crandle” in Halfmoon Tp.
12.  Vera E. (Baldwin) Van Lydegraf, Philip Böhmer Family History and Genealogy … (San Jose, California, 1964), unpaginated, in the 2-page section entitled “Celebrating the Centinniel [sic] of the Baptist Church in Canada,” which explictly cites the work of J.C. Crandall.
13.  The place of his birth is precisely noted by Farmer, op. cit., p. 11.
14.  Manitoba death registrations, no. 1921-011420.
15.  Ontario County Marriage Register.
16.  Manitoba death registrations, no. 1922-022359, which credits her with a seemingly exaggerated age at death of 82 years. This record is our only source for her middle name.
17.  Her parents are named as William and Frances Rattenbury in her marriage record. William Rattenbury and Frances Blight were married 27 Oct. 1833 at Milton Damerel (original parish register, per controlled extraction in the IGI), where the Rattenbury name occurs from the late seventeenth century onward. Frances is said to have been a daughter of William and Margaret (Allen) Blight, of West Putford, Devon; see the database at the webpage of Stephen Bashford, at http://www.highgen.com/. They had the following children, all baptisms being at Milton Damerel (original parish register, 1609-1837, per controlled extraction in the IGI):
  1. Elizabeth Blight (conceived before her parents’ marriage), bapt. 3 Sept. 1833. She perhaps m. before 1860, William Moon. “Susan, daughter of William & Elizb’th Moon,” d. 4 Sept. 1876, aged 16 years, 7 months, 7 days, and was buried in Bethel Cemetery, lot 11, concession 11, Reach Tp. (per OGS transcription), in which cemetery are also buried a number of members of the allied family of Mark, previously mentioned. A William Moon, aged 57 years, thus b. 1823-34, in England, is found in the 1881 census of Reach Tp. with a much younger wife Harriet (aged 33), who was clearly not the mother of his eldest children, Elizabeth (aged 18) and Drusilla (aged 15); see 1881 Census of Canada, Ontario, District 133 (Ontario North), Sub-district B (Reach Tp.), Division 3, p. 3; PAC microfilm no. C-13245 [FHL microfilm no. 1,375,881]. He was therefore doubtless the William Moon who m. (2) 7 July 1870 in Ontario Co. (per the county marriage register), Harriet A. Stevens. This supposition requires that William Moon’s first wife, Elizabeth Blight or Rattenbury, d. before 1870, but this would fit the statement by a grandchildren, quoted above, that this woman died when her daughter Martha Ann was “quite young.”
  2. Dolly Rattenbury, bapt. 2 Feb. 1835.
  3. Thyrza Rattenbury, bapt. 10 Jan. 1836; m. Reuben Crandell, Jr., of Port Perry, above.
  4. William Rattenbury, Jr., bapt. 29 May 1837. He m. 18 April 1859 in Ontario Co. (per the county marriage register), Margaret Groat, daughter of Oren and Mary Ann (——) Groat. The marriage record fails to give the name of his mother, and gives the name of his father as William Moon; this mistake might perhaps have resulted if his presumed brother-in-law, William Moon, above, a considerably older man, were present at the wedding. William Rattenbury, Jr., is found with his wife and family in the 1881 census of Reach township, only five households away from that of his niece, Martha Ann (Moon) Mark; see 1881 Census of Canada, Ontario, District 133 (Ontario County North), Sub-district B (Reach Tp.), Division 3, p. 17; PAC microfilm no. C-13245 [FHL microfilm no. 1,375,881].
  5. Alice Basmith Rattenbury, b. probably in 1844, whose birth lies outside the indexed period of the parish register; m. Dr. Byron Crandell of the text.

Whether William Rattenbury brought his family to Canada, we have been unable to determine. He has not been found in the LDS transcription of the 1881 census. He must be distinguished from the well-known William Rattenbury, one of the first settlers of Seagrove, Reach Tp., Ontario Co., Ontario, and afterward of the town of Clinton, who m. in 1833 (when Frances Blight was still alive), Sarah Townsend; see A History of Clinton [Ontario] and Surrounding Community (Clinton Women’s Institute, 1950), pp. 3-5, 17-18 (where however the date of Sarah’s death is misprinted as 1879), and Sarah’s obituary in the London Free Press, 29 Dec. 1897, p. 8.

18.  Illustrated historical atlas of the county of Huron, Ont. (Toronto, 1879).
19.  The 1881 census of District 153 (Wellington North), Sub-district D (town of Clifford), p. 18, PAC microfilm no. C-13259 [FHL microfilm no. 1,375,895], reports this household as follows:
Byron Crandell M  Male   English  41 Ontario  M.D.     C. Methodist
Alice Crandell M  Female English  36 England           C. Methodist
Morly Crandell    Male   English   7 Ontario           C. Methodist
Martha Grear      Female German   18 Ontario  Servant  C. Methodist
Samuel Neill   W  Male   Scottish 57 Scotland [lodger] C. Presb.
20.  Manitoba marriage registrations, no. 1904-001323k, from the online index. We have not seen the original record, which would presumably supply the names of Mary’s parents.
21.  See The Chronicles of Crandall, pp. 201-202.
22.  1881 census of Ontario, District 153 (Wellington North), Sub-district D (Clifford), p. 26; PAC microfilm no. C-13259 [FHL microfilm no. 1,375,895]. In the 1885 birth record of their son Herbert J. (Ontario birth registrations, no. 38014-85), this couple is named as George Ariss, farmer, and Hannah Jackson. If this couple had a daughter Victoria, she must have been born after 1880.


Miscellanea Manitobiana, no. 3
URL = cybrary.uwinnipeg.ca/people/Dobson/Manitobiana/archive/003.html
Published by John Blythe Dobson, 23-10 Balmoral Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 1X2, Canada
This page created 3 June 2004