Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rescued Photo #3 - Benjamin Crandell

When I was in Vermont last September, I spent an hour or so browsing at the Antique Center at Camelot Village in Bennington, VT. This shop is huge and is composed of many individual 'stalls' where all kinds of antiques are sold. I could have spent days in this place, and hope to go back on my next visit.

I spent most of my time there looking thru old photos and was amazed at how many of them had identification written on the back. If only all my old family photos were identified! I decided to buy a few that caught my eye and see if I could identify the families of the individuals, and possibly to locate a living descendant who would like to have these photos. Please contact me if you are related to these people and would like the original photo.

This photo has an inscription on the back. It says "Benjamin Crandell, Born 21 April 1799, age 93
Benjamin Crandell
born 21 April 1799
age 93
Back of Benjamin Crandell photo

The photographer was W.D. Parsons of Adams, Massachusetts. Adams is in Berkshire County in the northwestern corner of Massachusetts. I found on Google Books, a Gazetteer of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, 1725 - 1885 by Hamilton Child and printed at the Journal Office: Syracuse, NY, January, 1885. It lists a William D. Parsons, photographer, with his business located on Park Street in Adams. If Benjamin's age of 93 on the back of the photo is correct, then the studio was still operating in 1892, when the photo was taken.

 Identity of Benjamin Crandell/Crandall

A birth record index on Ancestry.com lists a Benjamin Crandall born on 21 April 1799 in Tiverton, Rhode Island to Abner and Mary Crandall. A  FamilySearch.com record of his 2nd marriage to Almeida Brayton in 1851 also confirms his Tiverton RI birth. His name is given as Benjamin O Crandall on this record. At the time of this marriage, Benjamin was listed as living in So. Adams, Massachusetts and his occupation was that of wagon-maker. I was not able to discover the identity of his first wife and the mother of his child, Arnold H. Crandall, listed in the 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses in Adams, Massachusetts. Arnold had at least 2 children, Anna I Crandall, born around 1866 in Massachusetts (single and living with her father in North Adams in the 1920 census)  and Arnold B Crandall, born 5 June 1871 in Adams, Massachusetts (birth record on FamilySearch.com). This Arnold might be the Arnold B Crandall living with wife Elizabeth J Crandall in the 1910 (and later) census in Waterbury, Connecticut. Further research would be needed to determine if this is the right person.

Benjamin's son, Arnold H Crandall married Elizabeth L Gardner. On their marriage certificate on FamilySearch.com, Arnold is listed as being born in Hoosick, Rensselaer County in New York. According to the 1800 and 1810 Federal censuses, Arnold's grandfather, Abner Crandall moved his family from Tiverton, RI to Hoosick, NY in between 1800 and 1810, when Benjamin would have been a young boy. Hoosick is around 30 miles from Adams, MA, where Benjamin was living when he married his 2nd wife, Almeida Brayton.

Benjamin Crandall is listed on page 175 of Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and his Descendants, by John Cortland Crandall, published in New Woodstock, New York in 1949. He is one of 13 children of Abner Crandall (a Revolutionary War soldier) and Mary Wilcox, and grandson of Eber Crandall and Mercy (Mary) Brownell.


  1. Wow, great work! I hope a descendant contacts you. Personally I would love to come across something like this for my family.

  2. Thanks Cinamon! I would love to find one for my family too!


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