Black Crittenden families came from Oakey Streak plantation

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 27, 2019

The prosperous Crittenden family of the Oakey Streak community in South Butler County, Ala., was featured in two different columns some months earlier. John Hiram and Caroline (Stoneham) Crittenden were the owners of the large Crittenden Plantation. There was also a narrative in this column of the letters sent home by one of the sons, John H. Crittenden, who served during the War Between the States as a private in Company G, Jeff Davis Rangers, 9th Regiment, Alabama Volunteers, , in Richmond, Va. One of the young slaves, Frank, went to assist John Crittenden during his service.

John Hiram or “Jack” Crittenden 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.

John Crittenden moved his family around 1852 to the Oakey Streak community near the southern border of Butler County. He brought with him many slaves, and through dedicated work and hard times, the family began to gradually prosper. He eventually acquired as many as 100 slaves who lived on the farm in quarters located behind the big house. At the end of the War for Southern Independence, the slaves were free to go where they pleased, but many chose to stay with the Crittendens. They were provided houses and land to farm for supporting themselves, so some lived out their lives on the Crittenden Plantation.

It has been reported that “the Crittenden owners and their slaves were loyal to each other and treated each other with kindness and respect. The Crittendens remained loyal to their owners during and after the Civil War.” That confirms why several chose to remain on the plantation and avail themselves of the support offered by their previous owners. Some of those who remained were Julia, Henry, Harriet, Abram and Loamy.

The births of many of the slave children were listed in John and Caroline Crittenden’s family Bible. Some of these were Joe, b. 1846; Julia, b. 1852; Loamy, b. 1853; Julius, b. 1857; Daniel, b. 1859; Burrell, b. 1863, d. 1941, m. Saphronia “Fronia” Jones; Frank, b. 1865; Jack, b. 1867; Larney “Lonnie,” b. 1872; Robert, b. 1888; Sarah; Hattie; and Gussie.

Joe or “Big Joe” Crittenden as he was known appears to be the ancestor of many of the blacks who took the Crittenden name from the former master. He was born circa 1818 and appears to have married Sarah “Sallie” Jones who was born about 1834. Big Joe died in 1920 in Oakey Streak, and Sallie died in 1880. The known children reported for Big Joe include the following: Julia, b. 1852; Loamy, b. 1853, m. Willie Lee Jones; Julius, b. 1857; Kenyen, b. ?; Daniel or Dinah, b. 1859; Burrell, b. 1863; Frank, b. 1865, m. 1889 Amerea “Maggie” Haynes; Jackson, b. 1867; and Lucinda, b. 1869. Also, in the 1879 federal census, a Tonson and an Adaline were listed, so there is some uncertainty in the actual number of children born to Big Joe.

The son, Burrell, or Burl as it is sometimes spelled, Crittenden, was born in 1863 in Oakey Streak. He was married circa 1900 to Saphronia “Fronia” Jones, b. 1875, daughter of Henry Jones, b. 1852, and Sarah, b. 1855. Burl became a farmer and was living in the Rose Hill community in 1910 and in the Straughn Schoolhouse Precinct in 1920. Burl and Fronia were the parents of the following children: Cleta, b. 1901, m. 1930 Andrew Jackson; Jorie, b. 1902; R.T., b. 1903; Burie C., b. 1903, d. 1991, m. Lula Valentine; Burl Jr., b. 1905; Dora M., b. 1906; Irvin, b. 1907, m. Bell Jones; Bessie Estelle, b. 1910; Kenneth D., b. 1910, m. Ruth ? (1910-2001); Sallie, b. 1911; Lillie Ray, b. 1912, m. 1939 Harvey Williams; Frazier, b. 1913; Dinkie, b. ca 1915; Gopie, b. 1916; and Frank, b. 1920.

The son, Frank Crittenden, was born circa 1865 in Oakey Streak and died in 1933 in Loango in Covington County. He was married in 1889 to Amerea “Maggie” Haynes (1874-1930). They were the parents of the following children; Martha, b. 1892; Quessie, b. 1895, d. 1971; Mary L., b. 1900; Esther “Essie,” b. 1901; Clinton, b. 1905; Wiley, b. 1907; Cathlene, b. 1909; Bobbie, b. 1912; and Hemp.

The son, Jackson Crittenden, was born in 1867 and died in 1933. He was married in 1897 in Covington County to Pinkie (Butler ?). They were the parents of the following children: Oliver b. 1896, d. 1964, m. 1918 Zellie Hawkins and Ella Harris (1904-1948); Sallie, b. 1902, m. (1) 1933 Alonzo Harris (2) 1934 Comer Tyler; Bessie Lee, b. 1904, m. (1) 1922 Jim Flagin (2) 1928 Henry Lee Freeney; Julia C., b. 1906; Odie P., b. 1908; Robert, b. 1910; Sally, b. 1913, d. 1982; Lizzie Mae, b. 1916, d. 2000, m. 1935 Willie Briggs (1920-2002); Francis, b. 1922; and Marshall, b. 1924. Oliver registered for military service in World War I.

The second oldest child, Loamy Crittenden, was born in 1853 in Oakey Streak. She and John Turk were the parents of a son named Larney who became known as Lonnie Crittenden. Lonnie was born in 1872 in Oakey Streak. He was first married in 1895 to Carrie Nix, and they were the parents of one child, Oliver, b. 1896, d. 1964, m. 1939 Arvella Upshaw (1900-1973).

Lonnie Crittenden was next married in 1902 to Isabella McClain (1876-1972), daughter of Lonnie McClain. Lonnie and Isabella were the parents of the following children: Earline or Elze, b. ca 1904; Aubrey, b. 1907, m. Mary Bell ? (1908-1971); Susie, b. ca 1908; Mattie, b. 1908, d. 1994, m. 1931 Willie Lee Jones; Lewis, b. 1910, d. 1967, m. Viola Curry (1916-1959); George, b. 1915, m. Betty ?; Arzell, b. 1917, m. 1938 Willie Mae Cowan; and Alfonza, b. 1920, m. Louise ?.

There is additional genealogical information available on other members of this Crittenden family, so another column may follow. This writer would especially like to hear in the next few days from anyone in this family who might share additional information. He may be contacted at the addresses below.

Sources for today’s story include census records, family records of Mattie (Jones) Freeney, daughter of Lonnie Crittenden’s daughter, Mattie (Crittenden) Jones, and family folders in the Andalusia Public Library, which are maintained by Linda (Grimes) Harrell.

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


The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 1, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. Anyone interested in Confederate heritage, especially any men who would like to join the camp, is invited to attend.