Union and West End Cemetery

The Union and West End Cemetery is located in center city Allentown. The main entrance is on 10th Street at 10th and Chew Streets. The cemetery is mantained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Ten board members (also volunteers) serve the cemetery association and manage the finances, make application for grants, solicit donations and participate in the maintenance of the cemetery.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Jennie L. Crasly

Jennie L. Crasly was born on September 4, 1877. I am confident that she was the apple of her father's eye and a joy to her mother. She most likely grew up in a neighborhood that was safe, orderly and friendly. The Civil War ended twelve years before Jennie was born and would not likely be a factor in her early life.

Jennie would have been a teenager when the Homestead strike, a bitterly fought labor dispute, broke out. It is likely that she heard discussions about the event. On June 29, 1892, workers belonging to the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers struck the Carnegie Steel Company at Homestead, Pennsylvania to protest a proposed wage cut. Henry C. Frick, the company's general manager, determined to break the union. He hired 300 Pinkerton detectives to protect the plant and strikebreakers. After an armed battle between the workers and the detectives on July 6, in which several men were killed or wounded, the governor called out the state militia. The plant opened, nonunion workers stayed on the job, and the strike, which was officially called off on Nov. 20, was broken. The Homestead strike led to a serious weakening of unionism in the steel industry until the 1930s.

Jennie would have attended school and was likely an ardent student. She would have particularly enjoyed the walks home from school in the afternoon when she and her friends could socialize and talk about activities in school, boys, upcoming events, and other things that teenage girls talk about among themselves.

It is not known whether Jennie had suitors after graduating from high school, but it is imagined that she was a beautiful young lady with many admiral qualities and that any young man would have been very fortunate if he was one of the chosen few that got to spend time with Jennie.

Jennie L. Crasly died on the 16th of August 1898, just nineteen days short of her twenty-first birthday. She missed so much. She was taken way too soon. She had much to give, but never got the opportunity. Jennie is buried in a lone grave in Section N' of the West End portion of the Union and West End Cemetery. This section borders on Liberty Street. No other graves with the surname Crasly are located nearby. In fact, there were not any Crasly families listed in the 1880 census in Lehigh County. It is possible that the family moved to Allentown after the 1880 census, however. The 1890 census was destroyed by fire, but I could not locate the Crasly surname anywhere in Pennsylvania for years 1900-1920.

So, for now, Jennie remains somewhat of a young and tragic mystery woman.

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