Known to have lived in Preston CT, Partridgeville and Becket MA, and Kirtland OH. Served as a Pvt. in Capt. Williams' Co. under Lt.Col. Nathan Gallup, Ft. Griswold CT, 7/11/1779, Revolutionary War. Served on land and at sea as a privateer, and was captured twice by the British (once with brother, Joseph), and escaped both times. Was a cooper by trade. Christopher Crary was the first pioneer settler of Kirtland, Ohio, arriving there with his wife and nine children in 1811. His son, Erastus, was a married man at this time and also brought his family.
"Although there is a monument erected for Christopher Crary in Section D, lot 35, grave 9, he and his wife "Polly" are actually buried in Garwood Cemetery, Zane Township, Logan County, Ohio. (An inscription reading included him in Curl Cemetery nearby, but was likely in error.) He has a nice article in Soldiers and Widows of the American Revolution who lived in Lake County, Ohio by Mildred E. Hoyes Steed. The county of burial is misstated, however, as Union County. Crary is noted in the WPA cemetery map for Logan County."
Christopher married Mary Polly WITTER, daughter of Captain Ebenezer WITTER and Abigail GEER, on 4 Nov 1784 in Preston, New London County, Connecticut.1 (Mary Polly WITTER was born on 18 May 1766 in Preston, New London County, Connecticut,14 died on 1 May 1859 in Zane Township, Logan County, Ohio 15 and was buried in May 1859 in Garwood Cemetery, Zane Township, Logan County, Ohio 16.)
1 Barbour, Connecticut Town Marriage Records, Barbour Collection (Preston Vital Records Part I - 1687-1850), p. 72. Surety: 4. Christopher [Crary] m. Polly WITTER, b. of Preston, Nov 4, 1784.
Military Records: Connecticut Officers and Soldiers, 1700s-1800s; Record of Service of Connecticut Men, Part I, Connecticut Militia, 1775-1783. (Connecticut State Library), page 555. Surety: 4. A roll of his "Company of detach'd Militia to serve under the command of Lt. Colo. Nathan Gallup stationed at Fort Griswold, Groton [Connecticut], July 11th, 1779."
Christopher Crary appears on this roll. Christopher's brother, Robert, is also listed as a Corporal in this regiment.
Unknown, History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio: Kirtland Township (Ohio Historical Archives), p. 246-247. Surety: 4. "Without doubt the pioneer of settler in Kirtland township was Christopher Crary. He was originally from Hinsdale, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, emigrating from thence in the year 1811, and locating in this township in the southern portion on lots eighty-two and ninety-one in tract three, then some six miles by road to the nearest neighbor. The family of Mr. Crary consisted of a wife and nine children. Erastus, the eldest of these, was at the time a married man, and brought his family into the wilderness. We learn that Mr. Crary took an active part in the Revolutionary struggle on the side of his country, was twice incarcerated in British prison ships - once in Halifax, from which he made his escape, and again on board the "Old Jersey," in New York. Mr. and Mrs. Crary removed to Union country, this State, and there deceased - the father in 1848 and the mother some ten years later. Christopher G. Crary, son of this pioneer family, still resides in Kirtland.
We take the following from a manuscript prepared by N.M. Whelpley, and kindly furnished us by Mr. C.G. Crary. It furnishes an account of the senior Crary and family's introduction to their wilderness home.
The Crary's made a temporary stay in Mentor during the time their cabin was being erected in Kirtland, seven miles distant. In early autumn of the year 1811, the building was ready for their use, and the family started for their wilderness home. We quote:
'We took the old Chillicothe road, which had been traversed scarcely at all, except by cattle and wild beasts. The trees on either side were so interlaced as to form a canopy overhead, which rendered it quite romantic, but gloomy. We forded the Chagrin River without difficulty, and supposed our worst fears removed, but on going a little further our wagon broke, and night was fast closing around us. Mr. Crary unhitched his team, which he drove before him, taking his youngest child in his arms. His wife took the other by the hand, and the writer brought up the rear. Our way was dark and intricate, and the canopy of branches above, which had but recently been so beautiful, served now to hide the light of the stars from us. But the katydids cheered us with their ceaseless music. The latter part of our way we had no road, and nothing to guide us except marked trees, which, of course, were useless in the darkness. My father and the oxen knew the way, and we finally arrived there long after midnight, footsore and weary. A bright fire was burning near the cabin - a necessary protection against the bears and wolves. Our beds consisted of hemlock boughs, which were, perhaps, better appreciated than beds of down might have been under other circumstances. The winter of 1812 was the coldest that had been known for many years. At the time we had no neighbors on our side of Chagrin River, and, to crown the gloom of those melancoly days, one of our number died [Erastus' daughter, Rebecca Marie]. We had to send twelve miles for a physician, who arrived too late, and there was no clergyman nearer than the Harpersfield settlement. Those, indeed, were dark days.'"
4 Unknown, Ohio County and Family Histories, 1780-1970: Pioneer Women and The Western Reserve, Kirtland, Lake County (Ohio Historical Archive), Pioneer Women of Kirtland, Lake County, 1811-1850; p. 780. Surety: 4. "The first permanent settlement of which we find any record was made by Christopher Crary, who came with his wife and nine children from Becket, Mass., in 1811. He was a surveyor and had charge of lands owned by Joshua Stowe. He located at what is now known as Peck's Corners; in earlier years, Crary's Corners. A road had been laid out from the lake to Chilliconthe, then the capitol of the state, which passed that point. With that exception it was a pathless wilderness, but they, with true New England courage, set themselves the task of making a home and succeeded."
5 1810 US Census (Geauga, Ohio), Roll 91, Book 1, Page 117. Repository: Ancestry. Surety: 4. Lists Chistopher Crary, his wife and children, early settlers of Ohio.
6 1820 US Census (Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio). Repository: Ancestry. Surety: 4. Lists Christopher Crary (age 45+, b. bef. 1775), wife Mary [Witter] (age 45+, b. bef. 1775) and children: 1 male (age 16-26, b. 1794-1804) [could be Oliver or Christopher], 2 males (age 10-16, b. 1804-1810) [Ebenezer and William] and 2 females (age 16-26, b. 1794-1804) [Sarah and Nancy], living in Kirtland, Ohio. At this time, Kirtland is part of Geaugua County. It will later become part of Lake County.
New Connecticut Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Record of the Revolutionary War Soldiers Buried in Lake County, Ohio (Painesville, Ohio: 1902). Surety: 4. Christopher Crary was born in New London, Conn. in 1759.
He was the grandson of Oliver Crary, who was a native of Connecticut. His great-grandfather was Robert Crary, who was a son of Peter Crary who emigrated from England to America when Charles II ascended the throne.
Christopher Crary was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He was twice taken prisoner; the first time he escaped from the Halifax prison, the second time, he was imprisoned on the British prison-ship Jersey, but was finally liberated.
He was in the marine service. After the war he became a merchant, then a farmer, and exchanged his farm for land in Kirtland township.
He was the first actual settler of Kirtland; his neighbors were seven miles distant.
In 1837 he moved to Union Co., Ohio, living there until his death, which occurred in 1848 at the age of eighty-eight years.
8 1800 US Census (Partridgefield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts). Repository: Ancestry. Surety: 4. Lists Christopher Crary (age 26-44, b. 1765-1785), wife Mary [Witter] (age 26-44, b. 1765-1785) and children: 1 son (age 10-15, b. 1785-1790) [Erastus W.], 1 son (age <10, b. 1790-1800) [Oliver Augustus], 1 daughter (age 16-25, b. 1774-1785) [Mary Witter], 1 daughter (age 10-15, b. 1785-1790) and 3 daughters (age <10, b. 1790-1800) [Lucy, Estelle and Sarah], living in Partridgefield, Massachusetts.
9 1790 US Census (Partridgefield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts). Repository: Ancestry. Surety: 4. Lists Christopher Crary (age 16+, b. bef. 1774), wife [Mary Witter], and children: 1 son (age <16, b. 1775-1790) [Erastus W.] and 2 daughters [Mary Witter and Abigail Polly], living in Partridgefield, Massachusetts. The ages of women were not included on this census. However, only two of Christopher's daughters were born before 1790.
10 1830 US Census (Kirtland, Geaugua County, Ohio). Repository: Ancestry. Surety: 4. Lists Christopher Crary (age 70-79, b. 1749-1759), wife [Mary Witter] (age 60-69, b. 1759-1769) and children: 1 son (age 20-29, b. 1809-1818) and 1 son (age 10-15, b. 1814-1819), living in Kirtland, Ohio. Living two houses away is their son, Erastus Crary, and his family.
11 Unknown, Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio: Embracing the Counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1893), p. 500. Surety: 4. The father of our subject [Christopher Gore Crary] was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was twice taken prisoner. The first time he made his escape from the prison at Halifax, and after his second imprisonment he was liberated from a British ship in New York. He was in the marine service. After the war he was a merchant at Becket, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, for some time but later became a farmer. He exchanged his farm with Joshua Stow, of Middletown, Connecticut, in 1811, for 680 acres of land in Lake county, Ohio, and in that same year moved with his family to this State, coming with ox teams, and at once taking up his abode on his land in Kirtland township. He was the first actual settler in the township; was then seven miles away from his nearest neighbor, and it was not until after the War of 1812 that emigrants began to locate here. Only two miles from where he built his cabin there was a camp of Indians, and for many years the forest abounded with game of all kinds. He, however, cared little for hunting. In 1837 he moved to Union county, this State, where he died at the age of eighty-nine years, in 1858. His wife, whose maiden name was Polly Winter, was born in Connecticut in 1765, and died in 1869, aged ninety-three. Both were members of the Congregational Church, and for many years he was a magistrate in Lake county. They had a family of nine children, the subject of our sketch being the eighth born, and he and his sister, Mrs. Nancy Whelpley, being the only ones now living.
Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850, First Series, Births, Marriages and Deaths; A Family Register for the People (Charlestown [RI] Births and Deaths), Vol. V, Part V, p. 19. Surety: 4. 2-169
CRARY, Christopher, of Oliver and Hopestill, June 24, 1759.
Garwood Cemetery Transcriptions (Genealogy in Logan County, Ohio: http://www.rootsweb.com/~ohlogan/cemzaga.html). Surety: 4. Crary, Christopher, d 2 Jun 1848, ae 88y 11m 8d (husband of Mary Crary)
14 Barbour, Connecticut Town Birth Records, Barbour Collection (Preston Vital Records Part I - 1687-1850), p. 256. Surety: 4. Mary, d. [Ebenezer, Jr. & Abigail], b. May 18, 1766.
Unknown, Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio: Embracing the Counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co. 1893), p. 501. Surety: 4. His [Christopher Crary] wife, whose maiden name was Polly Winter [Witter], was born in Connecticut in 1765, and died in 1869, aged ninety-three.
[Information provided by Christopher Gore Crary]
Garwood Cemetery Transcriptions (Genealogy in Logan County, Ohio: http://www.rootsweb.com/~ohlogan/cemzaga.html). Surety: 4. Crary, Mary, d 1 May 1859, ae 91y 11m 13d (wife of Christopher Crary)