JAMES W. CRUTCHER
On the roster of officials of Colusa County appears the name of James Wilson Crutcher, for he is now serving as clerk and recorder. He was born in Montgomery County, Missouri, and is a son of Samuel Crutcher, a native of Kentucky. On the paternal side the ancestry can be traced back to Samuel and Elizabeth (Lee) Crutcher, the great-grandparents of our subject. They were married in Patrick County, Virginia, and in their family were five children, namely: Elizabeth, Cornelia, Frank, Charles and Samuel. The last named, Samuel Crutcher, Jr., was the grandfather of him whose name introduces this review. Having arrived at years of maturity, he married Nancy James, of Virginia, and in 1810 he removed to Lincoln County, Missouri, where he made his home for twenty years, when in 1830, he took up his abode in Montgomery County, that state. His children were William, John, Sophia, Lucella and Samuel.
The last named was the father of our subject. During his early life he accompanied his parents to Missouri and his death occurred in Montgomery County, that state, at the age of seventy-three years. He was one of the pioneer families of the locality and carried on agricultural pursuits for many years. He also embarked in merchandising, but that venture was not so successful. In going to Missouri he located at Middletown, and the first goods sold in the northern part of Montgomery County were sold in one end of his house, in 1836, by Matthew Wilberger and Samuel King. The latter sold his interest in the little store to Mr. Crutcher, and later the firm of Wilberger & Crutcher removed their stock of goods to the present site of Middletown, placing them on sale in a little log cabin which was soon afterward destroyed by fire, and thus they were financially ruined. Mr. Wilberger, Mr. Crutcher’s partner, surveyed and laid out the town of Middletown in 1836, while John Dugan built the first house there.
Samuel Crutcher, the father of our subject, was three times married, his first union being with Eliza A. Holladay. After her death he wedded a Mrs. Holloway, who was a widow. For his third wife he chose Mrs. Jane Randolph, nee Winters. His first wife was born in 1815 and their marriage was celebrated in 1836. She was a member of the Christian Church and died in that faith in 1847. In their family were eleven children.
On the maternal side Mr. Crutcher, of this review, can trace his ancestry back to his great-grandparents, Stephen and Ann (Hickman) Holladay. The latter was a daughter of James and Hannah (Lewis) Hickman, of Clark County, Kentucky, and was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, in 1754. His death occurred in Clark County in 1836. About the year 1783 she became the wife of Stephen Holladay, a farmer, who is described as having dark hair and hazel eyes and whose weight was about two hundred and twenty pounds. They reared seven children, the eldest being Elliott Holladay, the grandfather of our subject, who was born in 1786, two years after his father removed to Kentucky. In 1812 he volunteered at Winchester, Kentucky, to fight the Indians who were on the war path, causing great trouble to the people of the new state. He became a member of Captain John Martin’s Company and participated in the hard-fought engagements of the 18th and 22nd of January, 1813. On the latter date he was taken prisoner at Winchester at the defeat on the River Raisin. He suffered greatly from cold and cruel treatment and finally was obliged to give up his gun in order to save his life. After being exchanged he made his way home, where he arrived in April, 1813. The following year he married Rachel Johnson, who was born in 1791 and whose parents were from Maryland.
In 1833 Elliott Holladay went to Missouri and after selecting a location returned to his Kentucky home, which was about twelve miles from Lexington. On the 16th of August, 1834, he started with his family for Missouri. They spent a month on the road, making the trip in wagons. There were eleven white people and eleven slaves in the party and eventually they reached their destination in safety. The father died in Missouri in 1869, and the mother in 1874, each being eighty-three years of age at the time of their death. They held membership in the Christian Church, with which Mr. Holladay united in 1810, his wife in 1841. They were the parents of eleven children, all of whom were born in Clark County, Kentucky, with the exception of Margaret, the youngest, whose birth occurred in Pike County, Missouri. Seven of the eleven are yet living, three sons and four daughters. The sons, Samuel W., Lewis and Owen, aged respectively eighty-two, seventy and sixty-seven years, have never been married, and they now reside together upon the old home farm in Pike County, Missouri, where they have lived for sixty-five years. The place comprises five hundred and ten acres of rich and valuable land, unsurpassed by any farm in the bluegrass region of Kentucky. The daughters living are Mrs. Martha Jane Purse, of Kansas City; Mrs. Emily Crutcher, of Bowling Green, Missouri; Mrs. Margaret J. Smith, who is living near Cyrene, Missouri; and Mrs. Sarah Pritchett, of Montgomery County, same state. Those who have passed away are James W., Mrs. Mary Crutcher, Mrs. N. A. Hickman and Mrs. Eliza Ann Crutcher; the last mentioned being the mother of the subject of this article. J. W. Crutcher, whose name introduces this review, was reared under the parental roof until nineteen years of age and pursued his education in a district school near his home and later in Watson Seminary, in Ashley, Pike County, Missouri.
In 1863, at the age of twenty-one years, he came to California, crossing the plains to Sacramento, where he arrived in December of that year. On January 1, 1864, he went to Placer County and took charge of a turnpike road which was at that time the property of Jefferson Wilcoxson, of Sacramento, where he remained until the spring of 1868, during this period living alone and doing his own washing and cooking. He then returned to Sacramento, and in the fall and winter of that year he took a course in the Pacific Business College in San Francisco. In February, 1869, he returned to Sacramento and took a position in the office of Jefferson Wilcoxson, his former employer, where he remained until the summer of 1870, when he went to Jacksonville, Oregon, and where he secured a position as a bookkeeper in the store of Major J. T. Glenn. Remaining there until the summer of 1874, he returned to the Golden state, locating at Jacinto in Colusa County, where he became the bookkeeper for Dr. H. J. Glenn, with whom he remained until 1876. In October of that year he located at Williams, where he established a grocery store, successfully conducting that enterprise until the fall of 1896, when he sold out and for two years thereafter he had no business except that of notary public and insurance.
On the 3rd of June, 1875, Mr. Crutcher was united in marriage to Anna E. Houchins, near Jacinto, in Colusa County, a native of Missouri, and to them were born twelve children, but three are now deceased. Those living are Clarence W., born March 19, 1876; Samuel Earl, March 1, 1881; Leona, October 17, 1882; Ella, June 11, 1884; James W., Jr., November 17, 1885; Everett Crawford, September 25, 1889; Harry Houchins, October 23, 1890; Glenn Ellis, October 1, 1892; and Anabel, January 19, 1895. Those deceased are Edward Wallar, born January 15, 1878 and died November 28, 1878; Essie Glenn, born October 1, 1879 and died July 2, 1888; and Leonard, born March 10, 1888, and died November 4, 1888. Those living are all yet at home, and one son, Clarence W., is serving as deputy county clerk.
Mrs. Crutcher is a daughter of Samuel Houchins, now deceased. Samuel Houchins was a native of Mercer County, Kentucky, born January 14, 1827. In 1844 he entered Bacon College, at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and remained in that institution four years. In 1849 he married Miss Belinda Burks, a native of Kentucky, and in the following year removed to Monroe County, Missouri, locating near Paris, the county seat. He came to Colusa County in 1872, was elected superintendent of schools in 1875, holding that office by re-election until 1882, and in 1888 was elected auditor of Colusa County and re-elected in 1890 and continued to hold that office up to the time of his death, May 27, 1892.
The first office that Mr. Crutcher filled was that of justice of the peace in Williams, in the years 1877 and 1878. He has never been an aspirant for political honors, and with that exception never sought preferment along political lines until 1898, when he was elected county clerk and recorder. He is still serving in that position and is a most capable official. In politics he has always been a staunch Democrat since casting his first presidential vote for George B. McClellan. Socially he is connected with the Masonic fraternity, and his wife is a member of the Christian Church. They are prominent people of the community in which they make their home, enjoying the high regard of many warm friends, and in this volume they well deserve mention as worthy citizens in this section of the state.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.