This work in progress on Stephen Crane is under construction.  Please do not reproduce, print or distribute by any means.    Thank you. Webmaster, PortJervisNY.com - 05/16/11

"My idea is to come finally to live at Port Jervis or Hartwood.  I am a wanderer now and I must see enough but - afterwards - I think of Port Jervis and Hartwood."   
Saturday October 29, 1897.   Stephen Crane letter to his brother William in Port Jervis.   


After a 1635 voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, his ancestors' first footfalls on the North American continent were in New England and an American Revolutionary War patriot, a delegate to the first Continental Congress who like his son was killed by the British, was one of his hereditary namesakes.

The youngest of 14 children, eight of whom were alive when he came into the world,  he was writing letters to his grandmother at age three and already amusing his brothers and sisters by repeating back to them five and six syllable words.  A year later, after having taught himself, he was reading James Fenimore Cooper novels. 

He survived a serious poisonous snake bite at age 7,  had his most famous literary work published at 23, and then, after befriending a New York City police Commissioner who would later become President of the United States, he publicly criticized the Commissioner's officers for their brutal behavior at a political rally held in Manhattan's Madison Square Garden.

When a steamboat on which he was traveling to Cuba floundered and sank 16 miles off the Florida coast he rallied an effort to save the vessel and was one of the last three men, among whom was the captain,  to escape on a dinghy before the craft went under.  At that time he was two months into his 25th year.

A poet, novelist, war correspondent, and empathetic defender of outcasts and the downtrodden, his early success contributed to his ultimate demise.  His end came in Badenweiler, Germany where he succumbed to uncontrolled bleeding in his lungs caused by tuberculosis. 

Stephen Crane, author of The Red Badge of Courage and many other notable, if generally lesser known writings, died not six months shy of his 29th birthday.  Citizens of Port Jervis, New York, mourned his passing as if he was one of their own for to them, indeed he was.

This is the story of the influence that Port Jervis and nearby locales had on Stephen Crane's life and work and how he and his family, in turn, made an impression on that area which continues to this day.

- To be continued -

 

 

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