Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Eleanor Crane "please don't forget to send one dollar" 1914

This adorable letter is from a daughter to her "dear momma" during a summer at a relative's house. Eleanor talks about playing on the farm and having nothing to do but write letters (and running out of money from all the stamps!). She refers to "poppa" and a relative Caroline, and closes asking for her mother to send one dollar. 

What Do We Have?

Mrs. H. N. Crane, Baltimore County, Maryland
August 1, 1914
Letter from her daughter Eleanor from Middleton, Delaware

The Results of the Hunt

After reading the letter, I thought Eleanor was probably a child, maybe a teenager spending the summer in Delaware with family. She mentions playing with Caroline and "Clod." With this assumption, I looked at the 1910 census for Eleanor Crane, with a father named H.N. Crane. I guessed that Eleanor's year of birth was about 1900. 


The 1910 census revealed H. Nelson Crane, age 50, and Adalaide L. Crane, age 39, living with two daughters, Elleanor (sic), age 7, and Doratha (aka Dorothy), age 13. They also had a servant named Eunice Edmunds, age 29. Eleanor's father was an auditor for a steel manufacturing company. 

Eleanor Lore Crane was born March 28, 1903 and died May 19, 1989 (The U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007)

She married Col. Robert J. Trinkle on June 20, 1923 (findagrave). You can tell they were quite the attractive couple.

Eleanor and Robert 

According to her obituary, Eleanor and Robert made their home in Virginia. She was the curator of the Virginia Military Institute Museum from 1964 to 1973. She specialized in restoring and repairing textiles and flags at the museum. Her husband taught at the Institute from 1921 until his death in 1953. She also worked as a dietitian in schools in the late 1940s. She and Robert had three children, Robert J Trinkle, Jr.; Nelson C. Trinkle; and Anne Trinkle. Her obituary notes she had 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

I wanted to find out more about how the Caroline and "Clod" (Cleo?) was in the letter, so I dug a little deeper into Eleanor's parent's history. 

Eleanor's mother and father, Horatio and Adalaide

Eleanor's father, Horatio Nelson Crane, died in 1933 at the age of 74 of cerebral hemorrhage. His parents were Silas Pierce Crane and Lydia Lyncon Souther. (Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014)

Horatio's mother died in 1860 at the age of  21 of consumption. His father, Silas,  enlisted in the Civil War in 1861. The U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 noted he was a grocer before the war. Tragically, his father died of consumption (tuberculosis) during the Civil War on April 9, 1864 at the age of 29. (Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915). He was wounded during the civil war, which his family alleged led to his death. (findagrave note).  

Horatio was born in 1859, making him 5 at the time he was orphaned. He was an only child.

Horatio's Parents, Silas Pierce Crane and Lydia Lyncon Souther Crane

Eleanor's mother Adalaide's parents were George N. Gill and Adalaide H. Lore. Adalaide Sr died in childbirth while giving birth to Adalaide Jr on October 9, 1872 (gravestone and birth records). She was 27 (Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917). 

Adalaide's parents, George Gill and Adalaide Lore

However, George Gill remairried to Sarah N. Drummond. By 1880, he had another child, Florence. 

Unfortunately, after getting mired in masses of cousins, I was not able to find Caroline or Clod/Cleo in this attempt. Maybe another day...


  1. Eleanor is the mother to my ex father-in-law. She was about 11 years old when she wrote this. I have not been able to locate the other people mentioned in this letter either. I work on this tree for my children, so that they may know all of who and where they came.

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    1. Hi, I love your story. Eleanor is my grandmother, and I'm the one who posted most, if not all, of the photos, Find a Grave info, etc, which you used. I'm named for her daughter, and I named my daughter after her. She and her birth family were avid family history followers, and she was a member of DAR. Do you still have this letter? Would you be willing to return it to Eleanor's family? Best regards, Anne Trinkle Jones