Clarence Wallace Crosby
This is the story of my grandfather - for the most part in his own words, since we were lucky enough to have many letters written either by him, or letters referencing him.
I am struck by the genetic similarities of our family. They were all certainly effected by the extreme emotional and physical trauma during the early years of their lives as you will see below. However, running deep thru all of the boys and into the next generation were certain characteristics of interest and behavior. First, there is an innate intelligence that runs thru the entire family. You see this in the inventive talents from Clarence to Steve and to the other brothers to a lesser extent.
Most of us are doers, rather than following theoretical pursuits. For example, you will find business owners and land owners. You will find no lawyers or politicians.
You will also find those who had high aspirations along these lines, but could not find success in the pursuit of these high aspirations. So, you find some with high levels of frustration.
Personalities tend to be contrarian, in some cases, so much so that they can not participate in family affairs.
This has been a fascinating journey of discovery and I present the life of Clarence Wallace Crosby in his own words.
January brother George moved up from Tennessee to find work.. Found work in Chicago Hardware and Foundry Co and was able to pay Clarence nominal fee for board. (The Family History of George Francis Crosby – page 5)
February Clarence operated a machine shop in Chicago which was located on 5th Ave on the third floor of the Bermuda Paint Co. It had been recently installed and operated by Clarence in the manufacture of stokers for stationary steam boilers. We (Clarence and George) had started the manufacture of three or four of these machines, with one in operation, when fire started in the basement of the factory and completely destroyed the building and all equipment which stopped the stocker business as Clarence was never able to get started again.” (The Family History of George Francis Crosby – page 6)
December 21 John Ariel is born in Zion, IL
November 11 Joseph Floyd is born in Zion, IL
December Clarence moves to Cuba with Teresa. They have 5 children (Elizabeth, Stephen, David,
Ariel, and Joseph a new born. Clarence working on Cuban Railroad as a fireman.
Teresa runs the hotel in Bartle. (1912-09-24 letter from Charlotte Crosby)
April 28 Lewis Paul is born in Camaguey, Cuba
July 28 Begin World War I
December Bartle, Cuba Clarence believes that man should make living from the soil – he would like to do that. At the point where he can say that he hates “Wheels”. He and Stephen out drilling wells and gone for 3 weeks at a time. He is doing very well, but equipment too small – takes too long to get new equipment because of corruption in Cuban docks and railroads. Clarence looks more and more like his father Floyd, and is naturally dispositioned like him. (1915c letter from Teresa Crosby)
March 6 Allen Daniel born in Bartle, Cuba
November 25 Teresa dies and is buried in cemetery near Bartle, Cuba
December 18 Galena, IL Floyd writes to Clarence reference our readiness to be of any assistance we can to help him out. (1916-12-18 letter from FW Crosby)
February 21 Elizabeth dies and is buried in cemetery near Bartle, Cuba
March “After several weeks stay at the sugar mill, a Cuban Island circling boat, which carried both cargo and passengers, came into the harbor on its way to Havana. This boat was already considerably over-loaded and for a time refused to take even one of us aboard. Finally, they consented to take only those who intended leaving Cuba. Clarence and his boys, and myself were in this classification, so we were soon on our way to Havana…Clarence was alone with his family of six boys. A collection was taken on the boat for Clarence and his boys. Once in Havana we were not long in booking passage to Florida, and what a wonderful sight as the homeland shoreline came into view! After a few hours of checking schedules and getting tickets, etc., we were on our way to Zion…” (The Family History of George Francis Crosby – page 10)
April 15 Monroe, WI Clarence and family arrived home yesterday (Zion). (1917-04-15 letter from FW Crosby)
May 21 Zion, IL Bertha and Fannie were at Clarence’s late yesterday – Fannie made bachelor pancakes. Fannie doesn’t go to see him often – 2-mile walk. Clarence seems cheerful most of the time. Charlotte helping with children – staying with him most of the time. Fannie feels sorry for him, but hard to help. (1917-05-21 letter from FF Crosby)
September 15 Zion, IL Clarence has been weak and depressed all spring and summer. Has been living in one of Mrs Clark’s (Almeda – soon to be second wife) houses and she has been caring for the children since about July 1st. Wonderfully refreshing to come home from work and sit down and eat a meal cooked by a good woman’s hands. Lewis doing wonderfully and think over effects of the fever. Working in target factory just north of Zion, making targets for the army. Does not like this kind of work. Well paid piece work and making $8.00 per day. Requires blacksmithing, bending, riveting – employer stated never seen anyone produce at his pace. Working 6 days a week with Saturday off. Would like to settle Cuban matters – horse, cemetery, would like to get graves marked. Would like to have cemetery cleaned up if money coming from settling of affairs in Cuba. Church affairs not as bad as 1905.
(1917-09-17 letter from CW Crosby)
December 10 Zion, IL Can’t find letter – busy little fingers often confiscate them. All quite well. Now living in 2 rooms, both heated by a large range. With range red hot, still ice on windows just 4 feet away. Burning coal – 200 lbs in the last 24 hours.. Working in coal yard shoveling coal for $.30 per hour. Job opportunity at Great Lakes Naval Training Center – engineer at filter plant to be paid $2.80 per day. Had to leave good paying job because of exposure, and not having proper clothing. (1917-12-10 letter from CW Crosby)
December 11 Zion, IL Boys all off to school. Have to shut off one room to keep warm. Now forced to use soft coal instead of hard coal. Allen with Mrs. Clark now. Stephen and Ariel are sleeping there nites. Do not have time to discuss church matters but would appreciate any assistance you could give to Mr. Lewis. Some trying to smash church. Discusses possessions in Cuba and Jesse selling them – Clarence needs cash. He is very behind in cash with Jesse. Zion City not a place of refuge for Clarence – jobs & church.
Religious Philosophy: “On the whole it really seems to me that a small faithful remnant must be picked up and carried away from here for a time to some tropical place, while God punishes the disobedient ones. There is considerable scripture in evident support of this view, and I have all but finally adopted it as the proper plan. But all our people here take extreme opposition to this view; thinking God must keep and deliver them here.”
“…My life is in his hands and I cannot afford to advocate anything that would lead them astray.”
“…”God has most wonderfully worked out for me since returning here, some things that He had been showing me for several years past – some of them concerning Teresa. I have gone thru some very strange and wonderful experiences that I cannot tell you about now – possibly never.”
“I cannot but feel sure that there has been a very special and divine plan and purpose in her being taken away”
“Steven (Stephen) has had a most wonderful dream or vision – saw her coffin here and a number of us looking at it from a little distance, when suddenly the lid flew open, and Mama stood right up in the middle of it, so beautiful and smiling.” (1917-12-10 letter from Crosby, CW)
December 15 Zion, IL Coal situation serious – stock piles in Zion about gone. Have not had enough money to stockpile coal. All time day and nite looking after the little ones and keeping fires going with soft coal. Eating material low and expensive just like Cuba.
I have been thru enough that I don’t think I will really get scared – but with coldness, shortness of supplies, and responsibilities it is certainly serious enough.
Children only get one slice of bread. Baby Allen only one to get milk, others without milk, cocoa and merest sprinkle of sugar. Only $2.00 worth of meat since return and no coffee for months.
Don’t wish to burden you, but need cash from drill rig as quickly as possible.
Things have changed so rapidly in the last six years, that it seems like another country.
(1917-12-15 letter from CW Crosby)
December Marries Almeda Hyde Clark in Zion, Il.
February 25 Billings, MT Mentions to Jesse that he has new sister-in-law in Zion (means daughter-in- law) Almeda Hyde Clark. She seems like a very nice energetic woman – has two or three boys and one girl. The oldest boy is 17 – the girl is the youngest. She has some property there – three houses and lots. Have not heard from Clarence. (1918-02-25 letter from CR Crosby)
November 11 End World War 1
February 22 Zion, IL Asks about sale of drill rig. Is the TRUNK I left with you in good condition? Need drawings of stoker – all …West tracings were destroyed by fire some time ago – so these are only records left. Worried about sending them thru Cuban mail. (1919-02-22 letter from CW Crosby)
March 19 Zion, IL Is anyone looking after graves? (Teresa and Elizabeth in Cuba). Things horrible here – church problems, room rent $50/month, going w/o clothes and food. (1919-03-19 letter from CW Crosby)
April 14 Billings, Mt Father Floyd Wallace Crosby dies. Bertha and Clarence left Billings for South Wayne, WI several days ago after the death of father Floyd. (1919-04-14 letter from Fannie McCleskey)
April 15 Zion, Il “It was almost too much for me when we got there and found Papa’s sprit had gone. I went there fully determined to have the victory over all these powers of doubt and fear; and have not much doubt but what that would have been the result if I could have been there sooner.”
“I did what I could – as best I could understand it, to solve the business problems while there and to put things in shape so you could go on untrammeled in the business; should you desire; or so you could close out and come away if that suits you better.”
Church problems in Zion very bad. (1919-04-15 letter from CW Crosby)
May 31 Sheffield, AL Mother Charlotte Roxey Pease Crosby dies. Buried in Eastman Cemetery, South Wayne, WI next to husband Floyd Wallace Crosby.
July 24 Zion, IL “Now that Mama is gone, I feel it to be our duty to look more sharply after (sic) the correspondence between ourselves; and keep in touch with each other; and as the older brother it seems to me that it falls to me to set the pace.”
“We are all well here; and very busy with our work among the sick and inane.”
“There are some very subtle forces at work to completely divide us as a family.” (1924-07-24 letter from CW Crosby)
September 19 Zion, IL “We are all well, and Oh, so busy with our work among the sick and needy.”
Discusses at length the fracture in the family, with Bertha and Howard. “Had to get after Howard pretty strong: and Howard promised me when here that if I did not pull with them that now that Mama was gone, he and Bertha would be lost to all the rest of us, and they would not let us know where they were.” Also discussed George “it became evident that he had gone wrong in it, and with me, also.”
Discusses trip to Monroe WI at the same time as Mama died, standing at Father’s (Floyd) grave site with Stephen, Ariel, and David at South Wayne Cemetery.
“The work in B. Home is going right on. We have had some lively opposition from several who want us to narrow the work down to their ideas.”
“Papa was wrong when he went there (Cuba) in the first place: and there has been no good thing come out of it, nor will there be; and the quicker you (Jesse) get out the better. I do not ask you to consider even my part of the estate but get out before it is too late.”
“There was one time when I was in Camaguey (Cuba), just after I was sick there, that I came nearly taking the family right to the depot and staying there until some way opened up for me to get them home. How much I have regretted since then that I did not do so.”
“For when I did come back, I had to come on charity anyway. But I did not have my two dear ones (Teresa and Elizabeth), and I verily believe that I would have had them, had I just started right out for home at the time that I had that impression so strong.” (1924-09-19 letter from CW Crosby)
January 27 Zion, IL “Have been tied up in the house mostly myself for some three weeks with flu; pleurisy, etc; and in fact going thru a general reconstruction period such as one of about my age ought to go thru. Had a basic setting of hardening of the arteries, over weight etc.; that was needing some changes of diet; more regular hours, etc.; so am making a real cleanup of it.”
“Ariel and Allen are camping in Wheaton and are in High School.”
“Joe, David, and Lewis are here with me.”
“…Awarded large well contract about 10 miles from here in October.”
“Stephen is in New York with the Colonial Radio Co. as chief designing engineer. He just finished a wonderful automatic coil winding machine. He was here with us for Thanksgiving. He is certainly a big one - - nearly 200 pounds. Next to him, Lewis is the big one. Certainly, have much to praise Go for in my six big boys.” (1930-01-28 from CW Crosby)
August 13 Libertyville, IL “David was sailing, making regular trips between New York and Havana on the steamer Moro Castle the last I heard of him. Of course, he is very much interested in getting land leave and make a trip over to Bartle…”
“As for ourselves, we are all well and pushing our new venture in Libertyville (IL); under the name of The Water Service Company; which is the direct outgrowth of the firm of C.W. Crosby & Sons.”
“Ariel is in the office with me. Joe and Louie are running one of the machines and Allen is at home most of the time with his mother.” (Almeda)
“We are working over four counties and at this time have calls for more work than we can do. Our machines are all of the latest model four cylinder, gasoline motor driven, Keystone wire line machines; and are just the berries for making lots of hole an taking car of the sharp competition against the older models of machines…” (1931-08-13 letter from CW Crosby)
August 14 Zion, IL “We are becoming much concerned about your personal safety; as the papers have been full of the recent Cuban uprisings…”
“Nell wrote me from Camaguey on July 5th that they expected to leave for Florida…”
“Perhaps you—like myself—will have no choice, but will be compelled to jump out and leave everything… But God was so very good to me thru it all; and so wonderfully cared for us all the way thru. I left Bartle with $53 in my pocket; and arrived here with just the same amount. Had I left just after Lewis was born, as God told me to, I believe the trip could have been as well made; and that it would have saved Teresa’s and Elizabeth’s lives.”
“There are many things that I should like to tell you about the recent developments here; but I cannot now; beyond saying that there is a very marked change for the better in Zion’s affairs. Meda (Almeda second wife) and I feel that in spiritual means the best day that this City has seen since 1905.” (1933-08-14 letter from CW Crosby)
September 4 Zion, IL “The family letter came a few days after I wrote you; but I have not sent it on pending direct word from you that the mails were running in good order again.”
“There is much delay all along the line as to the family re-union…”
“I expect to leave for Detroit and Canada on some special oil well work, any moment. Will expect to be gone but a week this trip, but this will apparently be followed by trips of longer direction, shortly after.”
“Meda and her daughter Frances are in Omaha for a little visit…” In the meantime, Lewis and Allen will take good care of the visitors.”
“I wish I knew more of the details of your fire….” (1933-09-04 letter from CW Crosby)
October 3 Zion, IL “Am holding family letter here pending a real clear info of Cuban mail situation.”
“Of course, you know that I do not place too much dependence in any news paper stuff, as one can never tell how much propaganda effort and money is behind it.”
“But there is now in this present strife, a hidden or partly hidden under current of something which is infinitely more deadly – and that is Communism…It has become a powerful worldwide organization; and has obtained a tremendous hold in all of our colleges…It strikes at the very root of home life…It destroys all rightful sex relationships between one man and one woman, and makes them to become absolutely promiscuous like beasts…”
“You say that you cannot believe that civilized and educated men and women can come to such a place…but you may rest assured that it carries with it a most deadly hatred of everything and everybody that is Anglo-Saxon in principal and in fact.” (1933-10-03 letter from CW Crosby)
October 10 Zion, IL “I have been recently appointed Chief Engineer for a new company (Canadian), whose business is to rejuvenate old oil wells, that have fallen off in production…”
“We will need competent men…How would you (Jesse) like to get in on it?” (1933-10-10 letter from CW Crosby)
October 19 Zion, IL “Have been in quite a jam with the Chicago office in regards to the Canadian matters of which I wrote you a few days ago. They have gotten clear off their base in several matters; and I have had to dig into them hard. But I am sure that I am right and that God is leading me on; so am not concerned about the final outcome.”
“I am deeply impressed that you (Jesse) should be getting out of there (Cuba) soon…Doubtless you feel that your task there is still unfinished and that you would stay and try to do some more; and that to leave now would be an evidence of cowardice or something of that kind. I do not so feel it, nor do any of the family. All of us would be most glad to drop all financial claims against the estate, and you personally if you would only come to a final decision – as Nell did – to get right out of there some way at once. How many time she expressed her gladness at having made that decision, and carried it out; and her sadness that you had not done the same.” (1933-10-19 letter from CW Crosby)
October 20 Zion, IL “Great strikes are on in the steel and coal works, also in milk production which is only a small part of the farm problem. And now comes the wheat embargo throwing the NRA (National Recovery Administration – New Deal Agency to remove cut throat competition) into direct conflict with the state governments. All this time the money sharks are loaning more and more money upon which the poor people will have to pay the interest, in terrific taxes for many years to come…and the whole thing will go to smash.”
“My one thought is all of this is concerning you. You can readily see that the U.S. has so many serious things here to attend to that there is no hope that there will be any help from here for Cuba, or Americans in Cuba…”
“I earnestly beg of you to take the warning and get out of there quick.” (1933-10-20 letter from CW Crosby)
October 25 Zion, IL “This is a lovely October morning – just two months before Xmas. Have had several hard frosts, and slight freezes; and last night was the most of all. I have learned not to dread the cold, or to fear it…I just make up my mind that I will not allow my peace of spirit; and the productiveness of my life to be marred by any such thing, and go on into the duties of the days.”
“The Canadian matter is standing still for the present; and I am putting in my time largely with the sick around us. There are a number of ‘incurables’ that I am especially interested in; and I love to go to them and help them in any way possible. It is really my chief joy in life. I must close now, as I have several calls to make today.” (1933-10-25 letter from CW Crosby)
December 28 Zion, IL “”My supposed job in the East (Canada?) is still at a standstill; with indications that it will never be put thru. Evidently there is some Destiny at work behind the scenes to keep me here; and I have simply had to yield myself to the conditions over which I really have not had any control; tho I admit that I have chafed a great deal at times because of not having a productive job anywhere.
“Nell, I am glad for what you have been able to do about the marker. (South Wayne cemetery?) But now I have neither car nor business, not money to pay the other fellow.”
Lewis is working for Walter last I heard. Joe and Ariel are getting along fine in Eau Claire (WI). Ariel has another daughter (Nancy Virginia). Meda is coming wonderfully well in the recovery of her strength. Allen has been working in a hotel in Waukegan (IL), but is out now, on account of it having changed hands.” (1933-12-28 letter from CW Crosby)
December 29 Zion, IL CW Crosby was removed from the church when a new administration took over. There was apparently a lot of corruption and dissent within the church. (see letter for details)
“We are all quite well here. Meda is getting back nicely to her normal strength again. Allen is great big fine lad, and brings his girl (Pauline?) in to see us sometimes. Lewis is in Fla., and Joe and Ariel are still in Eau Claire, and doing very well. Ariel lost his first little one (Julia Day), but have another girl (Nancy Virginia) nearly two-month-old. They are about the most ideal little couple that you could imagine. Have not heard from Stevphen (sic) and David for a long time.”
We have been having a most wonderful fall – dandelions were in bloom till almost the middle of December, and lilac buds beginning to show green. But that cam to a stop on Xmas day. The thermometer too a sneak down to 18 below zero…” (1933-12-29 letter from CW Crosby)
March 31 Zion, IL One of the most important letters explaining the Crosby family affairs – read the entire letter since below are just sections of that letter.
“Lewis went back to Deland (FL) yesterday PM. He seems to be making fairly good there, and since there is not much doing here, I am very glad to have him stick to it. Poor boy has had some of the bitter lessons of the errors of over self confidence to learn; but he seems to be coming thru that painful process better than some others that I know; and I can only thank God that it is as well with him as it is. I am sure that he could have learned it better here with his father than elsewhere, but he came to the place where he was sure that father was more wrong than right on most every question; and he has had take a lot of bumping to get straightened out.”
“In the first place, I want to thank you for your expression of confidence in me; and more so in our great God. I did not know before to what extent it been developed in you. I do know that it existed to a large degree, years ago, in all of my younger brothers and sister unless perhaps in Walter. His general attitude toward me in all those early years was to mostly sneer, belittle and tantalize. When I went to Cuba, I found to my surprise that he had not outgrown it with the intervening years, nor overcome it thru grace or general knowledge. But do not think that I am writing this in any bitterness of recollection. He had a hard struggle for his very life, in a frail and sick body, while I was strong and robust up till I was about eighteen; when my own health failed; until the Lord healed me on Xmas eve, 1897. Yet at the time he and Maggie were married he planned to come right to Chicago, and had written me to help him with some preparations there; but suddenly the Cuban matter came up, and he went there instead. Jesse, I simple cannot but have a feeling of horror every time that I think about any of the Cuban affairs from start to finish. I am sure that you will remember how much Mother (Charlotte) disliked the whole affair; but that she went in the spirit of faithfulness to her husband. I felt sure that it was Maggie’s undoing in a very particular sense; and that every one of us have been hampered and hindered – and it seems to me could well say cursed by this trick of Satan in steering Father (Floyd) into it. I am not thinking nor feeling bitterly toward him; but only God knows how my very heart has bled may times over his rejection of the sweeter things of the deeper life of Grace.”
“…it would still be impossible for me to put into cold type some matters of deeper truths of the coming Kingdom, that have been shown to me since my release from business cares. In fact, I have literally had to be “born again” concerning certain very vital matters relating to God’s supply of our material needs. I am not so sure that I am all the way out of the shell yet in this matter; for I certainly was not last summer when I allowed myself to be taken in on that oil well stuff – not that the thing was wrong in itself – but was out of place for me; just as the Cuban deal was.”
“There is one part of your letter that I think that I should quote, and try to answer; tho I know that I can never put in type some of the things that I should most gladly impart to you, if we were talking face to face.”
Quotation of words written by Jesse to Clarence in another letter: “By way of clearing up as between ourselves, there is something that I have wanted to write to you for many years. Such religious light as head of our family has had been in your hands. Personally, I have realized, acknowledged, and appreciated that; and the religious information from you has been of the greatest help. When, however, you did not care to, or could not take up the financial head of family affairs, and some one else had to do it, it seemed necessarily that it should be me. It was in this spirit that I came here to Cuba and that I stayed. I have never wanted to be here and shall be glad when I can get away. The responsibility however, for heads of properly cared for families (I think) doe not cease with the death of father and mother, but is carried on thru at least one generation by either the oldest son, or the one best fitted for it.” End of Quotation
“…I most earnestly appreciate your confidence in me in the spiritual things; and in your faithful and sacrificial endeavor to carry out your assumed part of the material things. But all this time there has been a worm eating at the very core of our family affairs….Oh, how greatly I erred when I allowed Teresa to tease me into disobeying that prophet’s voice. That worm was father’s (Floyd) unreasonable and unrighteous hatred for Dr. Dowie (religious leader of Zion, IL) and everything connected with it; and out of it that hatred came this whole Cuban muddle.”
“Ever since I can remember, father (Floyd) had one idol in his life that was far more to him than the Living God; and that was climate….And in the meantime the very community from which he emigrated, became one of the richest on earth; and the land which he sold there has contributed a large share to it; while we his children have had to go thru all this mess of wandering, and poverty, separation and death.”
“Therefore, I feel sure that God has decreed for you (Jesse) an orderly get away; as He did for all the rest of the family except myself, who after all was the greatest sinner…In order that you may have a free hand to pass title; we here all want to quit claim all our interest, both legally and morally in the property…” (1934-03-31 letter from CW Crosby)
September 25 Zion, IL “The purpose of this letter is simply and only to present to you the attached document; which we all do hereby present with our whole hearts. (We do not have a copy of this ‘Letter of Release’, but would be the release of all interest in the Cuban property, to allow Jesse to sell the property and business and move back from Cuba)
“I am more sorry than I can express to you, for the delays that have occurred in its arrangement and signatures. You will note it was drawn on April 10th; and I fully expected to get it into your hands before the first of June…”
“I am most glad to tell you that; notwithstanding the delays; it has been signed by all without any reservations whatever.” (1934-09-25 letter from CW Crosby)
October 24 Zion, IL Clarence offers explanation of difficulties in getting all signatures for “Letter of Release”.
“As to family matters here…Allen is working with Frances’ husband (Garland) on his bakery (Omar) truck during the spring and summer; but now has a truck and route of his own. Joe and Ariel are still in Eau Claire (WI) in filling stations…Louie is still at Walter’s. Have not heard from Stephen and David for a long time.
“As for myself, I have put in the summer here in the garden…”
“But I do not expect to remain here with the Clark (step sons Stephen, George and John) boys this winter, tho Meda probably will. I am making some plans – not fully mature as yet for some things elsewhere. I am not taking with any one about my real intentions – not even Meda…” (1934-10-24 letter from CW Crosby)
October 26 Zion, IL “Had a card from Lewis yesterday that he is in Miami for the present but he gave no details as to wherefore or how long.” (1934-10-24 letter from CW Crosby)
February 1 Monroe, WI “Anna’s health is very poor, really in serious condition.”
“I received a letter from Clarence and he has been in poor health too…” (1935-01-31 letter from Anson Crosby)
May 14 Zion, IL “For some two months the wind has been almost continually off the lake (Lake Michigan); and is very cold and raw…”
“Meda has been having the intestinal flu for some five weeks – was very sick for two weeks at the first; and only beginning to get up a little now…I am thinking that I should take her down to Fannie’s (TN) for two or three weeks…” (1935-05-14 letter from CW Crosby)
June 4 Wheaton, IL “My room CW Crosing affairs have been quite a little broken up during the winter…”
“The family letter came this afternoon.. I managed to get it off in the last mail tonight…”
“Well it does seem good to have the reunion taking definite shape; and to see how eagerly every one is pulling for it. I am so glad to note the interest that Lorina is taking in it all; and helping you and Lou especially.”
“it has been just as if there had been an explosion in my side, and most of the vitals blown out of me. I refer especially to the trouble that I have ben having for several years with Meda, which culminated in a virtual separation on my last birthday. During the three years previous, I am sure that I spent more than half of my waking hours in weeping; until I was so exhausted that I would break out crying anywhere, no matter who was around…For some time my sons had been suggesting to me that I should go away and leave her, but I could not bring myself to it…She finally came over here for a few days, very reluctantly, and then flitted away home again, with nothing accomplished. Then I vowed to God that I would weep no more over her…”
“I am stronger now than I have been for several years, and I feel sure that God is leading me out and on.”
“He (God) has healed my broken heart, dried my tears, and is certainly leading me out. Poor Meda has lost out badly. She so often sneered at me, stole my son’s hearts away from me, held me up to ridicule in several ways until she has lost forever the place at my side.” (1936-06-04 letter from CW Crosby)
August 4 Wheaton, IL “And then my personal and family affairs require a great deal of attention, that and prayer at this time. Everything that I touch and everywhere that I look seems to be super-saturated with the Anglo-Israel complex, although I do not hear so much about it in words. Nevertheless the Lord just holds me right to it, and makes me dig, and dig, and pray and think and study until it consume all my time and thot (sic). As I wrote you before it is an Anglo-Israel matter that lies right at the bottom of all my family troubles for these last several years. Perhaps the Lord had ordained, or at least permitted it to be so; in order to make me dig right into it. I am sure that had it not been so I would never have looked into it as fully as I have. It seems to be the key that unlocks so many deep mysteries; and without which I would have been in darkness far deeper than has been. However, tho the process of extradition has been painfully slow, yet it is working right along in the direction of complete deliverance and victory.”
“My whole thot (sic) and prayer now is that matters may progress fast enough and far enough so that I can have something in the form of a very tangible proof of what I want to be ready to say to you when we meet in Alabama in less than three weeks from now. Let us all pray that none of us shall be disappointed in getting there.” (1936-08-04) letter CW Crosby)
August Family Reunion held in Sheffield, AL (“Ancestors and Descendants of Floyd W. & Charlotte P. Crosby” page 18)
Clarence did not attend
September 9 Portland, OR “The first thing when we arrived in Chicago we called Ariel and he told us Aunt Anna died on Tuesday and Clarence had gone over to the funeral. We didn’t call Uncle Anson then as we had planned, but wired some flowers instead.”
“Thursday evening we went out to Waukegan and had dinner with Lewis, Allen, 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)
December 4 Wheaton, IL “FUNDAMENTALISTS, AWAKE!”
“And now we find another horror in our very midst. Though not quite so gruesome to us here in America, perhaps, this hideous practice is certainly far less excusable and even more horrible in its extent and meaning to our Christian faith. The fact is, HUMAN BLODD is being collected and bottled right in Chicago, and is being used as an antidote for disease; and, mind you, at the fabulous price of over one hundred dollars per pint.”
“Believing, as all Fundamentalist do, that God’s Word is the Infallible Rule of Faith and Practice, let us look, first of all, to that Word for a moment...”
“Extra copies of this article may be secured by addressing or calling on the author – Clarence W. Crosby – at 312 E. Lincoln Ave. Wheaton, Illinois. A nominal price is asked to cover cost of production.”
(1936-12-04 mailed by CW Crosby)
August 17 NY City Long discussion of postal rates and service between NY City and Havana.
“Everything has been under such a strain and commotion here, that I have felt bewildered at my every attempt to outline a letter to you…The strike referred to in my page ref F. letter at S’s plant has been partly settle, and operations started on about a 50% basis last Monday. For the time being the firm seems to have had very much the advantage; but from what S told me last night it seems very certain that they have manifested quite a little too much of that militant sprit and created a needless offence that is likely to come on them with more trouble – if not a real knock-out later.”
“There were strikes all around here – yes in this highly civilized section of residential Manhattan.”
Long discussion about tall buildings, streets, noise, etc.”
“I am hoping, planning, and praying not to be here much longer…”
Long discussion of physical and spiritual wellbeing.” (1937-08-17 letter from CW Crosby)
August 25 NY City Long discussion of postal situation.
“Have been around some of the old slum missions here – “Bowery” and “Water St” in particular. Have an engagement to speak at “Bowery” next Sunday eve. The place is always crowded with street bums – 200 – 300. I was very much surprised yesterday when the Supt. asked me to speak there. But I was glad of the chance. Wish you were here to go along.”
“I am doing my utmost to round up my affairs here and get back to N.E. Illinois for a time; tho think I may return here after a few months.”
“Hope you are getting some rest in mind and spirit and preparing for a new start in life as I did two years ago.”
“My prayer especially for you has been that you may find strength and grace to use the last few years of your second cycle of 30 years – i.e. the interval from now till you are 60, in a very determined preparatory way – a sort of a returning start, and cross your second cycle finish, and enter into the third (60-90) with a rush, and full steam ahead.”
“I really did that in part – feebly and in the darkness of ignorance – not then understanding till just a few weeks before my 60th birthday what it was all about. I am painfully aware now that it was very poorly done; but it was done, praise the Lord, and now that I understand it better, I am gaining strength and speed every day. The terrible eclipse of seeming defeat, and crushing sorrow and grief is passing away from the Sun of my life (Mal. 4.) and I am being lifted right up out of it by his Grace.” (1937-08-25 letter from CW Crosby)
April 21 Chicago, IL “Just a hasty note to tell you that I Have so many things to talk over with you that I can only tell you now that I am planning on driving to the reunion, and hope you can arrange to ride mostly with me as we can have as much time together as possible. I have heard nothing further from any of the others as to dates, so am in the dark as to that factor.”
“In outline, my hope and plan is to make a car trip, at least as far south as Fannie’s and be down there somewhere when you colm along and pick you up. Now Jesse, I want to tell you just a little word (for you only at present) that I am working hard on some matters concerning Jews, and the rapidly growing idea among foremost Jews and Christians everywhere that they will have to combine more and more closely in order to offset the growing menace of the Godless.” (1938-04-21 letter from CW Crosby)
November 25 Chicago, IL “This is the 22nd anniversary of Teresa’s passing to the Eternal rest, and I cannot tell you how much I long to see her again.”
“And did I ever tell you that Allen was married a year ago today? He has a very nice young wife (Pauline), and they are both working in Waukegan (Il) and seem to be getting on very well.”
“Am writing especially to ask about a proposed Xmas get together. Are you making any definite plans in that direction?”
“Have been thinking that the family letter should be along about now, and perhaps it will contain some word, but thus far it has not arrived, so am writing you direct.”
“Please tell me about present status of missionary effort in Cuba…Does the new wife (Remedios) take readily to spiritual things, and do I understand that she does not have a workable knowledge of English”
“I have some missionary plans in mind that seems to me that you and she could work into very nicely if you were both so inclined.” (1938-11-25 letter from CW Crosby)
December 6 Chicago, IL “Have also just received a letter from Miss Ruth Gottschalk – a former Zion City girl, who is teaching this year near Miami, FL…”
“Please tell me does the present concrete highway follow the old “Calsada” surrey as it was when I was there, and does it not pass close by the Bartle Cemetery” I did not ask Stephen definitely about this.”
“Am sorry that you (Jesse) cannot come over for Xmas, and it looks now as if I would need to reserve some of that sorrow for myself, for as yet I have no definite arrangement to make it possible.” (1938-12-06 letter from CW Crosby)
February 8 Chicago, IL “Just received a letter from Lorina saying you were sick in bed with fever…”
“Was out to Waukegan to see Allen and Pauline and have supper with them last night. They are getting along very nicely. Have a cosy little apartment in North Chicago…He works for Armour Branch 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. Joe is driving a bakery truck for a large Milwaukee firm with several branches down this way.”
“My health still continues wonderfully good. Had a severe head cold about 10 days ago, but it soon passed away after prayer, and last Sunday A.M. at 6:30 I awakened with a splitting head ache, followed by vomiting. Had every appearance of intestinal flu. But it too passed away in a few hours, and tho a little weak on Monday, I was all right again.” (1939-02-08 letter from CW Crosby)
March 7 Chicago, IL “”Your reference to a “choked intestine” sounds very bad to me, especially since you made a former reference to an internal abscess. These two things are often very closely connected, as I have come to understand these last few years from personal experience, and worst of all are quite often the beginning of cancer of the liver, as father (Floyd) had. Uncle Anson told me when I was there last that intestinal or stomach flu very often left a weakness near the stomach outlet that caused ulcers or abscesses there, which in turn caused sufficient swelling to cause a stoppage of the duct for a time – until the head or heads of the sore spots would break and run out. I have had several experiences of this kind, the most pronounced of which was four years ago last New Year’s day.”
“There is no doubt in my mind but what this was Father’s (Floyd) trouble that time he was so sick in Cuba, just at the time I came back from Camaquey to Bartle…No doubt we, as a family, are under considerable hereditary influence of this respect. Do you remember that both our grandfathers (Samuel Newell Crosby and Jesse Ford Pease) died with cancer, and that Mother’s mother (Elathier Huntley) died of heart disease – caused no doubt from her constant smoking of a clay pipe. At the time you were born, Mother (Charlotte) was far from strong and well, and only weighed about 100 pounds. At the time we went to Tennessee in 1884, she weighed only 103; and it was during the following years that she became much stronger and heavier.”
“Now about your paternal prospects….You know that mother (Charlotte) had brown eyes and Father (Floyd) blue, and of us children, there was one brown eyed girl and one brown eyed boy, you (Jesse) being the brown eyed boy and Fanny, the brown eyed girl. Now Jesse, the matter of eye color in our family is to me something far deeper than a mere idle sentiment regarding a color scheme. It is, rather, quite a clear indicator of several elements, some good and strong, and some not so good and weaker.”
“Now it is clear to me that mother (Charlotte) had certain strong characteristics along line wherein Father (Floyd) was weaker, and that these have been apparently more reproduced in the brown eyed ones than in the blue-eyed ones. In as much as I belong to the blue-eyed strain, you will see that I am not jealous or competitive regarding the dark eyed ones.”
“And now the way has been cleared for you to do some little part in making up your deferred responsibility of continuing the goodly things of the brown eyed strain. Some factors in your choice of procedure as to how to do this are still not clear to me; but I am not cynical or over-critical with you…I want you to know that I can and do pray for you during this crisis, with my whole heart. However, I do feel sure that could I have talked freely with you a year ago, I could have given you considerable important information on sex matters that would have been of great value to you…” (1939-03-07 letter from CW Crosby)
September 1 Beginning of World War II
End of Depression
May 7 Sheffield, AL “Had a telegram from Joe M (Joe McCleskey) this a.m saying Clarence is seriously ill in Johnson City….Have been sort of worried about him for some time from personal letters. I have heard from him tho have not heard for 2 mo or so only family letter.” (1943-05-07 letter from Fannie McCleskey)
May 13 Deland, FL (This letter from Ruth Gottschalk ‘Clarence’s life partner’ with handwritten notes from Fannie and Nell before being forwarded to Jesse by Walter)
“Your sisterly interest and willingness to help touched your brother in fact both of us deeply. It has been one of my greatest griefs these past weeks that I could not get a minute to write to Clarence’s people, even before he became critically ill. He could not see to write and he received such lovely letters from Bertha, Elinore and Elsie which I longed to answer for him.”
“It was a week ago last Tuesday (April 27) that I finally prevailed upon Clarence to go for a medical checkup. He had gone to two different chiropractors here…and the relief was of very short duration….I wanted him to continue but he determined to turn his case over completely to the Lord….But just then (April 9) Mother took sick suddenly. During her illness, he helped me all he could which was little…Mother died the evening of April 15 and while I was away with her at hospital he fell and hurt his hip, brusing (sic) it badly….It was not until early the following week that we agreed on the medical visit for the primary purpose of determining the nature of his trouble so I could feed him properly. However, the doctor’s report was worse than I anticipated…He said it was an advanced case of Bright’s disease and that his blood pressure was so high that he might have a stroke at any minute…”
“During the last three years I had gone into the study of vegetable juices considerably on Mother’s account, and we have, you may recall, an electric juice extractor. So, while prayer has continued to be our main resort. I at once checked up on all my food studies and selected a diet of juices especially suited to his needs. The results have so far been very gratifying. He appears to us, and to friends who come in frequently, to be decidedly better, although not to the point where we dare relax our vigilance.”
“Clarence needs someone here with him while I am away teaching and it is impossible, it seems, to get hired help even if I could afford to do that. On Wednesday and Thursday night after his visit to doctor he had bad nights and I got very little sleep…Thursday A.M. I was so nervous and worried about him and the way my work was piling up, that I sat down right in the midst of the confusion and wrote Ariel and Maxine a ten-page letter explaining the situation and asking for any suggestions they could give.
Two problems about leaving him along are:
- In getting about, even in the house, he could easily fall, since he had a fall just before I came in from teaching, but no serious injury resulted.
- He is apt to forget his juice schedule, no matter how carefully rehearsed before I leave, and go to the ice box and take things he should not have. (Lat Mon. eve I came home from shopping for groceries and found a glass shattered on the floor in the kitchen and found him helping himself at the ice box.”
Fannie Hand written note on May 10:
“Have first talked to Ruth long distanced & she said he was very near a stroke Sat. night & she wired me to come at once….2 drs examined him Sun . & agreed he did not have stroke. One dr. had seen him this a.m. but she had not rec’d a full report. Joe C. arrived in the night and was with him this a.m.”
Nell hand written note on Wed:
“Walter – this just came a few moments ago & I will put I in the mail box right away…Please sent it on to Jesse…From Bert’s letter yesterday & what is in this one about Joe’s being with Clarence, I imagine if he is able to travel Joe will take him to Monroe (WI – home of Uncle Anson chiropractor) right away.”
Walter and Carolyn hand written note:
“Dear Jesse, received these letters from Nell today and hope they reach you soon.”
(1943-05-13 letter from Ruth Gottschalk)
May 14 Sheffield, AL (Letter to Brothers and Sisters)
“I have just returned from Johnson City….Joe and his wife were there & I returned home with them as they were on their way back to Ark. By car. Found Clarence in a very bad condition…His system is terribly poisoned from his kidney condition…”
“We both felt that he was getting better care there in the trailer than he could get anywhere else for if anything could be done it would be thru diet and nursing which she (Ruth) is very capable of doing & anxious to do as well.”
“So, he isn’t suffering to speak of… is in good hands…the boy’s (sons?) are eager and taking care of the financial part of it in a fine way.”
“Part of the time he seems perfectly normal & then he gets confused…The card from Ruth this A.M. said he seemed to be in a stupor most all day Wed but finally brightened up in the evening.”
“Joe thinks it best to go ahead & make all the arrangements as everyone is so scattered & communications are slow…”
“…the boys would like to use the South Wayne cemetery & if there is room on the same lot with Papa (Floyd) & Mama (Charlotte) would like very much to have him buried there…However, they do not want to use our lot there without the consent of the rest of you…” (1943-05-14 letter from Fannie McCleskey)
June 23 Clarence dies in Johnson City, TN. Buried in Glen Ellyn, IL.
“I think my best memory of Joe is the day of Pa’s funeral when I went with him for a flight to pay an aviator last respects.
How, I don’t know but he picked out the cemetery from the air – dived once – straightened out and returned to the airport, landed and got out without a word.
I wish I could take his grieving with the fortitude with which he took Pa’s.”
Lewis Paul Crosby 9-21-1945