Monday, January 31

The Curious Case of Crago (Mystery Monday)

Stanley Garfield Crago was my great-grandfather - my grandmother's second husband's father.  (Technically, it's a "step" relationship, but I'm ignoring technicalities.  He's family.  Period.).

1901 census of Truro, Cornwall, England
He was born in late 1892 in St. Clements parish, Truro, Cornwall, England1, the son of John Crago and Elizabeth Trevarthan.2 He arrived at Quebec on 22 November 1908 on the S.S. Champlain. He lived in Cobalt, Bucke tp., Temiskaming dist. (then Nipissing dist.), Ontario, Canada, before he crossed the border to Detroit on 5 May 1914.3 4 While he should have been in Canada for the 1911 census, we have so far been unable to locate him.

So far, so good, right?

Except there are a few "inconsistancies".

The only Stanley Crago/Crego found in the British birth indexes for 1891 is a Stanley George (note the middle name), born in Truro, in the October-December quarter.5 He was baptised 10 January 1892 at St. Paul's, Truro, the son of John Crago and Elizabeth Jane ?.6 According to a 1909 British Territorial Force attestation paper, Stanley George Crago, of St. Clements parish, Truro, then a mason's labourer, enlisted with the Cornwall R.G.A. on 15 July 1909. "Gunner Crago" was discharged 23 January 1911, on account of his "leaving the country."7

1909 British Territorial Force attestation
And he did leave the country, from Liverpool, landing at Quebec on the "Lake Champlain" on 20 November 1910 with $25.00 in his pocket and his destination listed as Cobalt, Ontario, to meet "a brother".8

He apparently returned to Britain on 6 June 1912, landing at Avonmouth, Bristol from Montreal, on the "S.S. Royal George".9 Sometime between then and May 1914, he returned to Canada, and from there, went to Detroit (presumably to find work, since he listed his current occupation as an auto mechanic). Between May 1914 (his arrival in Detroit) and January 1915, he returned to Canada, where he enlisted in Toronto, Ontario as George Cavanaugh!

I began this post as an introduction to an ongoing series for "Military Monday" (which I'll start next week). Instead, as I gathered documents, I found myself with a little puzzle instead!

Why did the middle name change from George to Garfield?
Why did he shave two years off of his emigration date (1910 to 1908), on two separate documents?
Why did he leave Cornwall? (Family lore whispers something about a scandal...)
Who was the brother who was supposedly already in Canada?
And the big question: why did he enlist in the C.E.F. under an assumed name?

Any thoughts?

1 John Crago household, 1901 census of England, Cornwall, Kenwyn, Truro (district 1), 17 Fairmantle St., pp. 14-15; digital image from, (accessed 30 January 2011).
2 Stanley Cavangh-Harriet Dempsey entry, Ontario marriage registration 004510 (1918); microfilm MS 932, reel 446, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.
3 Stanley Crego entry, Detriot Border Crossings and Passenger and Crew Lists, 1905-1957 database; digital image from, (accessed 30 January 2011).
4 Stanley G. Crego entry, Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 database; digital image from, (accessed 30 January 2011).
5 Stanley George Crago entry, Truro, v. 5c, p. 139; index information from FreeBMD, (accessed 31 January 2011).
6 Stanley George Crago entry, England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 database, LDS microfilm 1596289; index from, (accessed 31 January 2011).
7 Stanley George Crago documents, including Attestation form, Medical Inspection Report, Discharge Certificate, and a Service Details record; British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 database, digital images from, (accessed 31 January 2011).
8 Stanley Cragoe entry, "S.S. Lake Champlain" passenger ship, p. 1, Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 database; digital image from, (accessed 31 January 2011).
9 Stanley Crago entry, "Royal George" passenger ship, p. 1, UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 database; digital image from, (accessed 31 January 2011).

No comments: