Richard CRIPPS of the Town of Root

Donated by David Cripps of Hobart, Tasmania
A descendant of the British Cripps Family

From David Cripps:  

"I had three ancestors, two brothers and a sister, that emigrated to New York State sometime before 1855.  Emma Cripps settled in the Schenectady area, and eventually married a farmer by the name of Daniel Slover. Both Daniel & Emma and some of their children are buried at nearby Grosvenors Corners Cemetery. One of the other two brothers, Richard Cripps [of whom this document is about] settled in the area of Brown's Hollow in the town of Root, Montgomery County, married one Charlotte White, and had one child only, Fanny Cripps. Richard it seems had a controlling interest in the Grist Mill that operated on Flat Creek. Of the other brother Edward Cripps, I know very little, except to say that he lived (for a while) near his brother and sister. At the time of Emma's death in 1913, Edward was a beneficiary in her will, but he couldn't be found to collect the proceeds!"

RICHARD CRIPPS  1823 - 1900

        Born on 25 December 1823 in Sussex to Thomas & Frances Cripps.

        Richard emigrated to the United States, and whilst we know he was a fully Naturalized American by the year 1865, his Declaration of Intent dated 12th Nov. 1857 states that "I came to the United States of America in the year 1835, and that I am now aged about thirty three years."

        I find this arrival date of 1835 extremely un-likely, as Richard would have been only 10 years of age at the time and his father Thomas was still gainfully employed as a Railway Porter in Brighton, Sussex; It being more credible for Richard to leave home after his father's death in 1841.  The above Declaration of Intent no doubt required the applicant to have been resident in the United States for a set number of years before the naturalization process could begin, so we could perhaps forgive Richard for stretching the truth a little bit.

      Richard married a Charlotte White sometime before 1855 and had one child, a daughter named Fanny (born in 1856), however Fanny's death is recorded by the Reformed Churches of Woestina & Glenville on the 14th April 1883, being aged 26yrs. Fanny was buried in the Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery in Glenville, New York State on April 17th 1883 and her full age was given as 26 yrs. 7 months and 17 days (very accurate those Americans).

        Richard on the New York State Census in 1855 is recorded as a Miller, Aged 30yrs, Married, Born in England, Alien, and has spent the last 8 years in the town of Root, Montgomery County.

        Once again in one of Frances Cripps's letters (Richard's mother) she makes mention of Richard in America and the fact that he was living in Brown's Hollow; Further research proved Brown's Hollow to be an out-lying suburb of Root in Montgomery County.

        A look at some Title Deeds within Root proved very fruitful, showing Richard to be indeed a Flour Miller, with the present owners John & Maggie Brown selling their half share in Brown's Mill for the sum of $2200. This sale of the Grist Mill as it was called occurred on 16 June 1858 and it entitled Richard also to use one half of all the waters dammed from Flat Creek for the sole use of the Flour Mill. Another Deed shows us that on 10th April 1860 Richard & his wife Charlotte sold their half share in the above Mill to Francis & James W. Gordon for $2100.

F.W. Beer's "History of Montgomery & Fulton Counties", dated 1878  stated:

"Brown's Hollow is a little village in the southeast part of the town. Here was early erected, by Henry Lyker, a Flouring Mill on Flat Creek. John Brown brought the concern, and at a large expense increased the water-power by building a tunnel a thousand feet in length through the hill, lining it with stone work, which is still in good preservation.  The Mill was burned many years ago, and rebuilt by Mr Brown, with three run of stones.  It has since had several owners, and is now doing a small business."
        Richard also sold other property, the first to Jacob W. Montaney, (the date illegible in the index) and to David Chambers in 1895, both in the town of Root. The first property he bought in Root is dated 1855 and was purchased from a Van Valkenburgh.

        It's difficult to trace Richard's movements in Montgomery County, but another lucky find of a "Gazetteer & Business Directory of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, N.Y., 1869-70," by Hamilton Child, lists Richard Cripps as a Miller & Farmer, with the address in nearby Argusville, Schoharie County.

        Charlotte Cripps is buried also at the above Methodist Church in Glenville, and the cemetery details reveal that Charlott (sic) was born on 22nd Jan 1825 & died Oct 10th 1887 aged 62 yrs. 3 months and 8 days.

        Luckily the Schenectady County Historical Society has uncovered a detailed article on the above Methodist cemetery written in 1942; remarkably nearly half of its contents refers to the site's kind benefactor Richard Cripps.


By Percy M. Van Epps  1942
County Historian

       Closely parallelling the highway leading westward from the village of West Glenville to the City of Amsterdam is a notable series of hillocks, once a very prominent feature but now nearly all of them exploited for their content of sands and gravels, so desirable for road building and concrete work.  Indeed, two or three of the highest of these curious hillocks have been well-nigh trucked away even to that extent that deep pits or excavations mark their site.

       On one of the smaller undisturbed hillocks is a once-neglected cemetery, formally known as the "Methodist Graveyard". Thus named because many adherents of the now long-abandoned Methodist Episcopal Church of the Village of West Glenville were buried here.

       In the northeast corner of this half acre plot, well back from the bordering highway, there is a small group of tombstones marking burials of a Lovett family. This group of burials represents a private or farm burial plot of the Lovetts, a New England family that came into this region at an early date and acquired a farm of 100 acres first settled by Harmanus Van Vleck who came into this then wild and uncleared part of Glenville just prior to the war of the Revolution while the area was yet the haunt of the bear, wolf and panther.

       In the year 1843 a Methodist Church edifice standing on the Touareuna road, exactly on the boundary line between Schenectady and Montgomery Counties was abandoned, its members and adherents building a new brick church in West Glenville. Then, or perhaps a few years prior to this removal, additional land adjoining the Lovett burial plot was donated to the Methodist Church by that family, thus making it all a rectangular plot of nearly a half-acre.

       A stone fence with a central gateway was built along the roadside frontage of this plot, and along its northern boundary a row of Lombardy Poplars, then a popular tree was planted. A very few scraggly poplars yet remain.  Several handsome marble monuments were shortly erected, notably by the Dawson, the Cheeseman and the Collins families, and the yard was well cared for for several decades.

       Then nearly 60 years ago, through the interest and generosity of one Richard Cripps, a Miller and native of England and who was in some way connected with the Weaver family of Glenville, an additional piece of land adjoining the cemetery to the west was acquired from Charles Conde of the Sacandaga road, then owner of the north part of the Lovett farm, thus making the total area of the cemetery about an acre. The stone wall fronting the old part was removed and a neat fence built along the roadside front of both old and new portions. Cripps also caused the placement of an expensive wall of cut stone surmounted with iron posts and chains, enclosing a lot selected by him and on which he erected an elaborated monument bearing his family name, evidently expecting to be buried there, but for some reason or other, the only burials made by him on this plot was that of his wife Charlotte, and his daughter, Fanny.

       At the time of his interest in this little Glenville cemetery, Cripps was living somewhere in the vicinity of Canajoharie where he operated or had operated a Grist Mill. Altogether he expended a considerable sum in the acquisition of the added land and other improvements he financed, finally, it is said, going back to England where he died.

       For a few years after the enlargement of this cemetery it was well cared for by the trustee of the local Methodist Church. The new part was laid out with lots and walks. Several lots were sold and a number of burials made therein. But with the closing of the Methodist church, about 40 years ago, and the death or removal of the greater part of its supporters interest in the care of the cemetery waned and nearly ceased; a thick growth of locust and brambles soon grew into a jungle covering all of the new area as well as much of the older part.

       The painted fence of pine with its posts and gates decayed and dropped apart and shortly not a trace of it remained.  The area remained in this deplorable condition for well over 20 years.

       Today in conformity with that section of the state laws relating to the care of abandoned cemeteries, B.U. Tulloch, former Superintendent of highways with his force of assistants recently cleared the neglected cemetery of its dense growth of bushes and brambles, repaired and set up broken and overgrown tombstones and for several years past have kept the area mown and well cared for.

       The care and restoration of this abandoned cemetery has elicited favourable comment from the residents of the community.

        The above article mentions the Weaver family and Richard's possible connection.  Daniel Slover's sister-in-law Margaret Weaver, would be Richard's only direct relationship with this family, however Richard was quite friendly with other members of the Weaver family. Richard's Will (1900) reveals considerable sums of money bequeathed to the Weaver family; As in Selva Weaver's case who gratefully received £1000. Albert & William Weaver plus Bertie Weaver were all bequeathed lesser amounts.

        English descendants have discovered papers that suggest that Richard later adopted a son; On the 1865 Census, we see a Nephew, John White living with the family then aged 10 years old.

        After his wife's death in 1887, Richard decided on a return visit to England, leaving his adopted son (possibly John White) in charge of his business affairs.

        Family papers suggest that Richard's "son" promptly sold the business & absconded with all the assets, leaving his father stranded in England. Richard then stayed in England and lived for the remainder of his life with his sister Frances Ann at 1 The Steyne, Worthing, Sussex.

        Richard Died on 9/10/1900 at 1 Steyne, Worthing, Sussex aged 75yrs, and he was subsequently buried at Broadwater Cemetery in South Farm road in Worthing, Sussex.

        In appearance & manner, Richard was said to be very American, and strikingly like "Uncle Sam", 'However he was very fond, perhaps too fond, of playing poker'.

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Created: 6/20/00
Copyright © 2000 David Cripps
Copyright © 2000 Lisa Slaski/ M. Magill
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