History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by  Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 278
Professor Francis E. Crosson, whose close connection with the educational progress of Taylor county has constituted his life work as a vital and valuable force in the development and upbuilding of this section of the state, was born December 20, 1857, in Abingdon, Knox county, Illinois.  His parents were William Harvey and Asenath (Vinsonhaler) Crosson.  The father was born at Blanchester, Ohio, in 1833 and in 1855, when a young man of twenty-two years, became a resident of Abingdon, Illinois, where he was married in 1856 to Miss Asenath Vinsonhaler.  He engaged in farming until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he enlisted in defense of the Union as a member of Company D, First Illinois Cavalry.  He participated in the battle of Lexington, Missouri, was captured by Price, and paroled in 1865.  Later he crossed the plains with other gold seekers but after a year returned to Knox county, where he followed farming until 1873.  In that year he brought his family to Taylor county, Iowa, and made his home upon the farm in Ross township until his death, which occurred in August, 1894.  His wife was born near Hillsboro, Ohio, in 1835, and during her early girlhood accompanied her parents to Abingdon, Illinois, where she was living at the time of her marriage.  Following the death of Mr. Crosson she was married, in 1898, to Asa Stowell, of Gay township, and at present lives in Clearfield, Taylor county.
Professor Crosson acquired his early education in the rural schools of Illinois and Iowa, with a short time in the Bedford high school.  He then engaged in teaching for a few terms after which he had the benefit of a year's instruction in Oskaloosa College, of Oskaloosa, Iowa, and spent nearly two years in Drake University at Des Moines.  His taste and inclination, as manifested in (page 279) his youth, were along the lines of reading and study, with preference for the sciences.  While in school he decided to prepare for the medical profession and in one vacation spent much time with a physician in Des Moines.  He afterward returned to Taylor to engage in teaching that he might thus be enabled to continue his studies as a preparation for the practice of medicine, but became engrossed in school work and continued in that field of activity until his election to the county superintendency in 1895.  His first teaching was done in 1876 and was continued until 1879, when he entered college.  In 1883 he again resumed his duties as an instructor and with the exception of a year spent in newspaper work in Lenox he taught continuously until 1895.  He was then elected county superintendent, serving from January 1, 1896, until January 1, 1902, and with one exception no other county superintendent of schools in Taylor county has served as long.  He was elected for a third term, being the only county official ever thus chosen for more than twenty years.  In politics he has always been a republican, active in his work for the party's interests, for he believes firmly in its principles and seeks the general welfare through his support of its candidates.  After leaving the county superintendent's office he was in the employ of Maynard, Merrill & Company, school-book publishers, until 1905, when he became ill and the following year went to Los Angeles, California, with a hope that the change of climate would prove beneficial.  The following year he returned to Taylor county, where he is now living.
In 1887 Professor Crosson was married to Miss Alice Isabel Dougherty, a daughter of Abner N. and Ellen Dougherty.  Mrs. Crosson was born in this county in 1863 and by her marriage has become the mother of three children; Phil, who was born April 14, 1888, and died June 20, 1905; Mary, born January 20, 1892; and Ellen, born September 25, 1894.  The family are widely known in this county and occupy an enviable position in those social circles where intelligence is regarded as a necessary attribute to congeniality.  For many years Professor Crosson has been a loyal member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and since 1880 has been a consistent member of the Christian church.  He holds to high ideals and throughout his entire life he has done with his might everything that his hand has found to do and performed all public service with a sense of conscientious obligation.