JAMES CRANFIELD - James Cranfield, who follows farming in Talkington township, was born in Cambridgeshire, England, about seventy six miles northeast of London, February 26, 1858, his parents being William and Eliza (Nicholas) Cranfield. His paternal grandfather was James Cranfield, who married a Miss Gill. William Cranfield had no educational privileges, but was trained to active labor, assisting his father at farming until he was twenty-one years of age, when he was married. In November 1872, he came to the United States, being thirteen days on the water, during which time a very severe storm was encountered. The vessel sprung a leak and life boats were made ready, for at one time it was not believe that the ship could be saved. However it eventally reached port and Mr. Cranfield, landing in New York city, made his way thence direct to Alexander Station in Sangamon county, Illinois. He purchased eighty acres of land in what is now Maxwell townshp and continued its cultivation for five or six years, when he removed to southwestern Missouri, where he remained for twelve to fifteen years. During that time his wife died, on the 12th of June, 1889, and he returned to Illinois and made his home with his son James until his death, which occurred August 2, 1900. Unto William and Eliza Cranfield were born nine children: Mary Jane, wife of Henry Parker, of England; Tillie, who died in infancy; Gillie, who was drowned in infancy; William, who married Anna Bland and is now living in Oklahoma; Ellen, who is the widow of Richard Lythell, who died in Illinois, her home being now in Talkington township; James; Lizzie, wifeof William Aldridge, of St. Clair county, Missouri; Louisa, who died in Missouri; and Harry, who married Miss Troup and resides in Oklahoma.
James Cranfield was in his fifteenth year when with his parents he came to the United States. While in England he learned to read form the Bible. He attended school but one term in this country and acquired the greater part of his knowledge after his marriage. Reading, experience and observation, however, have greatly broadened his mind and made him a well informed man. He assisted his father until twenty-one years of age. On the 4th of December 1878, he wedded Mary E. Mitchell, a daughter of Charles and Hannah (Miller) Mitchell. For four or five years after his marriage he was employed as a farm laborer and then rented a farm, but soon found that in that way he could not gain a competence, so calling upon a banker he asked to borrow money. The banker desired to know who was his security and Mr. Cranfiled, responded that any one could get money with security, but he had none, but would go someplace else if he could not get the money there. An arragnement was made whereby he securec four hundred dollars. Since that day he has had a bank account and that he has prospered as the years have advanced is indicated by the fact that he is now the owner of one hundred and thirteen acres of rich and valuable land in Sangamon county and eighty acres in Morgan county. He has engaged in buying an selling cattle and hogs and has carried on general farming with excellent success.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Cranfield have been born two children: Emma, born September 5, 1879, is the wife of Frank Robison; Bertha, born October 26, 1881, is the wife of James Dunn, who is now operating a farm for Mr. Cranfield. They have one child, Clara May, born March 24, 1903. Mr and Mrs Cranfield are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church and he belongs to Waverly Camp, No. 138, M. W. A.; the Fraternal Army of Armerica; and the Loyal Americans, No. 12, of Waverly. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party and for four years he has served as a school director. His time and attention, however, have been given almost in undivided manner to his business affairs and his life proves that success is not the outcome of fortunate circumstances or the aid of influentail friends, but may be gained through perserverance, determindation and strength of purpose.