Frank E. Crowell


Generally recognized as the "First Citizen" of Livingston and the community’s foreman builder, the late Frank Crowell had spent practically his entire life here, except for a few years in the 1920’s. Mr. Crowell was born in Stockton on June 16, 1869, and came to Livingston in 1883. He was the son of George Byron and Sarah Martha (Warfield) Crowell. His father was a native of Maine, and his mother was born in Baltimore.

Mr. Crowell went to school in Chico and after he had been in Livingston for a time he took a course in a business college. His first employers were Messrs. Hammatt and Zirker, in whose general merchandise store he worked. When still quite young he bought out Zirker’s interests, and the firm became known as Hammatt and Crowell. Following the death of Mr. Hammatt, Mr. Crowell bought his brother-in-law, W. T. White, here from Miller and Lux store in Los Banos and the firm of White and Crowell came into being. When White was elected sheriff Mr. Crowell continued the store business under his own name. For a brief period while White was still here the business was incorporated as White-Crowell Company.

As Livingston’s chief builder Mr. Crowell built the Crowell block, which is in three sections of three different periods, and he also built all the buildings along the railroad from the Evans Motors garage building at Third Street to and including the Robertson Café and service station. In addition to these buildings he owned several others, both business and holes. His last business undertaking before his health failed was to call engineer W. E. Bedesen to lay out the Crowell subdivision along the new state highway.

Mr. Crowell was active in many ways in Livingston. He was one of the organizers and a principal stockholder of the first bank established in Livingston. He had served as a member of the City Council, and had always taken great interest in chamber of commerce work. He had served as Postmaster, and was a former high school and grammar school trustee. On several occasions he was on the County Grand Jury.

Mr. Crowell’s fraternal affiliations were with the Masons and the Elks. He married Miss Pearl M. Shaffer, daughter of the pioneer Merced River rancher, Richard Shaffer. He is survived by Mrs. Crowell and a son Roy W. Crowell, Livingston, and three grandchildren; Roy W. Jr., Franklin Eugene, and Melvin Walker.

Frank Crowell passed away on January 31, 1938. The local newspaper in Livingston had the following to say in the course of a eulogy regarding him:

"Throughout more than a half century Frank Crowell lived and worked in Livingston, and he was never known to have made an enemy. On the other hand he counted as friends in several generations all who came in contact with him. His was a business-like, yet kindly and scrupulously honest character and disposition."

Page: 295, 296.

History of Merced County
(Narrative & Biographical)
Author: Corwin Radcliffe
A. H. Crawston, Publisher, 194

Contributed by: Alma Stone