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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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DAVID WHITE CRAFTS, superintendent of the Northampton Gas Light Company, is an old and honored resident of the city, having, with the exception of seven years spent in Eastern Massachusetts, lived here since 1834. For thirty-five years he has been connected with the gas works, being its President, a stock- holder, a Director, and the superintendent at the present time. He was born February 17, 1821, in the town of Whately (in that portion known as the straits), Franklin County, his father, Chester Crafts, having been born in the same town in 1783.

Mr. Crafts traces his ancestry to Lieutenant Griffin Crafts, who came to Massachusetts in 1630, and was the first of the name to settle on American soil. He made his home in Roxbury. The line of descent is as follows: Griffin, John, Thomas, John, Thomas, Joseph, Chester, David White — the subject of the present sketch being of the eighth generation from the emigrant. The Genealogy of the Crafts family, in which the original name is spelled Craft or Kraft, an octavo volume of eight hundred and three pages, was compiled by James M. Crafts, of Orange, and William F. Crafts, of Boston Highlands, and printed in Northampton in 1893, Mr. David W. Crafts being the president of the association while the work was in preparation.

Joseph Crafts was born November 6, 1745, in Hatfield, Mass., and died October 18, 1815. He served in the Revolutionary War, and afterward devoted his time to tilling the soil. He married Mrs. Roxana White, daughter of Gideon and Mary (Parsons) Warner, her father also having been a Revolutionary soldier and in many of the important battles of that war. Grandfather Crafts settled in Whately, and was noted as being a great pedestrian. His last walking trip, taken when seventy years of age, a short time before his decease, was from Boston to Whately, a distance of ninety-eight miles, which he accomplished in two days. He and his wife had a family of ten children, six sons and four daughters.

Chester Crafts, son of Joseph, was reared to pioneer life, and assisted in improving a farm from the wilderness in which his parents located. In 1809, on March 16, he was united in marriage with Phila Jewett, a daughter of Reuben Jewett, who moved from the eastern part of the State to Deerfield at an early day, and there reared his family. Nine children were born into their household, and of these five are now living: Josephus; Sylvia, widow of Alvin S. Field; David White; Roswell P., of Holyoke; and Albert W., a merchant and farmer in Ashfield. The father died of consumption, September 27, 1827; and the mother subsequently married again, and lived to the ripe old age of eighty-nine years, dying July 2, 1880, at the home of her son, David W.

David W. Crafts attended school rather irregularly from the age of five years until sixteen, his schooling ranging from six weeks to four months a year, in the typical district school-house. This rude log structure, with a huge fireplace occupying nearly the whole of one end of the building, the floors being of puncheon, the window-panes probably of greased paper, was in marked contrast to the well-equipped buildings of this day and generation. David was but six years old when his father died, and the large family of children were scattered. He spent his early life in Whately, Deerfield, Montague, Holyoke, and Northampton. In 1843 he went to Boston, where he stayed six years, being prosperously engaged as a hairdresser on Court Square; but the salt breezes from old ocean were trying to his lungs, which were never very strong. On his return to Northampton Mr. Crafts engaged in mercantile pursuit. He accepted his present position in 1861, as before stated, and has faithfully performed its duties since.

On May 11, 1841, Mr. Crafts was married to Wealthy C. Munyan, a native of this city, daughter of Joseph Munyan, a carpenter of Boston and Northampton, and the father of twelve children, of whom two are now living, namely: Mrs. F. A. Willey, a widow residing in Pittsfield; and Mrs. George Chapin, of this place. Three children were born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Crafts, but they all with their mother have passed from their earthly home to the more perfect life beyond. The eldest, Edward C. Crafts, born in 1842, died in this city in 1874, leaving a widow and two sons, who have since lived with Mr. Crafts; Gertrude Eliza died at the age of three years; and Louisa Elizabeth, an accomplished young lady, died at the age of twenty-four years. Mrs. Crafts died of heart failure on May 31, 1895, after an ideal wedded life of upward of half a century, she and her husband having celebrated their silver wedding in 1866, and their golden wedding on the 11th of May, 1891. Although free from superstition, the old tradition that May marriages are unfortunate has been brought to the notice of Mr. Crafts and his family, as three of the deaths therein have occurred during that month, his son’s on May 12, one daughter’s May 13. Mr. Crafts has a pleasant home at No. 23 Crafts Avenue, where he settled in 1872.

In Masonic circles Mr. Crafts is very active and prominent, having taken the thirty-second degree, and being Past Master of Jerusalem Lodge, Past High Priest of Northampton Royal Arch Chapter, Past King of the Massachusetts Grand Chapter, and a Past Eminent Commander of the Northampton Commandery, and Past Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Red Men, belonging to the Daughters of Pocahontas, and a member of the Delphi Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, and is a Knight of Pythias. Politically, he is an advocate of the principles of the Democratic party. For many years he has been a communicant of the Episcopal church, and he has served much of the time as Vestryman. An excellent likeness* of Mr. David W. Crafts will be noticed on the page opposite the beginning of this brief biography.

*Editor's note: Portrait was included in the original printed book.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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