Correspondence from November 18, 1907 and June 27, 1908 between Frank B.
Crawford of McDonogh, Maryland and Col. John D. Crawford of Sedalia, Missouri.
Provenance: Originals are 5 3/4 " by 9" lined note paper, hand written on
front and back in legible script. They are in possession of John Crawford
of Olympia, Washington, and were given to him by Lulita Crawford Pritchett
of Denver, Colorado in approximately 1989.
[spelling and punctuation as in originals]
Col. John D. Crawford,
Letter 1: November 18, 1907
Kindly read the following and tell me whether you know
anything about the persons named.
In 1775 a James Crawford died in Allen township, Cumberland
county, Pennsylvania. He had been living there since 1738. He left four sons,
William and Robert above 21 years of age 1n 1775 and James and John minors
above 14 years of age.
In 1791 William and Robert were living in Augusta county, Virginia, and
in 1795 James was living in Strasburg, Shenandoah county, Virginia. Can you
say anything about the parentage or place of birth of the James who died in
If you know nothing about the above, can you give the name and address of
anyone who may know?
By answering you will greatly oblige.
Frank B. Crawford
Nov. 18, 1907.
Letter 2: November 26, 1907
Nov. 26, 1907.
Mr. John D. Crawford,
Your letter is of very considerable interest to me. You will find
enclosed some material found in the records of York county, Pennsylvania,
relative to the Crawford family. As it was typewritten for my own family
it may read queerly. The material found on pages numbered 1, 2, & 3, is all
correct and true. That on the page numbered "notes" is partly true and partly
supposition. Mr. J. Zeamer of Carlisle, Penn., is now examining the records
of Cumberland county for me. When he sends in his material I hope to find
more bearing on the James Crawford, of Allen.
Kindly give the dates of births and deaths of your Crawford ancestors and
the dates of John Crawford's going to Kentucky if possible.
A friend of mine told me that I resembled some of the Crawford family
in Kentucky, and I have wanted to get into communication with them to see
whether there is any relationship that can be proved. My father and his
brothers were 6 ft. and 6 ft. 1. Their father was over 6 ft. 1. There is
strong reason for believing that their grandfather was also over six feet.
They were all men without extra flesh, but weighed from 155 to 215 pounds.
Hazel eyes, good, rather long noses.
The older sons, Robert and William, of James of Allen township were living
in Augusta county, in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, in 1791 and for at least
a time afterward, but they disappear and there is nothing to show where.
There is strong probability that they moved to Georgia, or to Kentucky.
Augusta county is the seat of the descendants of two brothers, Patrick
and Alexander Crawford. They are numerous and are found scattered through
Kentucky, Tenn., and Missouri and elsewhere, so that it is easy to confuse
them with other branches of the family. There is nothing to show any relation
between Robert and William and Patrick and Alexander. Can you give me the
address of any Crawford in Kentucky who is kin to you?
From the pages enclosed you will see that James Crawford's son James
practiced medicine in Strasburg, in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia from
about 1795 – 1807, when he moved to Columbus, Ohio. His son, David J.,
remained in Strasburg as a young clerk and later was a successful merchant
in Woodstock in Shenandoah county, Va., where he died in 1846, leaving a
large family. His oldest son, William A. became a Presbyterian preacher,
and is now living in Frederick county, Va., at the age of 82. He is my
father. I have been living here in Maryland since 1890 as an instructor
in McDonogh Institute for boys. I should like to see a photograph of you
father and grandfather. I expect to send you one of my grandfather so you
can compare it with your older pictures and return it to me.
Frank B. Crawford.
[4-page undated typewritten letter-sized paper; either original with a used
ribbon or carbon copy; with some handwritten notes]
Letter 2 Attachment
James Crawford (1738 – 1775)
October 20, 1738, the officials at the land office of the Colony of
Pennsylvania, acting as agents of the proprietors, gave a warrant to
James Crawford for land in Pennsboro township, Lancaster county,
Pennsylvania. In 1743 this land was surveyed for Mr. Crawford, and
it lay immediately along the north bank of the Yellow Breeches Creek,
in what is now Allen township in Cumberland county. This stream empties
into the Susquehana river about two miles south of Harrisburg, and the
land lies but a few mile at most from that city. The patent for this
land was granted to him June 6, 1761, which patent and survey called
for 157 acres of land, with an allowance of six per cent for roads,
etc. (Patent Book AA, volume 3, p. 352, office of internal affairs,
Harrisburg, Penn.). "This was a grant direct from the Commonwealth".
Land at that period was worth from fifty cents to five dollars per acre.
Mr. Crawford was living in Allen township when Cumberland county was
organized in 1750, as shown by the county records, and these same
documents show that he was continuously a tax payer in the same locality
until his death, in 1775. If complete, there is no reason to doubt that
these county records would show that he lived on his land along the Yellow
Breeches Creek in Allen township from the time of its purchase in 1738
until 1775. His sons continued to reside there for many years after their
father's decease – their names were Robert, William, James and John.
In 1745 the Lancaster county Commissioners approved a road seven and
a half miles in length which had been but recently laid out under their
orders by a committee consisting of Mr. James Crawford and three other
citizens. This road extended from Thomas Wilkins's ferry along the west
side of the Susquahanna river to Nathan Hussy's ferry (Goldsboro). At
this point the road connected with a road laid out in 1742 extending
northwesternly to where the city of Carlisle now stands, crossing Yellow
Breeches Creek at Lisburn and passing directly through Allen township.
The Cumberland county records show that upon the 8th of October,
1765 Sarah and John Pipen secured the services of Mr. James Crawford
of Allen township, conferring on him the power of attorney to represent
and act for them in certain business matters. These simple incidents
show that Mr. Crawford was considered a man of ability by those in power
in his county and had the confidence and esteem of his neighbors. In
1774 Mr. Crawford was assessed three shillings on land which he was
holding in Monaghan township in York county.
James Crawford of Allen township, Cumberland county, died prior to
June, 1775, leaving two sons, William and Robert, above 21 years of age
also two, James and John, minors above 14 years of age, and at the session
of the court for June, 1775 the Court appointed William Rankin, Esq.,
guardian of the persons and property of these two minor sons of James
Crawford deceased. This William Rankin was a Quaker, also a very large
land holder, a magistrate, a man of prominence, colonel of a Pennsylvania
regiment, and active in both civil and military affairs; but in 1777 he
and his two brothers turned against the patriots and fled to England,
where they remained until their death.
The records of York county show that John Baughman of Allen township
in Cumberland county on December 4, 1789 deeded to James and John Crawford
of Allen township land that lay in Monaghan township, York county. Monaghan
is separated from Allen by the Yellow Breeches Creek only. (deed book 2 H,
p. 37). Again (deed book 2 H, P. 38) the records show that William and
Robert Crawford of Augusta county, Virginia, gave to James Crawford of Allen
township, Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, a waive[r] of all claims ( a
quit claim deed) against his land in Monaghan township, in York county,
the deed bearing date March 22, 1791. This deed states that William,
Robert, James and John were all brothers and the sons of James Crawford.
Again (deed book 2 H, p. 39) the records show that James Crawford and
Ann his wife and his brother John all of Allen township, Cumberland county
deeded a tract of land lying in Allen township to John McGrew, Jr., of the
same township September 24, 1791. The deed states that all were residents
of Allen township, Cumberland county, and that James and John, and William
and Robert were sons of James Crawford. The father of these boys was most
probably born as early as 1715.
That one of Mr. Crawford's four sons whose name was James married Ann
Eliza Jameson in York, Pennsylvania, in 1788 or '89. She was the daughter
of Colonel David Jameson of Scotland and his wife Elizabeth daughter of
Thomas Davis of York, Penn. This James Crawford was born in the year 1760
or within a year thereof, and at the time of his marriage he was a clerk
in a store in York town, where his wife had been born and reared. Taking
advantage of the opportunity offered, he studied medicine under his
father-in-law, a practising physician, his wife's five brothers also
being fellow students under their father and afterwards practicing their
profession in that portion of the state. Having remained in York and at
his old home in Cumberland county for some years, during which period four
children were born to them, Dr. Crawford moved to Strasburg, Virginia,
where he practiced his profession until 1807, when he removed to
Franklinton (Columbus), Ohio, in which settlement he continued the
practice of medicine until his death in March 1812. His grave may
still be seen in Columbus. His son David Jameson remained in Strasburg,
Virginia, when the father and the other members of the family moved to
Columbus. He was a clerk in the store of a Mr. Hupp, and later moved to
Woodstock, Va. The children of Dr. James Crawford and his wife Ann
Elizabeth (Jameson) were:
David Jameson, born Feb. 15, 1790; married Elizabeth Caw [? Saw? Gaw?].
Elizabeth, born Dec. 13, 1791; died 1857; married Adam Brotherlin.
James, died as a boy in Columbus, Ohio.
Thomas, died as a boy in Columbus, Ohio.
[Handwritten note by Frank B. Crawford on back of page:]
"Our family is not related to the well known Crawford family of
Augusta County, Virginia, so far as known."
[Page 4 of typed notes is missing]
Notes, P. 5
"John, father of Major James Crawford of Hanover township, Lancaster county,
Penn., was born in Ulster county, Ireland, of Scotch parentage, and emigrated
to America about 1728. With him came other members of the family, brothers
no doubt; James who located in Paxtang township, Lancaster County, and had
surveyed to him, March, 1738, 358 acres of land on the bank of the
Susquehanna river and adjoining the land of Robert and William Renick.
This location was afterwards secured by Joseph Chambers. James Crawford
removing to Hanover township, Lancaster County. Robert and Hugh Crawford
settled in the same neighborhood. The brothers probably removed from this
locality. John Crawford had a large family. Of his sons James was born
in 1732 and married Rosanna Allison; John was born in 1736; Richard was
born in 1740." (From Notes and Queries by Egle, vol. 3, p. 165.) My idea
is that this James Crawford must have also left Hanover and settled in Allen
township in Cumberland county and was the James who was the father of my
ancestor who married Ann Jameson,
[end of typing and beginning of handwritten notes by Frank B. Crawford]
and also father of your ancestor John Crawford, who went to Kentucky.
Probably brothers who came to America about 1728.
Robert Crawford, Hugh Crawford, John Crawford, James Crawford
[Below name of John Crawford is the following]
Major James Crawford of Hanover township, Lancaster County, Penn.
[Below name of James Crawford is the following]
Who removed to Hanover township, Lancaster County
This James could easily have located a little later in Allen township,
Cumberland County, which is but a few miles from Hanover and across
the Susquehanna River.
Nov. 30, 1907
Letter 3: November 30, 1907
For Mr. John D. Crawford
The will of James Crawford of Allen township, Cumberland County,
Pennsylvania, is here copied exactly as sent to me from Carlisle by
the County Clerk. The Clerk's own letter shows considerable illiteracy,
and the copy received did not have the usual sworn statement that the
copy was exactly like the will.
The photograph sent is a copy of a darguerreotype taken about 1844 in
Woodstock, Va. It is a likeness of David Jameson Crawford, grandson of
James of Allen township. He wanted to brush his hair and "fix up" for
his picture, but his friends told him to have it taken just so, as that
was the way they usually saw him. He was my grandfather. Several of
his daughters were very handsome women. He had been in politics for
sometime before his death in 1846, when he was a State Senator. My
impression is that he was like the Jameson, his mother's, family rather
than his father. Please return the photograph. Please send a picture
of your most remote Crawford ancestor. I shall return it.
Yours truly, Frank B. Crawford, McDonogh, Maryland.
"In the name of God Amen.
"I James Crawford of Cumberland County Allen Township Province of
Pensylvania being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind
and memory thanks be to God, and calling to mind the mortality of
my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men to dy I do make
and ordain this my last will and testament.
"First of all I recommend my Soul to God that gave it and my body to
the dust to be buried in a desent manner at the descreation of my
Executers mothing doubting but I shall receive the same again by the
might power of God.
"And as touching such worldly substance as I am possessed of I dispose
of them in the following manner, first that my lawfull debts and funeral
charges be payd off the whole Estate.
In primis – I do bequeath to my daughter Mary White the sum of
forteen pounds to be paid one year after my deces ---
Item I do bequeath to my daughter Elenor Crawford the
sum of one hundred pounds to be payed as followeth twenty
pounds to be payd when she arrives at eighteen years of age and eighty
pounds to be payd when whe arrives at twenty-one years of age….
Whereas my son William Crawford hath wrought a considerable time
for the support of the family after he was of the age of twenty one
years in consideration of which service I do bequeath to him the sum
of fifty pounds….
"It is my will that after the above leagecye are Settled that the
remainder of my real and personal estate be equally devided to my
sons William Robert James and John Crawford. It is my will
that my real Estate be sold at Such a time as my Executers Shall
"I do constitute and ordain my Sons William and James Crawford
Executors of this my last will and testament…..
"And I disannul and make void all other wills and testaments and
leagecys by me bequeathed and I do recty and confirm this to be my
last will and testament: and I publish pronounce and declare this
to be my last will and testament in presence of these witnesses.
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand Seal this 7th day
of April 1775.
Signed Sealed in presence of } his
Hugh M Mullan } James X Crawford (Seal)
Daniel Balley } mark
Hugh Laird }
" Cumberland County SS.
Personally appeared before John Armstrong Esqr. Deputy Register for
Probate of Wills and granting letters of Administration Hugh McMullan
Daniel Balley and Hugh Laird, the three subscribing Witnesses within
Instrument of writing and on their solemn oathe declare and say
that they were personally present and heard & Saw the within named
James Crawford Sign by his Mark, Seal publish pronounce and declare
the within Instrument of writing as and for his Testament and last
Will that at his so doing he was of Sound & disposing mind, memory
as these deponents believe, and that they signed their names as
witnesses to the Same in the presence of the Testator and of each other.
Sworn and Subscribed } Hugh McMullan
This 5th day of June 1775 } Daniel Balley
John Armstrong } Hugh Laird"
Letter 4: December 6, 1907
Since beginning the enclosed will your letter of Dec. 1st has reached
me. The man now examining the records of Cumberland County for me has not
yet made any report to me and will not do so in all probability for some
weeks. I am letting him make a thorough examination for anyone by the
name of Crawford from 1700-1800. When he has sifted the records if he
does not mention John Crawford's marriage, I shall take pleasure in asking
him to try to look into that special point.
I identified my ancestor positively by finding his and his wife's
name, signed to a document in a sale of land. This sale was made in
1791, September 24, and John's name was then signed without any wife.
The Mr. Chambers you refer to bought the land that Mr. Crawford had
selected in Lancaster county lying along the Susquehanna river. He had
failed to comply with the requirements and Chambers took it up in his
stead. It may be Mr. Crawford liked the Land along the Yellow Breeches
better, for although he got a patent for both tracts, he actually secured
the 156 acres on the Yellow Breeches in 1738, the same year that Chambers
got the other tract.
I shall be glad to see any photographs you send and shall take good care
of them, Returning them if you wish or keeping them with a great deal of
interest. Please send them shortly, so that I can take them home and
show them to my father and his sisters, (two of whom are living) when I
go home at Christmas.
I am rather surprised to find that James Crawford, of Allen, made
"William and James" his executors, for James was but little over 15
or 16 years of age, as I figure it, and was certainly not of age.
My ancestor, the minor James just mentioned married 1788-'89 in York
town, York Co., Penn, Ann E. Jameson and about 1795 went to Strasburg,
Va. In 1807 he took all his family save his son David Jameson to
Columbus, Ohio, and he died in Columbus in 1812. His son David
Jameson never saw him after 1807. He went to Columbus once (or twice)
to visit his mother, who married twice after 1812 and outlived her last
husband. There was at that period very great difficulty in sending mail
between Va. and Ohio, so that there was little opportunity for David
Jameson to get much information about his ancestors even if he had so
desired. He was, too, but 22 years of age when his father died, and
young persons do not usually care anything about ancestors. My father
only knew the name of his grandfather's wife, the time of the marriage
within two years, the place it took place, and that the family is
Scotch-Irish. His father had hazel eyes, and so has my father. The
James Crawford who went to Columbus had two sons who died in boyhood
and a daughter Elizabeth. This daughter married a Mr. Bretherlin in
Columbus and had two daughters, each of whom married twice and died
widows and childless. They both tall and of good figure as well as of
good facial features. As a boy I saw the older one who must have been
nearly 5 ft 10 inches. She adopted a pretty little girl who is now
living in very considerable style as a widow in Columbus and enjoying
the fortune left her by her adopted mother.
The younger of Mrs. Bretherlin's children became secondly a Mrs. Searls
and died about 1904 aged about 85. She was a well proportioned woman
and six feet tall or but a little less. I saw her about 20 years ago.
She was a woman of great worth. The civil war separated these two sisters
from their cousins in Virginia, for we are all strong Southerners. My
grandfather was a democratic officehold, Senator when he died and we are
all democrats. Our family has also always been Presbyterian. The best
friend I have is an Eastern Virginia Baptist. James Quarls[?] Chambers
at one time a teacher in the military school in Lexington, Mo., and now
a doctor in Kansas City, is a good friend of mine. Russell DeWitt, now
employed by the Government in trying to control the Missouri river, was
one of our pupils here and is an acquaintance of mine.
One of my father's brothers was in the infantry for a time and later
served through the war as a surgeon in the 13th Va. regiment. The other
brother was first lieutenant of Company A, First Va. Cavalry for four
years, serving under J.E.B. Stuart wherever his cavalry rode. The only
child and son of the former is practicing medicine in Wilmington, Delaware.
The only son of the latter is now in partial charge of the medical
department of the Hospital of the University of Maryland in Baltimore,
Md. My brother's son has just entered the medical department of the Hopkins
University in Baltimore.
Yours very truly, Frank B. Crawford, McDonogh, Maryland, Dec. 6, 1907
Mr. John D. Crawford
Letter 5: January 22, 1908
408 Ohio St.,
I should have let you hear from me before this. I have been waiting
to hear from the searcher in Carlisle, Penn., before writing to you. So
far nothing has arrived. He had several other searches on hand when I
first engaged him, and has not yet worked them off, I suppose. I think
the best way is to let him take his time, as he is very much interested
in this research work, and will do it more thoroughly than if hurried.
It is a very slow business, any way. I was permitted to spend much of
my Christmas holidays with my father, who was enjoying [h]is usual
good health, although I thought he was not so strong and active. He
drove me to the train when I left. On the 12th of this month he passed
away after a 6 day illness of pheumonia. He was nearly 83, his end was
painless and peaceful and he was entirely clear in mind until a half hour
before the end.
At Christmas I asked him whether he had ever seen any one who
resembled your father's picture. He said "why, yes, my father looked
something like that," and showed a great deal of interest in the
photograph. I think that if both the photographs had been taken
under the same conditions the two faces would be still more alike.
Your father's mouth is much like that of our family and there are
other strong points of likeness. I am sending back the photograph.
If you care to keep the one I sent, hold it, and maybe I'll write for
it some time. There is no danger of finding a "jail bird" or the like
among my Crawford ancestors, I am sure. I have no idea of giving up my
searching, and when I find anything of worth shall let you have it.
With best wishes, I am, Very Sincerely,
Frank B. Crawford
Jan. 22, 1908
For Mr. John D. Crawford, Sedalia, Missouri
Letter 6: June 27, 1908
From tax lists of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
The taxlists show that James Crawford was taxed in Allen township
in Cumberland County, Penn. In 1762-'65 on 100 acres, 1765-'70 on 1
servant, 150 acres, of which 40 acres were cleared land, 4 horses, 6 cows,
10 sheep. 1770-'75, on 150 acres, 60 cleared, 2 horses, 2 cows, 4 sheep.
His son William first appears as a freeman, i.e., 21 years of age, in
1770. The above James Crawford died in 1775, and thence yearly William
appears as a property holder. In 1776 he is assessed on his father's
property, 100 acres, 40 cleared, 1 horse, 1 cow, 3 sheep. In 1778 the
property stands practically equal in the names of William and Robert,
(brothers) and that year James appears as a freemen. In 1777 this James
is taxed on 1 horse, his brother Robert on 2 horses, 2 cows, and in their
brother William's name stand the 140 acres, 1 still, 3 horses, 4 cows.
In 1780 Robert was taxed on 2 horses, 2 cows; William on 156 acres,
1 still, 4 horses, 3 cows; James is called a freeman, and their brother
John Crawford's name first appears as a freeman. This would go to show
that he was born in or near the year 1756. The record for 1781 is
similar. That for 1782 has James 78 acres; the brother John, a cooper,
39 acres and his trade as worth L 50, 1 horse; William 39 acres, 1 still
of 85 gallons, 3 horses, 3 cows, 3 sheep.
Whereas Robert's name disappears from the taxlists in 1782, William's
disappears in 1785, the lists show James and John simply freemen for 1785
and 1786. From other sources we know that William and Robert had gone to
live on the south bank of the Yellowbreeches Creek in Monaghan township,
in York County, Penn., on a 40 acre tract that their father had owned.
They had simply moved across Yellowbreeches Creek and by so doing gone
from Cumberland County into York County. The year 1787 shows simply
Crawford & Whitman 200 acres, and John and William appear as freemen.
James has gone. From other sources we know he had gone to live in York
town and that he became a clerk in a store there and 1788-'9 married the
daughter of Colonel David Jameson, who was the first and only doctor in
York County from 1740 on for many years and was a cultivated, college
bred Scotchman and intimate friend of Gen. Hugh Mercer, whose valor in
the Revolution forced the U.S. government to erect a splendid monument
to his memory in his home of Fredericksburg, Va., in 1907. Dr. Jameson's
other two daughters married two of the leading men in York. The years
1788 and 1789 show James and John taxed on 115 acres valued at L 430.,
1 saw mill L 20., 2 horses, 2 cows. Their names thenceforth appear no
more on the taxlist of Cumberland County, James and John were living in
Monaghan township, York County, and William and Robert had gone to live
in Augusta County, Virginia.
William was born in 1748 or '9; Robert in 1753 or '4; James in 1756-7;
John in 1758 or'9 (unless I am greatly in error) and they were all sons of
James Crawford who had owned the above 140 acres in Allen township since
1738 and most probably lived there. When the property held by this James
Crawford is compared with that of the other settlers scattered around Penn.
we see that he was a prosperous and well-to-do farmer. His name is signed
to a call drawn in 1765 to a Presbyterian minister along with 42 other men
promising to pay his salary. He was given the power of attorney in the case
of a mother and son who had property. He was one of four men to lay out a
certain road 8 miles in length in 1743 and for this had been appointed by
the proper authorities, who also approved their work. Although his will
was signed by his mark, yet that mark is a capital J made so J. And in
the will he states that he is "very sick and weak." So that I firmly
believe that he could write. Remember the J was the initial of his first
name. The copy of the Will sent to you by me was very imperfect. I have
another made by an intelligent person which shows certain defects in the
one you have from me. The man who searched for me in York County as well
as he who searched in Cumberland County found no record of a marriage of
John Crawford to anyone. They made special search for this point. The
one in Cumberland County has a great list of all marriages about that time
in Cumberland County and thinks he has cleaned up the records of marriages
completely. The York County man was not up on the marriages and thought
something might be done by working church records but he did not do it.
If ever I can get the time I shall send you something else that has
been dug up by these searchers. A party in Lancaster is searching
Lancaster county for me now. I hope to let you have the benefit of
these searches. They show a number of different persons named Crawford.
I believe, however, that you have got hold of the right John.
I have time just now for only so much. I am sorry not to be able to
give you any more definite information in regard to John Crawford's
marriage. Do you know anything about the ancestry of Governor Coe I.
Crawford of South Dakota?
Yours very Truly,
Frank B. Crawford
June 27, 1908