Albert stayed on the home front during WWII to raise food for the country and service men, even though he was classified 1A. Albert lives on one of the first properties setteled in Allegan County by Harrison Hutchins in 1836. The home is located in the very NE corner of section 1 of Ganges Township. The first Crane to have a fruit farm in the area was John H. and Hattie Blakeslee Crane. Two of their children were the prime Crane family farmers, Henry Blakeslee and U.S! Albert Hugh Crane (CL.35) was born in 1916 to H. Blakeslee and Muriel E. (Smith) Crane. Albert's brothers are Edward H., John Calvin (CL.41), and Robert (Bob) C.; and Sisters Shirley L. (CL.38), Emilyn K. (CL.40) and Elizabeth E. (CL.45); Edward died in 1934 at age of 19. John Calvin died while training with the WWII Air Force in
Hattie Crane purchased 63 acres in the NW corner of section 1. He and
sons, Blakeslee and U.S. soon owned many parcels
within the area on the
below, like when Blakeslee purchased the Harrison Hutchins farm in
1916. The yellow squares mark the corners as near as can be
judged at this writing. The 63 acre farm was inherited by U.S. Crane
along with the Fred Schultz property across the road. He
and his Son Richard (Dick) were prime fruit farmers in the 20th
century. After their passing Bob took up their ownership and of the 20
acres farm between them. There-in, Crane Orchards are as they are
today, within those yellow squares.
Dick C. Crane (CL.38) was the only son of U.S. and Lena (Miller) Crane with sisters Aino Geraldine (CL.34), Rena D. (CL.36) , Norma L. (CL.50), Dixianna (CL.51) and Jacquelyn J. (CL.54).
The orange dashed line on the map above is as Albert described in his stories. It is the old Bailey Mill road that existed along the lake. It was one of the first roads in the pioneer days that came from Swan Creek and extended to Mack’s Landing toward Saugatuck. Roads in those days followed the contours of the land to avoid hill climbing and stayed close to a water source.
The photo depicts the orchard layout pretty much as they here in 2007. The orange square is the Hutchins Cemetery. The Harrison Hutchins house is in the trees to the left. The "Crane Pie Pantry" opened in 1972, in the long building further left (west) and pictured below. The "U-Pick Orchards" surround the area.
|The restaurant exists
behind the buildings shown above. Albert’s house, right, is the well
house of Harrison Hutchins who settled this area around 1837, pictured
below. LaVerne took these two photos the fruit photos in September of
Albert married classmate
The original house is constructed to support two families. Albert now lives in the eastern portion after his wife Letha’s passing away in early 2007. Her ashes are spread in her flower garden and farmland woods. A stone has been placed for them both in the Hutchins cemetery, just east of the house.This house and farm across the road are now owned by his nephew, Gary and Sandy Crane, Owners of “The Gary Crane U-Pick Farm”.
LaVerne visited Albert in September of 2007 to gain knowledge about the area. Albert sat in the chair pictured below where he can look south out a picture window, over the trees and see
Click photo above for details
Decades ago, Albert’s grandfather, John Crane found the stone he is holding. It’s an Indian rock hand tool. John was plowing near the back of his farm located west on M89 at the SE corner of
The stone was used by his grandma Hattie as a door stop and later ended up in
This stone reminded
LaVerne of Indian
arrow heads he used to find at his grandfather’s, (Linn
Sheckler) while living
with him on a sand hill on the south side of
Robert C. (Bob) Crane
served on USS Kearsarge (CV33)
when in the navy, 1948-1951
Albert still operates his CAT, used mainly for pulling tree stumps.
One thing Albert remembers about school was that Red Hutchins was frequently late, even though he lived right behind the school. The janitor “Vern Whittaker”, looking at his watch, would keep the bell ringing long enough for Red to run out the door, finish dressing, and get into the school just seconds before the bell stopped ringing.
Albert has many happy me
With an old Model T Ford,
they trucked sawdust from
sawmill site at
During World War
Two, a firm in
To help pick the
fruit during 1944 and 1945, Cranes and other farmers, drove to
After the war, the
prisoner had returned home and some how got to Tasmania, Australia.
There he met, married a girl and spent his life as a “brick layer”.
|Albert also planted 20 acres to string beans behind the house during WWII. The beans and fruits were picked and delivered to Michigan Fruit Canners and the Fruit Exchange after they grew and were nurtured through the seasons of the years by Albert and other Crane family members.|
LaVerne worked on Crane’s
several times during his high school years. He especially remembers
cherries out behind Dick Crane’s house with his sister Dixie. He also
|sixty-three acres of land devoted to raising fruit. He also rented his parents farm of one hundred and twenty acres, fifty of which were devoted to the raising of fruit. The remainder was used for general farming purposes. John H. made a study of the fruit business and thoroughly understood all the details connected with the care|
and cultivation of fruit, so the products of his farm found a good market place, owing to their superior quality and flavor. Besides the farm in this
The man considered, "Well," he said at last, "I have seen islands, mountains, and cities, but the prettiest place I have ever been is in a little village on the Kalamazoo river in Michigan. It's called New Richmond. I don't suppose you have ever heard of it."
John became one of the largest shippers of Fennville. He constructed modern and substantial buildings and soon became one of the model country homes inJohn and Hattie Crane had seven children. Five were Ethel M.,
In February of 1887, John H. married Hattie Blakeslee, daughter of Henry and Irene (Fenn) Blakeslee. Hattie was the first child born in a frame house in Fennville. The house was the property of her grandfather, Elam. M. Fenn, the village being named for him.
Hattie’s father and Mr. Atwater, who came from the east, owned the land on which Fennville now stands, besides much of the surrounding district.
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