Allen Daniel Crosby

(1916 - 1961)

This is the story of my father.

Unfortunately this is a short story, since his life was diminished by the disease of alcholism, and ultimately cut short by an early death.

What we do have are antidotes by my sister Patricia Suzanne (Sue) and myself, as well as various photos and documents which we kept thru the years.


1916-03-06   Born in Bartle, Cuba

1916-11-25   Mother (Teresa) Died in Bartle, Cuba

1917-04-13  Moved to Zion, Il at age 6 months ( Ancestors and Descendants of Floyd W. and Charlotte P. Crosby  page 19)

1917-09-15  Zion, IL  “Mrs. Clark (Almeda)  – in one of whose houses I am living has been taking care of the children since about July 1st, and is just getting along fine with them.  Have them all with me now…”  (1917-09-15 letter from CW Crosby)

1917-12-10  Zion, IL  “Just clear, but cold, and today the wind has been raging awfully, and is still at it tonight.  Mercury has been from 2 to 7 degrees below zero, and suppose it may be 12 or 15 by morning.  Am living now in two rooms and heating both by large range.  Even being red hot most of the time, there is heavy ice and frost on the window. 4 feet away from the stove…Boys are all off to school and I am sitting by the stove while I finish this for the forenoon mail.  Mrs. Clark (Almeda) has the baby (Allen) over there now, and Steven and Ariel are sleeping there nights also.”  (1917-12-10 letter from CW Crosby)

1917-12-15  Zion, IL  “…I think so that I am not likely go get really scared; but with the intense cold and shortness of supplies, and the heavy responsibility it is certainly serious enough.”

“I seldom allow the children more than one slice of bread at a meal.  All but baby (Allen) have been without milk or cocoa, and have only had the merest sprinkle of sugar for weeks.  Have had less than $2.00 worth of meat since our return; and have had no coffee for several months.”  (1917-12-15 letter from CW Crosby)


1930-01-28  Wheaton, IL  “Ariel and Allen (age 14) are camping in Wheaton, Il.”  (1930-01-28 letter from CW Crosby)

1931-08-13  Libertyville, IL  “Ariel is with me in the office.  Joe and Louie are running one of the machines and Allen (age 15) is at home most of the time with his mother (Almeda).”  (1931-08-13 letter from CW Crosby)

1933-09-04  Zion, IL  “Meda and her daughter Frances are in Omaha for a little visit…In the meantime Lewis and Allen (age 17) will take good care of the visitors.”
(1933-09-04 letter from CW Crosby)

1933-12-28  Zion, IL  “Allen (age 17) has been working in a hotel in Waukegan, but is our now out, on account of it having changed hands.”  (1933-12-28 letter from CW Crosby)

1933-12-29  Zion, IL  “Allen is a great big fine lad, and brings his girl in to see us sometimes.  She sings over Voliva’s radio a good deal.”  (1933-12-29 letter from CW Crosby)

1934-10-24  Zion, IL  “Allen (age 18) was working with Frances’ husband (Garland) on his bakery truck (Omar) during the spring and summer; but now has a truck route of his own.”  (1934-10-24 letter from CW Crosby)

Dad's inventive genius took a turn for the worse.  A family story has it that there was one dog on the bakery route that took a liking to one of the wheels on the truck - he liked to pee on the tire.  Dad took an old magneto coil and somehow rigged it to the wheel.  When the dog did his thing - his thing got a large jolt of electricity - resulting in one deflated bladder, and clean tires from then on.

1936-09-09  Portland, OR  “Thursday evening we went out to Waukegan and had dinner with Lewis, Allen (age 20), Joe and Ariel.  After dinner they drove us out to Zion for a short call on Meda, then they took us back to Chicago.  We surely enjoyed the boys.”  (1936-09-09 letter from Bertha Crosby)

1937-07-13  Allen’s brother Lewis Paul was serving in the Navy and was stationed in Portland, near their brother DavidLewis had met another sailor named Tony Reger.

Tony Reger is the older brother of Pauline Peterson.  They had been separated at a young age.  Pauline went to a private adoption, and her brother’s Tony and George went to the Soldiers and Sailors Orphanage in Illinois.

Somehow they made the connection between Lewis' friend Tony and Allen' fiance Pauline.  See letter below.

1937-11-25  Allen (age 21) and Pauline Grace Peterson married in Waukegan, IL.

1938-11-25  Chicago, IL  “Allen was married a year ago today.  He has a very nice young wife (Pauline), and they are both working in Waukegan and seem to be getting on very well.”  (1938-11-25 letter from CW Crosby)

1939-02-28  Chicago, IL  “Was out to Waukegan to see Allen (age 23) and Pauline and have supper with them last night.  They are getting along very nicely.  Have a cozy little apartment in North Chicago…He works for Armour Brand plant in Waukegan as salesman and sometimes delivery driver; and Pauline is steno in a lawyer’s office there.”

“They drove me down to Highland Park to see Joe, but he was out.”  (1939-02-08 letter from CW Crosby)

1943-07-27  son Larry Allen Crosby born in Waukegan, IL.

1946-12-25  daughter Patricia Suzanne Crosby born in Waukegan, IL.

1943 – 1950c  Living at 2416 Edina Blvd  Zion Il

Remembrances by Larry Allen & Patricia Suzanne Crosby (Sue) in 2019:  Written by Larry in first pronoun.

This was our age of innocence.  We had a normal family of father, mother, and two children.  We had friends and family visits.

One particular visit was the Tony Reger family (Pauline’s brother) in 1949.

We lived in a two story mansion with a nice yard, across the street from a large park.  We lived down the alley from Grandma Crosby (Almeda) who was dad’s stepmother.  However, since his mother (Teresa) died 6 months after his birth, Almeda became his real mother.

I can remember trips down the alley to Gma Crosby’s house, for among other things cookies.

Dad was very personable and liked by all.  He was good with his hands, building a cement sand box near our back door.  We had this mechanical steel swing which took on a life of it’s own.  Mom was scared to death of that swing.  This was our closest thing to being dare devils as we swung higher and higher.

We had a large vegetable garden in the back yard, and a garage at the alley.  I got hit in the face by a shovel wielded by a neighbor kid – still have scar from that battle.

I can still remember the stairs which came down to the living room, and looking over the upstairs rail at Christmas time.

We had our first black and white tv, which dad got in Chicago.  Our first show was the Ed Sullivan show.

Dad was interested in model railroading in “O” gauge.  Although we did not have a layout, he brought several engines home.

Since he was good with his hands, he had a collection of hand tools, of which I have several.  The origin of these tools is well known to my son Chris and his son Joshua.  They are in use today at our tree farm in Castle Rock, WA.

We had occasional trips across the street to the park and the big swamp.  We thought we were fishing (pollywogs), but more an outing that anything to do with fishing.  Remember cat tails and Red Headed Blackbirds.

Grandfather JL Vinnedge and wife Bertha lived across town on Eschel Ave.  These were mom’s (Pauline’s) step parents.  “JL” was a barber and I got my haircuts there.  Always remember the scent of “Bay Rum” – his favorite hair tonic.

I walked to school to East School.  My only remembrance is being chased around the block by bullies.  I got good at escaping.

1950 – 1961  Living at 226 No. Jackson Street Waukegan, Il

We moved to Waukegan in about 1950.  This was the year that innocence died.

Grandma Bertha Vinnedge (Pauline’s step mother) informed me that “Your dad is a drunk”.

We were living at 226 N Jackson St, which was a 3 bedroom house.  It had an upstairs attic with a gas heater.  It had an unfinished basement.

In the early years, both Sue and I had our own bedrooms.  We used the basement for a roller skating rink.  We had a black cocker spaniel named Maxie.

Dad was working at meat packing plant at 813 Belvedere Street in Waukegan.   He was a successful salesman and made deliveries when necessary.  He was associated with Armour Company, Walker Meat Packing, and finally his own business Crosby Meat Co.

I recall a trip to the slaughter house in Chicago where I saw what I did not want to see – animals being slaughtered.

Dad had the Crosby inventive mind – I remember several pieces of fine metal that he was using to create an automatic page turner for piano players.  He was also interested in photography and set up a dark room in the basement, where he processed negatives, created photos and enlargements.  The smell of chemicals still lingers in the recesses of my mind.

His alcoholism was progressively worse as time went on.  We could no longer bring friends home because Dad might be home drunk.

He was institutionalized for short periods at the Elgin (Il) Mental Health Center, which gave only short-term results.

Uncle Garland and Aunt Fran (dad’s step sister) were the real friends and support during that period.  We made frequent visits to their home in Lake Zurich, IL.

Mom miscarried her third child during this period.

My attitude became progressively filled with resentment and rage and could no longer tolerate dad.  I was afraid to bring friends home after school.

I did not understand what we had done wrong to deserve what was happening to our family.


2019  Epilogue

Larry Allen Crosby

There can be no better legacy for a man than his tools.  I have carted these tools from Waukegan, IL all over the country and finally settling in Castle Rock, WA where these tools are in constant use in our barn.  Son Chris and his son Joshua are well aware of the origin of these tools and they are used frequently and with reverence for them.

Grandson Max will be introduced to these tools in February of 2019.  He is 11 years old.

The iron block weighs about 75 lbs, and is a handy anvil surface.