Merryman-Crane family papers
Scope and Contents
The Merryman-Crane family papers document the nineteenth century life of two families of enslavers related by marriage, one centered in Richmond, Virginia, and the other in Baltimore County, Maryland.
The Merryman family settled in Baltimore County in the early 18th century. The papers consist of land deeds, legal documents, and correspondence. Although the papers span the period 1742-1908 the bulk of the material dates from the late nineteenth century. It is largely the correspondence and memorabilia of the 6 children of Micajah and Clarissa [Harryman] Merryman. Especially well represented is the correspondence among the women of the family including detailed letters from an extended trip to Europe (1883-1884) by two sisters.
There are also letters (1864) to Rachel Merryman from friends and relatives imprisoned at Fort Delaware. The Merryman family were enslavers, and there are materials throughout the papers documenting this. Of interest in the earlier material are letters (1779-1783) about settling in North Carolina and letters (1776-1782) in the form of military orders to Major Micajah Merryman.
In the 1880's Dr. Moses Merryman applied for membership in the Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. The early Merryman papers in this collection are legal documents and wills that would support this application. The later Merryman papers are those of Moses's siblings.
The Crane family material relates to Henry R. Crane's immediate family. These are the papers of Henry's parents and three brothers all of whom pre-deceased him. There are a few items of Clara Crane, Henry's wife, and their four daughters.
Women's property rights are touched on in the form of a legal opinion (1788) concerning Mary [Ensor] Merryman (Mrs. Micajah) as well as her mother Elinor Ensor's will (1801). There are also two documents (1764) about safe-guarding the property that Sarah M. Harryman, a widow, brought to her second marriage.
The Crane Family papers consist of correspondence, poetry, prose, and financial documents. The material spans 1821-1908 but mainly dates from 1850-1890. The papers revolve around Isabella Steel Crane. Her incoming correspondence includes consolation for the early deaths of 3 of her sons and her husband.
Isabella Steel Crane and her correspondents discuss the Civil War - there are letters from her nephew Andrew Lowndes on life in Baltimore in the 1860s and letters from her son Henry while a Confederate soldier. The Crane family were enslavers.
The remainder of the Crane papers deal briefly with Isabella's son Henry, a businessman in Baltimore, Clara Merryman, his wife, and their four daughters.
- Creation: 1742-1908
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.
Biographical / Historical
The Merryman and Crane families were related through the marriage of Clara Merryman (1845-1909) to Henry R. Crane (1845-99). The family historian of the Merrymans appears to have been Clara's brother Moses Merryman (1827-1904) while her husband Henry was the Crane family historian. Clara survived both Moses and Henry, and it is probably through her that these two family collections survived.
0.94 Cubic Feet (2 legal size document boxes)
Language of Materials
The Merryman-Crane family papers document the nineteenth century life of two families of enslavers related by marriage, one centered in Richmond, Virginia, and the other in Baltimore County, Maryland. The Merryman family papers consist of land deeds, legal documents, and correspondence spanning 1742-1908 The Crane Family papers consist of correspondence, poetry, prose, and financial documents. The material spans 1821-1908 but mainly dates from 1850-1890.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
There is no known acquisition information for this collection.
This is no known processing information for this collection.
This finding aid is currently being updated to align with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). In particular, the Merryman and Crane families' history as enslavers is being adressed. Contact Archives staff for additional information.
- Crane Family (Family)
- Merryman, Moses (Person)
- Crane, Clara Merryman, 1845-1909 (Person)
- Crane, Henry Ryland, 1845-1899 (Person)
- Crane, Isabella, 1894- (Person)
- Crane, James Campbell, 1803-1856 (Person)
- Merryman, Micajah, 1750-1842 (Person)
- Merryman, Micajah, 1788-1854 (Person)
- Merryman, Rachel, 1836- (Person)
- Merryman-Crane family papers
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Repository
The Sheridan Libraries
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA