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John Murry Crail

John Murry Crail was a carpenter and farmer. While living in New Boston he worked at the carpenter trade during the week and was only home on weekends to farm his eighty acres. He also worked on a sheep ranch in Kansas and the whole family moved with him there as Mabel Crail was born in Hope, Kansas. He had a claim from the government in Oklahoma so he sold his farm to a neighbor Joe Baker for $1,050.00 on the 14th day of January 1907 and moved his family to Oklahoma. He filed on his claim but it never did 'prove up' so he bought a claim on one hundred sixty acres in Oklahoma. John continued his carpenter trade and built many homes and barns. The homestead is still in the family today.

John Murry Crail, son of Jason and Elizabeth (Murry) Crail, was born October 13, 1868, Linn County, Missouri, only son of Jason and Elizabeth Murry Stephens Crail. He was about two years old when his mother died. On November 2, 1889 he married in Linn County, Missouri, Mary "Molly" Nuaella Forrest, daughter of James William and Margaret Elizabeth (Bonnifield) Forrest. Molly was born in Linn County, Missouri, July 7, 1871. John Crail lived his childhood and early manhood in New Boston, MO. John and Mary (Mollie) both attended school and received an 8th grade education in a one-room school located at the junction west of New Boston.

John and Molly had nine children;

Earl Foster, born January 31, 1890, New Boston, Linn County, Missouri, died February 23, 1979 in El Monte, Los Angeles County, California. On February 8, 1913 he married Mina Jane Price in Avery, Monroe County, Iowa. They were the parents of four children.

Oscar Jason, born July 7, 1892 Linn County, MO, married Gertrude Barnes March 23, 1913 in Gage, Ellis County, Oklahoma. Later that same year they moved to Iowa. Gertrude died Mar 10, 1952 in Iowa. They had a son. Oscar married Mabel (Goodwin) Hornick in 1959.

Mabel Gertrude, born July 10, 1894, in Hope, Dickinson County, Kansas, died Mar 12, 1983 in Riverside, Los Angeles County, California. On September 15, 1913, she married Glen Everett Shepherd in Arnett, Ellis County, Oklahoma. They were the parents of nine children.

Paul Irvin, born September 13, 1896, New Boston, Linn County, Missouri, died June 21, 1954 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He married Maggie Chaney and the were the parents of five children.

Hazel Vaughn Crail, born October 1, 1898, New Boston, Linn County, Missouri, died April 30, 1975, living in Woodward, Oklahoma with her second husband, Roy Briggs until her death. Hazel first married George William Shepherd. They were the parents of five children, two of which died in at an early age. She had lived in Oklahoma since 1907.

A son (died in infancy), was born Jan 6, 1901, New Boston, Linn County, Missouri.

Calvin Lester, born January 10, 1902, New Boston, Linn County, Missouri, died at Collinsville, Kansas in 1925, leaving a widow, Mamie Crail, no children.

Nellie Geneva, born September 29, 1904, New Boston, Linn County, Missouri, died at Oklahoma City, October 26, 1957. She first married Francis Michael Skinner in 1932. Second Jack Nietzel.

John William, born April 9, 1910, Arnett, Ellis County, Oklahoma lived on the home place in Ellis County for many years, until his health made it necessary for him to enter the nursing home. His death occurred November 25, 1981 in Vici, Dewey County, Oklahoma. He married Dorothy Mae Woffard. They were the parents of two children. His descendants still live on the old homestead.

John Murry Crail, traveled to Oklahoma, filed on the claim and rented a barn to live in. In February, 1907, John and Molly sold their forty-acre farm in Linn County, Missouri, and chartered a Santa Fe Railroad car to carry their household goods, team of mules, wagon, and oak fence posts to Oklahoma. The roads were so muddy it took a four-horse team to take their possessions to the train station in Ethel, Missouri. John, Oscar and Paul rode in the immigrant car with their household goods. Mary and the other five children rode in the passenger car. Each time the train stopped for water, John would get off and buy food for the family and also water the horses.

Gage, Oklahoma was as far at they went by rail. It was twenty-five miles by team and wagon to reach their claim. They unloaded their belongings and took them to a friend's home in Gage. As they were unloading, "the people just about went crazy over the oak fence posts." They wanted to buy them to stake up grapes. Many had never seen an oak fence post before.

The barn was their home for several months. By late summer, they were fortunate to rent a small house, located on Mr. De Long's claim, near by. John's claim did not "prove up", so he bought the rights to Mr. White's claim, two miles east. Four years later he bought the De Long claim which now belonged to his brother, William Crail. The location of this three hundred and twenty acres is: Southwest Quarter (SW 1/4) Section 4 and Northeast Quarter (NE 1/4) of Section 9, Township 18 North, Range 23 West.

In Oklahoma, John continued his carpenter trade as well as farming. His son, Oscar, remembers one barn he helped shingle. It was located on the Wagner place one and a half miles from the Crail's. "The barn was a hundred feet long and eighty feet wide. Two could work all day putting on wood shingles and it didn't look like you had done anything."

Calvin, Oscar and a cousin were in the barnyard one day when the cousin fell on Calvin's leg and cracked the bone. There was no team up, so Oscar put a rope on the tongue of a wagon and on the horn of the saddle and pulled Calvin up to the house with the wagon and saddle horse. They lived about twelve miles from the doctor. Oscar went about a mile to a neighbor's house to use the telephone to call him. While the doctor set Calvin's leg, John administered the chloroform. He was overcome by the fumes and Oscar had to finish.

When John William was to be born, there was no doctor to call. This time Oscar was sent for the neighbor woman. John William was delivered by the neighbor with the assistance of his father.

All lumber and coal was brought in by train to Gage, and fuel seemed to be a problem every winter. One winter there was such a coal shortage that they dug "shinnery" roots to burn and also used cow chips. Another time a coal car was setting on the siding in Gage and someone dumped it on the ground. People came from miles around to pick up the coal for fuel.

At the death of John (July 18, 1927) and Molly (October 24, 1927), the Crail homestead was left to their seven living children, Earl, Oscar, Mabel, Paul, Hazel, Nellie and Johnny. John left 1/3 to Mollie, 2/3 equally divided between their children. Mollie's 1/3 divided equally among above named children after her death. Over the years, each of them sold or gave their interest in the farm to John William Crail. Until 1972 the land was rented as pasture and the mineral rights leased.

After a visit a cousin made to the old home place, she wrote the following: " I remember the house was still in fairly good shape. It had unpainted slat board siding, wooden floors and very weathered. No one was living in the house at that time, but it had been rented to different families off and on through the years. Another visit that I remember was in September 1970. The poor old house was still partially standing and the shifting sand had almost completely covered the floors. It looked as though the house had started as a kitchen and one other room, then later a side room was added on. The windmill sits several hundred yards from the house near another small out building used as a feed storage barn. Earl and Mina Crail lived in this building at one time when they were young married."

Oscar Crail said the only fuel they bought was kerosene for the lamps. They burned wood for heat and cooking, so one of the never ending jobs was chopping wood. On a cold winter day when Oscar went out to chop wood, he put his tongue to the axe blade to test the sharpness, and in sudden shock dropped the axe. "It was so cold it took the hide right off my tongue. I went into the house and wanted Mother to wrap up my tongue." He couldn't remember how old he was when this happened.

In the back of the grocery store, next to the Post Office was the photo studio where all the family pictures were taken during their years in New Boston. They had one taken just before they left New Boston.

John decided to leave New Boston with his family, to file on the Oklahoma Claim. Some of the Crowder family were already in Oklahoma so this may have been his motive for moving there. They started their trek in February 1907. One person was required to ride in the railroad car with the animals (Immigrant car) but only one person was supposed to be allowed. Oscar and Paul both bedded down in the car with their father to save the price of one fare. The rest of the family rode in the passenger car. Earl rode with his mother, as he was the oldest boy, to help his mother with the smaller children.

They arrived in Oklahoma in early April 1907. They came to homestead 160 acres available at Arnett, Oklahoma. John tried to farm the first farm but it never did "prove up"; just wasn't any good. John's only brother William Robert Crail may have helped him buy the farm. The original land tract patent was signed by the Secretary of the Interior for Theodore Roosevelt. The land originally belong to Mr. De Long. John William Crail said his father later moved the small house to some other land just west of the present farm.

One night in Oklahoma when the family was driving their "big mule team" home from church, it was raining very hard and so dark the reins would light up like "ribbons of fire" in the black night. As they could not see to control the way of the mules, the just let them go ("gave rein to them") and they took them right home.

Information about this family was compiled from family records, marriage records, 1900, 1910, 1920 Federal census records, obituaries, death records, land records, "Greenstreets" by Opal Abernathey Greenstreet and "Our Ellis County Heritage" by Ellis County Historical Society. Family members who provided and/or compiled information include Wilma Shepherd, Joann Winters, Gloria Crail, and my own research.

If you would like more information on this family, or you have information, contact me
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