Florus Romulus Cassius Perrin in Crafton, Pennsylvania

Pittsburh topography map

Topographic map of Pittsburgh and western suburbs, 1906

The next several sections will focus on an area west of Pittsburgh which includes the boroughs of Crafton and Ingram. The map is here to denote simple topography. These boroughs lie outside the basin of the three rivers of Pittsburgh. Crafton is situated on a plain which gently slopes to Chartiers Creek to the west. The map of Pittsburgh above, while bare of many human landmarks, will also help locate other places mentioned either here in this section, or else in the sections dedicated to related families.

Crafton

This region became available for urban development because of the railroad. A railway was built between Pittsburgh and Steubenville, Ohio to the west in the 1850s. Its owner changed several times, but for our history it will be known by its incarnation as the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad, a name which morphed in the 1890s to the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad. The line left Pittsburgh via a bridge crossing the Monongahela, going west along this river and the Ohio and then arcing via a tunnel to Ingram . From there it went south through present day Crafton to the city now known as Carnegie, resuming its route west along the Chartiers Creek and its tributaries.

Crafton in 1876

Map showing Crafton and Ingram in 1876. North is to the left

(Please note that not all of the old maps in this section have north at the top. The only way to maintain orientation is to realize that the rail as it passes through Ingram and Crafton is nearly north-south.)

It was because of the rail that James Crafton planned a community to be developed from his land. This was realized in the 1870s, although the economy did not allow development to really start until the 1880s. By then Charles Crafton, James' son, was the prime mover of this effort. The borough was incorporated in 1893.

1874

Street map of Crafton, 1886. North is to the right

The Handbook of Greater Pittsburgh gave this description of Crafton in 1895 :

The borough of Crafton was chartered January 3, 1894, and is a thriving, progressive residence community. Its area is about one square mile. . . The valuation of the borough property this year is $1,600,000 and the rate of taxation 4 mills. The water supply is furnished by the Monongehela Water Company and the St. Clair Water Company, while as for sewers a complete plan has been adopted and work on it will begin this year. The streets are piped for gas by the Philadelphia Company and lighted by arc electric lights. This town prides itself on being essentially a residence community, having neither manufactories nor saloons. With four churches and fine schools and 50 trains stopping daily at Crafton Station, which is six miles from the Union Depot, the residents have nothing to complain of. New electric connection with the city will be in operation this summer.

1896 map

Street map of central Crafton, 1896

The 1896 plat map of the settled portion of Crafton is shown above. For more about early Crafton I can recommend Betsy Martin's book . I imagine other suburbs such as East Liberty and Knoxville, shown on the greater Pittsburgh map at the beginning of this section, experienced similar stages of development.

Florus. R. C. Perrin

Florus R. C. Perrin was born in Brownsville, August 30, 1863 .The given middle names are only known from Aunt Anna and cousin Marjorie. The full name given on his death certificate was Florius Ross C. Perrin . I have seen only one document with the first name written out in a signature ; this is shown below.

F. R. C. was at least thirteen when his family moved to Pittsburgh. In the 1880 census F. R. C. was with his parents at 23 Second Avenue, age 17. The 1880 Pittsburgh Directory listed his occupation as clerk. In the 1882 directory F. R. C. called himself a draughtsman.

Jennie Maxwell

Jennie maxwell, unknown date

Jennie May Maxwell, date unknown.
This is probably the oldest picture I have from the Perrin family.

In April, 1883, F. R. C. married Jennie M. Maxwell ; both were nineteen years old. In 1880 her family lived two doors away at 27 Second Avenue. Another section provides a little more detail about her father, Captain Thomas Maxwell, and his family. In the 1884 and 1885 Pittsburgh Directories F. R. C. lived with the Maxwell family at 324 Liberty Avenue and 206 Ferry Street, respectively.

Jennie and F. R. C. had three children, the first two being James Harrison (Harry) in April, 1885, and Mabel Florence in 1886. Both of them were presumably born in Pittsburgh.

Move to Crafton

On January 16, 1886 Charles Craft sold lot 20 on Noblestown Avenue in Crafton to F. R. C. for $2000. The deed stated that a two story building had already been erected . The deed was actually recorded in August, following the filing in May of a mortgage agreement between Craft and F. R. C. for $1586 .

Noblestown Road, later called Noble Avenue, was two blocks from the railroad station. F. R. C's house on lot 20 was next door to U. G. M.'s house on lot 18. A detailed map of that block from the 1896 map is shown here.

crafton detail, 1896

Detail of Noble Ave., Crafton, 1896

On 1896 the map, showing Noble Avenue on the lower left, the two houses are located just north of John Street. There is only one additional house at lot sixteen (present day 104 Noble). A streetcar line is drawn on Noble Avenue, it extended south to present day Bradford street, there turning west.

crafton detail, 1905

Crafton, Winter, 1906
Looking north; the streetcar is at Bradford and Noble

The photograph above, of unknown source but probably taken in the 1890s, was taken from Noble Road south of Bradford (the streetcar is turning onto Noble to go north). Visible are the houses at 104 and 114 Noble Avenue.

120 Noble Avenue

120 Noble Avenue, from the 1920's

While 104 Noble Avenue is still standing, 114 and 120 no longer exist. I have learned that 114 Noble Avenue was demolished, and another house built on that site, sometime in the 1940s. That second house was destroyed in 1972 to build a hardware store (which ultimately was not built). 120 Noble Avenue was razed in 1989 .

The demolition of 120 Noble Avenue, in 1989

In March, 1888 F. R. C. Perrin was received in membership by the Crafton Methodist Episcopal Church, having transferred from the Liberty Avenue Methodist Church in Pittsburgh . He, along with 150 others, signed the July, 1891 petition to form Crafton Borough . On October 7, 1892 the Borough Council made F. R. C. Perrin Borough Clerk . His recorded minutes of the Council, written through March, 1898, show exquisite handwriting but nothing of specific interest.

F. R. C.'s employment for the years 1886 through 1894 is unknown. The Pittsburg Directory did not list him for 1886 - 1888 and 1891 - 1892. For the other intervening years the Directory listed the P C C & St L railroad station as his address and draughtsman as his occupation. Aunt Anna stated that F. R. C. graduated from Yale College in Iowa and became an engineer in Philadelphia . I can not confirm that information; but F. R. C. listed himself as a mechanical engineer in the 1893 Directory. In my father's files concerning the Perrin family there is a picture of a man beside a wagon and a steam compressor. He is apparently standing on a street in Crafton; the sign on the wagon advertised a house vacuuming business. The picture could be of F. R. C.

Possible early photo of F. R. C. Perrin

Possible early photo of F. R. C. Perrin

The Pittsburg Directories from 1890 through 1893 indicated F. R. C. was the Deputy Grand Master for the state of Pennsylvania I. O. O. F.

Asia Kramer

Jennie Maxwell Perrin died in 1892 and was buried in the Perrin plot at Homewood Cemetery. I have a picture of her with Lea (shown elsewhere), who appears to be three or four years old at the time, showing that she had become much more gaunt than in the portrait shown above. Her death notice in the Pittsburg paper indicated how long it would take to travel from Pittsburg to Crafton by train .

Perrin. On Saturday Oct. 15, 1892 at 5:40 P.M., Jenifer M. Maxwell, wife of F. R. C. Perrin. Funeral service at her late residence, Crafton Station, P. C. C. & St. Louis, on Monday Oct. 17 at 1 o'clock. Train leaves Union Station at 12:40 P.M. Interment private

F. R. C. then married Asia Kramer in June of 1894 . The Kramer family has an interesting history and is outlined in its own section. According to the Pittsburg Directory Asia Kramer, her brother Edward H. and their mother Anna had moved to Crafton by 1892. Anna Kramer owned land on Noblestown Road two blocks north of F. R. C., according to the 1886 and 1896 plat maps above. Asia was the Secretary and Treasurer of the Epworth League at Crafton Methodist Church in 1892 and became the superintendent of its Junior League in March, 1893 .

After his marriage F. R. C. was absent as borough clerk from June through August, 1894. Florus and Asia paid off his mortgage to Charles Craft in March, 1895 . their signatures from the original document are shown below.

F.R.C.signature

F. R. C. and Asia Perrin signatures, from their 1894 quitclaim deed

Photography

In 1896 F. R. C. was working for the Mackey Print Paper Company at Twenty-fifth and Railroad streets in Pittsburg. I reckon from the census that Charles A. Mackey, the president of the company, married Estelle Kramer, the sister of Edward and Asia. The 1891 Directory gave Mackey's address as Crafton; the 1892 Directory stated Edward Kramer was treasurer of Mackey's company.

ad for Mackey Print paper company, 1892

1892 Advertisement, Pittsburg Directory

Directory advertisements first stated the company's area of expertise was blueprinting. In 1898 the company's ad showed they had opened a new store in downtown Pittsburgh:

MACKEY PRINT PAPER CO - Manufacturers and dealers in Photographic Supplies and Cameras. Developing and Printing a specialty. Our stock will completely equip a photographer's outfit with every necessity and convenience known to the art. Instructions and use of dark room free. Try our Vera Matte Paper. 420 Fifth Ave, Opp. Hotel Henry.

In the same year the Directory listed F. R. C. Perrin at that new address as manager. In 1899, at the same location, the Directory stated he worked for F. R. C. & Co. A 1900 publication described this new business :

F. R. C. Perrin & Co.

One of those representative lines of business which has of recent years become almost a necessity to many of our citizens is that of photographic instruments and supplies, and a leading firm in this business is that of F. R. C. Perrin & Co., which was established in 1899. The salesrooms of the establishment occupy the first floor of the six story building at 420 Fifth avenue, and covers an area of 600 square feet. The trade covers this city and the territory immediately adjacent and is of a retail character. Everything in the line of photographic instruments and supplies can be found on the premises of this concern, cameras, tripods, film and dry plates, kodaks, chemicals, in fact all those articles necessary to the wants and convenience of both professional and amateur. Mr. F. R. C. Perrin, the sole proprietor, is a native of this city, thirty-six years of age and a prominent Odd Fellow. He is an active and influential business man and a citizen and always has the welfare of the city at heart.

FRC Perrin portrait

Portrait of Florus R. C. Perrin, circa 1900

downtown pittsburgh, 1890's

Downtown Pittsburg, 1890s

Later Years

In April, 1899 Asia Perrin purchased a portion of lot 19 and lot 21 on Noble Ave for $4600 from Charles Craft . This probably allowed for an extension to the original house on its southern side, as seen in the photo of the house above. F. R. C. borrowed $4000 from Dollar Savings Bank in March, 1899 to finance the purchase; the loan was paid in full by 1904 .

In August, 1901 F. R. C. also obtained $1400 from his uncle Nehemiah Baker as a second mortgage; this loan was paid by 1903 . As the loan was not necessary to pay for the house itself, I believe it served to finance F. R. C.'s new business. In 1900 his photographic supply store moved to 210 Sixth Avenue; then in 1901 and 1902 it was located at 237 Fifth Avenue. In 1903 the business remained on Fifth Avenue but F. R. C. listed himself solely as a photographer. In 1907 and 1908 the business moved to the Arrott Power Building on Pennsylvania Avenue between Sixth and Seventh Streets.

F. R. C.'s Children

F. R. C. had seven children, three from his marriage to Jennie Maxwell, four by Asia Kramer. I have limited information about them from Aunt Anna and the census. The 1900 census provides a nice snapshot of the two Perrin families at 114 and 120 Noble Avenue:

Perrin, U G M head born August, 1837, in Maryland superintendent, boat yard
Perrin, Isabel wife born March, 1841, in Pennsylvania married 18 years
Perrin, Arbia daughter born July, 1874, in Pennsylvania

then next door

Perrin, F R C head born August, 1863, in Pennsylvania photographic supplier
Perrin, Asla wife born May, 1862, in Pennsylvania married 6 years
Perrin, Annie M daughter born May, 1895, in Pennsylvania
Perrin, Nellie G daughter born August, 1897, in Pennsylvania
Perrin, Florus son born February, 1900, in Pennsylvania
Perrin, Harry son born April 1885, in Pennsylvania
Perrin, Lea son born December, 1888, in Pennsylvania
Perrin, Mabel daughter born June, 1886, in Pennsylvania
Kramer, A H mother-in-law born May, 1842, in Pennsylvania
Harry, Lea and Mabel, about 1893

Harry, Lea and Mabel, about 1893. A highly retouched photo

James Harrison

Harry was born April 9, 1884. The Pittsburg Directories stated Harry worked as a draughtsman at several locations in Pittsburg between 1905 and 1908. The 1907 Crafton Directory called him a civil engineer. James died in September, 1910, with the following obituary :

PERRIN. Entered into rest on Friday Sept. 15, James H Perrin, in his 27th year. Funeral services at his mother's residence, 120 Noble Avenue, Crafton. Internment private

.

Berta stated that he died of tuberculosis; the death certificate confirmed this diagnosis . James H. Perrin was buried at Homewood Cemetery. He was the only Perrin buried there besides Rachel Morgart Perrin to receive a gravestone. It was placed later as specified by Asia Kramer in her 1930 will .

JH Perrin stone

James Harrison Perrin, Homewood Cemetery

Harry Perrin was probably left-handed, judging from the placement of his pistol in the photograph below taken with Lea. He also was a skilled artist. A drawing of his, with three people wearing wooden shoes, is shown above. The caption, "Auf Zwei bein wie ein Gans", is German for "On two legs like a goose". This is an idiomatic response to the German greeting "Wie geht es Ihnen?", literally "How goes it?" or how are you. As the grammar is not entirely correct I imagine the phrase came from someone of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry such as Asia Kramer. The characters in the drawing may represent Upton G. M., his wife Isabel and son F. R. C.

drawing by James harrison Perri

Drawing by James Harrison Perrin

Mabel Florence

Mabel Florence Perrin

Mabel Florence Perrin, perhaps around 1898

Mabel was born June 10, 1886. Judging from the above photograph Mabel had freckles and I suspect reddish hair. She married John Kennedy Sloan in June of 1910. The Sloan family lived on Morton Road as shown on the Crafton plat map above. John Sloan's World War I draft registration in 1917 stated he was a clerk for Carnegie Steel, residing in Dormont, a borough south and east of Crafton .

1935 reunion picture

Photograph, late 1930s.
Back row: Martha Lea Sloan, Thelma Buchanan Perrin, Anna Perrin Bouson,
Front row: Mabel Perrin Sloan, Marion Hutchinson Perrin, Nellie Perrin Reed, Kennedy Sloan

Mabel had two children, Martha Lea Sloan and Kennedy Perrin Sloan, born 1913 and 1916, respectively. Martha Lea never married and died in 1998; Kennedy had five children and died in 2005, in Florida. Marjorie McClure stated that Kennedy was a church minister at a number of places throughout the United States. Lea Perrin recorded Kennedy's address, at an unknown time, as Calliresville, Oklahoma . Social Security stated that Martha Lea died in 1998, in Thane, Wyoming.

Lea Baker

James Harrison and Lea Perrin

Lea and Harry Perrin, New Years, perhaps around 1898

Lea, born December 23, 1887, is discussed in the next section.

Anna Mary

florus and probably ann perrin

Florus and Ann Perrin, circa 1905

Anna was born May 27, 1895. In the 1920 census Anna worked as a file clerk in a steel plant. She first married Theodore Krumm later that year . After his death in 1929 she married Frank Bouson in 1932. There were two children by the first marriage; Anna Mae who married Marshall Firestone in 1946, and Lois who married George D. Smith in 1956. Anna had one child, John Wilton Bouson, by her second marriage. He married Carol Stead in 1953. Anna stayed in Pittsburgh until her death in 1988.

the krumms, 1928

Ann & Ted Krumm, with Thelma Buchanan Perrin, around 1928

Nell Hazelton

nell perrin

Nell Perrin, in front of 120 Noble Avenue, circa 1900

Nell was born May 6, 1897. The birth records in Crafton indicated that her real name was Asia . From my father to Marjorie McClure, everyone agreed that Nell was a character. The 1920 census showed she worked for the railroad as a relief worker. Marjorie stated that she played the piano at silent movies.

Nell married twice. Her first marriage to Edward Livingston occurred before 1930, judging from Asia's will . Edward was born in Crafton in August, 1899; the census showed he lived in Ingram in 1920. Lea's address book listed a Livingston family in Germantown .

Nell's second marriage was to John Quentin Reed, born February 16, 1894 in Gas City, Indiana. This marriage occurred before John registered for the draft in 1940, as he gave Nellie P. Reed as his contact person . John gave his residence as Turtle Creek, Allegheny County, an address also in Lea's address book .

nell perrin, 1950

Nell Perrin, 1950

I believe Nell was back in Crafton during my youth, and indeed here is a picture my father took of her from 1950. Lea's address book gives an address in Larkspur, California, from an unknown time, and Berta's address book has an entry for Pompano Beach, Florida. Nell Reed, born May 6, 1897, died in July, 1975, according to the Social Security death index. Her last residence was in zip code 15243, near Mount Lebanon. I do not know of any children.

Florus Ross

Asia and Florus

Asia Kramer Perrin & Florus Ross Perrin, studio portrait, 1900

Florus was born February 1, 1900. He was a clerk for the Shenango Furnace Company according to his World War I draft registration  and the 1920 census. He married Thelma Buchanan in 1925 . In 1930 they lived on the south side of Pittsburgh when he stated he worked as chemist at the water works, a job he held until retirement. There was one child, Marjorie Lea Perrin, born in 1932.

Florus was probably the closest of Asia's children to Lea. By 1940 Florus moved back to Crafton and lived on Grandview Avenue two blocks from Lea. Florus' picnics were well known affairs.

Florus Perrin BBQ

Florus Perrin, Labor Day, 1941

more bbq work

Another picnic at Florus', with
Ruth Perrin Coltman, Martha Lea Sloan, Mabel Perrin Sloan, Marion Hutchinson Perrin, & Marilyn Coltman

I remember Florus specifically as a child as I was allowed to look at his stamp collection. Florus died in 1975; Thelma three years later.

Rachel Ruth

Rachel was born September 14, 1904. Ruth married Ralph Reed Coltman in 1923 and had 2 children; Ralph Reed, Jr., born in 1924, and Marylin, born in 1927 . The census showed Ralph, Sr. had grown up at 51 Chestnut Avenue, Crafton with his widowed mother and grandmother; his father was from England. Ralph, Jr. married Betty Ann Grubbs in 1943; Mary married Jules J. Polachek.

Ralph was a salesman for a candy company. We always had a good supply of Butterfingers and Baby Ruths when we visited Crafton. Ralph and Ruth ultimately retired to Florida; Ralph died in 1987, Ruth, in 1992.

F. R. C.'s death

F. R. C. died at the age of 46 on January 18, 1910. While not entirely accurate, his Crafton obituary was quite moving :

F. R. C. Perrin

Florius R. C. Perrin, aged 47, died last Tuesday at 4:30 a. m., at his home, 120 Noble Avenue, after a short illness. His death was caused by a complication of diseases. He is survived by his wife, Asia Kramer Perrin, and seven children. Services were held at his late residence Wednesday evening at 8 o'clock, and were conducted by Rev. Dr. J. W. Hoffman. The interment was Thursday morning in Homewood cemetery, Pittsburg.

Florie Perrin was one of the most lovable men it has ever been our pleasure to know. He was loved and respected by all who knew him, and aside from his family, who, of course, are inconsolable, his death is keenly felt by a large circle of neighbors, friends and business associates who esteemed him for his many sterling traits of character. He was a consistent member of the First M. E. church of this place, and will be sadly missed from the number of workers. Florie was a great home man, and every possible moment he could spare from his business was spent in the bosom of his family where he was deemed a model husband and father, and, by the younger children, a good playmate because he enjoyed a romp as well as any of them. He has gone, but he has left a splendid example for all of us and if we follow will never go wrong. The Mirror and the entire community extends to the bereaved family their deepest sympathy.

A real obituary even appeared on the editorial page of the Pittsburg paper; I don't know if this signified his or his wife's importance :

Florius R. C. Perrin, aged 47, a photographer with a studio in the Arrott Power Building, died yesterday morning at his residence, 120 Noble Avenue, Crafton. He leaves a widow, Asia Kramer Perrin and seven children. Funeral services will be held at the family residence this evening at 8 o'clock.

The death certificate stated F. R. C. died of acute cerebral softening of five days duration. The attending physician also described uremia and valvular disease of the heart, duration fifteen days, as contributory . F. R. C. was buried in Homewood Cemetery. There was no will.

Aftermath

When the census taker came around on April 29, 1910, the landscape at the Perrin household had changed considerably. As would be expected, there are strangers living at 114 Noble Avenue, Upton G. M.'s old residence. But 120 Noble also has a new lineup:

1910 Census, 120 Noble Avenue

1910 Census, 120 Noble Avenue

Asia was supporting the family by renting out rooms. There are four boarders listed here, all young, single, and probably working in Pittsburgh. The six children, including two adults, probably were occupying the main house, with the boarders in the ell on the south side. While James Harrison Perrin had not died at that point in time, he is not to be found in the census at all.

In the 1920 census Asia also stated she was running a boarding house, although no extra persons were listed in the household at that time.

Portrait of asia kramer

Asia Kramer Perrin, circa 1920

In 1925 Asia sold 120 Noble Avenue for $12,500; the deed described it as a seventeen room dwelling . Lea's address book listed two addresses for Asia; 2701 Crosby Avenue and 1251 Peermont Avenue, Dormont . These corresponded to his addresses for first Ruth and secondly Anna and Nell.

allegheny cemetery, kramer circle

A portion of Kramer Circle, Section 21, Allegheny Cemetery

Asia died December 6, 1930, and she and F. R. C. lie side by side in the Allegheny Cemetery, section 21, in the Kramer Circle. She had elected to move her husband's remains there from Homewood Cemetery in 1921. This act required signoff by all of the next of kin. As a result there ia a signed document with the six Perrin children of that time. If anyone wishes to analyze handwriting, this may be a good opportunity. I can only conclude from the signatures that Nell indeed was eccentric, or at least left-handed.

removal of body application

Asia's estate inventory showed a net worth $9815, most of which from a mortgage for property at 324 Liberty Avenue . A later sheriff's sale of the property showed she had inherited it from her mother Anna Kramer .

Asia's estate included two diamond rings and one diamond broach given to Anna, Ruth and Nell, respectively. Ruth also received a fur coat; Anna, Nell and Florus received $500 each.