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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Franklin Lafayette Cranfill

Cranfill, June 2, 1844- moved to Medford in 1884 and worked for Henry Smith until Smith's death in 1892. Cranfill co-founded Cranfill & Hutchison in Medford in 1893.


    Mrs. Ensley, a sister of Mrs. Cranfill of this place, had the misfortune to lose about $180 by the robbery of the safe at Drain one day last week.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 11, 1892, page 2


    F. L. Cranfill last week returned to Medford after an extended visit with relatives in the Willamette section.

"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 19, 1893, page 3


    F. L. Cranfill and wife will soon embark in the mercantile business here on their own account, being now engaged in making preliminary preparations. They are too well known to need any recommendation at our hands.

"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 26, 1893, page 2


    The Henry Smith store, which has been conducted so successfully for several years by Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Cranfill, will close its doors July 1st, and the goods that are on hand at that time will be boxed up and shipped to Wolf Creek, where the Smith Sons have a big mercantile establishment. About the middle of August the new firm of Cranfill & Hutchison will open out an immense stock of goods at the old stand. Mrs. Cranfill and C. I. Hutchison start for Chicago in a short time after the old business is closed out to select their stock of goods which will be replete in every line.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, June 16, 1893, page 3


    The well-known house of Henry Smith will close its doors on the first of July, and will in due time be succeeded by the new firm of Cranfill & Hutchison, who will open their large, elegant stock of merchandise about the middle of August. The unsold goods belonging to the Smith estate will be shipped to the store of Smith Bros. at Wolf Creek.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 23, 1893, page 3


    Mrs. F. L. Cranfill and C. I. Hutchison have gone to Chicago to visit the World's Fair and buy goods for their new store.

"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 14, 1893, page 3


    Mrs. F. L. Cranfill returned Tuesday from her several weeks' visit at the world's fair. The lady reports having had a very pleasant time and also states that she purchased a fine stock of goods for the new mercantile firm of Cranfill & Hutchison, which are expected to arrive in about three weeks.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 11, 1893, page 3


    Mrs. Cranfill, who has been at the World's Fair, returned home on Tuesday. Assisted by C. I. Hutchison she purchased a fine large stock of goods for this market.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 11, 1893, page 3


    Next Monday Messrs. Cranfill & Hutchison will begin moving the Smith stock of goods to the old store building on Front Street, and as soon thereafter as a new floor can be put in to their Seventh Street store they will open up their new stock of goods.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, August 25, 1893, page 3


    New shelving and counters, as well as a new floor, are being put into the Cranfill & Hutchison building on Seventh Street.

"All the Local News," Medford Mail, September 8, 1893, page 3


September 15, 1893 Medford Mail
September 15, 1893 Medford Mail

    It does not require an overly keen eye to notice the big ad of Cranfill & Hutchison, on the opposite page. These gentlemen have recently opened their entirely new stock, which is undoubtedly as well assorted and complete a line of general merchandise as was ever brought to Medford. Their store is very nicely fitted throughout, and their goods are very attractive.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, September 15, 1893, page 3


    Cranfill & Hutchison received a carload of salt by Monday morning's freight.
"Bits of Local Railway News," Medford Mail, September 20, 1895, page 1



    Messrs. Cranfill & Hutchison have leased Mr. Lindley's new brick building, and as soon as it is completed, which will be in about a month, they will move their present stock of goods thereto and will add new goods to the lines already handled and in addition to these they will put in clothing. They expect to occupy the entire 140 feet with shelving and counters; this, however, provided warehouse room can be secured across the alley from the rear of the store.

"News of the City," Medford Mail, September 25, 1896, page 7



    Wednesday marked the completion of G. P. Lindley's fine new brick, or rather the first floor, which is to be occupied by Cranfill & Hutchison, who are engaged this week in moving their large stock of goods thereto. The building is undoubtedly one of the most substantial in Southern Oregon, both inside and out. The main store room is just an even hundred feet in length, with a forty-foot store room in the rear and is furnished with fine counters and shelving. The fixtures throughout are natural wood--sugar pine--which has been made to glisten like glass by the artistic touch of the brush wielded by painter J. W. Ling. The windows are of fine French plate glass, furnished by Boyden & Nicholson, hardware dealers. The workmanship, from the laying of the first brick to the last blow of the hammer, is as nearly perfect as one generally sees. The second floor is partitioned off for office rooms, and these are commodious and well lighted as is all the rest of the building. It cost, complete, about $6000.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, November 13, 1896, page 7


Now Located in New Quarters.
    It is with a feeling akin to pleasure that we are permitted to call the attention of our customers and the public generally, that the steadily increasing patronage which has been so liberally bestowed upon us during the past three years has necessitated our removal to a larger and more commodious place of business. The rapid strides which have marked the growth of our little city have also evidenced the growth of our business in a like proportion--for which fact we are profoundly grateful--and we assure you, one and all, that we shall continue to exert our best efforts to please you, and that a continuance of the confidence shown in us will be fully appreciated. We wish to call your attention to a few facts concerning our new quarters, which we believe will be of interest to you. Our main salesroom is just an even one hundred feet in length, which is filled from floor to dome with merchandise. Our shoe department alone occupies 900 feet of shelving, running length. There are 3500 pairs of boots and shoes, representing $6000. Besides this, we have placed orders for several hundred more pairs, which will be here soon. Our dress and piece goods department occupies 400 feet of shelving running length, and contains a large and varied assortment of the newest and latest dress patterns. We are sure that the ladies will be interested in this department. Our grocery department occupies six sections and is well stocked with both staple and fancy groceries. We extend you, one and all, a cordial invitation to call and see us, whether you wish to buy or not. We will take pleasure in showing you through our store. Again thanking you for your patronage in the past, and hoping that you may see fit to continue the same, we are,
Very sincerely,
CRANFILL & HUTCHISON.
Medford Mail, November 20, 1896, page 7


    Messrs. Boyden & Nicholson, the hardware men, have leased the Adkins brick salesroom formerly occupied by Cranfill & Hutchison, and are now moving their stock thereto. The new building will give them more room and will be a much pleasanter place in which to do business. The room has been overhauled and fitted to suit the line of goods they handle. These gentlemen are building up a good business, which fact is the whyforeness of the necessity of increased space. They have a new ad in today's Mail.

"A Grist of Local Haps and Mishaps," Medford Mail, April 30, 1897, page 7


    The firm of Cranfill & Hutchison of Medford has been dissolved. The stock of goods will be divided and both gentlemen will engage in business on his own account, Mr. Cranfill occupying Angle & Plymale's brick.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 10, 1898, page 3

Angle Block
In the Angle Block, circa 1900

    F. L. Cranfill, accompanied by his daughter, Miss Edith, have returned from Looking Glass, Or.

"Medford," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, August 26, 1900, page 12


    Miss Edyth Cranfill, who is attending St. Mary's Academy in Jacksonville, visited her parents, merchant and Mrs. F. L. Cranfill, Saturday and Sunday.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, June 14, 1901, page 6


    Miss Gertie Johnston has taken a position as saleswoman in F. L. Cranfill's general store.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, October 25, 1901, page 6


    Miss Edyth Cranfill, who is attending St. Mary's Academy in Jacksonville, is visiting home folks this week.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, December 27, 1901, page 4


    Wm. Angle, owner of the Medford opera house, is planning to have his house rebuilt and enlarged this fall. The building will be extended back twenty feet, thus giving more room not only to the opera house but in the stores below, occupied by Chas. Strang and F. L. Cranfill. The stage is to be made larger and more complete in its appointments, and galleries will be put in so as to afford more seating space.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, July 25, 1902, page 7


    Miss Edyth Cranfill will leave Saturday for a visit with her aunt, Mrs. Fred Croxton, at Grants Pass.

"Additional Local," Medford Mail, August 1, 1902, page 6


    Merchant F. L. Cranfill has invested in a motor bicycle--one of those contrivances which have a little gasoline engine fastened to them--and that hit only the high places on a thoroughfare--at twenty miles an hour--and then some if you force 'em a little. They are a very handy contrivance to have lying about if a fellow wants to go someplace pretty quick--and back at the same speed--but they are not as careful as a rider would like them to be--when the roads are rocky and the bumps close together. This is a pretty swift pace we are traveling these days, and the motor bicycle seems quite the proper article to hurry us on--to an early finish mayhaps--but there is some satisfaction in being shuffled off so quickly if one is booked for a finish.

"City Happenings," Medford Mail, August 29, 1902, page 7


    Miss Edith Cranfill left Tuesday for Jacksonville, where she will again take up her studies at St. Mary's Academy.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, September 5, 1902, page 6


    Miss Edith Cranfill, who is attending St. Mary's Academy, visited at home Saturday and Sunday.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville,
November 6, 1902, page 2


DIED.
CRANFILL--Near Eugene, Feb. 19, 1903, Mrs. Matilda Cranfill, mother of F. L. Cranfill of Medford; aged 84 years and six months.
Democratic Times, March 4, 1903, page 4



    L. F. Cranfill and her daughter, Miss Edyth, left Thursday for northern points. They will visit relatives at Eugene, and from there will go to Portland, where Miss Edyth will attend school at St. Helen's Hall during the winter.
"Medford," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, September 13, 1903, page 22


    F. L. Cranfill returned Tuesday from two weeks' visit with his parents in Eugene, Or., on the way from Portland.
"Medford," Sunday Oregonian, Portland, September 27, 1903, page 22



    FRANKLIN LAFAYETTE CRANFILL. The most experienced and successful merchant of Medford is also one of the earliest pioneers of the state of Oregon. His family has proved a spur to energy and development ever since it was established here in 1847. It has known no such word as fail, and its undertakings have had the solid superstructure of practicability and unquestioned financial integrity. Variously identified with the industries of the state, one of its most popular and worthy members is the before-mentioned merchant of Medford, Franklin Lafayette Cranfill. Born in Greene County, Ill., June 2, 1844, he is the second child of four sons and five daughters born to Isom and Matilda (Doyle) Cranfill, natives respectively of North Carolina and near Monmouth, Ky.
    Isom Cranfill left the paternal farm in North Carolina as a young man, and worked for his living in Tennessee. Not long afterward he removed to Illinois, where he married, and where he conducted a general store and Indian trading business in Greene County. With a courage rarely found in the men of today, he spent the winter of 1846-7 in preparing to cross the plains to Oregon, an undertaking beset by hideous possibilities, and holding but one chance in a hundred of being accomplished. He was one of the first to come by the Platte River and Barlow route, and if he met with any of the mishaps with which the present generation associates the Indian-infested regions of that time, no record has been kept of it. He was probably well armed, and perhaps a kindly fate guided his oxen in their long and wearisome journey. At any rate, six months of travel brought him to Oregon City, then a hamlet, and he settled on a donation claim three miles from the settlement, on the Clackamas River. Here he engaged in a saw milling business with Ben Simpson, and in 1856 removed to near Peoria, Linn County, where he engaged in farming and also worked at the carpenter's trade. He was an eminently religious man, and an ordained minister of the Baptist Church. From Linn County he removed with his family to Douglas County, and then to Eugene, where he died in 1877, at the age of seventy years. His wife survived him until February, 1903, at the age of eighty-four years.
    Three years old when he came to Oregon, the present merchant of Medford recalls little of the memorable trip, or of the crude conditions on the timbered farm. He learned the carpenter's trade from his father, and in time worked at it in Linn and Douglas counties until 1884. He then came to Medford as manager of the general merchandise store of Henry Smith, retaining the position until after the death of the latter in 1892, when he started in business for himself. Not having sufficient capital to more than lay in a small stock, he took in a partner, and together they built up a large and paying business, which, however, has been owned by Mr. Cranfill himself for the past five years.
    Mr. Cranfill is independent in politics, and has never taken particular interest in either local or county party undertakings. He is fraternally prominent, and is a member of the Blue Lodge No. 33, A.F.&A.M., of Jefferson, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He married, in Douglas County, Ophelia Crow, a native of Coles Valley, Douglas County, and of which union there have been born two children, Charles Edward, a farmer of Douglas County; and Edith, living at home. Mrs. Cranfill's father, Michael, came to Oregon in 1852, from Missouri, and died on his farm in Douglas County.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904, page 752


    ISOM CLEMENT ROBNETT. The native sons of Oregon constitute a large gathering, and those who are men, and are promoting the well-being of the state to which they owe filial allegiance, represent a great army of pioneers without whom civilization would never have advanced to the western coast. A singular and seemingly recognizable pride lurks in the makeup of these men whose eyes opened upon the struggles of those nearest to them, and who have taken up with increasing fervor the work laid down by hands rendered useless through long striving with adverse conditions. This energetic second generation has a large-hearted and successful representative in Isom Clement Robnett, engaged in the mercantile business at Central Point, and who was born at Shedds, Linn County, this state, October 22, 1869.
    John A. Robnett, the father of Isom C., was born in Buchanan County, Mo., June 1, 1837, and came of southern ancestry, his father, John, having been born in Tennessee. The family was established in Buchanan County at a very early day, and both father and son crossed the plains to Oregon in 1849. meeting with few accidents on the way, and locating near Shedds, Linn County. After the death of the grandfather, John A. succeeded to the management of the home place, reared his two children, of whom Isom C. is the youngest, and improved a farm the original timber of which he had helped to clear. He took a commendable interest in Democratic politics, and his election to the state legislature in 1882 registered the largest vote on the ticket up to that time. His wife, Octavia (Cranfill) Robnett, was born in the state of Illinois, and died at Shedds in April, 1870, at the age of twenty-three. Mrs. Robnett, thus early cut off from life and happiness, was a daughter of Isom Cranfill, mention of whom may be found elsewhere in this work.
    Following upon his common school education, Isom Clement Robnett attended the State University of Oregon for three years, in the meantime continuing to live on the home farm until 1895. Notwithstanding the fact that his mother died when he was a baby, he received an excellent home training, becoming skilled in farming, at which he looked through the eyes of the practical and intelligent student. Removing in 1895 to Central Point, he inaugurated his business career in that year as a clerk in the general merchandise store of Cranfill & Hutchison and so well succeeded in this line that in January, 1898, he was able to purchase Mr. Hutchison's interest in the business, and the firm became Cranfill & Robnett, which has since been maintained with large profit to the promoters. A stock of $20,000 includes the articles in demand in growing and progressive communities, and the store has two floors, with display space measuring 64x55 feet on each floor. Mr. Robnett owns the store in which the business is conducted, as well as the home in which he lives at Central Point.
    In 1897 Mr. Robnett was united in marriage with Edna L. Gibson, who was born near Urbana, Ohio, a daughter of John Gibson, who was born July 3, 1849, s native of Champaign County, Ohio. The Gibson family is numbered among the very successful ones of Jackson County, for Mr. Gibson came here in 1886 with the determination to make the best of his opportunities, and has realized many of his expectations. At first he lived on a farm near Phoenix, Jackson County, but in 1887 bought a farm near Central Point, where he has since engaged in general farming and stock-raising. Mr. Robnett and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are active in promoting its growth. Mr. Robnett is independent in politics, and is fraternally identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, in which he has taken the degree of honor; and the Modern Woodmen of America, in which he is past consul. He is a prudent and careful business man, advancing slowly along legitimate lines, conscious of the strength and ultimate satisfaction to be derived from fair and honorable dealing, and the possession of a good name.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904, page 760


    Jeweler Elwood has purchased a lot on South [Central], near Charlie Cranfill's new residence, and now has carpenters at work building a dwelling thereon. The main building will be 24x24 feet in size, with two annexes, one 16x24 and one 12x16. A. S. Moyer is doing the carpenter work. Mr. Elwood will move his family thereto as soon as the dwelling is completed. This is another case of build or live in a tent. Medford dwelling houses which may be had for rent are becoming an article that do be mighty scarce.
    E. W. Starr has commenced the erection of a dwelling on property no North [Holly] Street--just north of the residence occupied by merchant F. L. Cranfill, which is owned by Mr. Starr. The building will be 24x26 feet in size with a kitchen annex 12x16 feet. It will be one story high, will contain five rooms and will cost a little more than $800. It will be for rent.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail Tribune, October 6, 1905, page 5


    Miss Edith Cranfill, who has been visiting in Portland and at Winlock, Wash. during the past six months, returned home Friday.

"Social and Personal," Medford Daily Tribune, December 6, 1907, page 3



    Mrs. J. D. Cranfill and Mrs. Mina B. Woodlies have returned from a trip through California and Oregon. They were accompanied home by Miss Edith Cranfill of Medford, Ore., who will spend the winter with Miss Mabel Cranfill.
"Personal," Dallas Morning News, Texas, October 2, 1909, page 13


PIONEER MERCHANT DEAD IN EUGENE
    F. L. Cranfill, a pioneer merchant of this city and valley, died at Eugene this morning about 2 o'clock of heart failure. Mr. Cranfill was interested in the Cranfill & Robinett store at Central Point, besides business interests in this city. At the time of his death he was visiting a sister, who is ill. He was about 55 years of age and leaves a wife and son and daughter, all living in this city.
    The body will be shipped to this city for burial, when the funeral arrangements will be made. Members of the family will leave for Eugene this evening.

Medford Mail Tribune, February 18, 1914, page 2



CRANFILL BURIAL TO BE AT ALBANY
    EUGENE, Feb. 19.--F. L. Cranfill, pioneer of Oregon and merchant of Medford, who died at the home of his sister, Mrs. E. J. Crow, adjoining the city of Eugene on the south, Wednesday morning about 3 o'clock, of heart trouble, aged 69 years, will be interred at Albany.
    Mr. Cranfill had been visiting Mrs. Crow for several days and was in his usual health when he retired. A short time before the end came he awoke his sister, telling her that he was very sick, and soon afterward expired.
    Mrs. Cranfill of Medford, who was notified of her husband's death by wire, arrived here from Medford today to convey the remains to Albany for burial.
    Mr. Cranfill came to Oregon when a boy and had lived in Medford for the past quarter of a century. He was a life member of the Masonic lodge at Jefferson and a member of the Odd Fellows' lodge at Roseburg. He leaves besides his wife, a daughter, Edith, and a son, Charles, employed by the Portland street railway company.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 19, 1914, page 6



MEDFORD PIONEER DEAD
F. L. Cranfill Expires Suddenly at His Sister's Home in Eugene.
    EUGENE, Or., Feb. 18.--(Special.)--F. L. Cranfill, a pioneer of the state and for 25 years engaged in business in Medford, died at the home of his sister, Mrs. E. J. Crow, near Eugene, early this morning. He was aged 69 years. Mr. Cranfill, who had been visiting here for several days, had been in usual health until nearly morning, when he called to his sister that he was ill. A short time afterward he expired.
    Mr. Cranfill was a life member of the Masonic Lodge of Jefferson and a member of the Oddfellows' Lodge of Roseburg. He leaves behind his wife, a daughter, Edith, and a son, Charles Cranfill, of Portland.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, February 19, 1914, page 3


    F. L. Cranfill, a pioneer merchant of Medford, died at the home of his sister, Mrs. E. J. Crow, near Eugene, Wednesday morning, aged 69 years.

"Local News," Jacksonville Post, February 21, 1914, page 3




Last revised March 28, 2017