More About the Author
I've liked history ever since I can remember. During my youth I grilled my grandparents for all they could remember about their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. I was astonished at how little they knew, and even more astonished at how little they cared.
While I was in engineering school at Auburn University in the late nineteen sixties, with more free time on my hands than I appreciated or would ever have again, the idea occurred to me that it might be fun to trace a family tree. Being by nature a lazy person, I chose what would be the easiest family, the least common name, my mother's maiden name - Bickham. After all, I thought, all Bickhams were from Washington Parish, Louisiana, and none had left that area until World War II. So I thought.
That decision was also influenced by a contact several years earlier from Jack Bickham of Norman, Oklahoma. Jack, a member of the northern branch of the family, was trying to establish the early roots in New England. He saw a listing in a telephone directory in the Boston area for a John Bickham and wrote a letter to John. That John Bickham was a native of Louisiana and my uncle. John forwarded Jack's letter to my mother. My mother corresponded with Jack, and also with Bickham Christian, whose name had been provided by Jack.
I reestablished contact with Jack, and Jack put me in touch with Robert Bickham of Kissimmee, who put me in touch with others, and so it went. I haven't communicated with Jack now for a number of years, but I occasionally see one of his books in Walden's and I often see articles by him in Writer's Digests - a professor of journalism at the University of Oklahoma, Jack is sort of a writer's writer.
A lot of years passed. In 1985 I finally had pulled everything together and had a few hundred copies printed of the first edition of The Southern Bickhams.
Speaking of historical background, my interest has always been much more in the historical setting of the family than in merely listing family trees. Perhaps I got carried away somewhat - the chapter on North Carolina, for instance, has little mention of the Bickhams and takes place mainly in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, but I felt Daniel Boone and John Finley had a lot in common with the Bickhams. As far as that goes, there's a fair chance that the Boones and Bickhams were acquainted; North Carolina in the 1700s was a small world.
John Dorr Crane (1942 - 2002)
John Crane was born in Pearl River County, Mississippi on November 22, 1942. He was the son of Murton Crane and Hazel Bickham.
Associate of Science in Drafting & Design Technology from Pearl River Junior College in May 1963.
Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Auburn University in August of 1968.
Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Auburn University in August of 1969.
Geophysical Draftsman for the Texaco Oil Company in New Orleans, Louisiana from 1963 - 1964.
United States Air Force: 1964 - 1968.
Graduate Assistant in the Civil Engineering Department of Auburn University from 1968 - 1969.
Instructor in the Civil Engineering Department of Auburn University from 1969 - 1971.
Engineer, Vice President, and Director for Environmental Science & Engineering in Gainesville, Florida from 1971 - 1986.
Editor and General Manager of the Florida Water Resources Journal from 1987 - 2001.
Married 1970 / Divorced 1993
Child - Noelle Crane, 1975
John Crane is interred in the Crane family plot in the cemetery of Spring Hill Baptist Church in Pearl River County, Mississippi.
John Crane's daughter, Noelle Crane Dunn, lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
1) John Crane in the 1960's as he began work on the Bickham family tree
2) Four generations circa 1979: Nancy Ann Beech (wife of Oliver Washington Bickham), her daughter, Hazel Ruth Bickham, her son, John Dorr Crane, and his daughter, Noelle Brin Crane.