Royston Campbell Crane, Sr., son of Catherine Jane (Shepherd) and William Carey Crane, was born on February 16, 1864, in Independence, Washington County, Texas. After graduating in 1884 from Baylor University, where his father was president, he acquired a law degree at the University of Texas and moved at age twenty-two to Roby, the county seat of recently organized Fisher County. There he was elected county attorney and subsequently held various other county offices. In 1899 Crane moved to Abilene and shortly thereafter to Sweetwater, where he became a partner in the Ragland law office.
He was an energetic promoter of West Texas. He started a newspaper, the Call, at Roby; in Sweetwater he served two terms as mayor and worked to keep the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway shops. He also led efforts to obtain a proposed West Texas A&M College. In the 1930s he acquired $200,000 from the Texas Centennial Historical Advisory Committee to mark historic spots in West Texas. He was an avid document collector and knowledgeable historian. In 1923, with Rupert N. Richardson of Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University), he developed the idea of a West Texas Historical Association and recruited for leadership J. M. Radford, Jewel Davis Scarborough, and B. E. McGlammery of Abilene, W. C. Holden of McMurry College, and L. G. Kennamer of Abilene Christian College. On April 19, 1924, an organizational meeting convened in the Taylor County Courthouse, the association was given form, and Crane was elected president, a position he held until 1950. His frequent contributions to the West Texas Historical Association Year Book and his collection of West Texas historical materials became an important source for the study of regional history.
Crane was married to Mamie Douthit; they had three children, two of whom died in infancy. Royston Crane, Jr., originated the comic strips "Wash Tubbs and Easy" and "Buzz Sawyer." On January 20, 1956, at the age of ninety-one, Crane died in Sweetwater.