Crawford Family History - Part 2
By Bob Chope
As we continue the review of our Crawford lineage we quickly encounter perplexing problems. Our difficulties start with the popularity of the given name "David" in the family. This is made more vexing by the longevity of a large number of the male Crawfords, many of them remaining in Virginia for several generations, and the absence of reliable primary source information in Virginia from the late 17th and early 18th. This article attempts to sort out the reliable information from that which is suspect and accurately identify information to the David Crawfords of interest to the Davies family. The author finds this a daunting undertaking and would gratefully accept corrections or alternative explanations.
Part I of the Crawford series ended with the first David Crawford, (b. circa 1625-30) the son of John Crawford (b. circa 1600), who is believed to have been a Scottish immigrant who ventured to Virginia with his father. It is estimated that David was born in 1662. He was raised on his father's plantation in New Kent County, VA.
David married Elizabeth Smith. Because of the large number of records that have been lost in New Kent and Hanover Counties (Hanover County being formed from the part of New Kent County where David resided), David's date of marriage to Elizabeth is not known. It probably occurred between 1695 and 1697 based on the estimated date of the birth of their first child.
David and Elizabeth Crawford had the following children:
David, b. about 1697 - d. 1766; married Ann Anderson
Elizabeth, b. about 1699; married Captain James Martin (according to his will)
John, b. about 1701; married Mary Duke
Mary, b. March 1703; married John Rodes
Judith, b. about 1705; married Joseph Terry
Michael, b. about 1707 went South and nothing is known about him.
David Crawford was appointed as Captain of a troop of cavalry in the Colonial Virginia Militia. In this capacity David was given the honor of proclaiming George I, King of Great Britain, when George ascended the throne on 1714. (Memoirs of the Crawford Family, p. 19 & National Society of the Daughters of the Am. Colonists, Vol. XVIII, Item 17768) He rode from settlement to settlement in New Kent County announcing the reign of the new King.
David and Elizabeth resided in New Kent County until the place where they lived was divided off to form Hanover County. David became prominent in St. Peter's Parish of New Kent County, where he was elected vestryman on June 23, 1687. This was followed by him becoming warden in 1698 and holding this office in 1700, 1701 and 1704. The church offices of vestryman and warden of the Church of England may not seem as though they carried much importance, but it should be kept in mind that in Colonial Virginia the Church of England was the established church and is essentially part of the government. Citizens were required to attend services and pay a tax in support of the Church. The offices of vestryman and warden were only filled by the most respected and trustworthy citizens in a parish.
St Paul's Parish was split from St Peter's Parish in April 1704. Nicholas Meriwether and Captain David Crawford were appointed trustees for St Paul's Parish to settle the financial accounts between the two parishes. (Memoirs of the Crawford Family, pg.. 19) Hanover County was formed from New Kent County in 1720. At this time David's place of residence fell in Hanover, where he remained until joining his eldest son, David, moving west to Amherst County, Virginia.
It appears that Captain David inherited some of his father's property in New Kent/Hanover, as well as possibly acquiring some on his own. It is difficult to obtain an accurate account of landownership in Virginia because over the past two hundred years many records have been destroyed or lost.
David's father also left at least one four hundred acre tract of land to one of his Meriwether grandsons, William, and two hundred acres to his grandson, David Meriwether. (Hening's Statutes-at-Large of VA, Vol. 5, pp.257-259 and pp.300-302) Captain David Crawford's plantation in Hanover County is believed to have been situated on a 1,300 acres tract in Hanover in St. Paul's Parish. He also owned a 196 acre and a 277 acre tract of land near his primary residence.
Captain David moved with the family of his son, David, to Albemarle County, which later became Amherst County Virginia. The best estimate of the date that Captain David migrated westward is 1752. (Memoirs of the Crawford Family, pg. 13) With both Captain David Crawford and his wife Elizabeth being quite elderly at the time of their move, it seems likely that their son's family took them in because they would probably not be fully capable of taking care of themselves. Yet, there are references to Captain David settling in the area that would become Nelson County.
Captain David passed away some time in 1762 as evidenced by the probation of his will on September 6, 1762. (Memoirs of the Crawford Family p. 19 & Register of Ancestors of the Col. Dames of Am., p. 27). David's will was dated December 1, 1761 and in it he refers to himself as "anciant" (sic). A copy of his will has been found and its transcription will be a feature in a future article. Based on his estimated date of birth, Captain David passed the century mark, which seems quite remarkable for the age in which he lived. Nevertheless, there are so many references to David living to see his 100th birthday that it is difficult not to accept his longevity as fact. According to those who researched the Crawford family in the late 19th century, of which there were several, David was interred at the forks of the Stony Battle Road, just east of the Three Ridge Mountain in Nelson County, Virginia.
Not to be out done by her husband, Elizabeth Crawford outlived him. Proof of this is that she is mentioned in both her husband's and son David's wills. Her son's will was drafted in June 1766. This assures us that Elizabeth at least witnessed the 101st anniversary of her birth. Again, both David and Elizabeth enjoyed extreme longevity during a time when medical treatment and the simplest understanding of daily health care were primitive at best. What medical care that did exist was extremely scarce on the western frontier, which Amherst County was in the 1750s.
David Crawford II
David Crawford II, the son of Captain Crawford reached his maturity in the lower end of Hanover County, Virginia. He was reared in the emerging life style of a Virginia gentleman, yet retained enough pioneering spirit to venture west to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains when it became too costly to expand his land holdings in Hanover.
Before moving west David II married Ann Anderson in Hanover County in about the year 1728. Ann was the daughter of John and Sarah (nee Waddy) Anderson of Hanover County. There is some evidence, although only circumstantial, that the Crawfords and Andersons had connections dating back to their homes in Scotland. In fact, it is possible that a union existed between branches of both respective families who remained in Scotland, as evidenced by the union of one George Crawford, Esq. of Glasgow to a Peggie Anderson of the same town. We know about this marriage by a letter that has survived dated 1748, which would make George Crawford, Esq. a contemporary of Captain David and David II. More research is required to verify this possible connection. It could prove to be no more than an interesting coincidence.
Following their marriage, David and Ann Crawford farmed on land located on the South Ann River, near Beech Creek Ford, in Hanover County. (Memoirs of the Crawford Family, pg. 22) In 1752 David II moved his family, including his parents, to what was than Albemarle County at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It should be recalled that it was about this time that Nicholas Davies resettled in Albemarle County. The place where both David Crawford and Nicholas Davies settled eventually became Amherst County, although a portion of the hugh land grant owned by Davies was situated in Bedford County, Virginia.
Reviewing various surviving land records in Albemarle and Amherst Counties indicate that David II owned relatively modest acreage, especially when compared with Nicholas Davies' one tract of between 31,000 and 34,000 acres in Amherst and Bedford Counties. David II purchased 411 acres in Albemarle County from Mr. Robert Barnett in 1752. Between 1752 and 1758 David added about an additional 200 acres to his holdings in Amherst County and possibly another 400 acres purchased in 1752 in the part of Amherst County that became incorporated into the new county of Nelson. It is unclear whether the Nelson County land was purchased by him or his father, Captain David Crawford. Since the deed states that the land was sold by Landon Hughes to David Crawford, Jr. the author favors the assumption that this land was purchased by Captain Crawford. The Memoirs of the Crawford Family, however, suggest that this acreage was bought by David II, the son of Captain David.
David II and Ann had the following children:
Susannah, b. February 1, 1729 and married Nathaniel Barnett
John, b. February 14, 1731; d. before 1813
Elizabeth, b. February 5, 1733; never married
David III, b. February 2, 1734; d. 1802 - married Lucy Henderson
Joel, b. 1736; d. before 1813 - married Fanny Harris
Charles, b. December 23 1738, d. 1813 - married Jane Maxwell
Sarah, born September 26,1740; d. 1832 - married John Jacobs
Mary, b. August 8, 1742, d. 1841 - married Charles Yancey
Nathan, b. October 16, 1744; d. 1833 - married Judith Anderson (Judith was a cousin)
Peter; b. September 23, 1746 , died young
Nelson, b. April 7, 1748; never married
William, b. June 10, 1750; never married
Ann; b. October 10, 1752 ; d. 1814 - married Robert Yancey (Brother of Charles Yancey who married Mary Crawford)
It is generally accepted that David II built the manor home of "Tusculum," which has been the subject of several articles in this newsletter. Therefore, an in-depth description of the property will not be repeated here. There is, however, one aspect of the history of Tusculum that has not been dealt with in detail. It has been claimed by some earlier researchers of the Crawford family in Amherst County that David Crawford served as a magistrate in Amherst and for a time Tusculum served as the County Courthouse. This researcher could not find any documentation to support David II serving as a magistrate in Amherst, although it appears that his son, David III, was a County Justice. If this is correct it might explain one peculiar architectural feature of Tusculum.
The house has a breezeway at the lower level that is bridged by the second floor. A first floor room off to the right as approaching the house from the rear is totally isolated from the rest of the house. There are no stairs leading from this first floor room to the second floor. One must exit this floor room and walk around to either the front or rear door of the main part of the house to gain entrance to the rest of the structure. This layout makes some sense if this room was used for government or other business purposes. It would prevent those doing business in this room from having access to the family's quarters.
Despite enjoying excellent health his entire life, David II succumbed to an epidemic that swept through Virginia in 1766, the nature of which is not known. Based on the dates associated with David II's will, he passed away between June 1, 1766 when his will was written and August 4, 1766 when his will was probated. These dates place the most likely time of his death in early July. He was 69 years old. The will of David II primarily concerns itself with the disposition of a large number of slaves and some personal property. It is assumed that he distributed most of his property to his children prior to his death. Some evidence of this is found in Amherst County, VA Deed Book B, 1765-1769, pg. 50. On August 30, 1765 David transferred to his son Joel 400 acres on a branch of the Rockfish stream. This parcel has twenty-five acres cleared for cultivation and the remainder was wooded. It is likely that David transferred other parcels to his other children.
Crawford Family History - Part 3
Whatever the nature of the epidemic that caused the fever that led to David II's death, it did not take the life of his wife, Ann. Based on the date that Nelson Anderson and Nathan Crawford signed a bond as executors of the estate of Ann Crawford, it is certain that she passed away in 1803. Ann was about 95 years old at the time of her passing.
The history of our branch of the Crawford family in Virginia will continue with the next in the series addressing David III and his daughter, Elizabeth Crawford, who married Nicholas Clayton Davies. Following the next installment we may explore some of the other interesting members of this accomplished family.
Anonymous, Memorial of the Branch of the Crawford Family which comprises the *Descendants of John Crawford of Virginia, 1660-1883 with Notices of *the Allied Families (Referenced as Memoirs of the Crawford Family), *Privately Printed, New York, New York, 1883
Anonymous, Daughters of American Colonists, Vol. VIII, Item 17765.
Crawford, David, Will dated 1 June 1766, Amherst County, VA, transcription **provided by Evelyn C. Thomas, Nov. 23, 2006.
Davis, Bailey Fulton, A.B. Th.M., Amherst County Virginia Courthouse**Miniatures, An Abstract of all Items in Deed Book B, Amherst County, *Virginia, *1761-1961, c. 1961
Davis, Bailey Fulton, Amherst County, Virginia, Courthouse Miniatures an **Abstract of all Items in Deed Book E, Amherst, Virginia, c. 1963.
Davis, Bailey Futon, A.B., Th.M., Deed Book 2 of Albemarle County, Virginia in *Series with Order Book, 1744-1748, Amherst, Virginia, c. 1970.
McMurtrie, Anita, email message, May 12, 2007
Sweeny, Lenora Higginbotham, Amherst County, Virginia in the Revolution **"LOST ORDER BOOK" 1773-1782, Amherst, Virginia, 1972.
In addition to the sources given above, various notes and not attributed excerpts from larger genealogical works that were provided by various family members were used as sources for the composition of this article. This information is believed to be reliable, but when the information deviated from primary sources and well documented secondary sources, the author chose not to use it.