Crittenden family settled in the Oakey Streak community

Published 2:30 am Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Crittenden family was quite prominent and well-respected in the Oakey Streak community in the Southern area of Butler County, Ala., where they resided on the Crittenden Plantation. The location is near the northern boundary of Covington County. A review of this family was prompted by a friend, David Floyd, sharing a collection of letters written by a Crittenden son to his family during the War Between the States.

The Oakey Streak area is quite historical and has been featured in a book written by Fern S. Nix which she entitled Oakey Streak-A Historic Landmark. It was published in 1980 and has received considerable appreciation. Hopefully, a review of the community and some of its history will follow in a future story.

The following is a quote from Fern Nix’s book: “The remote ancestors of the American Crittendens were a Clan of People who lived in the part of Scotland known as Cruten. The leader of the Clan was called the Dean of Cruten. Later, all of the Clan were known as “Crutendens.” There are many corruptions in the spelling of the name, but all who bear the name are descended from the same Scottish Clan. It is a very ancient name in Great Britton, the people being emigrants from Northern or Middle Europe and known as “Nordic” or “Teutonic.”

“Family tradition states that three Crittenden brothers emigrated to New England at such an early date that no record has been preserved, their motive being the avoidance of persecutions then inflicted upon the lovers of civil and religious liberty. It is reasonably certain that the Henry Crittendens appearing in Virginia are descendants of these brothers.” records identify an early ancestor of the Crittenden family as Henry Crittenden who was born in 1675 in Gloucester County, Va. He was married to Frances Upshaw who was born in 1689. Henry died in 1716 in Essex County, Va., and Frances died there in 1741. They were the parents of a son whom they named Henry Crittenden Jr. and who was born in 1708 in Essex County. Henry Jr. was married to Margaret Butler (1717-1782). He died in 1783 in Northampton County, N.C.

Henry Crittenden Jr. and his wife, Margaret, were the parents of Mary Frances Crittenden who was born in 1759 in Essex County, Va. and died in 1795. Mary Frances was married to Frederick Greene who was born in 1732 and died in 1787. According to the records found, they gave their son, Robert Greene, his mother’s last name of Crittenden. The son became Col. Robert Greene Crittenden who was born in 1783 in Sussex County, Va., and who migrated all the way to Alabama where he died in 1868 in Ozark, Dale County. He and his family migrated from Virginia through North Carolina and eventually settled near Milledgeville, Ga., which was the state capital at that time. Colonel Robert Crittenden was a Democrat who once served as a State Senator.

In their later years, Robert and his wife, Nancy Ann, lived with a son, Cincinnatus Crittenden, in Schley County, Ga., and later in Ozark of Dale County, Ala. Nancy, who was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church, died first in 1860, and Robert died in 1868 in Ozark. They were buried in “Old Darien” Cemetery, but the church and cemetery were removed to a new site near Ozark when Fort Rucker was built circa 1940. The Church at that time was renamed “New Prospect.”

Robert G. Crittenden was married circa 1808 to Nancy Ann Mary Crowder (1788-1860), daughter of John Bushrod Crowder (1765-1819) and Nancy Ann Crowder (1767-1830). They were the parents of the following children: William, b. 1809; John Hiram “Jack,” b. 1810, d. 1897, m. 1837 Caroline Elizabeth Greenway Stoneham (1820-1898); Frances Ann, b. 1812, m.  James M. Davis; Robert G., b. 1812, m. Ann Martha “Anna” Davenport; Cincinnatus Decatur, b. 1815, d. 1889, m. Emmaline Amanda Mahone; Henry, b. 1819; Mariah L., b. 1821, d. 1881, m. William W. Bailey; Caroline Elizabeth Greenway, b. 1822, d. 1897, m. Robert E. Owens; Oliver Alexander, b. 1825, d. 1901, m. Julia Elizabeth McCarter; Martha C., b. 1826, d. 1921, m. Robert Henry Terrell; Thomas, b. 1829; Nancy A. Crowder, b. 1830, d. 1889, m. John R. Andrews; Benjamin Franklin, b. 1831, d. 1914, m. Elizabeth E. “Lizzie” Owens; and James B., b. 1833.

The second son, John Hiram or “Jack” as he was best known was born in 1810 in Hancock County, Ga. He was married to his cousin, Caroline Elizabeth Greenway Stoneham on May 8, 1837, in Talbotton, Ga., where they were both residing. After living there for a time, they sold the farm and moved to Oak Bowery, Ala. From there they moved to a place about midway between Loachapoka and Notasulga, Ala. Around 1850, Jack purchased land about 10 miles south of Greenville, Ala., but they only lived there about two years. The land and area were too swampy and unhealthy seeming. They next moved to the Oakey Streak community where they settled and reared their children. They made this their final home before their deaths in 1897 and 1898 respectively.

Caroline Elizabeth G. (Stoneham) Crittenden was born in 1820 in Sparta, Ga. While she was a young child, her parents moved to Conecuh County, Ala., where her father’s brother, George Stoneham, was living on a plantation. The location was in the forks of the Sepulga and Conecuh Rivers just across the Sepulga River from the Town of Brooklyn. In the Summer of 1835, both parents died within a month of each other from a fever, which left a large number of orphaned children. The Uncle George was made guardian of the children and administrator of the estate. The girls went to live with their Aunt Nancy Crowder Crittenden in Talboton, Ga. The boys were taken into the home of their Uncle George Stoneham.

John Hiram “Jack” and Caroline Crittenden were well known in their local community and even beyond. They often entertained in their home for various social gatherings. It is believed they were members of the Universalist Church, but since there was not one at Oakey Streak, they attended the Methodist Church and occasionally the Consolation Primitive Baptist Church. Jack was a member of the local Masonic Lodge. At their deaths, they were buried in the family plot of the Oakey Streak Cemetery.

John Hiram “Jack” and Caroline Elizabeth were the parents of the following children: John H., b. 1840, d. 1862, single; Oliver Hiram, b. 1842, d. 1895, single; Joseph Dillard, b. 1844, d. 1845; Joseph T., b. 1848, d. 1864, single; George Stoneham, b. 1854, d. 1918, m. 1874 Martha Lavinia “Mattie” Rousseau (1858-1936); and Robert “Bob” Greenway, b. 1861, d. 1936, m. 1891 Mary Ann Stallings (1867-1928).

Next to the youngest son, George Stoneham Crittenden, was born in 1854 and died in 1918 in Grimes County, Tex. He was married in 1874 in Leon, Ala., to Martha Lavinia “Mattie” Rousseau, daughter of James Pickens Rousseau (1825-1893) and Mary Ann Elizabeth Mathews (1829-1894). The Rousseau family settled in the Rose Hill community of Covington County.

George and Martha Lavinia Crittenden moved to the “Banks Place” near Navasota, Tex., circa 1880. They were the parents of the following children: Caroline “Callie” Elizabeth, b. 1875, d. 1948; Alma Gearld, b. 1880, d. 1942; John Rousseau, b. 1883; Annie Phillips, b. 1885, d. 1959; George Mozea, b. 1888, d. 1954; Margaret Lavinia “Maggie,” b. 1891; and Eunice Evelyn, b. 1896, d. 1897.

The story of this family will be continued in next week’s column through a look at them during the War Between the States during which two sons lost their lives.

The sources for today’s narrative include and Fern S. Nix’s book, Oakey Streak—A Historic Landmark.

Anyone who might find an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: