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Crouch, DeLay, Warwick

Elizabeth E. Crouch, wife of Henry DeLay


Compiled by Judy Griffin, 2007 - email address




John Crouch

John Crouch, Sr. was born circa 1720s and died circa January 1800 in Ross County, Ohio. He is said to have married Mary (possibly Mary Ashby) and they had at least seven children. Mary was born after 1720 and died after 1800. John Crouch came to Virginia 1749-1750, listed in First Families of America. (1) There are three seminal documents giving information on the Crouch family in Virginia, Origins of the Warwick Family, (2) an interview with John Sr.’s son David Crouch, (3) and the online article, John Crouch, Sr., of Tygart Valley (W) VA & Bourbon Co. KY, (4) the work of a Crouch researcher. These three documents, supplemented with land, tax, court and similar records have been used to compile information on our Crouch family.

Researcher Ms. Stalnaker has stated that John Crouch Sr. was born in 1728, Somerset, Maryland. From David Crouch’s interview, David’s wife stated that John Crouch Sr. was born on the Eastern Shores of Maryland. This means that earlier histories that stated he was one of three brothers that came from Wales were incorrect. Ms. Stalnaker: “We have narrowed our search down to Somerset County, MD, and surrounding counties, which is where we have traced John Crouch Sr., and some of the Crouch associated families, such as Fornelson, Wamsley, Delay, among others.” There were a number of Crouch families in Somerset County, Maryland, but no connection with our John Crouch Sr. has been found. The parents of John Sr. remain a mystery. In Virginia, the family of John Sr. was connected with the Warwick family, among others.

The first record of John Crouch Sr. is his 1750 land entry of 200 acres on the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac River in Augusta County, Virginia, which he sold the same day. There is an August 1753 Augusta County record where John Sr. was appointed to be a ‘surveyor of the highway’ in place of Peter Thorn and Lambert Pooper. (5) Thorn and Pooper had been appointed surveyors for a road from Coburns Mill to the County Line in 1750. (6) This was to be regarding a road from Coburn Mill, probably on the South Branch, to the Frederick County Line, where John Sr. probably lived. There is speculation that John Sr. was residing in Lord Fairfax’s South Branch Manor. However, one record of the early residents of Southern Branch Manor does not list any Crouchs or other related family names, except a Samuel DeLay, who is thought to be the father of our Henry DeLay. (7) John Sr. was mentioned as supplying meat, flour and other supplies to Fort Pearsall and other forts from 1756-1758. This fort was located near the South Branch River in present day Hampshire County, West Virginia.

Circa 1755 the Indian situation had become dangerous. The French and Indians attacked in the South Branch area, and it is said that by 1756 a number of the settlers there left, some going south to North Carolina. In 1756 John Sr. purchased 220 acres on the east side of the Yadkin River in Rowan County, North Carolina. The next year he was in court to prove his land rights and was listed with seven whites in his family, possibly two adults and five children. His son David said they were in North Carolina for two or three years, verified by John Sr.’s sale of this 220 acres in July 1760. This deed gave his wife’s name as Mary. John Sr.’s land was described as at the mouth of Reedy Creek on the east side of the Yadkin River. This area was described as a high and dry savanna ground. John Sr.’s land was a well watered location at the junction of the river and a creek. He probably had trees to build his cabin and savanna land to graze his stock.

By 1760, though the French and Indian War was not over, conditions in Virginia had improved. In addition, the previously friendly Cherokees were becoming a bigger problem in North Carolina, killing several settlers near the Yadkin in 1760. Settlers began to leave their homes in this area, and it is likely that John Sr. went back to Virginia at this time. He sold his 220 acres in Rowan County on July 11, 1760 and his wife Mary was named in the deed.

We lose track of John Sr. from circa 1760 to 1766. It has been suggested that John Sr. went back to the South Branch. However, the Warwick family information indicates that he may have gone to what is termed the Calfpasture settlement in Virginia (Cowpasture, Calfpasture, Bullpasture Rivers – wonderful names). James Warwick, son of William Warwick, married John Sr.’s daughter Elizabeth Crouch. In the Warwick article, it was stated that James Warwick met and married Elizabeth Crouch at the ‘Cowpastures’ before this family moved to Tygart Valley. The Warwicks moved to the Cowpasture River area by 1759 and headed west to Tygart Valley circa 1764 where James Warwick and his wife Elizabeth Crouch resided.

When the French and Indian War ended in 1763 people thought that threats from Indians was minimal in the mountains west of the South Branch area and land could be obtained by just settling on it. However, the mountains were difficult to cross and there were only a few Indian trails to travel into the area. In 1766 John Sr., a frontiersman, took his family, probably a few pack horses and some livestock, and moved across two or three mountains into the wilderness. They probably crossed the Cheat Mountains and Shavers Fork and settled in the vicinity of the area of present day Parsons, West Virginia. At the time, this area was in the West Augusta District, Virginia. They settled on the “flat land in lower Blackman Flats, just across the river from Alum Hill.” This is where Shavers Fork and Dry Fork join to form the Cheat River. It was stated in 1962 that “ . . . he [John] built his cabin and parts of the foundation were visible on the site a number of years ago but are all removed at the present time, leaving no trace.”

At this time there were no laws that guaranteed claims on the land. It was not until 1779 that the Virginia General Assembly established the Virginia Land Office that defined settlement and preemption rights for people who had settled and made at least minor improvements on unappropriated lands before 1778. These claims were generally known as ‘tomahawk rights,’ a person only needing to mark out his site with tomahawk slashed or his name carved on a tree. The part of Randolph County that later became Tucker County, was settled by John Crouch. The John Crouch cabin stood a half mile from the forks of the Cheat River, and a half mile from the city of Parsons, in Blackman Flats. The West Virginia Historical Marker, located near the South intersection of First and Main Streets in Parsons reads: “John Crouch, pioneer settler, established ‘tomahawk rights’ here in 1766.” (8)

After the Virginia Land Office was established, John Sr. received title to 400 acres from his 1766 settlement. This was the earliest year that any such titles were granted and there were only seven for this year. They were all scattered far apart and John Sr.’s was the only one on the Cheat River. He was the first permanent settler in this area and had no neighbors for many miles.

Exactly when, or why, John Sr. again moved is not known, but according to his son David, the family was at Tygart Valley by circa 1770. David described his father as living “on the gun and the range. As soon as the range was gone he wanted to move.” However, John Sr. was at Tygart Valley seventeen years before moving on to Kentucky. Moving another forty miles into the mountains, John Sr. settled on 400 acres lying on both sides of the Tygart River, just below the present site of Mill Creek. He was granted this land by right of settlement in 1784, when he also had an adjoing 142 acres surveyed but apparently sold before the grant was issued. His youngest three children, Sarah, Jonathan and David, were probably still at home. Four of his children were now or soon to be married and start families of their own – Joseph, Andrew, Elizabeth and John Jr. According to the History of Tucker County West Virginia, Tygart Valley was thirty miles long and five miles wide – one of the choicest regions in the state due to its expanse of level land and the abundance of wild game, a hunter’s paradise. According to son David, the Crouchs were not farmers, living mostly by hunting and apparently raising stock on the range – what we would later call ranchers in the far west.

The Crouchs lived mostly off the land, getting whatever else they needed by traveling to South Branch. David Crouch said, “We were about 50 miles from the South Branch. No settlement between us and South Branch. We crossed Cheat River in going there 9 times in 2 or 2½ miles. Never saw a crookeder river since I was born. The bed was composed [of] round stones, none less than a cannon-ball, or your hat, and was dangerous for the horses; and I never could see how they could cross on them. Afforded no settlement. Nothing but mountains on each side. We had five mountains to cross in going there that were so steep a horse could hardly carry a man over them. Never a wagon could get to the South Branch then and I don’t know that they could get to it from Tygert’s Valley now. There was not a wagon or wagon rut in Tygert’s Valley.” “Once a year my father would send in to the South Branch and get three bushels (80 pounds to a bushel) of salt. That would last us a year. Packed it over on horses.”

The earliest record for the family in Tygart Valley is a land grant of 1,000 acres surveyed on March 6, 1774. This land was divided between John Sr.’s sons Joseph and Andrew, his son John Jr.’s father-in-law Charles Fornelson, and a James Lackey. Serving in Ralph Stewart’s Tygart Valley men during Dunsmore’s War in 1774 were Ensign Joseph Crouch, Sergeant Henry DeLay, Private Andrew Crouch, Private John Crouch.

John Sr. and all of his sons except David signed a 1776 Tygart Valley inhabitant’s petition asking for three companies of rangers to garrison forts in the ‘Tigers’ Valley to protect the inhabitants from Indians. Our Henry DeLay and John and Andrew Crouch, among others, signed another Tygart Valley inhabitant’s petition in 1777 regarding county formation and their ability to travel to a county courthouse to transact business. This petition read, in part: “. . . your Petitioners Labours under great Hardships from their being obliged to tend Courts at Stauntown in Order to have their necessary business done, at the distance of one hundred & eight Miles from the nearest Inhabitants in the Tigers Valley. One hundred and fifty from the nearest Settlement on the West Fork of the Monangalia and two hundred Miles from the best inhabited part of our Settlement, which great distance & exceeding badness of the Roads, and the Difficulty of Crossing eight Large Mountains, forty Miles of which Road is uninhabited Viz from the Tigers Valley Waters to Powtowmack Waters. We are informed that the old part of Augusta are petitioning to have the same Divided into Smaller Counties for the convenience of the People; We your Petitioners Humbly Pray we may not be joined to any County on the Waters of James River or the South Branch of the Potowmack, nor Monongalia County for we flatter our selves we are able to Build & Support all Public buildings necessary for a County Town - Therefore we your Petitioners humbly request your Honourable House would take their Case under your Consideration & grant them a New County including the Tigers Valley Settlement & the Settlement on the west fork of [torn] Monangalia and also Buckhannan’s Creek Settlement, which will greatly Ease your Petitioners . . .” (9)

Again in 1780 the Tygart Valley inhabitants petitioned the legislature, this time asking to join Monongalia County and again stating travel difficulties. Signers of this petition were John Crouch Sr., John Crouch, Joseph Crouch, Andrew Crouch, and Charles Fornelson, among others. The petition stated that their settlement was 120 miles to the courthouse, requiring travel over eight mountains and many rivers and creeks to cross, often impassable. They requested to become part of Monongalia County, where they would have to travel only ninety miles with only one low mountain to cross.

In 1782 the Crouch families were on the tax list. John Sr. had four in his family, probably only two children still at home, Jonathan and David. In the 1782 Revolutionary War Claim, Monongalia County, a John Crouch was listed as providing 25 rations for the state, possibly John Sr. or John Jr. Son Joseph provided 71 pounds of mutton and 136 rations. By 1785 John Sr. was listed with only three in his household, probably only David was still living at home. Also in 1785 John Sr. was listed as exempt from personal tax. He was again on the tax list for 1786. During the entire time the family was in Virginia there was a constant danger of Indian attacks. Tygart Valley residents built forts, generally four to six miles apart, to protect themselves from the Indian hunting and raiding attacks that generally occurred in the spring. People lived in their cabins, but often moved into the forts when the Indians from Ohio were sighted in the area. Both David and Andrew Crouch’s interviews described these Indian attacks in some detail (online at www.rootsweb.com/~kyharris/crouch.htm.).

By the late 1780s life in Tygart Valley had changed. David Crouch said that new settlers were moving in, draining the swamps and planting corn. The range was probably disappearing as more of it was turned to crop growing. The Crouchs moved on and David stated that a “great part of the old settlers moved out when we did.” John Crouch Sr. and son David, daughter Elizabeth and her husband Henry DeLay, son Joseph’s father-in-law John Warwick, and the family of son David’s future wife, the Cassitys all moved to Kentucky in 1787 (Kentucky became a state in 1792). A few years later sons John Jr. and Joseph followed. They made the trip of about 600 miles by land instead of by water. To reach the Cumberland Gap, they would have had to first travel south, crossing over the Greenbrier River and following that river to where it joined the New River. They then would have followed the New River to Walker Creek, then probably up the valley of Walker Creek to where it joined the Holston River valley. They could pick up Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Trail by following the Holston River. Then it was only a matter of following the Wilderness Trail through the Cumberland Gap, then on northward to Boonesboro, Kentucky and the short trip up to the Lexington, Kentucky area. The Wilderness Trail was still a crude trail at the time and everything had to be carried by pack animals, since the trail was not wide enough for a Conestoga wagon until about 1796. According to David, the families settled about five miles east of Lexington about a mile from Bryan’s Station. In 1787 John Sr. sold his 400 acres at Tygart Valley and moved to Kentucky. By 1789 John Sr. was on the Fayette County, Kentucky tax list.

John Sr., his son Joseph, and son-in-law our Henry DeLay all moved to Ohio (now Ross County, Ohio) in the mid 1790s, less than ten years after their move to Kentucky. It was here that John Sr. died in 1800. After John Sr. died, his wife Mary returned to Kentucky to live with son David where she died about a year later. There is a will for a Mary B. Crouch, dated November 1, 1800, Bourbon County, Kentucky, that mentioned her husband John Crouch and son David. (10)

Most of the Crouchs were probably slave owners in Virginia and Kentucky before moving North. John Sr.’s sons David and John Jr.’s children remained in Kentucky, where they were slave owners. David had four slaves in 1850, six when he made his will in 1845. John Jr.’s son Noah had four slaves. It is quite likely that the Crouchs who remained in the South fought for the Confederate Army. Their cousins, and possibly brothers, who moved North fought for the Union.

These are said to have been the children of John Sr. and Mary:



Crouch – Warwick mysteries

Elizabeth Crouch, in the Origins of the Warwick Family: Elizabeth Crouch, daughter of Andrew Crouch, is said to have married James Warwick. James, the son of William Warwick, died at Old Town, Ross County, Ohio between 1810-1820. States James Warwick met and married Elizabeth Crouch at the ‘Cowpastures’ before this family moved to Tygart Valley. States their son John was born here 1759-1760. The Warwicks moved to the Cowpasture River area by 1759 and headed west to Tygart Valley circa 1764 where James Warwick and his wife Elizabeth Crouch resided. States circa late 1760s, Andrew Crouch and his brothers, Elizabeth Crouch and husband James Warwick to Tygart Valley – James and Elizabeth resided near Old Brick Church in Huttonsville District, now Randolph County. States that Andrew Crouch, married to Judith, was the grandfather of James Warwick and Elizabeth Crouch. States James Warwick and wife Elizabeth Crouch’s daughter Nancy was born in 1783 in Tygart Valley. James Warwick and wife Elizabeth Crouch were called as witnesses in April 24, 1783 in a case against Amy Bratton suspected of murdering her illegitimate child. In 1857 interview, Andrew Crouch stated that James Warwick was his Uncle and that James Warwick was in Tygart Valley This Andrew also stated he was the son of a John Crouch. 1780 court ordered James Warwick to be a constable in Greenbrier County, Virginia. Then 1781 James Warwick summoned to show cause why he ‘does not qualify as a constable, Greenbrier County.

Eleanor Crouch: According to the Origins of the Warwick Family, Eleanor, daughter of John Crouch, became the second wife of John Warwick in 1786 (son of William Warwick). This document also states that this John Crouch was the brother of Andrew Crouch, which would indicate that Eleanor was the daughter of John Crouch, Jr. John Warwick’s wife Mary had died and sons of James Warwick and Elizabeth Crouch, Jacob and Wyatt brought Eleanor to Kentucky.

James Crouch Mystery: James Crouch was wounded in an Indian ambush in Tygart’s Valley (Withers, Chronicles of Border Warfare, 1895. He was a possible son of John Crouch Sr. In the Origins of the Warwick Family: James Crouch, said to be John Warwick’s Uncle, brother of Elizabeth Crouch. James Crouch moved southward, settled in Washington County, North Carolina (now Tennessee). James Crouch’s sons appear on Washington County tax list as early as 1787. Into upper East Tennessee 1787. The children of James Crouch may have been Joseph and John. The children of these two men may have been James, John Jr., Jesse, Elijah. The John Sr. may have married Elizabeth Cloud Lane.



Tomahawk Rights Settlers (20)

John Crouch was probably one of the first seven tomahawk right men in Western Virginia, called Tomahawk Right Settlers. After the French and Indian War people believed that Indians would no longer be a problem in the region between the mountains and the Ohio River. They believed that anyone who settled on land and improved it could have it. These pioneers did finally get their land if they lived up to what was popularly known as the “tomahawk right.” A tomahawk right meant a small improvement to show that a man had stopped at that place and intended to stay. Some claimants merely hacked a few trees near a spring with their hatchet or ax or cut their name or initials on the bark of trees. In actual practice, most built a cabin, cleared land, and settled down permanently. If he wanted to move away, a claimant could usually sell his right – not called a “right” but a “settlement” in some records – to someone who took a chance that a deed or patent would eventually be given for the land.

The only lists of claims that have been published are for Monongalia County. The Transallegheny Historical Magazine, published at Morgantown in 1901 and 1902, gave the names of those who perfected claims, the location of the land, and the quantity, with date of settlement. It is believed that Monongalia at that time contained about half of the tomahawk rights in West Virginia. These rights, or they might properly be called homesteads, date as follows: In 1766, 7; in 1767, 2; in 1768, 4; in 1769, 22; in 1770, 91; in 1771, 66; in 1772, 143; in 1773, 247; in 1774, 168; in 1775, 227; in 1776, 139; in 1777, 22; year uncertain, 59. John Crouch was one of the seven who made a tomahawk right claim in 1766. The first seven men who located on tomahawk claims in the northern part of the state did not build their cabins near together to form a colony or neighborhood. They lived far apart, and visits from cabin to cabin could not have been frequent. A nearest neighbor could be forty or fifty miles away. It is not known why these men pushed so far into the wilderness, separating themselves from their fellowmen and burying their cabins in unbroken forests, which stretched days’ journeys on every side.

John Crouch’s location was in the present county of Tucker where the town of Parsons now stands, at the forks of Cheat River. He was a Welshman [undocumented] whose descendants have always been influential people in the region. He lived a few years at the forks of Cheat river and sold his claim to Adam Hyder and moved forty miles further and located again, this time in Tygart’s valley near the present town of Huttonsville. He died before the Revolutionary war, and his son John inherited his estate under the English law of primogeniture, as is shown by a reference to the matter in the early records of Randolph county. The son fought Indians and faced that peril for years, only to fall a victim in his own dooryard to the bite of a rattlesnake. [Death information incorrect.] Others were Thomas Merrifield, Richard Merrifield, Moses Templin, James Workman, William Roberts, Nicholas Decker.



Endnotes

1 First Families of America compendium of American Genealogy, p. 555.

2 “Origins of the Warwick Family,” Harry Hatcher, published in Union County, Tennessee by the Historical Society Quarterly publication Vol. 12. No. 2.

3 Draper Collection Manuscripts, Vol. 12CC225-29, Nicholas County, Kentucky. Online at www.rootsweb.com/~kyharris/crouch.htm.

4 www.genealogy.com/users/w/r/i/Thomas-Wright-Carmel/FILE/0006page.html.

5 Augusta County Road Orders, 1745-1769. Richmond: Virginia Department of Transportation, 1998. Augusta County, Book IV, 1753-1755. 16 August 1753, p. 11. Ordered that John Crouch and John Cuningham be Surveyors of the highway in the room of Peter Thorn & Lambert Pooper and that with the Titheables that usually workd under the sd Thorn & Pooper the Clear and keep the same in repair According to Law.

6 The Road Orders, 1742-1755. Pawlett, Nathaniel Mason and Ann Brush Miller, Kenneth Madison Clark, and Thomas Llewellyn Samuel, Jr., eds. Augusta County Road Orders, 1745-1769. Richmond: Virginia Department of Transportation, 1998. Augusta County, p. 22, 25 May 1750 Peter Thorn and Lambert Pooper are hereby Appointed to lay of and be Surveyors of a Road from Coburns Mill to the County Line [Frederick County line] and that James Rutledge gent lay of the tithebles to clear the same.

7 Charles Morrison, “Early Fairfax Land Grants and Leases Along the South Branch of the Potomac,” WV History, V. 37 (Oct 1976), pp. 1-22.

8 www.stephendcrouch.com/John%20Crouch%20Sr.htm.

9 Legislative Petition From Augusta County, 6 November 1777. Virginia State Library, Req. C 170.

10 Bourbon County Will Book B., p. 113.

11 Mary Stephenson Sailors, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Jefferson Crouch.

12 Hu Maxwell, History of Randolph County.

13 Hu Maxwell, History of Randolph County.

14 West Virginia Estate Settlements, Randolph County.

15 Hu Maxwell, History of Randolph County, West Virginia.

16 History of West Virginia, Old and New, The American Historical Society, Inc., Chicago and New York, Volume III, 1923, p. 560-561. http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/wv/randolph/bios/crouch.txt.

17 History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, ed. by William Henry Perrin, O. L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1882, p. 527.

18 Wheeler.

19 Wheeler.

20 Ancestry.com. West Virginia History, Vol. 1 [database online]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 2000. Original data: Miller, Thomas Condit and Hu Maxwell. West Virginia and Its People, Volume 1. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1913.