The William Jefferson Crosier Collection
Donation of the William Jefferson Crosier Family Papers and Memorabilia
to a generous donation from Nancy Crosier McKersie and Charlotte Crosier
Orrall, the Holyoke
History Room has received a collection of documents, photographs, artifacts,
and publications documenting the life of Major William Jefferson Crosier (1860-1938). Many
of the items describe Crosier’s service in the Spanish-American War in 1898. The donation complements the History Room's growing Veterans' collections.
Born in Hoosick Falls, New York, in 1860 and raised in North Adams, Massachusetts, William J. Crosier moved to Holyoke at the age of 22. He worked for the leather belting industry and later became a salesman for the Chase and Cooledge Company. In 1898, Captain Crosier joined the D Company of the 104th Infantry, which participated in the Spanish-American War for Cuba’s Independence. He was promoted to the rank of Major for his bravery on the field.
Upon returning home, he resumed his work at Chase and Cooledge and later became the Superintendent of the Parks and Playgrounds Department, where he served for 15 years. The collection includes a number of his reports to the city from the early 1930s. Major Crosier’s military service was never far from his mind, however, and he encouraged the city to purchase pasture land near Northampton Street to create Soldier’s Field. He had a row of maple trees dedicated to the memory of his Spanish-American War comrades. Soldier’s Field was re-dedicated "Crosier Field” on Armistice Day, 1939, a year after his death. The park borders on the Peck School.
Crosier was a popular and well-known figure in Holyoke, especially when riding
his Cuban mule ("El Caney”) around the city.