Interview with Oscar Fendler
[missing figure]TY_OWf1w6rk
QUESTION 6
INTERVIEWER:

Well, can you tell me about Mr. Crane and how he ran the Wilson Farm, and the worst as well as the good parts of how he ran that farm?

OSCAR FENDLER:

When Mr. Wilson died in '33 and we probated his will, in his will he provided for the continuation of a Massachusetts Trust organization. It wasn't a corporation, it something was created for tax purposes. And he named Mr. Crane, J.H. Crane, known as Jim Crane, and his son, to manage it. Mr. Crane took over because Mr. Wilson's son was not, he didn't particularly, wasn't too interested in, you know, in, in the farm and the operation. That's R.E. Wilson Junior. And so Mr. Crane had free range. He was a boss just like Mr. Wilson. R.E. Lee Wilson, he died. Whatever he said was the law and nobody every challenged anything, didn't make a difference what it was. We were his attorneys. And by "we" I mean Cecil Shane was our lawyer when, when I got back for law school, and we continued to represent him. And Mr. Crane actually managed it as well or even better, maybe, than, than Mr. Wilson had done, if he could manage it any better. He had—for all practical purposes the company was broke. So we, Mr. Shane, helped him get an RFC loan when the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was created just before ,you know, Mr. Roosevelt went in, and he got a substantial loan, a long time to pay it out. Then he started managing all of the farms down there. He was, previously had been the farm manager. He managed all the farm activities. Land, people, mules, every damn thing.

INTERVIEWER:

How did the sharecroppers and tenants feel about Mr. Crane as a boss? What was he like as a boss?

OSCAR FENDLER:

My observation was that, that they respected him very much. I'm sure that a number of them felt they were mistreated and had a deep-seeded hatred for him. They couldn't show it, because the minute they showed it they were out. They'd be moved off and do something else. Mr., Mr. Crane was an excellent manager and he didn't let anything stand in his way to see that his crops were produced. He was inclined to want to experiment with other types like breeding cows, for instance, or breeding pigs and stuff like that. He encouraged them to plant new crops, different types of crops. And, and, and he recognized their ability, particularly the farm managers. They were his elite group that were having a responsibility, you know.

INTERVIEWER:

You were saying he was sort of like a dictator the way he ran the farm. What, what did you mean by that?

OSCAR FENDLER:

Well, whenever a decision was being made down there on business affairs or social affairs, whatever it was, he made the decision. That's where he was a dictator. He was a benevolent dictator, but a dictator nevertheless, you know.