Crawfords came from Georgia in 1858

Published 11:59 pm Friday, April 17, 2009

Descendants of the Crawford families who have resided in Covington County since the 1860s are endeavoring to trace their ancestry through earlier generations. Today’s column will be a summary of known family history with hopes that some of the descendants or Crawford researchers will respond with assistance.

The earliest ancestor of this family to be identified in this county is William C. Crawford who was born between 1808 and 1812 in North Carolina. He was married on January 22, 1835, in Henry County, Georgia, to Sarah Widner, daughter of Henry Widner. He and his family were enumerated in the 1860 Federal Census for Covington County. William was a farmer, and he and wife had nine children at that time. They migrated from Coweta County, Georgia, to this County between 1858 and 1860. They probably came in search of some of the land that was being sold at extremely low prices.

William C. was listed as a farmer at 48 years of age, and his wife Sarah, 42 years of age, was a native of South Carolina. The following children with them at the time were all listed as being born in Georgia: John, 20; Polly Ann, 18; Daniel R., 17; James S., 14; Nancy C., 12; Anderson Christopher, 9; Amanda E., 7; Sarah E., 5; and Martha C., 2.

Within the next two years as the War Between the States escalated, two of their sons appear to have enlisted as privates in the Confederate Army. J. A. (John ?) Crawford and D.R. (Daniel R.) Crawford were both assigned to Company I, 29th Alabama Infantry Regiment. The unit was formed out of Captain Sowell’s Company, 4th Battalion, Alabama Volunteers. After the war ended and a new voter poll list was made in 1867, D. (Daniel ?) and W. (William ?) were listed as registered voters in Beat Number Two of Covington County. This indicates Daniel survived the war and returned home to establish residence.

In the 1870 Federal Census for Covington County, William’s last name was written as Crafford with him listed at 61 years of age, and his wife, Sarah, had apparently died after the birth of their youngest son, George Washington, in 1862. Listed with William were the following children: Jane, 30; Riley (Daniel R. ?), 26; Mary A. (Polly Ann ?), 28; James, 22; Nancy, 18; Kitt (Anderson C. ?), 16; Sarah, 14; Martha, 12; and George W., 8.

On July 21, 1871, a Deborah Crofford, whose relationship to William’s family is not known, was appointed Postmistress of the Rome Post Office. She served in this role until she was succeeded by Allen Hart on September 19, 1873.

Other tracts of government land were purchased by the following members of the Crawford family. In 1893, William P. Crawford homesteaded 80.04 acres of land set aside for railroads in the Wiggins Township. In 1898, Anderson P. Crawford homesteaded 160.60 acres of railroad land in the Falco Township, and George W. Crawford homesteaded 40.22 acres in the Blue Pond Township. In 1907, James W. Crawford homesteaded 38.35 acres in the Falco community.

From the census reports and other family research, William W. and Sarah (Widner) Crawford reared the following children: Clarissa Jane, b. 1838, m. (1) William Gilmore (2) James Williamson; John A., b. 1840, m. 1877 Stewart County, GA, Mary Jane Howell; Mary A. “Polly Ann,” b. 1842, m. ? Blackwell or Blackman; Daniel Riley, b. 1843, m. Lillis A. ?; James Sterling, b. 1846, m. Edith Shaw; Nancy C., b. 1848; Anderson or Andrew Christopher “Kitt,” b. 1850, m. 1878 Amanda Jane Shaw; Amanda E., b. 1853; Sarah E., b. 1855; Martha C., b. 1858; and George Washington, b. 1861, m. Mary Francis “Fannie” ?.

The oldest daughter, Clarissa Jane Crawford’s, first husband, William Gilmore, probably died during the War Between the States, so she was back home in her father’s house with three young children, Sarah E., William, and John D. Gilmore, when the 1870 census was taken. She then married James Williamson and had two children: Vicey and Wiley Williamson.

The oldest son, John A. Crawford, returned from the war, but he chose to move to Georgia, probably to the area from which the family had moved earlier. He was married there in Stewart County in 1877 to Mary Jane Howell. After their third child was born, the family moved to Texas circa 1884. They reared the following children: Minnie, b. ca 1878; Mollie, b. ca 1879; John W., b. ca 1881; Mattie, b. ca 1889; Mamie, b. ca 1892; and Maybell, b. ca 1900. John A. was in Walker County, Texas, when he died in 1915.

The second son, Daniel Riley Crawford, made his home in Covington County after returning from the war. He served as Tax Collector for Escambia County, Alabama, during 1907 and 1908. He later moved to Brooklyn in Conecuh County where he was

living in 1920.

In 1886, William’s third son, James Sterling Crawford, homesteaded 80.25 acres of land in the Conecuh River Township. His family was enumerated in the 1900 Census for Covington County as residents of the Hart community in Beat Number 10. He was 55 years of age, and his wife, Edith (Shaw), was 50 years old. With them were the following children: Florence, 19; Elizabeth, 17; George, 15; and Martha A., 12, all born in Alabama.

William’s next son, Anderson or Andrew C. “Kitt,” was enumerated in the 1900 Covington County Census as residing four houses away from his brother, James S. Kitt was 49 years old, and his wife, Amanda (Shaw), was 47. They had the following three children in their home at the time: James, 22; Flora, 15; and Mandy, 11. When the Beda Missionary Baptist Church was constituted on September 1, 1888, Amanda Crawford was among the 16 people who were present.

William’s youngest son, George W. Crawford, was also living near his two brothers in 1900 when they all resided in the Hart community of Beat Number 10. George W. was 38 years old, and his wife Fannie, was 30. With them at the time were the following children: Nancy C., 8; William L, 7; Bertha D., 5; Sarah E., 2; and Gradie, 9 months.

Anderson or Andrew “Kitt” Crawford’s son, James William Crawford, was born in 1879 in the Falco community and died in 1941 in the Bagdad community of Northwest Florida. He was married on July 19, 1905, at Falco to Dora Salone Thomasson, the oldest child of John Thomas and Serilla (Boothe) Thomasson. The couple made their home in Falco where James W. worked in logging with the Florida Alabama Land Company (F.A.L. Co.). Falco had become a thriving lumber town with a population that numbered in the hundreds. A couple of raging fires literally destroyed the mills, the last one in 1924, so the Crawfords moved to Bagdad, Florida, where James would continue working in the lumber business.

James W. and Dora reared three children: Willie Alford, b. 1907, m. 1935 Frankie Wilkinson; Hilson Cleo, b. 1909, m. 1935 Vera Mae Cook; and Curtis Edward, b. 1912, m. 1936 Onie Bonifay.

Sources for this writing include family records, census records, Wyley Ward’s Early History of Covington County, Alabama, 1821-1871 and Original Land Sales and Grants in Covington County, Alabama, and Thomasson Traces. Appreciation is expressed to the three daughters of the above William Alford Crawford, Ida Dickey, Donna Adams, and Peggy Regino, for sharing their records.

A number of descendants in the Crawford family are interested in learning more of their ancestry. Anyone who might have additional information, especially of the earlier generations, is requested to contact them through this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL; call 334-222-6467; or e-mail: