Most of the information on the Crippen family came from Volume III of the Genealogical and Personal History of Northern Pennsylvania, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, 1913, pages 1176-1178. George Rush Crippen saved some personal letters and legal papers in a small red pine box and some of the information came from that source.
Jabez Crippen, the first of the name of Crippen to leave (date unknown) England for the bleak and inhospitable shores of Massachusetts, crossed the Atlantic when that colony was young. Landing, he at once cast his fortunes with the colonies struggling with famine and hostile Indians. It seemed doubtful what the outcome would be for the daring pioneers, a sturdy lot who managed to survive perils, famine and sickness. Jabez Crippen became a power in the colony and rose to prominence. Historians do not agree whether he married in England before coming to Massachusetts, but they all agree he reared a large family of children.
John Crippen, son of Jabez Crippen, born in Massachusetts, lived, married, reared a large family and died there. A good, able and influential man, the colonists selected him to keep strict espionage over the Indians. He participated in many fights with them in defense of women and children. Accounted a brave man by both friend and foe, his neighbors relied on his excellent judgment in matters pertaining to their personal affairs.
At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War John Crippen naturally sided with the colony and supported its cause with ardor. At an age when men left defense and fighting to younger men, he with several of his sons, entered the Continental Army. He served throughout the war and at its close went back to Massachusetts, took up the threads of life and began again. He lived to a ripe old age.
Roswell Crippen, son of John Crippen, married in the Massachusetts colony, and reared a family, then migrated to Sullivan County, New York, where he died. At the bugle call for men to aid in gaining the independence of the American colonies from England, Roswell Crippen responded. He accompanied his father and several brothers when they offered their services to the colonial forces. They fought with the minutemen at Trenton, New Jersey, and it is thought that Roswell Crippen advised the instigators of the Boston Tea Party that proved such a disastrous brew for England. At the end of the Revolutionary War, after he returned home with his father, Roswell Crippen again resumed the peaceful vocation of farming and pursued it until the United States had trouble with England in 1812. Again his country needed soldiers and though quite an old man he shouldered his musket. This time like his father before him he was accompanied by several stalwart sons.
David Crippen, son of Roswell Crippen, born during the War of 1812, never saw active military service, but served with those assigned to prevent Indian outbreaks. At the cessation of hostilities, he returned home to Walton, Delaware County, New York, where he had moved previously from Sullivan county, New York.
In 1814, David Crippen moved with his family to Tioga county, Pennsylvania, a wild, uncivilized country. He took up some forest land which he cleared, fenced, cultivated and on which he built a comfortable house of logs. He married Elizabeth Worden of Massachusetts and they had fifteen children. Elizabeth Worden Crippen died in 1842. David Crippen married Sophronia Rose two years later at the age of 60. In 1858, he died on this land he had redeemed from the wilderness and along with his wife lies buried in the family burial ground on their land. They were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and attended regularly services held in the primitive meeting house. Legal papers indicate that in 1855 David and Sophronia Rose Crippen sold property in Rutland, Pennsylvania to George Pine Crippen for $2,000.
Our Dad, Manning Ford Crippen, had in his possession a manuscript "Genealogy of David Crippen" that was published in the NY G & B Record, Vol. 88, p. 161. The following are excerpts from this manuscript.
"Roswell Crippen, my father had six sons. My mother’s name was Sarah Griffis, daughter of Daniel Griffis…He had eight daughters…I, David Crippen, married a woman by the name of Elizabeth Worden and by her had eight sons and seven daughters…Elizabeth my wife died on the nineteenth day of March in the ear one thousand eight hundred and forty two being in the fifty-fifth year of her age. We lived together thirty seven years one month and nine days….after living a widower about two years and three months married a woman in the sixtyeth year of my age. Her name when a girl was Sophronia Rose. She married a man by the name of John Rose – he died and she married a man by the name of Thomas Rexford and he died. Rutland (township), Tioga (county), Roseville (village), June the 15th 1848."
George Pine Crippen, the fourth child of David and Elizabeth Crippen, was born in Walton, Delaware county, New York, on March 7, 1812. In 1814 he accompanied the family to Pennsylvania on their trip by oxen team when his father decided to move his family there. As soon as George Pine Crippen reached the proper age, he was sent to the district school, in a house of undressed pine logs. Being of a studious turn of mind, he applied himself with great diligence and consequently received an exceptionally good education for those days, outside of a college course.
Leaving school George Pine Crippen engaged in teaching and taught in Tioga, Bradford and Lycoming counties, Pennsylvania. Tiring of this occupation he moved to Mansfield and entered the lumber business that he followed for some time.
A Democrat until 1856, George Pine Crippen became a Republican upon the organization of that party. He voted for Lincoln and later for General Grant for the presidency. He served in several township offices including two years as county assessor. According to family letters he often managed the business affairs of members of the family and of neighbors, particularly for those moving west. Several years prior to the Civil War, he was captain of a militia company. He offered himself to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the Civil War but was not accepted as a result of his age.
George Pine Crippen married Louisa Watson, the daughter of John and Sophronia (Rose) Watson of Ohio. John Watson and his wife were natives of Massachusetts. John Watson descended from a distinguished English family noted in England for centuries of brainy men. The first Watson to come to America crossed in 1672, settled near Salem, Massachusetts with his family and later drifted to New York. The Rose family, another substantial New England one, stood for honor and sobriety. John Watson moved his family to Ohio when it was comparatively new country, and there reared his family. Sophrona Watson, married a second time and had one child, Martha Rexford, who married Gideon Hodges. Martha Rexford Hodges and Louisa Watson Crippen corresponded for many years after Martha Rexford and Gideon Hodges relocated on farmland in Illinois. Sophronia’s third marriage was to David Crippen.
George Pine and Louisa Crippen had two children – Osmer and George Rush. They passed the last years of their lives on the farm in Rutland Township. George Pine Crippen died in 1883 at the age of seventy-one; Louisa died in 1888.
George Rush Crippen, son of George Pine Crippen and Louisa Watson Crippen, born in Rutland township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, on August 3, 1845, spent his early days in Rutland where he attended public school. He also attended Mansfield State Normal. On leaving school, he farmed with his father until the death of the later. In conjunction with his farming he ran a dairy business, having from twelve to twenty cows.
He owned one hundred and fifty acres of the land originally taken up by his grandfather, David Crippen. Apparently David Crippen’s heirs sold some of this land to their brother, George Pine Crippen. The deeds transferring the land from Charles Crippen and Daniel Crippen to George Pine Crippen, and in 1855 from David Crippen and his wife Sophrania indicate that most of the land originally owned by David Crippen became the property of George Rush Crippen.
George Rush Crippen married Lottie Amelia Seeley on December 24, 1890. Lottie, born May 13, 1865, in Rutland Township, was the daughter of Lewis and Mary Burr Seeley. Rush and Lottie had two children, Mary Louisa born March 8, 1892, and Manning Ford born January 8, 1894. Both attended public school in Rutland; then their parents moved to Mansfield for them to attend the Mansfield State Normal.
Lottie A. Seeley Crippen’s father, Lewis Seeley, born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, near Mosherville, died in Columbia, Bradford County, Pennsylvania on February 9, 1900, at the age of seventy-eight. His wife, Mary Burr, born in Orange County, New York, came from one of the most noted families in the state. Mary Burr was a cousin of Aaron Burr.
All his life George Rush Crippen remained a Republican and an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He served as town clerk of Rutland Township and as school director for eight years. His son considered him a gentleman farmer, a well educated, respected citizen who frequently acted as advisor to neighbors and friends. The Genealogical and Personal History of Northern Pennsylvania describe him:
"George Rush Crippen has behind him a long line of splendid colonial and revolutionary ancestry, of which any American may justly be proud. His forbearers helped to maintain law and order in the colony of Massachusetts; they fought the Indians, the French, the English, in both the war of the revolution and that of 1812, upheld the moral and religious element at all times and assisted in conquering the wilderness and building homes for themselves and others. Mr. Crippen is the sixth generation since Jabez Crippen came to American, and his children are the seventh, a distinctive record indeed."
George Rush Crippen died in 1939 in Mosherville, Pennsylvania.
Perched on the rounded top of a northern Pennsylvania hill, a light yellow house with white filigree trim along the roof line of the front porch, overlooked the countryside. No where on the horizon could one see another building although there were neighbors nearby at the foot of the hill, around a curve on the other side of the woods and in a distance on another hilltop.
This well-built, substantial house had an air of permanence about it—a reminder of our paternal ancestors. Of study, New England stock, this early pioneer family, white, Anglo-Saxon Puritans challenged this rock, thin-soiled wilderness in the early nineteenth century (circa 1814). They started out their life here in a log cabin; family legends do not reveal exactly when they built the homestead, who planned it, or how they prospered on this poor agricultural land. The house in good repair still stands there.
Deeds saved by our Grandfather in a small pine box indicate that during the mid-1800’s his father, George Pine Crippen, bought parcels from, brothers – John, David, Charles and from his father David. Letters dating back to 1850, 1855, and 1880 reveal that some of these relatives traveled west to take up lands in Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Iowa. In 1876 George P. Crippen insured farm equipment and some of the buildings for $1200 at the cost of $12.00 with the Wyoming Insurance Company, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Tall pine trees stood in front of the house as sentinels until they finally blew over in their old age. Lilacs, roses, columbine, golden glow bloomed in the door yard and single red poppies like those sold by veterans on Memorial Day during our childhood grew helter-skelter in the vegetable garden protected by Grandfather. They were the only interference in the neat rows of vegetables hedged in by gooseberry and currant bushes. At the back door grew a small, symmetrical, glistening silver maple (except we have never seen one like it elsewhere). In a breeze the leaves actually shone like polished silver.
Our ancestors built the farm complex around a square perhaps resembling the commons in the New England village from where they emigrated to Pennsylvania. The woodshed connected to the kitchen for easy access especially on cold winter days. Beyond the woodshed at the first corner of the square sat the granary, painted red. Along the back side of the square were chicken coops, and on the far side the horse barn and cow barns. Across the dirt road loomed the hay barn where we often spent hours playing in the haylofts sliding down haystacks and climbing ladders. One time the ladders were infested with chicken lice. We rushed screaming to the house where mother, at grandmother’s calm suggestion, washed us with kerosene and then soap and water before allowing us in the house. We peopled these buildings with all sorts of characters, both human and make believe.
Large maple trees shaded the center of the square where the grass was mowed during the summer. The little smokehouse sat near the kitchen door and here Grandfather hickory-smoked hams and bacon.
Apple orchards covered the areas back of the farm buildings. One of my earliest memories—walking there with my elderly Grandfather and eating apples which he carefully choose from the trees. Long before the days of insecticides we could safely eat them right off the trees.
On rainy or very cold days we climbed up the rag-carpeted stairs to the attic full of furniture, clocks, trunks. We spent happy hours exploring; it was a perfect place to play.
At night when we stayed with the grandparents, we slept downstairs in the guest bedroom. To reach this room we had to cross through an unused but neatly furnished parlor. I never confided in anyone what I imagined about that room. I was positive that under the carpet right in front of the fireplace mantel was a blood stain where someone had been murdered. What better place to commit a murder than in this seldom used room? In fact, I was sure this prevented the family from using the room. I didn’t understand about parlors, which in those days were usually used only for funerals or weddings. I hated sleeping in that bedroom. I was too scared to leave it once Grandmother tucked me in bed, and I never dared tell anyone how I felt.
Because of Grandfather’s old age we always went to the grandparents for holidays and particularly for celebrating his birthday. My parents lived there during the early days of their marriage—not a particularly happy time for our mother—so the two older children in our family were born there.
But our memories occurred after they moved away. Finally the grandparents decided to leave the homestead to live closer to their daughter. We spent several summers with them and occasionally lived there for periods of time when our father was changing careers. Mother and Dad had hoped to be financially able to continue owning the homestead. I like to imagine how it must have looked at the time of our Aunt’s wedding:
An attractive wedding took place at the home of Mr. and Mrs. G. R. Crippen of Rutland at noon Wednesday when their only daughter, M. Louisa, was united in marriage to Le Roy Stevens, son of Mr. and Mrs. L. E. Stevens of Rutland. At twelve o’clock to the strains of Mendelssohn’s "Wedding March" played by Mrs. D. Watson, the bridal party took their places beneath an arch of evergreen, and the Rev. Freas Hess performed the impressive ring ceremony. The bride was gowned in white silk crepe de chene and carried a bouquet of white roses. The bride’s maid, Miss Kathryn G. Root, was gowned in rose imported French voile and carried a bouquet of white chrysanthemums. The best man was M. Ford Crippen, brother of the bride. After congratulations, a three-course dinner was served to about forty relatives and friends. Mrs. Wares of Mansfield catered. Eleven were seated at the bride’s table, which was beautifully decorated with green and white. The tables were waited on by cousins of the bride. The presents were numerous and beautiful. After a short trip they will make their home for the present with Mr. Steven’s parents.
Our parents finally decided to reforest the farmland, and that we recall vividly. Weekend after weekend we spent there while they planted thousands of trees. Today’s environmentalist would have loved them. Today it appears that almost every little tree must have lived since the farmland is covered with beautiful evergreen trees surrounding the lovely old house.
As I polish the simple drop-leaf native cherry table which my great grandmother, Louisa, used over 150 years ago, set my table with her silverware, display the faded red and white quilt she made, dust the small lamp with a marble base that my father used to light his way to bed – with these reminders of my heritage I touch the past.
GEORGE RUSH CRIPPEN
White hair with a goatee, small in stature, but a giant in grandfatherliness, our grandfather stepped out of the pages of a storybook. He spoke softly, chuckled deeply, almost silently, sang folk songs, told delightful stories of his boyhood, passed on to us his love of history, his pride in our country and endowed us with an identification.
His life spanned nearly a hundred years. He saved the first fishing line his mother spun for him and he died on the edge of the space age.
Unconsciously he became our most influential educator. He entertained us with stories from literature and folk songs—our favorite, "Father John from his work came home one summer’s afternoon." He related our family history from the clearing of the homestead out of Northern Pennsylvania forests of his grandparents through the Civil War to the present.
He instilled in us pride in our ancestors who arrived early in the settling of New England and braved the frontier to build a new world. He knew his roots and those of many of his neighbors.
He corresponded with family and friends, especially those who traveled west searching a more fertile land to tame. He saved many of the letters he received and at times he traveled by train across the plains to see the new lands himself. Grandfather, rejected from serving in the Civil War because of poor health, saved letters received from friends who did serve.
He knew about herbs and their curative powers. He could name the trees and flowers. Early in the spring he helped us find the first tiny pink blossoms of trailing arbutus. Later he showed us how to uncover jack-in-the pulpits and locate wintergreen berries for tea. He pointed out the best berry patches—strawberries in spring, raspberries and blackberries in summer. He gathered apples in the fall and cracked hickory nuts.
Neighbors came to him for advice on legal matters, and on cures for illnesses. Time walked with him; he never hurried. He paused to answer questions, tell a tale, or laugh at a joke. He appreciated people and enjoyed the inconsistencies in their behavior. Deep laughter wrinkles surrounded his eyes.
Grandfather drove a horse and buggy in summer and used a sleigh in winter. Bundled in heavy clothes, snugly tucked in with a wool blanket, grandchildren considered a sleigh ride the ultimate in winter’s entertainment. During the summer buggy ride to the homestead, the horse slowly pulled us up the long hill. When we stopped to allow the horse to rest, we picked flowers along the roadside, learned to identify the trees that shaded the road and sometimes paused long enough for a cool drink from a spring and a picnic lunch.
He had always lived in the lovely old house, painted a soft yellow with white trim, that his grandparents built to replace the original log cabin. As a child he helped plant the sentinel-like pines, the lilacs, honeysuckle and roses in the front yard. He sowed bright red Flanders-Field poppies among the vegetables, gooseberry and currant bushes.
The house, nearly 200 years old, stands as a memorial to his life and times. The barns, chicken coops, granary have long ago tumbled and been carried off. The trees in the orchard have fallen one by one as did all grandfather’s friends.
The house overlooked the family graveyard, protected by a wrought iron fence, and guarded by tall pines. With grandfather’s stories our ancestors rose. They walked across the fields and on the roadways, wove fabrics for clothes, made lye soap, helped neighbors raise buildings and harvest crops, fell in love, married, had children, became ill, were cured by the skill of the country doctor or died. Berry bushes now blanket the graveyard where they still rest as a witness to who we are.
A sentimental person, he saved letters proving his popularity with the young ladies he knew. Diaries and other letters indicate his closeness to his mother, father and brother Osmer. He was nearly fifty when he married an attractive, tiny, red-haired young lady. Grandmother was energetic, young and impatient and at time must have found it difficult living with this quiet, gentle, old man who was more interested in nature, history and people than in making money.
He must have worked when he was young and long before the grandchildren arrived. His parents left an inheritance and the homestead so he lived a country gentlemen’s life. He sent his son and daughter to college, kept the home in good repair, had plenty of clothes and other comforts he felt important and took occasional trips to visit relatives and friends.
We never saw him angry except at himself. If he stumbled or fell he would scold himself severely. Grandchildren, accustomed to being scolded by adults, found this incomprehensible and highly amusing.
A truly good man, he lived only six of Shakespeare’s seven stages of man:
"And one man in his time plays many parts…
The sixth stage slips into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon…
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange, eventful history
Is second childishness and mere oblivion."
He was much too dignified for the seventh and last stage. At 94, still
a Methodist and a Republican, leaning lightly on his cane, he walked slowly
and thoughtfully across the yard, past the little smoke house, by the spring
from which he carried water during dry summers, and off into the horizon
to meet the setting sun. He really never left us for he will live forever
in our hearts.
LOTTIE AMELIA SEELEY CRIPPEN
Our grandmother, Lottie Seeley Crippen, born May 13, 1865, a daughter of early pioneers weighed barely 100 pounds—a petite lady with long, heavy strawberry blond hair that she twisted into a figure eight and wore pinned securely on the top of her head. Having been deaf from her early days, she lived most of her life in a quiet world. Neat and immaculately dressed, she was proud of her appearance. We never saw her not appropriately dressed and this included her hair being brushed and pinned in place—ladies did not go around the house in night clothes and robes.
Most young ladies did not attend college. In the 1880’s she graduated from Mansfield Normal School. Later her son, daughter and two granddaughters received degrees from the same school, now named Mansfield State College. Although she was very deaf, after graduating she taught school. She boarded with the parents of her students as was customary then. Not all parents were good housekeepers and for this fastidious little lady it proved an unpleasant experience. According to her version, other parents felt sorry for her and rescued her by doubling their invitations for her to board with them.
At the age of twenty-five she married George Rush Crippen, a forty-five year old, very eligible bachelor. He also was from one of the old pioneer families, and he took his bride to live on the Crippen homestead. They had two children, Manning Ford, our father, and Mary Louisa.
The grandchildren knew little of their grandmother’s younger years since it was almost impossible for them to communicate with her. She did have a "horn" through which one could talk to her. For the grandchildren using the "horn" was fun, but not very effective; it didn’t seem to help much with communication. From the time our father was two years old she took him with her whenever she went shopping or visiting since she could understand him more easily than anyone else. She did read lips as we all discovered at an early age.
She was truly a lady; she read magazines, books and newspapers and occasionally expressed an opinion about what was happening in the world. She kept a meticulously clean house, gardened, sewed, crocheted, cooked, made jams and jellies and delicious pickles that she kept in a large stoneware jar in the cellar. She made most of her own clothes using cotton material with small, flowered designs.
In the winter when there was enough snow, she treated us to rides on the sled. Since the family homestead was on top of a Pennsylvania hill, we had the advantage of a ride more than a quarter of a mile long to the foot of the hill. All bundled in winter togs it was difficult to walk back to the top, but the ride made it worthwhile. A warm fire inside welcomed us.
As a young lady she learned to play the organ and enjoyed this as long as she lived. She was so deaf she could not hear herself sing, but sing she did anyway. At one time we had a dog that accompanied her. The dog would sit by the piano and howl lustily; grandmother continued to enjoy singing completely unaware of her accompanist. Born into a large family—all girls except one brother—she obviously grew up without many cares or problems. Again she never told us about her childhood or teen years or about her family. Somewhere back in the family tree Aaron Burr hung on one limb.
The grandparents left the homestead to live near their daughter, Mary Louisa, near Elmira, New York on Seeley Creek. One summer we decided to build a dam on Seeley Creek that ran through the field behind the house. East summer we repaired the dam. At our swimming hole we all learned to swim—there is nothing more invigorating than swimming in a fresh water stream (no pollution in those days).
We discovered tiny frogs in the field one summer. Since we were fascinated with them, Grandmother found an old tub for us to keep them. We filled the tub with plants and stones for our frogs. We kept them all summer on the back porch, watching them grow and finding food for them.
My cousin and I discovered one day that Grandmother rode horses in her youth. While out for a ride, we stopped in front of the house. When she came out she admonished us for not sitting properly on our horses, and she continued, "If you will get off that horse, I will show you how." I quickly obliged, and she demonstrated the proper way for a lady to sit on a horse. She was seventy years old then and we considered her much too old to be climbing on and off horses.
She rarely made a demand on members of the family, but when my brother was born—after three girls he was more than welcome—she stood at the foot of mother’s bed and stated firmly, "I will name him for my father, Lewis Seeley. He was a good man." That was probably as close to being sentimental as we ever saw her. Our brother became Lewis Seeley Crippen.
In a practical way she enjoyed the out-of-doors by gardening, raising vegetables and flowers, picking berries in season, walking in the woods where she found beautiful little, pink wintergreen berries. It was almost worth being sick for the wonderful wintergreen tea she prepared. She also knew which wild greens were edible and watched for the proper time to gather and cook them in the spring.
Grandmother showed no inclination for sentimentality. My father said he never remembered her kissing him except when at fourteen he left on a train to travel to the Finger Lakes region of New York to spend the summer working on a fruit farm. She must have been overwhelmed with all the hugs and kisses from the grandchildren. My mother showed us much affection and I am sure it never occurred to any of us not to pass it on. I imagine because of Grandmother’s deafness it might have been difficult for her to respond to our expressions of happiness. Reject our gestures of love, she never did.
My mother never let a birthday pass without a celebration. Grandmother always acted pleased at the attention. Family and friends celebrated Grandfather’s 90th birthday with a big party. Even a newspaper reporter attended.
In the grandparent’s bookshelf the two red volumes of Lorna Doone fascinated me, particularly the delicately lined illustrations. Several times she told me that when I was "old enough," she would give them to me. I waited for years, it seems, wondering how old was "old enough." Finally at age fourteen she gave me the two volumes. I couldn’t wait to get home to read them, and to this day Lorna Doone is still one of my favorite stories. I have saved those books carefully and plan to give them to my granddaughter when she is "old enough."
Grandfather who was kind, intellectual, highly respected in the community, with a keen sense of humor and a love for people must have frustrated this energetic young woman. He never showed any enthusiasm for farming, always had time to sit and tell a story. Apparently he inherited sufficient money to play the role of the gentleman farmer, and he did just that.
Grandmother died at the age of eighty quietly and with dignity as befitted her life. She had spent the morning shopping for a new dress, decided while eating lunch that she would return it, took a few minutes to rest and left us forever. A private person and very stoic, she was never ill and her grandchildren never heard of her consulting a doctor. She left no memories of a soft, indulgent grandmother, but the quiet dignity with which she lived will always be remembered and admired.
In my memory we see her standing at the wood stove cooking bacon in an iron skillet, boiling a bag pudding made of fresh wild blackberries, setting the table using the silver bread plate and the lovely china sugar bowl and creamer from Germany, that I now cherish. After eating she rested in her chair by the window.
MANNING FORD CRIPPEN
His role as a country preacher he played well. He enjoyed living in small villages. He took pride in helping country churches improve their buildings, increase their membership and enlarge their contributions to community life. Having grown up on a farm, he understood the problems farmers encountered and could communicate with them. He had experienced many of the same problems himself.
Dad never talked much about his childhood. He was born on January 8, 1892, son of Lottie (Seeley) and George Rush Crippen, and he had one sister, Louisa. He always lived on the family homestead, except for the years he attended Mansfield State Normal School. During that time his father and mother moved to Mansfield so that both he and his sister could attend college. Both his parents had attended college so education was a priority.
After his years at Mansfield Normal School, Dad taught school in the Rutland township in a country school near his home. We are not sure today whether the Van Ness Hill School was the only school in which he taught, but we have a record of the 1914 school year there. Also we do not know how many years he taught, but Mother had a stack of decorative plates which he had received as Christmas gifts—a customary teacher gift at that time.
Then he attempted farming which didn’t prove a profitable enterprise, and finally he decided to follow the career he had dreamed of—that of becoming a Methodist minister. He was encouraged in this change by Mother and by Wesley Kehler, a Methodist minister at Roseville at the time he made this decision. He had to complete some courses on religion, and Mother did all the editing and typing of his papers.
Wesley Kehler remained a close friend to Dad for the rest of his life; he was probably the only really close friend Dad had. Dad had a tendency to be a "loner". Mother and Mrs. Kehler (Kathryn) also became friends, and the two families spent much time together. The oldest Kehler daughter, Lucille and I have maintained a close friendship over the years. Mother enjoyed people and loved to entertain, so she had many friends.
Dad never found it easy to show emotions. He never showed much interest in keeping in touch with relatives. However, he shared his love of music with his sister and when young often sang with her. Shortly before he died while living at the Grace Presbyterian Village (retirement home in Dallas, Texas), he still enjoyed singing hymns with the staff who cared for him.
Dad always looked after his parents. He was disappointed when they chose to turn over all their assets to their daughter and to move near her and her husband into a rather shabby small house. Until that time they had remained at the family homestead, a beautiful, substantial, well-cared for home. Following his sister’s death, Dad and Mother assumed the responsibility of caring for them. After Grandfather’s death, Grandmother spent the winter months with Mother and Dad, and came there also when she was ill. Finally she and her sister Lettie lived together in Mansfield until her death.
Dad was very intelligent, read any books, kept interested in national and world affairs and maintained an extensive library. As a good leader, his career as a country minister proved successful. He worked diligently at caring for the church members. At his memorial service many years after his retirement, people whom he had helped in some way, married, counseled, and taught filled the church. He was kind and thoughtful of his parishioners and would go far beyond the call of duty to help those in trouble.
An inflexible person, he provided for himself a structure environment. For example, Kathy Taber recalls that he wound the clock just eight turns every evening before going to bed. He arose at approximately the same minute every morning, ate the same breakfast (oatmeal with all-bran) for as many years as any of his children can remember; he shined his shoes every day before leaving the house; he did dishes and tidied the kitchen immediately after every mean. Sometimes Mother barely had time to finish eating before he picked up her dishes.
Conforming to proper social customs was another of his compulsive characteristics. Dad insisted his family dress appropriately for all occasions. When his granddaughter Judy arranged to dress for her wedding at the grandparents’ house, she rushed in barefooted. This disturbed Dad’s sense of appropriate behavior for a bride. His concern caused him to check to be sure she was wearing shoes before she started down the aisle at the church.
Although he seldom expressed his feelings about his children, he took pride in their accomplishments. When Margaret was young, he idolized her as he did her daughter Kathy Taber. He fulfilled his role as pastor when he performed the wedding ceremony for all his children; later he did the same for five of the Taber children as well as Nida and Helene Crippen. He baptized all the grandchildren.
John Taber recalls that "Grandpa always told me never to start a fight, but in case the boys at school bothered me, he would show me how to box. I could fight back." John further recalls eating lunch with the grandparents since they lived near the school. He remembers how Grandpa always walked to the back of the church and greeted people after the service. And he loved to hear Grandpa sing.
Furthermore, he taught Kathy and Judy Taber to drive the car as he had taught all his children. After his retirement he made birdhouses and bird feeders, built a tree house for his grandchildren, constructed plant stands for Margaret. He had his father’s tool box refinished for Gregory Martin. All his tools he left to John Taber.
Dad truly loved Mother. After she became ill he lived with the fear that she might die. He didn’t want her to go anywhere or do anything that might cause her to be ill. He called her "Kath" and she was the only person to whom he exhibited affection. One granddaughter remembers that he always kissed her when he left the house even if he was just going to the post office or the village grocery store. She returned this affection and was always loyal and loving.
Not only because of the necessity of providing food for his family, Dad gardened, planted trees and flowers because he loved the touch of nature. Wherever he lived when he moved on, the ground was always richer, the trees and shrubbery in better condition than he found it. When he retired he worked hard to keep his home in excellent condition.
An energetic person, Dad attacked each new challenge with enthusiasm and a seriousness of purpose. In spite of his stoic approach to personal relationships, he cared deeply for his family, and very deeply for his wife Kathryn.
Although he died in Dallas, after a memorial service in Mecklenburg, New York, his remains were returned to the cemetery in Roseville, Pennsylvania, where all his family were buried. He requested that his favorite poem by Tennyson be read at his final service.
Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
"We are the children of our landscape; it dictates behavior and even thought in the measure to which we are responsive to it." (Durrell)
Near the small hamlet of Roseville, Pennsylvania, we spent most of our early childhood on the Frost farm in a white, green-trimmed frame farmhouse. Country life gave us the freedom to run, play, learn to love the out-of-doors, appreciate the companionship of animals and create our own imaginary world.
We climbed trees, sledded in winter or slid down gentle slopes in Mother’s clothes basket, played with dolls and had funerals for them and buried them in the sawdust in the ice house, made mud pies with eggs that became so hard they could not be broken the following year rode on hay loads in summer and went sugaring with Dad in early spring.
We wandered through woods picking tiny, pink, trailing arbutus and skunk cabbage, discovering leeks, trillium and jack-in-the-pulpits in spring, daisies and buttercups in summer. We picked wild strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, ate sweet, juicy apples off the trees in the orchard back of the house, drank from cool, fresh, unpolluted streams when thirsty, dammed up creeks with stones to make a swimming hole.
We learned the value of the friendship of our pet dogs, the excitement of seeing the first robin in the spring, the fun of feeding orphaned calves with the bottle, and fed squirrels so tame they’d take peanuts from our hands, felt the softness of rabbits that multiplied at an alarming rate, rode a farm horse so old and patient he was safe. Encouraged by fairy stories and the charming animal escapades described by Edgar Rice Burroughs, we developed a closeness to the animal world—casual, disorganized, natural.
Three beautiful, symmetrical sugar maples stood guard in the front yard. They shaded us on hot, sunny summer days and always gave us a sense of permanence and security. At the back door a small cherry tree’s white blossoms created a fairyland in spring followed by deep green leaves, and then finally in summer small, bright red, sour cherries. Most wonderful of all it was a climbing tree with study branches where one could escape, hide and dream.
In winter farmers cut blocks of ice, packed them in sawdust. Our ice house stood conveniently close to the house. As Mother used the ice in the summer, we played in the sawdust—a cool place on hot days.
Preservation of food occupied much of Mother’s time during the summer. Smokehouses slowly but thoroughly changed fresh pork into well-seasoned hams and bacon. Canning and drying took care of fruits and vegetables. Also root cellars kept vegetables from freezing and the dampness kept carrots, beets, potatoes, and turnips from becoming withered and dry. Early we participated in the food preservation process—shelling peas and beans, peeling tomatoes, peaches, apples, and pears, snipping ends off beans, pitting cherries. Grandmother Crippen dried apples and corn, made preserves from wild berries and packed pickles in large stoneware crocks kept in the cellar.
Early in the spring before the snow melted, at the time of the first thaw, Dad tapped the sugar maples. When the snow was deep enough for the horse-drawn sled, Mother would bundle us in warm clothes to go with him to gather sap from trees in the woods, along the road, and in the door yard.
Back in the woods he kept the fire stoked in the sugaring shed to boil the sap for syrup and maple sugar. The unpainted, weather-beaten wooden sugaring shed, used only once a year for this purpose, provided a warm shelter after the ride on the sled, and here the real treat of the ride occurred—a stirring of a small quantity of hot syrup until it became creamy and could be eaten. Neighbors gathered for sugaring-off parties. The maple syrup supply lasted all year.
Dad purchased the first crystal radio in the neighborhood before the election of President Harding. On election night the neighbors all gathered at our house to listen to the results. The earphones on the set could be taken apart so two persons could listen at a time. The election returns came in so slowly from across the country, the final count did not occur until the following day. The radio fascinated us as we took turns listening.
Whatever recreation the adults had could not cost much. Sharing meals, summer picnics, church activities, frequent conversations on the party-line telephones, helping with chores and the care of children in case of sickness kept the neighbors in touch, and in a way dependent on each other. We played with neighborhood children. Every spring we planned on summer visits with the aunts in Mansfield and with the grandparents.
As we grew older, we used our resources to develop recreational opportunities. Every spring we checked the creek at our grandparent’s home where we made our own swimming hole by damming the stream. Sometimes the rushing water in springtime damaged the dam, but repairs went quickly. We spent many happy hours there in the summer and we all learned to swim in Seeley Creek. Later when we lived at Tompkins Corners we, along with neighborhood children, constructed our own pool. Swimming in a cool, clean stream is one of the most refreshing, exhilarating experiences of a lifetime.
Church and Sunday School became an important part of our lives. We attended church services regularly, a difficult experience for wiggly young children. Early we learned to entertain ourselves with our observations of other worshippers while we prayed for the preacher to quit talking. Music helped and we all appreciated the singing, the instrumental music and especially the lively hymns. Seldom did we discuss how we felt or what we observed. Occasionally it was too fascinating not to share.
NOTE: Last page says – Lottie Seeley Crippen died in 1945, in Mansfield, Pennsylvania
Family Sheet for Nehemiah Hodges who married Sally Shearman lists the following information on their children:
LAST LAUGH – Rejected by Union Army, Still Healthy at 91
Rush Crippen, rejected for Civil War service 74 years ago as not being "a sound man," can be pardoned if he laughs at those doctors of 1863.
For Mr. Crippen, Mosherville, Pa., resident, has out-lived most men of his time and his health, if not rugged, is good enough for a man crowding 92.
Mr. Crippen—his full name is George Rush Crippen, is dean of residents of the Seeley Creek Valley near Mosherville and Daggett and is liked and respected by people of the community. They place much dependence in his keen recollections of happenings of the past.
The oldest resident of Mosherville is a man of full Christian life and for this, too, his neighbors regard him highly.
Rush Crippen was born on a farm in Rutland Township in Tioga County. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. George P. Crippen and the 150 acre farm on which they lived had been in the Crippen family since 1814. It was located on the road connecting Roseville and Austinville, close to the Bradford County line.
Tioga County was a section of forests, inhabitated by wild animals, when the Crippen ancestors first settled on the farm in 1814. "My father used to tell me of listening to the howling of wolves in the forest," he relates.
Mr. Crippen who lived on the Rutland Township farm until he was past 80, well recalls Elmira in its days of the old Chemung Canal and the Elmira Prison Camp during the Civil War. I remember paying 10 cents to climb an observation tower and look in over the prison stockade," he says. The Seeley Creek valley was a great lumbering section in those early days and Mr. Crippen also recalls the old saw mills at Webb Mills and Sagetown.
"When I was 18 I wanted to join the Union army, but the doctors said I was not a sound man," Mr. Crippen relates this incident somewhat contemptuously.
Mrs. Crippen who is more than a decade younger than her husband, is his sole companion today in their neat little home near Mosherville, on the road to Daggett. She is the former Lottie A. Seeley.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Crippen are staunch in their faith in God, find contentment in life and do not fear its close. Each night the Bible comforts them before they retire.
Mrs. Crippen, whose hearing is poor, reads passages from the Scriptures, while her aged husband listens attentively.
The couple’s only living child is the Rev. Manning Ford Crippen, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church at East Smithfield. A daughter, Mary Louise, had married Roy Stevens of Mosherville, and to be near them, the Crippen’s came to Mosherville. Then the daughter died a few years ago. The Rev. Ora Crippen, Baptist minister at Tioga, Ps., is a nephew. Mr. Crippen would like to attend church Sundays—but fears automobiles.
"Services are held in the evening, and I am too old a man to try to walk there and dodge the cars," he explains.
As might be expected, Mr. Crippen has never touched liquor. "I’ve never drunk anything stronger than cold water," he stated.
Mr. Crippen takes considerable pride in his ability when past 80 years old, to give up smoking. "It was about five years ago<" the old man muses. "I suddenly decided I didn’t care to smoke a pipe any more. I said to my wife, ‘Lottie, I’m not going to smoke anymore.’"
"She didn’t think I could stop I guess, but I did, and when my son heard it, he said, "That’s wonderful, I am going to tell my church folk about it."
The years now limit Mr. Crippen’s activities, but he manages to work his garden summers and "putter" about the house. That he thinks, is doing pretty fair for a man who wasn’t considered physically sound 74 years ago.
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