Children of John and Mary Major:
John Patrick Major (1841-1914)

John Patrick Major was one of three sons of John and Mary Major of County Derry, Ireland, who emigrated to the United States. He and his wife Sara Keenan (1852-188?), lived briefly in Skaneateles, NY, before moving west to Buffalo. They had seven children (listed below).

I found a newspaper story on the death of seven-year-old Mary Jane Major in 1881; information furnished by Rita Major Crawford of Buffalo includes a Mary Jane Major born in 1883. I suspect, as it true elsewhere in our family trees, that the second Mary Jane may have been named in honor of the first.

Sara Keenan Major died in the 1880s. In January 1889 John Major re-married, to Ellen O'Brien (1862-1939). According to John Patrick Major's obituary in the Highland Democrat, Peekskill, NY, he worked for the Fleischmann Manufacturing Company, which moved its plant from the Buffalo area to Peekskill in 1900. John and Ellen Major also moved to Peekskill, where they had three children – Catherine, Edward and Margaret. The eldest son by his first marriage, John Patrick Major, remained in Buffalo where he started work at a company where he would remain for 62 years.

Two of John Major's descendants, Kevin William Major and Rita Major Crawford, furnished the following family tree information. John Patrick Major (1841-1914) fathered ten children. So far as is known, only one of them had children of his own.

1. John Patrick Major (1870-1952) married Catherine Notley (1875-1932). They had three children: (For more on John Patrick Major, see story, below.)

John Notley Major (1898-1969) married Maude Veronica Owens (1896-1973). The family continues (see below)
William Keenan Major (1903-71) Lifelong bachelor.
Charles Joseph Major (1905-71) was a Franciscan priest, Fr. William Francis O.F.M.
2. Charles Major (1872-1914)
3. Mary Jane Major (1874-81)
4. William George Major (1875-1955)
5. Sarah Rose Major (1878-1951)
6. Edward Major (1879-??) That John P. Major and his second wife, Ellen, named their son Edward, in 1891, leads me to believe that this Edward died before then. There is no record of this Edward Major after the 1880 census.
7. Mary Jane Major (1883-1965) Likewise, this is the second daughter named Mary Jane, after child number theee who died at the age of seven.
8. Catherine Major (1889-1962) She graduated from Oswego Normal (Now Oswego State University) and became a school teacher in the Peekskill, New York, area where she had grown up.
9. Edward B. Major (1891- ??) moved to Pennsylvania. According to his mother's obituary in 1939, Edward Major lived in Philadelphia. His brother John's obituary in 1952 said Edward lived in Pottstown.
10. Margaret Major (1897-1967) became a school teacher in Rockville Centre, New York (Long Island).
John Notley Major (1898-1969) married Maude Veronica Owens (1896-1973). They had three children:

1. John Patrick Major (1922-88) m. Ruth Batey (deceased). They had four children ():

John Francis Major (1948- ) m. Sondra Zintz (divorced); m. Jane Wojakowski
Tara Major (1980- )
Cory Lynn Major (1984- )
Dennis Charles Major (1950- ) m. Jean Harriger
Lori Major (1975-) married Jeff Carlin
Emily Carlin (2003- )
Daniel Major (1978- )
Kevin William Major (1951- ) (divorced)
Erin Major (1992- )
Chloe Major (2000- )
Ann Major (1955- ) m. Stephen Makowski
Leslie Makowski (1990- )

2. James Joseph Major (1923-89) m. Miriam "Kitty" Christie (1932-1998). James Major was an Army colonel. Miriam Christie was born Miriam Antoinette Hernandez in San Jose, Costa Rica. They had four children ():

William (Liam) Christie Major (1956-2012)
Mary Patricia Major (1958- )
Julia (1991- )
Eileen Elizabeth Major (1959- ) m. Mike Spears (1955- )
Melanie Elizabeth Fetterhoff (1989- )
Michael James Fetterhoff (1992- )
Shanna Christie Major (1977- )
Aden Parson (2006- )
Robert Joseph Major (1965)

3. Rita Major (1925-2020) m. John DeHaas Crawford (1926-74). They had six children ():

James Patrick Crawford (1948-2018) m. Marilynn Tracy (divorced); 2nd wife: Nancy Doherty.
Caitlin D'arcy Crawford (1972- ).
Madeline Agnes (2001- )
John Tracy Crawford (1976- ) m. Meridith Dudley
Finlee Major Crawford (2009- )
Ireland Grace Crawford (2011- )
Clare Crawford (1952- )
John Major Crawford (1957- ) m. Suzanne Casper
Alexander Casper Crawford (1986- )
Samuel John Crawford (1989- )
Sarah Marianne Crawford (1993- )
Maura Crawford (1960- ) m. David Osmond Mercer
Amy Crawford (1964- ) m. Evan Casey
Colin Crawford Casey (1986- )
Conor John Casey (1987- )
Marya Casey (1990- )
Aileen Rita Casey (1994- )
Timothy Patrick Crawford (1967- ) m. Tracy Manning
Ava Pearl Crawford (2006- )
Brynna Maeve Crawford (2008- )

Rita Major Crawford passed away on December 24, 2020 at 95 years. This beautiful soul departed to join her husband John D. Crawford and son Jim.
Lionhearted mother of Jim (Nan Doherty), Clare, John (Sue), Maura (David Mercer), Tim (Tracy) Crawford and Amy (Evan) Casey.

Devoted grandmother of Caitlin, John, Alex, Sam, Sarah, Ava and Brynna Crawford; Colin, Conor, Marya and Aileen Casey, loving great grandmother of Madeline Hare, Lochlan and Isla Casey, Jack, Nora, Finlee, Ireland, Scottlynn and Atlas Crawford, with two more on the way!

Born in South Buffalo to Maude and John Major, Rita grew up with brothers John and Jimmy who, along with a wealth of life long friends, inspired her feisty spirit and remarkable sense of humor.

A graduate of South Park High School, Rita enjoyed the halcyon days of the Crystal Beach boat and cottage life with "The Girls" before meeting Jack Crawford and settling down to be a dentist's wife and raise their "even half dozen."

Initially settling in South Buffalo, Rita and Jack moved to Columbia Avenue in Wanakah in the early 60's. Rita was the consummate entertainer renowned for 4th of July bashes and elegant dinner parties.

She enjoyed a house full of animals, and a yard filled with other people's kids. After Jack's death in 1974 from lung cancer, Rita married Russ Minsterman for a magical moment until his death nine months later from undetected lung cancer.

Later in life, Rita joined the sales team at Pitt Petri on Delaware Avenue. Although she ran the silver department, she found gold in the friendships she formed there.

Rita moved to the Elmwood Village in 2007 and embraced city life from her bachelorette pad. Rita enjoyed exploring the culinary world, reading, PBS, plotting surprises, knitting, decorating, walking her beloved dog Pipp, and "tooting" (as a committed non-driver, a friend or daughter would "toot" in the driveway and Rita would run out and join them for a day of adventure.).

She loved being with family and friends around the dinner table when candles burned low and wine and stories flowed. Her family will remember all of the laughter through the pain, and her superpower for making things special.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a mass and celebration worthy of Rita will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to LBDA.org (Lewy Body Dementia) in honor of Jim Crawford.

Published by Buffalo News on Dec. 27, 2020.

Rita Major Crawford was the great-granddaughter of John Major, one of three brothers who left Ireland in the 1800s to live in the United States. Several years agi sge passed along a story about her grandfather, John Patrick Major (1870-1952), who had an unusual attitude about his job. He lived by the words made popular in the classic movie, "Bridge on the River Kwai," when Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa) offered his prisoners this bit of advice: "Be happy in your work."
Buffalo Courier-Express, October 1, 1950
On job since 1890, he laughs at vacations
All the talk about the health value of vacations leaves John P. Major cold. Eighty-years old and still on the job every day, Major, traffic manager for the Worthington Pump & Machinery Corp., has refused to take a single vacation in his 60 years with the company.

“There has never been any place I’d rather go than to work,” explained Major simply. “The one thing I dread the most is a permanent vacation. That is, retirement. I wouldn’t live two weeks if I had to sit around the house.”

But Illness Halted Him
Major would like to be able to boast a record of never having missed a day’s work, but he can’t. While the colored travel folders have never caught up with him, a few stray germs have. During the First World War he was laid up with influenza and several years ago again was off because of illness.

The traffic manager’s last vacation goes back to the days he was a schoolboy. A native of Buffalo, he attended St. Mary’s Parochial School and then St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, then located on the Upper Terrace at Church St. By the time he was 14, both vacations and school were things of the past.

“My first job,” said Major, “was as a bundle boy with the Jewett Shoe Company. Back in those days firms didn’t have horsedrawn carts for delivery, but used two-wheel pushcarts. I pushed shoes all over Buffalo. My second job was about the same – bundle boy for Krause & Sheehan, a drygoods store.”

Four Jobs at One Time
Another of Major’s early jobs was with the Buffalo Distilling Company, and by the time he was 18 he had worked himself up to the post of deputy collector of internal revenue. At the age of 20 he became connected with the Snow Steam Pump Works, which is now Worthington Pump.

“I had a sort of jack-of-all-trades office job,” he recalled. “There were just two of us in the office, the secretary and me. I was cashier, paymaster, order clerk and even office boy. As the years went on and the company grew, these jobs were broken down into separate positions and I wound up traffic manager.

“Things were sure a lot different in those days. We had only about 85 men in the whole plant, and we made nothing but small duplex steam pumps. Now we have about 1,800 in the local plant and have other plants at Harrison, NJ, and Holyoke, Mass., and Wellsville. The diesel engines, air compressors, and power transmission equipment we make now makes those old steam pumps look like tops.”

Transportation a Problem
As the section where the plant is located, Clinton and Roberts, was out in the country back in 1890, transportation to work was a problem. The WNY&NP Railroad, Major related, had shops on Babcock Street and used to take their workers from the city proper by coach. The pump company, he continued, got the rail line to install a spur for commuting workers who paid 60 cents a week for the lift.

“I used to board the coach at Emslie and Eagle,” Major stated. “That was about a two-mile walk from where I lived. About three times a week I’d miss the blamed train and have to walk to work – five miles.

“But that was okay. Hiking used to be a hobby of mine and it was nothing for me to clip off 25 miles through the country on a nice Sunday. Now my transportation is simple. A company truck picks me up and takes me home.”

Rocking and Reading
With his hiking a thing of the past, Major’s outside interests are limited. His chief pastime is filling his pipe, finding a comfortable rocker and reading the newspapers from the front page right through.

“The sport section,” he said, “is my favorite reading. I’m a football and baseball fan, but I didn’t see a single baseball game this summer. The team was so punk I figured going to the ball park would be a waste of time and money.”

Major’s chief interest outside of his job is his family. Although he lives with two sisters and a brother at 33 Ash Street, he sees a lot of his three sons, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In fact, one son, John N. Major, works with his father at the Worthington Pump Corp.

“The Majors never had a major in service,” he commented, “but we have a line of fighting men. John left Buffalo with Troop I during World War I and his son, John, was a Marine in World War II. He was called back into service just a few months ago.

“I’ve got a wonderful job and family. I can’t see why I should want to get away from either for even a few days. My one hope in life is that I don’t ever have a vacation forced on me.

John P. Major worked until mid-July, 1952, when he became ill and was sent to Sisters Hospital, where he died a few days later, on July 24. Not surprisingly, at 82, he was the oldest employe at Worthington Pump & Machine Corporation. His funeral mass at St. Teresa's Church was sung by his son, the Rev. William Francis Major.