BOYD CRUMRINE, one of Pennsylvania's prominent men and whose name Washington county is as "familiar as household words," is a native of the county, having been born on February 9, 1838, in East Bethlehem township, on the farm first occupied by his grandfather in 1800. He was a son of Daniel and Margaret Crumrine, and, as will be presently seen, with the exception of a great grandfather on the maternal side, who was. an Englishman, George Rex by name, his blood is all German, from the upper Rhine.
From 1682 to 1776 Pennsylvania was the central point of emigration from Germany, France and Switzerland. For the first period of twenty years, that is until 1702, not over two hundred German families arrived, and those settled principally at Germantown and other localities near Philadelphia. But the period from 1702 to 1727 marked an era in early German emigration, and between forty and fifty thousand persons left their Fatherland. Queen Anne of England, desiring to fill up her American colonies without depleting the British kingdom, caused copies of a book to be distributed throughout the Palatinate in Germany, having her portrait as a frontispiece, and the title in gold letters, on which account the book was called "Das Golden Buch", to induce the Palatines to come to England in order to be sent to the Carolinas, or to others of her American colonies; and it is said that in 1708 and 1709 thirty three thousand Germans left their homes on the Rhine for London. Of this large number it is said that seven thousand, after having suffered great privations, returned and half naked and in despondency to their native country, ten thousand died for want of sustenance or medical attendance, and other causes. and the survivors were sent to America.
In 1727, during the time of Governor William Keith, German immigration had so much increased that it was feared that Pennsylvania was becoming "a foreign country;" and a regulation was established by the provincial government requiring that foreigners on their arrival should subscribe an oath of allegiance to the kingdom of Great Britain and of fidelity to the proprietaries of the Province. All persons over sixteen were made to sign this oath, and when they could not write, their names were written for them and attested by a clerk. By this means the names of over thirty thousand German and Swiss immigrants into Pennsylvania between 1727 and 1776, when the colonies separated from the mother country, have been preserved. These lists are still to be seen in the Department of State at Harrisburg, and the attention of one who examines them will be attracted by two things to be observed: (1) Every ship's-list of passengers, almost, was headed by the name of the pastor who was leading them as a flock into the wilderness; (2) Excepting a very small percentage of the whole number, every name is written in German, evidently the writer's autograph, and generally in the clear hand of a good penman. From these lists I. Daniel Rupp made up his "Collection of Thirty Thousand Names of immigrants published a few years since in Philadelphia.
In this collection of thirty thousand names there are but two "Krumreins." On September 11, 1732, "the ship Pennsylvania, John Stedman, master, from Rotterdam, last from Plymouth," landed with "seventy three males above sixteen, women and children of both sexes ninety-eight, in all one hundred and seventy-one." In this list is the name of Hans Michael Krumrein." On September 5,1748, "the ship Edinburgh, James Russell, master, from Rotterdam, last from Portsmouth," landed with one hundred and twenty-seven persons; and in this list of names is that of "George Lenhart Krumrein. Hans Michael Krumrein, after having resided in the neighborhood of Philadelphia until after 1741, passed westward into Northampton and finally into Centre county, where some of his descendants still live, others having passed on into Ohio. George Lenhart Krumrein went into Baltimore county, Md. ; afterward, perhaps, into Georgia, returning to Maryland at a later day. ln 1800 George Crumrine, a grandson of George Lenhart Krumrein, it is believed, passed from Baltimore county, Md., over the Alleghanies into the valley of the Monongahela, and settled upon a farm in East Bethlehem township, Washington county. One of his sons, Daniel Crumrine, was born upon the same farm. He married Margaret, the daughter of John Bower, Esq. The Bower family was of Swiss-German origin, and came west from the Juniata Valley in 1796.
The boyhood of Boyd Crumrine, the son of Daniel, was passed upon his father's farm, and during the winters of 1854-55 and 1855-6 he attended the Bridgeport schools, Brownsville, Penn.; and in the spring and summer of 1856 he was a student at Waynesburg College. In September of the latter year he was admitted to the sophomore class of Jefferson College, Canonsburg; and at the, beginning of his second term he was permitted, at his own request, to drop into the Freshman class, in order that he might lay a better foundation for a complete classical course. With that class he continued till his graduation, on August 1, 1860 when he divided the first honor of his class of over fifty men with Mr. Roland Thompson of Milroy, Penn., and delivered the Greek salutatory on commencement day. Through the whole course he was a diligent student and a vigorous thinker, doing nothing by spurts, producing level work and square work always, and striking the highest grade-mark in nearly every recitation. At the beginning of the junior year Prof. John Fraser formed what he called his select class, embracing all the juniors who graded above ninety, to whom he offered special instruction in mathematics and general literature. The class consisted of Mr. Crumrine and four others, who met at night for two years in the Professor's chambers, where, as a reward for mastering a dozen extra volumes of higher mathematics, the privileged five were regaled, often into the "wee sma' hours," by the best thoughts and noblest sentiments of the man, who, as a teacher, stands without a rival and without a peer in the memories of his pupils. One year before graduation Mr. Crumrine chose the profession of law, and entered upon it with Hon. John L. Gow, of Washington, Penn., as his preceptor, to whom he recited once a week during his senior year in college. The first year after graduation he taught a select class of young ladies at Canonsburg, continuing his law studies at the same time. On the twenty-first of August, 1861, he was admitted to the Washington county bar.
The war of the Rebellion interfering with his purpose to begin legal business in the West, in the following November he enlisted in Company B, Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was made quarter-master sergeant of the regiment. After spending the winter of 1861-62 in the trenches at Washington, he was discharged in order to accept a commission as first lieutenant in a brigade of Eastern Virginia Volunteers then forming, but soon after his commission was received the Government issued an order discontinuing all recruiting service and disbanding all uncompleted organizations. This made him a citizen again and returning home he opened, in May, 1862, an office in Washington, Penn., and began the practice of law, in which he has continued ever since with sufficient business always on hand to keep him steadily occupied. Of his own efforts he wrote to the class-historian for the reunion in 1885: " I have tried to keep my little boat trimmed neatly, and to trim it myself and after my own way. My sole ambition has been to do as well as I could what has been set before me. The law, to me, has been a very jealous mistress, yet, as a relaxation and a mellowing of the lines of toil, which otherwise might have been hard to me, I have been a rider of hobbies, one after another, always with the reservation of the liberty of changing them at my own will an pleasure; philosophy at one time, then entomology, the microscope, and, of late years, history and philosophy."
In 1871 Mr. Crumrine compiled the "Rules of Court of Washington County;" in 1872-75 he prepared "The Pittsburgh Reports," legal cases of the several State courts not elsewhere reported, in three volumes octavo. In 1878 he published "Omnium Gatherum, or Notes of Cases for the Lawyer's Pocket and Counsel Table," of which the edition is now exhausted.. In 1882 he composed a large part and edited the whole of "The History of Washington County" a quarto of one thousand pages, small type, published by J. B. Lippincott & Co., of Philadelphia.
Mr. Crumrine is a Republican in politics, but has never sought political preferment. His tastes are altogether literary and professional. He was given the degree of Master of Arts by Jefferson College in 1863. From 1865 to 1868 He was district attorney for Washington county, and in 1870 was appointed deputy marshal of the United States for the Western District of Pennsylvania, to compile the Social Statistics of that district for the Ninth Census. After this temporary employment outside of his profession, in matters in which he had great interest, he continued his work to his practice until April, 1887, when, without solicitation on his part, he was appointed, by Governor Beaver, State reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; and, accepting the appointment as one suited to his tastes and experience, he had published at the end of his term in May, 1892, thirty-one volumes of Pennsylvania State reports, which seem to meet with the approval of the bench and bar of the State. Secretary of State Charles W. Stone, in response to a letter concerning these reports, wrote in 1889 as follows: " Mr. Crumrine is making a model reporter, and his work is held in very high estimation by the bench and bar throughout the State. He is improving the style and method of reporting, and is exceedingly faithful ant painstaking in his work. The profession generally appreciates this fact, and also the promptness in the publication of his reports and their improved typographical execution. You can not speak too highly of his official efficiency." He has also been the recipient of many other well merited compliments, written and verbal, from members of both bench and bar, of all phases of politics, which it would be superfluous to here reiterate. Indefatigable in his work, he is a lover of it. In the winter of 1891-92, when Mr. Crumrine's name was presented to President Harrison for an appointment as United States district judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, among many letters in his favor from judges and lawyers of the State, the justices of the Supreme Court joined in a letter to the President which was such as to make Mr. Crumrine feel more that comfortable, even when He failed to receive the desired appointment. At the general election in November, 1891, he was chosen a member of the constitutional convention, provided for by the act of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania passed June 19, 1891. However, a majority of the electors of the State voting against the convention, it was not held. At the date of this writing his name is being mentioned as a candidate for the office of Judge of the Supreme Court.
On the day following that on which he was made Bachelor of Arts, Mr. Crumrine was married to Miss Harriet J., daughter of George A. and Jane B. Kirk, and they have had four children: Ernest Ethelbert, Louisa Celeste, Roland Thompson and Hattie J. Of these, Ernest E. is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, and is partner in his father's law office; his wife is Gertrude, the daughter of Rev. Dr. J. F. Magill, of Fairfield, Iowa, and they have one child, a son. Louisa was educated at the Washington Female Seminary, and is now the wife of J. P. Pattersoti, Esq., of the Pittsburgh bar; they have one child, a daughter. Roland T. and Hattie J. both died young. Mr. Crumrine is stalwart in form, turning the scales at over two hundred pounds, and is as fine a specimen of physical manhood as the eye needs wish to look upon.
The foregoing sketch is for the most part compiled from "A Biographical Album of Prominent Pennsylvanians," published at Philadelphia in 1889.
Text taken from page 206 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
Transcribed March 1997 by George and Mary Ann Plance of Gainesville, FL as part of the Beers Project.
Published March 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.
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