Biography of Lawrence W. Crakes

The deserved reward of a well spent life is an honored retirement from business in which to enjoy the fruits of former toil. Today, after a useful and beneficent career, Mr. Crakes is quietly living at his pleasant home in Mishawaka, Indiana surrounded by the comforts that earnest labor has brought to him. He is one of its most prominent citizens, winning this place by his commendable characteristics and business ability, through which he was able to “build up” a large lumber business. He was born in Penn township, St. Joseph county, Indiana, October 27, 1851, a grandson of Francis and Martha (Marshall) Crakes, and a son of Thomas and Mary Crakes. The father was born in England in 1827, and was but four years of age at the time of the emigration of his parents to this country, the family first locating in New York. Thomas Crakes subsequently removed to Huntington, Indiana, and thence to St. Joseph county in 1848, purchasing a farm of eighty acres in Madison township, to which he later added a tract of forty acres. As the years passed by he succeeded in clearing the most of his land, and was numbered among the leading agriculturists of the township. In the fall of 1861 he enlisted for service in the Civil war, entering the Forty-eighth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, in which he served for three years and three months, entering the ranks as a corporal, and at the time of his discharge was serving as sergeant. During his army service he was severely wounded in the collar bone, and in compensation for his army life he afterward drew a pension. Mr. Crakes participated in many of the important battles of the conflict, including the siege of Vicksburg, and after the close of the war he returned to the old home farm in St. Joseph county. He had been previously married to Mary (Moon) Hollingshead, a native of New York and at that time a widow. Her death occurred in 1868, and by her marriage to Mr. Crakes she became the mother of three sons and three daughters,—Francis M. (deceased), Lawrence W., Martha A., Mary J., George O. and Hattie H., all of whom were born and reared in St. Joseph county. Mr. Crakes affiliated with the Republican party, and also in later years upheld the principles of the Prohibition party, while religiously he was an active member of the Methodist church, in which he held the office of treasurer. He gave his support to many of the leading business enterprises of St. Joseph county, but his principal occupation was in connection with milling, having for many years been the proprietor of a saw mill in Madison township, while for three years he conducted a mill in Alabama. His life’s labors were ended in death when he had reached the seventy-seventh milestone on the journey of life. Lawrence W. Crakes, a son of this leading business man and pioneer citizen of St. Joseph county, received his education in the district schools of Madison township, and the early years of his life were spent on the old homestead farm, which he assisted in clearing and cultivating. In the fall of 1872 he went south with his father, making the journey with teams to Madison county, Alabama, where they engaged in farming for three years. Returning thence to St. Joseph county he engaged in the saw mill and lumber business with his father, but returned in 1885 to Alabama, to Jackson county, where he engaged in the saw milling business, coming again ~ to St Joseph county in 1888. He remained with his father until the latter’s retirement in the fall of 1888, when he purchased the business and property and continued its conduct until his retirement in 1903. On the 14th of September, 1881, Mr. Crakes was united in marriage to Carrie M. Sarber, born in Michigan City, Indiana, to William and Sarah (Hunstable) Sarber. Mr. S. P. L. Hunstable. the grandfather of Mrs. Crakes, was a shoe dealer in Niles for fifty years. During her girlhood days Mrs. Crakes came to St. Joseph county with her parents, where the father followed fanning in Madison township, and after the mother’s death they removed to South Bend, he there resuming his trade of carpentering. Four sons have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Crakes, namely: Willis Hunstable. Francis Willard, both now at Los Angeles. California; Clarence Sarber and Thomas Steele, all born and reared in St. Joseph county. Strictly temperate in all his habits, Mr. Crakes upholds the principles of the Prohibition party, and is also a worthy member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He has won and retains the esteem of his friends and associates and the confidence of the business public.

Source: Howard, Timothy Edward, A history of St. Joseph County, Indiana, Vol. 2, p. 805-806, pub. by the Lewis publishing company, 1907.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top