Those Amazing Timanuses

Part III

In my previous post, I discussed John M. Timanus (1847-1932), the brother of Fannie C. (Timanus) Pardee and Sara J. (Timanus) Crafts.

This third and final post will concentrate on Sara J. (Timanus) Crafts, the oldest child of Jesse Timanus and Jane C. Means.

Sara Jane (Timanus) Crafts (1845-1930)

In my previous searches for this branch of the Timanus family, I had come across Sara’s name many times, but had not really focused my research on her, and thus, really didn’t think much about it. It was only when I decided to turn my attention onto the children of Jesse and Jane C. Timanus that I came to realize what a powerful influence this woman really had.

In the late 1860’s, Sara attended the Cincinnati Wesleyan College for Women. In 1869, she is in the Preparatory Department, Third Class:

Image courtesy of Ancestry©

In a very short amount of time, by 1871, Sara had become a National Sunday School teacher and leader:

Image from the book, “Minutes of the Illinois Baptist Pastoral Union”, 1871

In May of 1874, Sara married Wilbur Fisk Crafts:

Image courtesy of Ancestry©

If you do an internet search on her married name exactly as “Sara J. Crafts”, you will see many links to her association with training materials for Sunday School teachers regarding the teaching of children. Sara was an affluent writer in compiling bible stories, poems and songs for children. She co-authored a book called “Songs for Little Folks”. You can download the entire book here:

Image courtesy of in 1875©

You’ll notice that she is named on the front cover as Mrs. W.F. Crafts and on the inside also as (Miss Sara J. Timanus).

An interesting side note here…when I discovered the song book above, I thought my mother would enjoy seeing this, since she used to be a choir director. After sending it to her explaining why I sent it and where it came from, she replied back saying, “You aren’t going to believe this, but I used to have a song book like this!!! My Grandma Earp gave it to me. The last I remember seeing it, was when we lived on the farm. I don’t know what happened to it.”

I then sent it to my Aunt Mary, and she replied saying, “I remember that book at Perdue! I use to play those songs on the old piano! Cool!”

Amazing, right?

After seeing the marriage record of 1874, I noticed that it mentioned that Wilbur F. Crafts was a minister.

I really didn’t think much of it at the time, but curiosity got the best of me, so I did a search on the internet for “Wilbur F. Crafts”…

You could have knocked me over with a feather!

Wilbur F. Crafts was a religious force to be reckoned with, and to add on top of that, his wife Sara had some clout of her own!

Here are photographs of Dr. Wilbur F. Crafts and wife, Sara J. (Timanus) Crafts:

Image of Rev. Wilbur .F. Crafts courtesy of the Library of Congress
Image of Sara .J. Crafts (Library of Congress-Chronicling America)

It is often times rare to find photographs of ancestors, but in this case I was very fortunate due to the notoriety of the Crafts.

At this point, I’ve decided it is unnecessary to show a lot of records here. When I typed Wilbur F. Crafts name into, the hit list was incredible. I also added “Mrs.” to the beginning of his name, and it had the same effect.

In 1895, Wilbur formed the International Reform Bureau. The Bureau, with the drive of the Crafts behind it, were credited, some say, with being the voice and the force behind the beginnings of prohibition and of censorship in the burgeoning film industry. You can read more about Dr. Crafts here.

Wilbur F. Crafts passed away on the 27th of Dec. 1922:

Image courtesy of Newspapers© – from the New York Times, 28 Dec., 1922

The International Reform Bureau did not last much longer after his passing.
Sara J. Crafts continued to lecture and teach.

The next records I searched for were the ones regarding Sara’s death, and I was fortunate enough to locate her will, and the word fortunate pales in comparison to what I found in her will…let’s just say these are the types of finds that makes a genealogists’ day.

The last will and testament of Sara J. Crafts, dated 30 April, 1928, and filed 6 May, 1930. The second, third, fourth and seventh items were “pure gold”:

Images courtesy of Ancestry©

The will of Sara J. Crafts pulls everything together, when Sara specifically mentions her siblings and nephews.

She continued by mentioning the artwork of her sister:

Image courtesy of Ancestry©

This seventh item clearly confirms Fannie as being a painter and an artist.
I would love to track down images of any of these paintings!

Here is the obituary for Sara Jane (Timanus) Crafts:

Image courtesy of Newspapers© – from the Cincinnati Enquirer, 3 May, 1930

The last piece of information I found absolutely tugged at my heart strings. A newspaper article I just happened to find from the Reading Times, Reading, PA-dated 12 March, 1923:

Image courtesy of Newspapers©

There is a bit of doubt in my mind that it was more than 60 years between the time that they had seen each other, because I did find them all together in the 1870 Census as the Linderman family, so it would have been more like 50 some years. Still, this article brought it all home for me. Having known that Fannie’s son Philip had settled in Allentown, PA convinced me that they had decided to meet in a place that would be the easiest to travel to for all of them.

All the pieces of the puzzle that I have found, now gives me a more complete picture of the lives of these three children of Jesse Timanus and Jane C. Means.

This three part series was truly an amazing journey, not only into the lives of Fannie, John and Sara, but also the impact they had on our country’s history. This is one post I will not soon forget.

So, go on your own amazing journey. I can guarantee you a fun and exciting trip!

Things to remember…

Two words – Be persistent!

You won’t know what you’ll uncover if you give up.

Think outside the box and use your creative brain power. Try to think beyond Ancestry and FamilySearch. There is a plethora of free resources that you can tap into.

Try the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America (free newspaper search).

Get in touch with the local historical societies of where you ancestors lived. Many can be found on Facebook. It doesn’t hurt to join, and there may be someone who has the answers you are looking for, or help you on your journey.

Get a subscription to FamilyTree Magazine, about $28 for a yr., you get a copy every other month – the magazine has great tips and they have a special edition every year that lists all the best and free genealogy websites on the internet.

Again, use the wildcard searching method when you can. Using the “?” and “*” in combinations with surnames can often times get you really great results you never would have imagined before (given names too).

Researching ancestral cousins can broaden your scope of research on direct ancestors, and you will be surprised at the things you may discover in the meantime.

Brian S. Miller

Spring Grove Cemetery
Google Books
Library of Congress

Historical Society of Baltimore County – Jim Long
Howard County Historical Society – Shawn Gladden
Hamilton County, Ohio Genealogical Society
Cincinnati History Library and Archives
Maryland State Libraries
Allen County Library, Ft. Wayne, IN
Featured Images courtesy of Newspapers©

Special Thanks to:
Cheryl, my wife, my post proofreader and the love of my life

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