William Crane was a Baptist lay leader, missionary, and businessman. Born in New Jersey in 1790, he became a shoemaker and joined his brother in Richmond, Virginia, where he became a successful merchant. He joined the Baptist church and in 1813 helped organize the Foreign Missionary Society of Virginia. Two years later, he and, a free black member of his church, founded the Richmond African Baptist Missionary Society. Crane led a Sunday school and then a night school for African Americans, and after the establishment of the American Colonization Society in 1816 helped to raise money for those who wanted to immigrate to Liberia, in West Africa. Frustrated and disillusioned by the problem of slavery, he moved to Baltimore in 1834 and joined in the incorporation of the Chesapeake and Liberia Trading Company in 1845. In Baltimore Crane remained active in the Baptist church. In 1865, he published the pamphlet Anti-Slavery in Virginia that criticized abolitionists and equally. He died in 1866.