Biography of Hon. James F. Crooker
Erie County, NY Biographies


Crooker, Hon. James F., Buffalo, formerly superintendent of public instruction of the State of New York, is descended from an old and respected New England family. His ancestors were among the early settlers of Stratford, Conn., on the old records of which is the name of William Crooker, who owned lot No. 40 about 1654, and who subsequently removed to Norwalk, and thence to Newtown, L. I. Mr. Crooker's father, Samson, was a native of Central New York and a lifelong farmer, dying in 1890. His mother was Elizabeth Yates, a descendant of Governor Yates, and died in 1838. Mr. Crooker was born at Christian Hollow. Onondaga county, N. Y., August 12, 1834, and in 1836 came with his parents to Erie county, where he received a limited education in the district schools. Making the best of his meager advantages, which were curtailed by the pecuniary resources of the family, he applied himself assiduously to books, and when sixteen began teaching district school near the paternal residence, at which he earned enough money to attend Springville Academy for a time. Leaving the academy in 1853 he went to New York, where his push and energy secured for him a position in a mercantile establishment, which he held for about three years, when he resigned on account of ill health. Thenceforward he devoted his life to teaching, attending the Springville and Fredonia Academies as occasion permitted. He was connected with the schools of Buffalo for nearly thirty years, most of the time as principal, and in 1881, while principal of No, 31, the largest school in the city, was elected superintendent of education of Buffalo. He filled this office by re-election until February, 1892, when he was chosen by the Legislature, on joint ballot, State superintendent of public instruction, to succeed Hon. Andrew S. Draper, which position he held until 1895. Mr. Crooker is one of the foremost educators of the State. He possesses great natural ability, and is a close thinker, a hard worker, and a public spirited, enterprising and progressive citizen. He is a member of the Masonic order, the Knights of Honor and the A. O. U. W. In 1862 he married Mrs. Frances S. Warner, daughter of Alexander R. Galloway, of Buffalo, and they have two children, Charles R. and Eugenia M.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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