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There was Major Edward Crafts : Major Crafts was a prominent man here in those times, yet, I doubt if more than a few of our citizens know there was such a Revolutionary soldier who went forth from Worcester. He was the intimate friend of John Hancock and Samuel Adams, and a brother of Col. Thomas Crafts, of Boston. He fought at Bunker Hill. He has a glorious record. He was a man of superb physique, but he returned from his long term of service with shattered health and bearing the burden of heavy financial losses caused by the depreciation of the Continental currency.

Edward Crafts History (from Craft Family History 1893)

Text version of Pages 122-124 of the Craft Family History 1893 PDF LINK

DSC00147 001Edward Crafts' (son of Thomas') (31) Born in Boston, Mass. 12 Oct., 1740, at his father's mansion-house on Back St., now Salem St., still standing. He married in Lexington, Mass., 16 June, 1708, Eliot Winship, daughter of John and Bethia Winship of Lexington, granddaughter of Edward and Rebecca (Barshaw) Winship and great-granddaughter of Lieut. Edward Winship of Cambridge, Mass., who was made Freeman in 1635.

She was born 28 Jan., 1745, and is said to have been a woman with an exceptionally fine education for that period. An anecdote of her bravery and fortitude during the war, is preserved in the family annals. She had been busily engaged for three days and nights running bullets for the army. A British officer came in while she was at work, and asked "what are you doing?" She replied. " I am running bullets to shoot your soldiers with, and were I a man, I would use them, too." He replied, "you are a brave woman," and went out, but her prompt avowal of the purpose of her work, accompanied with a dignity of manner, so impressed the officer in command, that he allowed the women their freedom, and spared the premises from destruction.


When a young man, Edward Crafts, imbued with the spirit of the times, entered as private in Paddock's Artillery Co. of Boston, (origanized in 1763) in which his brother Thomas was then a lieutenant. Just prior to the beginning of the Revolutionary War he moved to Worcester, Mass. He entered the Continental service from Worcester on the 19th of April, 1775, as private in Capt. Benj. Flagg's company of minute-men, at the time of the "Lexington Alarm" and was on duty five days. He was present at the battle of Bunker Hill, as captain in Col. Woodbridge's regiment. At a later date he was captain of a company of artillery in Col. Richard Gridley's regiment. A return of his company is on file at the State House in Boston. It is dated " French Lines, Oct. 12, 1777". His lieutenants were Wm. Damon and Jonas Simonds. A later report gives them as Wm. Treadwell and Wm. Stevens, all of Worcester.

At the close of the War of the Revolution, all the captains of early date were brevetted majors, and afterward lield that title by courtesy. Hence he has always been known by his descendants as Major Edward Crafts. He continued in the Continental service for a long time after the above date, as is shown by his returns in the state records at Boston.

He wrote a fine hand, and his returns show excellent education and business ability. He was by trade a "tinner" having learned that trade when a youth in Boston, and seems to have continued at it until he entered the Continental army.

The fatigue and exposure incidental to his long term of service, however, affected his health, and his heavy losses caused by the depreciation of the Continental currency caused him to become involved financially. Saving what he could from his estate, he removed with his family from Worcester to Murrayfield, Hampden Co., Mass. and purchased 600 acres of land there, mortgaging same to Timothy Payne of Worcester, Apr. 6, 1781. Murrayfield was incorporated in 1795, and the name changed to Chester, in 1783. He lived there about ten years, removing thence, in 1792, to Middlesex, Ontario Co., N. Y. During this journey, his daughter Hannah, then fourteen years of age, was captured by the Indians.

As soon as her loss became known, her brother Edward, then twenty-three years of age, started in pursuit, and after following them for a week, succeeded in re-capturing her, and returning in safety to their parents.
That his wife was a woman of sterling qualities cannot be doubted when we consider the perilous journey of 1792, made in wagons with a family of nine children, the youngest of whom was only three years of age.

DSC00148 001Major Edward Crafts died in Middlesex, N. Y., 11 Apr., 1806, 60yrs. After his death, his widow Eliot lived with her daughter, Nancy Keyes, at Palmyra, N. Y. She went with her to Auburn, Geauga Co., Ohio, where she died 17 Dec, 1833, 87yrs, full of years, and greatly beloved. They had eleven children. The three eldest are supposed to have been born at either Boston or Lexington, and the four youngest at Chester, the others at Worcester.

 

 

They were:

Edward Crafts, b. 7 Mch., 17G9. ti3o]
John " " 2 Nov., 1770. [131]
Nancy " "32 July, 1772. [132]
Elizabeth " " 3 Sept., 1774. ti33]
Sarah •' " 7 Feb., 1776. [134]
Hannah " " 24 Nov., 1777. [135]
Mary •• " B Sept., 1779. [136]
Thomas " '*' 14 June, 1782. [137]
Eliot " " 1 Nov., 1786, d. 19 Dec, 1787.
Eliot " " 23 Jan., 1788, d. 14 June, 1788.
William ' ••21 Dec, 1789. [138]

John Hancock letter to introduce Edward Crafts to be appointed as head of a company

7293199 1 l

 

[AMERICAN REVOLUTION] -- John HANCOCK (1736 - 1793) and Joseph WARREN (1741 - 1775). Franking autograph of Hancock on cover leaf addressed to Joseph Warren at the Committee of Safety in the days after the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

[Worcester: April 24 1775].. Signed "John Hancock" and addressed in Hancock's hand. Docketed (possibly in Warren's hand) at upper left "26 April 1775". 

The letter is most likely one written on the 24th of April, in which Hancock introduces Edward Crafts, so that "he may be appointed to the head of a company" and Nathaniel Nazro, who "is desirous of being noticed in the army." Crafts had marched as a Minuteman under Benjamin Flagg after the Lexington Alarm and commanded a company at Bunker Hill. In another letter also addressed to Warren at the Committee of Safety from Hancock dated 26 April 1775 mentions Crafts as "a good man, and one on whom you may depend." Nazro would serve in three Massachusetts regiments and was captured in 1781 and confined in Mill Prison. Warren was killed at Bunker Hill.

Soldiers of the Revolution Page 16 and 17

I understand that it is the intention of the Colonel Timothy Bigelow Chapter to publish very soon the complete list of Worcester's Revolutionary soldiers which they have gathered together. High among the names upon that list stands that of Col. Timothy Bigelow. Of his wise counsel and inspiring enthusiasm; of his heroic service and loyal devotion to the cause of Independence, the other speakers will, I doubt not, speak in fitting terms. Other heroes, too, are there,—men who gave their all to their country that we their children might inherit freedom.

On that list is the name of Major William Treadwell. William Treadwell was a private in Capt. Timothy Bigelow's Company of Minute-men. On the return from the Lexington Alarm he enlisted as Lieutenant in Capt. Edward Crafts' Company of Artillery, Col. Thomas Crafts' regiment. He was a brave man, a born soldier. He served through the war and lived to come home. He was one of the founders of the Worcester Artillery. Like many another hero of that war, he lost all his property. Theirs were in truth experiences which tried men's souls. He died at last in 1795, broken-hearted.

There was Major Edward Crafts : Major Crafts was a prominent man here in those times, yet, I doubt if more than a few of our citizens know there was such a Revolutionary soldier who went forth from Worcester. He was the intimate friend of John Hancock and Samuel Adams, and a brother of Col. Thomas Crafts, of Boston. He fought at Bunker Hill. He has a glorious record. He was a man of superb physique, but he returned from his long term of service with shattered health and bearing the burden of heavy financial losses caused by the depreciation of the Continental currency.

He later emigrated to Murrayfield, now the town of Chester, and from there, his sons having gone further on to New York state, he went with  them to Middlesex, N. Y., where he died at the early age of sixty. His children pressed still further on and settled in Ohio, and every year his descendants gather there to honor the memory of Major Edward Crafts, their Revolutionary ancestor, and his brave wife, his equal in patriotism,—Eliot Winship Crafts.