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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 989~


James R. Crawford


One of the brave boys in blue who, when the tocsin of war sounded on the distant fields of the Southland, left the parental roof-tree while yet a mere lad and offered his life, if need be, for the perpetuation of the Union, was James R. Crawford, one of the best known and highly honored residents of Fairfield township, Fayette county, and there are many reasons why we should honor him and give him proper recognition in the history of this locality as we shall see by a perusal of the following paragraphs.

Mr. Crawford was born July 3, 1844, in Medina county, Ohio, and is the son of James and Phoebe (Hartman) Crawford, also natives of the Buckeye state, where they grew to maturity and were married about 1825. Some twenty years later they moved to Jefferson county, Wisconsin, where they remained three years, then, in a covered wagon, they made the overland trip to Fayette county, Iowa, having been drawn here by an ox team. They brought with them a cow and heifer and a swine, and when Mr. Crawford paid for a farm of one hundred and forty acres, located three-fourths mile north of Arlington, he had twenty-five cents left in his pocket. He remained on this farm for thirty years and became well established, then moved into Arlington where he lived six years, after which he moved to the state of Washington, where his death occurred at the age of eighty-two years, ten months and thirteen days, his birth having occurred on July 9, 1805; his wife was born August 18, 1806, and she died on January 3, 1892. Mr. Crawford was well known and highly respected by a large circle of friends. For many years he was justice of the peace, during which time he married many couples. He was a Democrat politically. He and his wife were the parents of ten children, of whom seven are living, namely: Leonard; Susan is the wife of D. Sweet; Matilda A. is the wife of George Hotelling; Jasper N.; Annie is the wife of H. Hull; Jacob B. and James R. Those deceased are Elizabeth, who married a Mr. White; Wilson and Sophronia.

James R. Crawford, of this review, spent his boyhood at home and when only fifteen years of age he enlisted in the regular army, having but a very limited education, and he was assigned to the Sixteenth United States Infantry. He saw some hard service, having taken part in thirty-two engagements, some of the more important being Shiloh, Fort Donelson, Corinth, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga. In the last named battle his regiment began with sixteen hundred and fifty men and came out with thirty-seven, and General Thomas cried when he reviewed the remnant of this brave body of men. Other engagements in which Mr. Crawford took part were Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Jonesboro, with Sherman on his march to the sea. He made a very gallant soldier, according to his comrades, and he received an honorable discharge on December 15, 1864, having served three years. Although he was in many hotly contested fights he received only two slight scratches from bullets, one on the leg and one on the hand.

After his army career, Mr. Crawford returned home and in a short time went to Missouri, where he remained three years, then returned to Fayette county, Iowa, and was married, in 1871, to Lucena S. Robbins, daughter of Rev. O. R. and Alzina (Wetmore) Robbins of this county. Her father was born in New York, December 10, 1810, and her mother was born in Vermont, October 28, 1810. They were married in Michigan when Mr. Robbins was twenty-one years of age, and they came to Iowa in 1855 and located on a farm adjoining Arlington, his home having been near the first house built in the town, then known as Mowtown (Charles Mow having built the first house there; the name was later changed to Brush Creek). Rev. Mr. Robbins devoted his time almost exclusively to the ministry of the United Brethren church, and he married many of the people of those early days in this county. His death occurred in 1889 and that of his wife in 1885. They did a great deal of good among the pioneers and were well known and greatly admired. They are both buried in the cemetery at Taylorsville. Eight children were born to them, two of whom are living, Lewis E., of Oklahoma, and Lucena, the wife of Mr. Crawford; those deceased are, Ralph, Harriet, Willie, Maria L., Mortimer and Abbie S. Mrs. Crawford’s grandfather was a physician in Brooklyn, New York, and lived to the remarkable age of one hundred and four years.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Crawford began life on a rented farm, then moved on his father’s farm, where they lived three years. They purchased twenty acres in section 16, which they later added to until they now have a splendid farm of two hundred and twenty-three acres in this section, which has been well improved and under a high state of cultivation, this having been Mr. Crawford’s home for the past thirty years, and he has been a citizen of this township for sixty-two years, therefore he is well known and has taken a leading part in the development of this locality. It is interesting to hear his reminiscences of the county’s growth form its wild state in which it was during his boyhood to the present, when it ranks with the most prosperous of the great Hawkeye state. He likes to talk of his forefathers, all men of sterling worth, and pioneers who did a good work, like himself, wherever they located. The name James has been a favorite in this family, himself and his son bearing that name, and his father and grandfather were also named James. The grandfather was a soldier in the war of 1812. The great-grandfather, also named James, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Thus, for several generations members of this worthy family have been ready to offer their services in defense of their country whenever occasion demanded. Politically, Mr. Crawford is a Democrat, while his fraternal relations are with the Grand Army of the Republic.

Mr. Crawford has three sons who remain with him on the farm; they are energetic and enterprising young men and are much interested in the farm, in which they are very successful. The ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. James Crawford are named as follows: Irene, born in November, 1897, lived about ten months; Nina P., born April 20, 1872; R. Ross, born December 19, 1874; James J., born January 18, 1877; Willie V., born June 27, 1880; Francis M., born May 8, 1883; Harry H., born November 26, 1885; Jessie J., born January 26, 1889; Lucile M., born August 21, 1894; Victor B., born August 10, 1889. Francis M. was married on March 3, 1908, to Hyda Wieshedel, daughter of Henry Wieshedel, of Fayette county, and they are the parents of a daughter, Enid A., born December 28, 1909. Harry H. was married, also on March 3, 1908, to Edith Brooks, daughter of Earl Brooks, of this county, and they have a son, Earl H., born May 20, 1910.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Tom and Sharon Dorland


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