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Merryman-Crane family papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0073
The Merryman-Crane family papers document the nineteenth century life of two allied families, one centered in Richmond, Virginia, and the other in Baltimore County, Maryland. The Merryman family papers consist of land deeds, legal documents, and correspondence spanning 1742-1908 The Crane Family papers consist of correspondence, poetry, prose, and financial documents. The material spans 1821-1908 but mainly dates from 1850-1890.

Dates

  • 1742-1908

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

0.94 Cubic Feet (2 legal size document boxes)

Biographical / Historical

The Merryman and Crane families were allied through the marriage of Clara Merryman (1845-1909) to Henry R. Crane (1845-99). The family historian of the Merrymans appears to have been Clara's brother Moses Merryman (1827-1904) while her husband Henry was the Crane family historian. Clara survived both Moses and Henry, and it is probably through her that these two family collections survived.

Scope and Contents

The Merryman-Crane family papers document the nineteenth century life of two allied families, one centered in Richmond, Virginia, and the other in Baltimore County, Maryland.

The Merryman family settled in Baltimore County in the early 18th century. The papers consist of land deeds, legal documents, and correspondence. Although the papers span the period 1742-1908 the bulk of the material dates from the late nineteenth century. It is largely the correspondence and memorabilia of the 6 children of Micajah and Clarissa [Harryman] Merryman. Especially well represented is the correspondence among the women of the family including detailed letters from an extended trip to Europe (1883-1884) by two sisters.

There are also letters (1864) to Rachel Merryman from friends and relatives imprisoned at Fort Delaware. The Merryman family were slave owners, and there are materials throughout the papers documenting this. Of interest in the earlier material are letters (1779-1783) about settling in North Carolina and letters (1776-1782) in the form of military orders to Major Micajah Merryman.

In the 1880's Dr. Moses Merryman applied for membership in the Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. The early Merryman papers in this collection are legal documents and wills that would support this application. The later Merryman papers are those of Moses's four sisters and three brothers.

The Crane family material relates to Henry R. Crane's immediate family. These are the papers of Henry's parents and three brothers all of whom pre-deceased him. There are a few items of Henry's wife Clara and their four daughters.

Women's property rights are touched on in the form of a legal opinion (1788) concerning Mary [Ensor] Merryman (Mrs. Micajah) as well as her mother Elinor Ensor's will (1801). There are also two documents (1764) about safe-guarding the property that Sarah M. Harryman, a widow, brought to her second marriage.

The Crane Family papers consist of correspondence, poetry, prose, and financial documents. The material spans 1821-1908 but mainly dates from 1850-1890. The papers revolve around Isabella Steel Crane. Her incoming correspondence includes consolation for the early deaths of 3 of her sons and her husband.

The collection is particularly strong on the Civil War with letters from her nephew Andrew Lowndes on life in Baltimore in the 1860s and letters from her son Henry while a confederate soldier. The Crane family were slave owners, and the letters record their observations on Blacks.

The remainder of the Crane papers deal briefly with Isabella's son Henry, a businessman in Baltimore, his wife Clara Merryman, and their four daughters.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

There is no known acquisition information for this collection.

Processing Information

This is no known processing information for this collection.

Creator

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA