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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 792~


Arthur Crawford, Sr.


A former well known and highly honored resident of Windsor township, Fayette county, was Arthur Crawford, who was born February 11, 1825, in Carroll county, Ohio, the son of John and Martha (Donaldson) Crawford. John Crawford was born in Ireland in 1802 and when a young man came to America, locating in Pennsylvania, where he became acquainted with and married Miss Donaldson, who was born in that state in 1798. Mr. Crawford was a farmer by occupation, which business he followed throughout his life. In an early day in the history of Ohio he took up his residence in Carroll county, where he developed a farm, making it his home until his death in 1848. His wife lived to the ripe old age of ninety, dying in 1888. There were nine children, of whom the subject was the second.

Of these nine children, two came to Fayette county, Iowa. Rachel, the eighth in order of birth, wife of W. T. Grimes. Of Auburn township, Fayette county, came to this county with her husband in 1838. Robert Crawford, the seventh in order of birth, one of twins, enlisted in the late Civil war in Company A, Thirty-Second Ohio Infantry. During his service he contracted typhoid fever, from which he died at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in October, 1863.

Arthur Crawford was reared to manhood on his father’s farm in Ohio and when he had attained to mature years was joined in wedlock with Elizabeth Boyd, June 15, 1854. She was born in Carroll county, Ohio, the daughter of David and Agnes (Bell) Boyd. The father was born in Pennsylvania in 1810, the mother in Maryland in 1814. During their childhood they emigrated with their parents to Carroll county, Ohio, where they were married in 1832. Of five children born to this union, Mrs. Crawford was the eldest. The fourth child, Alexander, born in 1843, enlisted in Company I, Ninety-eighth Ohio Regiment, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Chickamauga and held in the rebel prisons of Belle Isle and Andersonville for fifteen months and three days, before being exchanged, and at that time was so diseased and emaciated that he was discharged at Washington, D.C. All of this family with the exception of Mrs. Crawford remained in Carroll county. The founder of the family was Alexander Boyd, who left his native home in Ireland and located in Peoria in 1798. Shortly after his marriage Mr. Crawford took his wife to a farm in his native county and devoted his time to the cultivation of the soil until 1861. Then at the first call for troops he enlisted in Company A, Thirty-second Ohio Infantry, for three years, and was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland. He took part in the battle of Green Brier and at Harper’s Ferry was twice wounded, carrying one ball in his body to his grave. He was captured at Harper’s Ferry, but made his escape and joined his regiment. The greater part of the time he was engaged on duty in the West and participated in the siege and capture of Vicksburg.

Prior to the Harper’s Ferry surrender, Mr. Crawford was in the following battles and skirmishes: Cheat Mountain, Green Brier, Harrisburg, Cross Keys, McDowell and Winchester, besides many other skirmishes and the surrender of Harper’s Ferry, where he was wounded and taken prisoner, carrying in his left side two rebel balls. With twenty-two others, he escaped from the rebel lines by crossing the Potomac, reaching his home in two weeks without a penny in his pockets; he was exchanged in ninety days and returned to his regiment. Being assigned to the Western division, he was at the siege of Vicksburg. Being disabled there with a broken arm and not fit for duty, he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps and there served out the remainder of his enlistment at Rock Island, Illinois, as sergeant of Nos. Nine and Twelve barracks, that contained the rebel prisoners. He was honorably discharged in Chicago, Illinois, at the close of his term of service, in September, 1864, and returned to his old home.

Two years later Mr. Crawford came West and located in Fayette county, Iowa. He bought a farm of ninety acres in section I, in Windsor township, afterward by additional purchases increasing it to one hundred and seventy-five acres. He sold parts of his farm at various times and bought other land in different parts of the township. At his death he owned eighty acres in section I (the old homestead), ten acres of wood land in section 2, eighty acres in section 10 and eighty acres in section 15, all in Windsor township. He willed the homestead of eighty acres to his son Artie, with an entail of two hundred dollars a year during Mrs. Crawford’s lifetime. Eighty acres in section 15 he willed to his son David. The balance remained the property of the estate. After Mr. Crawford’s death the estate purchased an additional forty acres in section 10 and thus the property remains today. Mr. Crawford placed all his land under a high state of cultivation and greatly enhanced it value by many excellent improvements. Besides his farm interests, he was connected with other enterprises. He encouraged the organization of the Fayette County National Bank, of West Union, and became a member of its first board of directors. The cause of education found in him a warm friend and while serving as a member of the school board he did much effective work in that line. He took a keen interest in all public affairs and kept well posted on the leading issues of the day, being always a staunch supporter of the Republican party. He was a member of Abernathy Post No. 48, Grand Army of the Republic, of West Union. Religiously he was a liberal supporter of the Presbyterian church for over forty-five years prior to his death. His wife has also been an active member of the same church since she was sixteen years old, and was one of the eight members who helped to organize the Presbyterian church in West Union.

To Mrs. And Mrs. Crawford were born seven children: Flora Addie, wife of David TURNER, of Windsor township, born September 3, 1853; Martha Ella, born August 3, 1858, wife of Samuel Johnston, of Jefferson county, Kansas; Elwell J., born May 30, 1861, married Mabel P. Doty, and he died October 1, 1901, leaving his wife, who resides in West Union, and two children; Nannie Bell, born February 24, 1867, wife of Grant L. Doty, of Union township; Jennie Boyd, born March 7, 1871, wife of Truman A. J. Doty, of Windsor township; Artie R., born April 9, 1877; David S. B., born February 16, 1880. David, at his father’s death, secured by will eighty acres in section 15, where he lived for some time. Through misfortune he lost his farm and at present resides at Mason City, Iowa, where he follows the plumber’s trade. In October, 1891, Mr. Crawford and family moved to West Union, where he installed them in a beautiful modern residence, now owned by Mrs. Crawford. The home farm was rented to his oldest son, Elwell, who remained there until 1896. Mr. Crawford passed from this life October 31, 1901. Mrs. Crawford, who survives, makes her home in West Union.

Artie R. Crawford, the sixth child of Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, born April 9, 1877, was educated in the public schools of the township until thirteen years of age, when the family moved to West Union, where he entered the public schools of that town. He did not graduate, but finished his education with two winters at Ainsworth’s Academy in West Union. During his last winter in the academy he entered a drug store to study pharmacy, but, on account of failing health, gave it up and decided to make farming his life work. He had been devoting the summer months for two years to farm labor, working by the month. In the summer of 1895 he worked with his brother Elwell, on the home farm, but in the fall of the same year he rented the farm of his father and continued as a tenant until his father’s death, when by will he became the owner of the farm. He also secured five acres of timber in section 2. The first four years of his tenancy he hired a family to live on the farm and keep house for him, but on November 28, 1900, he married Myrtle Carmichael, who was born in Union township, Fayette county, Iowa, April 11, 1877, the daughter of Morgan and Dorcas (Cullins) Carmichael, whose residence is Fayette, Iowa. Mrs. Crawford received her education in the public schools of Union township and the Fayette high school. After completing the high school course she taught school for one term, during the fall of 1894, and in January, 1895, she entered Upper Iowa University and remained for the spring and winter terms. In the fall of the same year she began teaching again, and taught until Christmas, 1896. In the early part of the year 1897 she entered a millinery store as an apprentice, and continued to work at the milliner’s trade until her marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Crawford have been born three children: Doris Dorcis, born March 25, 1902; Archie Verne, born September 10, 1903; and Dorothy Iola, born February 11, 1909.

Politically, Mr. Crawford is a Republican and takes an active part in the questions and issues of the day. He has held the office of school director, as well as various other offices of minor importance. While he does not adhere to any one church, Mr. Crawford is a believer in religious life. Mrs. Crawford is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. Crawford keeps up the high standard of cultivation of the farm so long practiced by his father. He takes especial interest in the breeding and raising of live stock and fancy chickens, making a specialty of Poland China hogs and Rhode Island Red chickens, raising between four and five hundred of the latter each year. In addition to his own farm of eighty acres, Mr. Crawford usually rents a farm of eighty acres, but during the current year has confined himself to his own farm with the intention of devoting his time hereafter to dairying, raising thoroughbred Holstein cattle."

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