Somers Historical Society Quilt Donation Uncovers Surprise

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The donation of a quilt to the Somers Historical Society led to visitors from Florida learning they share ancestry. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Somers Historical Society

SOMERS, N.Y. – October is National Archives Month, and Grace Zimmermann of the Somers Historical Society reports an unusual coincidence that occurred when several people recently visited the society to explore the archives.

David Crane Johnson, a direct descendant of Gerard and Roxanna Crane, former owners of the Stone House on Somerstown Turnpike (Route 202), dropped into the Elephant Hotel on a recent trip from his home in Florida to donate an old quilt. It is a “friendship quilt,” signed by many former members of the community, including Roxanna Crane.

At the same time, three former residents, also from Florida, stopped in to visit, a stop on their annual pilgrimage to Somers. In the course of conversation, it developed that the three women, sisters, were also descended from Gerard Crane, although David Crane Johnson knew nothing of them, nor did they know about him.

David Crane Johnson’s great-grandfather was Gerard Crane. The sisters’ great-grandmother was Gerard Crane’s sister. Technically, they are cousins, though rather “removed.”

They had all been to Ivandell Cemetery earlier in the day to visit the old graves. They missed each other by perhaps half an hour.

Portraits of Roxanna and Gerard Crane, donated long ago by Johnson’s mother, still hang at the Historical Society.

“David says those portraits seemed awfully menacing to him as a kid,” Zimmermann said. “He used to shoot spitballs at them, especially at Gerard.”

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