In the Beginning…
We don’t know where James Crumley was born, but he was born in or before 1711. Some early accounts tell us that James was born in County Monaghan, Ireland and some say Yorkshire, England, but to date, there is absolutely no conclusive evidence of either. There isn’t even a preponderance of evidence. There is only speculation and a few hints that may or may not be red herrings.
Part of me thinks the Yorkshire information might be correct due to James association with the Quaker families who immigrated from England. Another part of me thinks the Irish origins are more likely correct, given DNA matching and other information.
In “Pioneer Ancestors”, the author suggests that James Crumley could have been among the Quaker families who first emigrated from Yorkshire County to Ulster province in Ireland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and then came to America. The migration wave from Ulster began about 1717 and a second wave occurred from 1725-1729. This second wave of immigrants arrived just before James Crumley’s name first appeared in the Chester County, PA tax rolls, so maybe James was actually from both places.
English records indicate that during the 1650s, the Quaker movement swept across England with thousands of farmers and tradespeople becoming Quaker. Most market towns had Quaker meetings.
In the late 1600s, Ulster, in Ireland became quite prosperous and the north of England had become economically depressed. That along with the lack of control of a state church in Ireland encouraged migration from England to Ireland, especially from Yorkshire and Durham.
Upon arrive in America, Quaker immigrants distributed themselves according to their places of origin in Britain. Country Quakers from Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire settled mainly in Chester and Bucks Counties.
The oldest reference found asserting that James Crumley “was born in Yorkshire, England” was the 1957 volume of “Colonial and Revolutionary Lineages of America” in which no supporting documentation was presented.
Much to my chagrin, no Crumley or similar surname male from overseas has Y DNA tested and matches our Crumley DNA. However, we do have a DNA clue. One of the autosomal DNA matches to our Crumley line in the 1800s in Ohio was born in Ireland, according to the census. A physician, also named James Crumley, he was reported to have studied in Edinburgh, but that is in Scotland. I’m hopeful that his descendants will find additional information about this man.
There are other hints that at least some Crumley families were from Ireland. In the Boston Pilot in 1867 there was an ad under “missing friends” for one Thomas Crumley, a tailor by trade, a native of county Monaghan, Ireland who came to this country over 20 years ago. Any information will be thankfully received by his brother, Joseph Crumley, Holyoke, Mass.” Of course, we don’t know if this was “our” Crumley paternal line or not.
A letter is found in the Handley Library Archives, Winchester, Virginia dated February 27, 1930 written by Father Thomas Crumley said that his father came to the United States from Guard Hill, a small settlement outside of Newbliss, County Monaghan, Ireland. If or how this man is connected is uncertain.
Looking in immigration and naturalization records, we don’t find our James, but we do find a number of Crumleys who did immigrate from Ireland, so Crumley is definitely a name found there.
We also know, from James’ will in 1757, that he has a brother Thomas and a sister, Joan, but he doesn’t say if they live in the US or they are still in the old country, wherever that was. If they are in this country, in particular, Thomas Crumley who carries the same surname, where is he??? Or was he perhaps disabled and that’s why James was leaving him money?
A cursory search in the early Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania records, so far, has turned up nothing about Thomas.
Chester County, Pennsylvania
James is first found in the US in 1732 on a tax list in East Nottingham, Chester County, Pennsylvania with a tax amount of 1 shilling. Only 6 other people had a tax this low, so he, in essence, was one of the 6 poorest people in the township. The only people poorer were those with nothing at all. By 1735, James was taxed at 2 pence, 6 shillings, which was about average, so he was moving up in the world.
We know that James was a member of the Quaker church after he moved to Frederick County, VA and East Nottingham in Chester County supported the largest Quaker Meeting House south of Philadelphia, the East Nottingham Friends Meetinghouse, shown below. The brick section was originally built in 1724.
Many of the families in this area were Quaker, seeking refuge from persecution in England. Not escaping problems, the region of Chester County where James Crumley lived was involved in a border dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania.
This part of Pennsylvania and Maryland represented the frontier at this time, according to Dr. Robert Warwick Day in his paper, “The Nottingham Lots and the Early Quaker Families.”
Historically, the Nottingham Lots were “ground zero” for a multi-generational land dispute between the several Lords Baltimore and William Penn, his sons and grandsons over border rights. Unlike other English colonies in America, both Maryland and Pennsylvania were originally grants or gifts to Lord Baltimore and William Penn, respectively. Each had autonomy in governing his colony without the direct control of the English government.
It is apparent from the records that Maryland had its toehold in this area before Pennsylvania. The Maryland Charter of 1632 placed that colony’s northern boundary near 40 degrees latitude, closer to Philadelphia. However, this border was never firmly established.
Fifty (50) years later, in 1682, William Penn received a grant of land from James 11 of England on the west side of the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. Penn appointed his cousin, William Markham, governor of Pennsylvania and appointed three commissioners to lay out the city of Philadelphia. Penn continued to amass great land holdings in the new colony, as he had in England.
The primary dispute was over Lord Baltimore’s claim to the northern border of Maryland and William Penn’s claim to the southern border of Pennsylvania. This land dispute continued for another fifty years after Penn’s death in 1718. It was not until the late 1760’s that the boundary was drawn through the work of two eminent English mathematicians and astronomers, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.
The Nottingham Lots grew out of William Penn’s tenacity in establishing his border rights. The second Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert, became more preoccupied with settling his border rights with the colony of Virginia to the south. At the same time, Penn was successful in attracting Quaker families primarily from the Philadelphia area and West Jersey as a means of fortifying his title to it.
In 1701, William Penn granted a warrant for 18,000 acres for the Nottingham Lots as one tract. In 1701, all 18,000 acres lay in Chester County, PA. However, after the settlement of the Mason-Dixon Line in the late 1,760’s, only 1,300 acres of the original Nottingham Lots remained in Chester County and the other 16,700 acres became part of Cecil County, Maryland.
Penn’s original tract was divided into lots running north and south, resulting in 37 lots. Each lot averaged approximately 500 acres and each was numbered between 1 and 37. It is generally believed that prospective owners made selections by the drawing of lots – hence, the use of the term “Lots.”
The name “Nottingham” most likely came from William Penn’s home in Nottinghamshire, England. The local township became known as East Nottingham and the meetinghouse became East Nottingham. Quakers and Scots-Irish Presbyterians settled the area to the west, known as West Nottingham.
Nottingham was a frontier village for its first 30 years, while settlers cleared the land and built roads, shops, dwellings, and the Meetinghouse. The Lots were populated by “simple, frugal, and industrious people” who combined farming with one or more of the occupations of that time including milling, blacksmithing, carpentry, clock making, tanning. They raised extensive crops of wheat, corn, and vegetables. Tobacco was not grown here since the soil would not support it.
The community became highly self-sufficient by the sharing of services, such as home-building, relying very little on outside resources other than perhaps support from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends.
The religious and cultural heart of the Nottingham Lots was clearly the East Nottingham Monthly Meeting (or Brick Meetinghouse. In either 1707 or 1709, a log cabin was built to serve as the first Nottingham Meetinghouse.
In 1724, the 2 1/2 story structure was built and in 1730, the East Nottingham Monthly Meeting (or Brick Meetinghouse) was organized as a separate Monthly Meeting. There were two separate sides, one of brick and one of stone, one side for the men and the other side for the women. It is thought to have been the largest Quaker meetinghouse south of Philadelphia, within the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, for the next few decades.
The social traditions of the early Nottingham founders were closely aligned to their conservative religious beliefs. The Friends addressed themselves as “thee” and “thou.” They dressed very conservatively and were simple in their daily lives. Their household possessions were few, but land ownership appeared to be a high priority.
They were also very human, according to meeting records. Some Friends were “disowned” from Quaker meetings for a variety of reasons, including marrying out of unity, excessive drinking, fornication, taking an oath, assaulting another person, and others. The Quaker faith and moral conscience in this small community was apparently strong, conservative, and rigid.
The first homes in the village, called “bee hives,” were very small, stone houses built on two levels.
As wealth amassed in the community by the 1730’s, somewhat larger, but modest, four-room houses of brick and/or stone were built. They often had a “keeping room” with a cooking fireplace and had very simple, narrow staircases to the second floor. They were occasionally built with the help of neighboring Friends. To this day, several homes built in the 1700’s, such as the Messer Brown home, have the names of the builders inscribed in the exterior brick.
The Nottingham Quakers were very traditional about their rites of burial. The graveyard partially surrounded the Meetinghouse. Initially, there were no grave markers or stones to identify the deceased. Later, there were small stones used with no markings, and then subsequently, small stones with inscriptions were added. The larger headstones were a later addition and seemed to be out of form with Quaker simplicity.
A review of genealogical records reveals that most of these first purchasers were middle-class yeomen born in England during the middle 1600’s and died in the Nottingham area in the early 1700’s. Their roots were mostly in the northern England counties of Cheshire, Durham, Lancashire, and Yorkshire, although some other English counties were represented.
Nearly all of the original Nottingham families came from within a 50-mile radius of Philadelphia before settling here. All were Quakers, and most of them transferred their certificate of membership from other Quaker meetings to the Brick Meetinghouse after its establishment. It can be surmised that William Penn or his agents knew at least some of the families in England or Pennsylvania and encouraged them to relocate to Nottingham.
Many of the families transferred their membership from the Chester Monthly Meeting to the Nottingham Meeting about 1705.
After about 1710, there were other Quakers who came to the Nottingham Lots in search of land and a new life. Most of this second wave of settlers had their early roots throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
After 1730, some of the Nottingham descendants began to move to other regions. Cheaper land prices, better economic opportunities, plus overcrowding caused by the influx of settlers who had purchased land near Nottingham, were factors that caused some of the descendant families to migrate south and west.
Some of these families moved to Northern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, central and southside Virginia. They were among the first generation of pioneer families of the uplands region of the South. Hopewell Monthly Meeting near Winchester, VA, for example, had a good representation of Nottingham Friends who followed Alexander Ross to the Shenandoah Valley to settle 100,000 acres in the 1730’s.
However, for many of the Friends, who were accustomed to religious freedom in Pennsylvania, the issues of religious persecution and slavery arose in these new lands and were foreign to their beliefs. Some affluent Quakers in both Pennsylvania and the South were slave owners themselves but were often admonished by their own members.
It was from this Quaker environment that James emerged. It’s doubtful that he was born here, as there is no record of his parents. Did he immigrate as an adult? Were his parents Quakers in the Philadelphia region?
Some of the Nottingham records still exist, including births, deaths and marriages. I ordered the book, and not once is any Crumley surname mentioned. If James was a member of this church, he was certainly silent. There were other Quaker meetings in the general vicinity, however, and the meetings seemed to be rather closely connected.
James clearly was not part of the first wave of migration into this area. He followed in the 1730s and remained on the Chester County tax list until 1740, after which he disappeared.
James’ Wife, Catherine
Before we move on, let’s talk about James’ wife, because while she is widely reported to be Catherine Gilkey, there really isn’t any proof. In Paul Morton’s book, “The Crumley Family,” he reports that James married a Scottish lass named Catherine Gilkey in 1732 in Chester County. He also reports that James arrived in Chester County in 1731 from Yorkshire, England, but he provides no documentation for either piece of information. That’s really unfortunate, because both are really critically important to understanding James’ life.
If James had married a Presbyterian, he would have been dismissed from the Quaker Church, so either she became Quaker or he did not marry a Presbyterian – or he wasn’t yet a Quaker.
Furthermore, we first find James in association with the Gilkey name in Frederick County, not in Chester County. The Gilkey name does not appear in the Nottingham book, but of course it would not if they were Presbyterians. I have not researched the Chester County records to see if the Gilkey surname appears in those records, but that task needs to be added to the ‘to do’ list.
Paul Nichols reports in his document, The Crumley Family, that “very old family records from Richard Griffith, a prominent Frederick County genealogist, indicate that the Gilkeys may have been the parents of his wife Catherine, but no marriage documentation has ever been found.”
At the Handley Library and Archives in Winchester, VA, among the papers of Richard Griffin, a local genealogist from the 1930’s is the following dating from 1872:
“NOTES ON MY FAMILY”
Written by Aaron H. Griffith, 1872
“My grandfather John Griffith 2nd married Mary Faulkner daughter of Jesse Faulkner and Mary his wife. Mary Faulkner was the daughter of James Cromley and his wife Catherine. James Cromley lived on Apple Pie Ridge on land he bought from his father-in-law Davie Gilkie. This land was originally granted by the King to our kinsmen James Wright and John Litler in 1734 who sold it to John Cheadle the eminent Friend who lived in eastern Virginia. John Cheadle sold it to David Gilkie who as I have said sold it to his son-in-law James Cromley, who in turn, willed it to his son John Cromley. John Cromley sold it to his brother-in-law Jesse Faulkner who sold it in 1778 to his son-in-law John Griffith. There my father was born, and there I was born on the 11th of the 3rd Mo. 1802.”
Of all the evidence, this seems to be the most reliable, because he was born only 40 years after James Crumley died, and only a couple years after his wife Catherine died. His parents and family would have known this family first hand. However, some researchers offer notes of caution about Richard Griffin’s work, stating that it contains known errors. However, Aaron’s letter is original.
Often a family tiff suffices to prove a relationship, but sometimes, they just add to the mystery. After David Gilkey’s death, his widow, Barbara, married James Hagen.
In 1758, it seems that James Crumley had a bit of a meltdown in court and it may have had to do with Barbara Gilkey Hagen. In the court records, the first record, before a proceeding with Barbara Hagen having to do with her bond (probably in conjunction with an estate), states that it was ordered “that the sheriff take James Crumley into custody for behaving indecently before the court.” In a 1936 letter, J. W. Baker, another Frederick County genealogist interpreted this behavior as evidence of some kind of family row.
However, James could have been in court to testify for Barbara, or it may have been circumstantial. I do have to wonder what would provoke a Quaker into doing something indecent before the court. Do you think maybe he swore?
If Catherine was the daughter of David and Barbara Gilkey, why are there no children named David or Barbara, although there are also no children names James or Catherine.
Another rumor having to do with James wife, Catherine, is that she was a Bowen, the daughter of Henry Bowen. James Crumley and Henry Bowen were neighbors in Frederick County, VA, but James’s marriage took place years before in Pennsylvania.
However, “A.C. Nash, David Williams Cassat and Lillian May Berryhill: their descendants and ancestors,” (1986) has a chapter on the Crumleys. And indicates Catherine may have been a Bowen and not a Gilkey.
Dorothy T. Hennen, “Hennen’s Choice: a compilation of the descendants of Matthew” … (1972) Page 390 also suggests Catherine was a Bowen.
There is other circumstantial evidence that also hints at this possibility. In Virginia, at that time, when a man died, three men were assigned to appraise his estate. Typically, one was the dead man’s largest creditor, one was someone in the wife’s family, and one was a disinterested party. The three individuals had to agree on the value of the man’s estate, with the exception of his real estate.
The three men who appraised James Crumley’s estate after his death in 1764 included Henry Bowen. If Catherine was a Bowen, then this Henry was her brother. Of course, the Bowens were neighbors, so it’s impossible to surmise whether this interaction was a result of living in the same neighborhood or being related to Catherine.
There is a Bowen family in the Nottingham Quakers book referencing the church in Cecil County Maryland, adjoining Chester County, PA, but there is no Henry or Catherine mentioned.
On to Frederick County, Virginia
James apparently followed or moved with the Nottingham Quakers when they moved to Frederick County which was at that time an unsettled frontier.
This undated Quaker map from “Hopewell Friends History” shows the Hopewell Meeting House and its proximity to other meetings as well.
The earliest Hopewell Meeting records burned in 1759 when the clerk’s house burned, but the church itself still stands and is active today.
Many of the Nottingham families were establishing families of the Hopewell Friend’s Meeting House, shown above. James Crumley was among the members.
On June 3, 1744, James Crumley purchased land in Frederick County, 250 acres at the head of Yorkshireman’s Branch where he was described as a cordwainer, a French derived English term for a man who makes shoes from new leather. He bought this property from Giles and Sarah Chapman who were among the 70 original Quaker families that settled in the Shenandoah Valley and organized the Hopewell Friends Meeting.
This must have been great cause for celebration. James would have been about 35 years old, or older, and finally saved enough for his own land. Perhaps the move to Frederick County had been for this exact opportunity – where land was more affordable – and of course – required a lot more work to make it farmable as well.
In 1748, James purchased land from David and Barbara Gilkey.
Also in 1748, James was appointed an overseer of road maintenance from the court house to Morgan Morgan’s property. That’s a significant distance, from the center of Winchester to north of the line that is today Virginia and West Virginia on Apple Pie Ridge Road. Morgan Morgan’s cabin is reconstructed on his land today.
In 1752, according to the Hopewell Friends History, James Crumley, one of three Quakers, was elected to the Vestry of Frederick parish. This seems odd, because the vestry was the Anglican Church, and local researchers indicate that it was not unusual for Quakers to be members in order to perform political functions. This is actually quite interesting, because the previous vestry has been dissolved amid charges of persecution of Quakers and failure to build a church with money provided. By including three Quakers, they assured that the Quakers at least had a voice. James was a church warden again in 1755 and 1756.
We find the following passage in the Virginia Hopewell Friends History:
“When the new county of Frederick was erected in 1743 Isaac Parkins became very prominent in the conduct of its affairs. He served [p.19] many years as a justice, a captain of militia, and a vestryman. He was elected to the House of Burgesses, representing Frederick County in the sessions of 1754 and 1755. He used his influence to ameliorate the sufferings of Friends caused by the laws governing those dissenting in religious opinions from the Established Church, and the court orders of Frederick County show that he repeatedly secured the release of persons “imprisoned for conscience sake,” and was active in their defence. In 1751 he presented to the Frederick County Court a petition asking that the vestry for Frederick Parish be dissolved, charging misappropriation of funds. In the following February, 1752, the General Assembly passed an act charging the vestry for Frederick Parish with oppressive and corrupt practices, and ordering its dissolution and the election of a new vestry. Along with two other Friends, James Cromley and Lewis Neill, Isaac Parkins was elected to this new vestry, and served for many years.”
On March 20, 1753, James Crumley received a grant for 39 acres from Lord Fairfax. This land was on Back Creek and abutted Rodary? Rubits and William Dillon.
Also in 1753 James sued one Joseph Beeler, but the suit was dismissed when the summons was not executed. In other words, the guy may have skipped town.
On February 1, 1754, James received a large land grant for 752 acres on Mill Creek, land which now spans the border of Frederick County, Virginia and Berkeley County, West Virginia. This land was originally surveyed for James Anderson in 1753 and was sold to James Crumley in 1754. The final land grant was made to James.
This drive from Gerrardstown in Berkeley County, West Virginia to Apple Pie Ridge in Frederick County, Virginia runs along Mill Creek and cuts right through the middle of James Crumley’s land grant.
James 1754 grant abutted Thomas Martin, John Bozioth, Col. Morgan Morgan and Nicholas Hanoshaos or Hanshaw. It was on Mill Creek, a branch of Obeckon.
In February 1754, Henry Bowen Sr. gave to his son, Henry Jr, a tract of land adjoining Thomas Rees, Nicholas Henshaw and James Crumley. In April of 1755, Henry Bowen sold James Crumley 53 of 103 acres.
On February 28, 1757, James Cromley (sic) sold to his son John the 219 acres that he purchased from David and Barbara Gilkey.
In February 1757, James Cromley (sic) sold to his son, William, 270 acres at the southern end of the Lord Fairfax tract, in what is now Berkeley County, West Virginia. This tract was known as the James Wright and John Littler tract on the drafts of Opeckon and the upper end includes the plantation of David Gilkey as conveyed to James Crumley by David Gilkey and his wife, Barbara. Boo 4, page 220 and 230.
Frederick County Deed Book 4, page 229, recorded on March 1, 1757:
On February 28, 1757, this indenture between James Crumley (spelled Cromley throughout) and William Crumley (spelled Cromley throughout) both of Frederick County, for 2 shillings current money of Virginia, Frederick County tract of 270 acres…Thomas Martin corner…foot of a ridge…along Martin’s line…crossing Mill Creek…part of 742 acres granted to James Crumley by deed from the proprietors office bearing the date of first of February MDCCLIV (1754). William Crumley to pay the rent of one ear of Indian corn on Lady Day next. Signed by James Crumley his mark and witnessed by Thomas Wood, Edmond Cullen and William Dillon
This deed is registered with the court and followed by a similar deed which seems to release William from a one year indenture.
March 1, 1757 James Crumley to William Crumley for 22 shillings…release and confirm unto the said William Crumley (in his actual possession now being by virtue of a bargain and sale to him hereof made for one year indenture bearing date the day next before the date of these presents and force of the statute for transferring uses into possessions)…tract or parcel containing 270 acres.
The description is exactly as the first document as are the witnesses and it is filed on the same day, March 1st, 1757
On June 27, 1757, James wrote his will, but he did not pass away until 1764, 7 years later. Making a will well before you were going to need it was contrary to the typical colonial behavior – so it makes me wonder if he had a lingering illness, or if he simply had a scare in 1757 from which he recovered. His will states that he is in good health, and he continued to transact business.
On September 14, 1758, James received 5 shillings, 4.5 pence for furnishing provisions to the colonial militia and for “the defense and protection of the colonies along the frontier” in addition to the provisions.
This record is found in Henings Statutes, Volume 7, page 214, and is for Culpeper County. Interestingly enough, James Crumley’s record is just after a record for Henry Bowen, his neighbor in Frederick County. One of the candidates to be James Crumley’s wife father is Henry Bowen.
This would have been the beginning of the French and Indian War. It difficult to reconcile James militia duty with his Quaker religion. Some Quakers were staunch pacifists and others were not. There was significant pressure on the frontier and protection was vital. It was likely defend yourself, and your neighborhood, or die.
Cousin Jerry Crumly in his book, “Pioneer Ancestors: Crumley, Copeland et al” states the following:
At a Court Martial convened in Frederick County, Virginia on October 13, 1760, Captain Lewis Moore returned his muster roll and ordered that John Crumley, of the company commanded by Captain Moore, be fined 40 shillings for absenting from three private and one general muster.i Again, it seems unusual for a Quaker to be a member of a military unit, but here is evidence that John was in the militia during the French and Indian War. Hopewell Friends History, 1734 to 1934, Frederick Co., VA records that “in the years 1754-1755 a determined effort was made by the colonial government to force Friends to bear arms against the French and Indians, and upon their steady refusal some of them were beaten and imprisoned.”ii Perhaps John Crumley and his father, James, both found it preferable to serve in the militia rather than to be beaten and imprisioned. John’s Court Martial would indicate that his heart really wasn’t in it.
On January 19, 1761, James Crumley received another 53 acres from Lord Fairfax which abutted James’ own land and that of Benjamin Barret and Mathias Elmore. It says it is at the foot of N. Mountain, which I presume means North.
In August, 1761, John Lindsey sold to James Crumley for 13 pounds several animals and some furniture.
The last living entry we have is from Henings’s Statutes of Virginia and it says “7/1756/1763 James Crumley to Henry Bowen for provisions, 5 pounds, 5.5 pence.”
Several historic homes exist today on the land once owned by James Crumley, in particular, the 742 acre tract.
We are fortunate that the Berkeley County Historical Society published a wonderful article in Issue 8 of the Berkeley Journal titled “Houses and Historic Sites Locates on the James Crumley Land Grant.” This journal is still available for purchase through the Historical Society.
One of the Crumley cousins who has visited the site was kind enough to send this map as well.
Apple Pie Ridge Road lies right on top of the ridge running north and south between the Crumley and original Morgan Morgan King’s patent.
James Crumley did not live on this 742 acre tract, but he later divided it and his son, William Crumley did live there. We know that because not only did William Crumley own the land, his will is probated in Berkeley County, West Virginia, not in Frederick County, Virginia, although apparently this land spanned the division between counties and states.
In February 1757, William Crumley acquired from his father, James Crumley, 270 acres at the southern end of the Lord Fairfax tract, in what is now Berkeley County, West Virginia.
James land grant was divided into three parts. The left most part, which is the most southern tract, was sold to son William before James’s death. William lived there during his lifetime, and after his wife, Sarah’s death in 1809, David Faulker, William’s executor, then living in Greene Co., Ohio, sold William’s plantation of 270 acres for $6000 to Aaron M. Crumley and Thomas Crumley (Superior Court Deed book 20, page 47). A year later, the brothers sold the land for $4468.33 to Abraham Waidman of Berk’s County, PA (DB 27, p 241). It sure makes me wonder why they were willing to take a significant hit of about 1/3 of the land’s value in just a year. Frances Silver then acquired the land, some before 1820 and some after. Silver built a large, by the standards of those days, brick house between 1820 and 1821, according to tax records, which was still standing when the journal article was written and is shown below.
According to the journal, today William Crumley’s land is located on Greenspring Road near the Frederick County line on the most southern section of the James Crumley land grant.
On the rightmost portion of James land, which is the northern 200 acres, two cabins were found, including the John Springer cabin built before 1750. Springer was living on this land when it was surveyed for James Anderson, before it was granted to James Crumley in 1754. The Springer cabin is shown below.
Issue Eight of the Berkeley Journal, published in 1979 includes an article titled “Houses and Historic Sites Located on the James Crumley land Grant,” pages 79-100 and tells us that Thomas Faulkner built a log cabin there in 1775 with a wing added about 1785 that is still standing today. After James Crumley’s death, his heirs sold this land to Thomas Faulkner who sold it to James Newland who sold part of it to James Hodgson.
Movers and Shakers
In 1758, James Crumley’s name is found in an unusual place – George Washington’s journal. George was running for office as a Frederick County delegate to the House of Burgesses. Although he did not live there, he did buy liquor for the voters. Sort of gives new meaning to “buying votes.” At that time, one had to publicly state whom you were voting for, and only white landowners over the age of 21 were allowed to vote. Even though James was allowed two votes, he only voted for one man, Hugh West, which means he simply threw his second vote away. Was this a matter or principle and a statement, or was it simply an oversight. Regardless, George Washington took note of that – and I’m sure James was not on the favored guest list at Mount Vernon.
In a 1932 letter, Richard Griffith wrote that “James Crumley was a man of considerable wealth for his day and time, and his position an important one. He was a friend of Lord Fairfax, and there is evidence to show that he was a visitor at Greenway Court and was entertained there at least twice, probably oftener.”
Greenway Court, Lord Fairfax’s estate, below, near Winchester, Virginia, was the center of government of the Northern Neck Part of Virginia. James Crumley lived 7 or 8 miles from Greenway Court.
Today, the original estate office remains. If James visited Lord Fairfield, he may well have walked in this very building.
James’ Will and Estate
James wrote his will on June 27, 1757 but it wasn’t probated until August 9, 1764 where it is recorded in Frederick County Will Book 3, 1761-1770, page 68.
In the name of God, Amen. I James Crumley of the County of Frederick and the colony of Virginia cordwainer being at present in perfect health of body and sound and perfect mind and memory praise be therefore given to Almighty God, do make, constitute and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following. First and principally I recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it, hopeing through the merits death and passion of Jesus Christ my savior to obtain remission of all my sins and to inherit everlasting life, and my body I commit to the earth whence it came to be decently buried at the discretion of my executors hereafter named and as touching the desposition of all such men such worldly estate as it hath pleased Almighty God to bestow upon me. I leave and bequeath as followeth:
First I will that all my just debts and funeral charges be fully paid and discharged.
Item, I leave until my son John Crumley 219 acres with an addition of a piece more to be divided betwixt Benjamin Barret and me to him his heirs and assigns forever.
Item, I leave unto my two sons William and Henry Crumley 644 acres of land equally to be divided betwixt them in quantity and quality to them their heirs and assigns forever.
Item, I leave unto my granddaughter Ruth Doster 100 acres of land joining the tracts of my sons William and Henry and joining upon John Boisers to her her heirs and assigns forever.
Item, I leave unto my loving wife Catherine Crumley all that present plantation where I now live during her natural life of whilst she continues under the name of Catherine Crumley and upon her decease or upon altering her said name I leave and bequeath the said plantation to my youngest son Samuel Crumley and to his heirs and assigns forever.
Item, I leave and it is my will that all the rest and remainder of my estate both real and personal be equally divided betwixt my five children, Mary, John, William Henry and Samuel upon the decease of my wife of upon altering her present name and not before. And moreover my will is that if my wife shall see cause to alter her condition that she shall have a like equal divident of my moveable estate with my children. As also my will is that my wife shall keep the children with her till of age or until they settle their places and my desire and will is that the quit rents yearly and other publick demands be paid out of the product of the plantation, not to diminish any part of the childrens divident in the estate thereby.
Item, I leave unto each of my 4 sons aforesaid out of moveable estate to the value 15 pounds in whatever they shall stand in need of upon their setting by themselves.
Item, I leave unto my brother Thomas Crumley 15 pounds current money and to my sister Joan 5 pounds current money.
Lastly, I leave, constitute ordain and appoint my well beloved friends Robert Cunningham and George Ross together with my well beloved wife Catherine Crumley executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking disallowing and making void all former wills testaments legacies or executors heretofore by me made ordained or appointed ratifying and confirming this and this only to be my last will and testament in presence of these witnesses this 27th day of June in the year of our Lord 1757.
James Crumley signs and Catherine Crumley signs also with a mark of R
We don’t know where James is buried, but it’s likely at the Hopewell Friends Meeting House Cemetery. As I look at this stone wall, I wonder if James helped construct or maintain it.
James will was probated on August 9th, 1764, so he likely died during the summer of 1764. Both William Frost and Matthew Keen swear as witnesses and prove the will. Catherine Crumley, his widow and administratrix of the will, enters into bond with John Neavill, John McMachen and Francis Lilburne as her securities in the penalty of 1000 pounds for her “due and faithful administration of the said estate.” This tells us that James has a significant estate, as this is a very high bond for that time period. James had gone from being one of the 6 poorest men in the township in 1732 to a substantial estate thirty two years later in 1764.
James would have been in his 50s, not an old man by any stretch, and he likely had children still at home when he died. Son Samuel, referenced in the will never appears in any records, so he obviously died before coming of age, and perhaps even before James himself died. If Catherine was the same age as James, when James wrote his will in 1757, he could have had children at home as young as 2 or 3 years of age.
Frederick Co. Court, Winchester, Va.
Will Book 3, pp. 231-232
Appr. Sept. 1st, 1764
Appraisment Bill of the Estate of James Crumley Deceased to wit
Cash, silver, gold, and paper 26-6-3
Washing (wearing?) apparel 20-6-6
One negro man 65-0-0
One negro woman and child 55-0-0
One negro girl 25-0-0
Beds and furniture 74-4-0
Wheat, rye, and corn 28-12-0
Cows and calves, 13 heads 18-10-0
28 hogs and six sheep 9-12-0
Six head of horse kind 35-10-0
A waggon and gear 9-15-0
Three plows, a harrow and gears, axes & edge tools 8-12-0
One still and utensils cyder mill and cask 19-17-0
Hides tanned leather and shoe maker tools 10-10-0
Pewter and stove and kitchen iron ware 13-15-0
Brass scales, stillyards, and money scales 8-8-6
Home spun cloth linen and woolen 7-2-7 1/2
Chests, cooper ware and lumber 7-14-6
Debts due the Estate by bonds and notes 115-17-4
One note in the Office of Isaac Wright 4-18-0
Two saddles and 15 gallons of liquor; hives and bees 4-2-6
Total 508-13-2 1/2
Henry Bowen, William Barret and Azariah Pugh appraisers – returned and ordered recorded Nov. 7, 1764.
James estate inventory, given that he as a Quaker, is quite interesting, and unexpected. He had 4 slaves who could have been a family, and he had 15 gallons of liquor and a still. Given the Quaker stance on slavery – and that many Quakers bought slaves with the sole intention of freeing them – he may have been in conflict with the Quaker church over this. I have seen commentaries that he was reprimanded by the church for this practice, but there are no records supporting this in the Hopewell records.
We know that James’ slaves were not freed, during or after his life, because in 1768, James’ son John Crumley releases his future right in James’ estate after his mother, Katherine, dies, including “all rights to the negroes.” It makes me very sad to know that my Quaker ancestor owned slaves and didn’t free them. It bothers me that the slaves were not even humanized enough to be referred to by their names – not that it would improve their condition any. I hope that the slaves were in fact a family and that they were allowed to remain together. Emancipation wouldn’t occur for another 100 years, probably freeing those slaves great-great-grandchildren.
Given the amount of liquor James had, it’s unlikely that this was only for personal use. Fifteen gallons, along with the still, is suggestive that he was distilling alcohol for sale – or he had some hellatious parties. A Quaker slave-owning moonshiner. Who knew??? Who would ever have guessed?
It has been suggested that perhaps James was distilling alcohol as a medicine. It has also been postulated that perhaps distillation was an economic necessity because it was much cheaper to transport whiskey than corn or rye to distant markets. Let’s take a look at that possibility.
According to “Ancestors on the Frontier” by Justin Replogle, a horse could carry 4 bushel of grain, but could carry the equivalent of 24 bushels after it was made into whiskey. Checking contemporary sources, it’s stated that a bushel of corn makes about 2.75 gallon of whiskey, so James 15 gallons probably took about five and a half bushel of corn. Most stills of that time made less than 100 gallons.
It was much cheaper to ship grain as whiskey. In 1790, there were over 500 stills in Washington County, PA, a heavily religious Brethren and Mennonite area also bordering the Allegheny Mountains.
Clearly, given James’ alliance with the church as a vestry member as late as 1756, these apparent “flaws” in his Quakerness didn’t interfere with his church membership. He was never dismissed. All of this considered, I wonder if he was buried in the church cemetery after all. Although, if his fellow Friends didn’t let it bother them during his life, I doubt they suddenly let it bother them in death. I wonder if his slaves had to dig his grave. Were they sad or glad?
Judging from the amount of debts due the estate, it looks like he might have been selling liquor on credit.
These shoemaker’s tools might have been those of James Crumley. Cousin Jerry says the following:
“I have an iron shoe repair tool, pictured here, that was passed to me supposedly from back to my gggranddad, Robert 1800-1883. I’ve often wondered just how far back this thing goes. Robert, of course, was a pioneer, so he could make/repair anything. I have a spinning wheel he made for a new daughter-in-law. This may have originated with him or from his grandfather James.
It’s made of heavy iron, and the end parts are different sizes: one for repairing men’s shoes and one for women’s or children’s shoes.
I have hand tools that belonged to my great granddad, then my granddad, then my own dad. I still use them in my shop. When I pick one up I feel like I’m shaking hands with those old men.”
Quakers and Slaves
When I think of Quaker, I think of peace loving and abolition. I think of plain, gentle people and plain dress, but not quite as “plain” as the Amish and Mennonite.
However, the history of the Quakers and slavery is not as cut and dried as it seems, and it appears that James Crumley may have been caught up in the early Quaker and slavery conflict.
According to the website, “Quakers and Slavery,” the first slaves arrived in Philadelphia in 1684 and were sold to Quakers. Between 1682 and 1705, one of 15 families in Philadelphia owned slaves, and many of them were Quakers. Some Quakers were involved in the slave trade.
In 1688, the first protest was made against slavery in the Germantown Quaker monthly meeting and went without action. However, conflict continued to build, and in 1693, a Quaker named George Keith published a papers cautioning Quakers not to buy or own slaves.
In 1712, a Quaker petitioned the Pennsylvania Assembly to outlaw slavery and was refused.
In 1713, the Chester monthly meeting called for the banning of slavery and censure of those who did not comply.
In 1731, 20% of Philadelphia Quakers owned slaves and accounted for 30% of all the slaves in the city of Philadelphia.
We don’t know if James Crumley owned slaves in Pennsylvania or not. It’s probably unlikely since he didn’t own land, but it’s certainly possible. The first we know positively that James owned slaves was when he died in 1764 and 4 slaves were included in his estate inventory.
What we do know is that while some Quakers were solidly opposed to slavery, many were not and owned slaves. This did not, at this time, appear to interfere with their church membership, with the possible exception of the Chester Meeting. Of course, this could have been the meeting that James Crumley attended when he lived in Chester County, Pennsylvania if he was a practicing Quaker there. Given that he migrated with the Nottingham Meeting House group to Frederick County, he was certainly affiliated with the Quakers in some fashion.
Apple Pie Ridge
James home plantation in Frederick County was located on Apple Pie Ridge, said to have been named for the delicious apple pies baked by the Quakers. It is still a land of many apple orchards. I guess now would not be the time for me to fess up that I don’t care for apple pie. Maybe the problem is that I haven’t had an Apple Pie Ridge apple pie.
Incredibly, the James Crumley home still remains and is today on the register of historic buildings.
From the application for the Register of Historic Places:
The acreage where the Crumley-Lynn-Lodge house stands encompassed two parcels–one of 250 acres and one of 1,250 acres–granted by patent from Colonial governor William Gooch in 1735 to Giles Chapman. Chapman sold the acreage to James Crumley who is listed in the Rent Rolls of Frederick County in 1759. Crumley appears to have come to Virginia from Chester, Pennsylvania, where at least five of his children had been born.
James Crumley in his will devised to his wife, Catherine, “All that present plantation whereon I now live during her natural life or while she continues under the name of Catherine Crumley and upon her decease or upon altering her said name I bequeath the said plantation to my youngest son Samuel Crumley.” He directs that Catherine “keep the children with her until of age,” indicating that at least one or two of his children were not yet 21 years old (at least in 1757 when he wrote the will.) He expressed concern for her altering her name, which presumably would have implied her remarriage.
Virginia tax records indicate that Catherine lived for at least another 18 years as she is listed as a white female head of household in 1782 and in 1783 with two slaves, two horses, and seven head of cattle. Her name continues to appear in the records until 1787, with an additional 3 slaves.
This data, when coupled with the Crumley will of 1764, indicates that there was a dwelling on the property that likely dates from as early as 1759 when James Crumley moved his large family to Virginia from Pennsylvania. It was not unusual for families to relocate from Pennsylvania to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in the eighteenth century.
The property was ultimately sold in 1793 by John Crumley to Robert Bull of Berkeley County, Virginia, now West Virginia. Samuel Crumley, who had been the original devisee for the plantation parcel, appears to have died by this date, and John Crumley, probably son to James, was the grantor to Bull. The acreage is given as 150 acres in the deed, and buildings are specifically mentioned. The parcel is described as part of the patent sold to Giles Chapman and sold to James Crumley. The selling price of 293 pounds is substantial enough to reflect a dwelling on the property.
By 1885, the Crumley-Lynn-Lodge House is recorded on a map of Frederick County published by D. J. Lake, and Co. as the “Wm. Lodge Res[idence],” located on what has been known as Apple Pie Ridge as early as 1816. The dwelling house is shown as standing on the west side of the main road running north from White Hall Post Office to the West Virginia line.
There have been virtually no changes to the essential core elements of this house since 1851, although several rear additions have been made.
Today, this map shows the location of the original James Crumley home at 3641 Apple Pie Ridge Road. It was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 2006 as the Crumley-Lynn-Lodge House in Frederick County, VA.
The earliest section of James Crumley’s home was built about 1759, and was a 1 1/2-story, log section raised to a full two stories about 1850. About 1830, a two-story, Federal style brick section was added. A two-story frame section was added to the original log section in 1987–1994. The front facade features a folk Victorian-style front porch with square columns, sawn brackets and pendants, and plain handrail and balusters. Also on the property are the contributing mid-1800s brick granary, and log meat house, as well as a late-1800s century corn crib, and the stone foundation of a barn.
The oldest portion of this building is to the left in the photo above, submitted with the Application for the Register of Historic Places.
The application for the Register of Historic Places states the following:
Historical and architectural evidence suggests that the earliest 1 ½-story log section was constructed ca. 1759 for James Crumley. The two-story brick section to the north was added in 1830 by William Lynn, who had acquired the property in the early nineteenth century. The last historic addition to the house, which included raising the original 1 ½-story log section to two full stories, was made around 1850, shortly after the property was acquired by the Lodge family. In addition to the main house, the property includes a rare example of a mid-nineteenth-century brick granary, and log meat house, as well as a late-nineteenth-century corn crib, and the stone foundation of a barn. The buildings and the setting retain much of their mid-nineteenth-century appearance and integrity.
The earliest section of the Crumley-Lynn-Lodge House is the three-bay log portion to the south. Originally 1 ½ stories in height, it was raised to two stories ca. 1850, and is clad in weatherboard siding and features a gable roof of standing-seam metal, a random-rubble stone foundation, and six-over-six-sash double-hung wooden windows. The exterior-end limestone chimney located on the south gable end was made taller to accommodate the second story using a brick stack. Also on the south end is a bulkhead entry to the basement, which is excavated about seven feet deep.
The earliest log portion of the house features a two-room plan divided by a wooden paneled partition. The room to the south has a front door leading from the porch and a rear door that originally led to the exterior, and later to a rear lean-to. The room also contains a large fireplace along the south wall with a small window to its left. The plain wooden mantelshelf with brackets is modern, but the oak lintel and at least some of the horizontal wood paneling along that wall appear original. The fireplace surround has been plastered and the hearth is brick.
Although the floors in this room have been covered with more modern pine flooring, the painted architrave door and window trim, plaster walls, exposed unpainted ceiling joists, and batten doors with early hardware and hand-wrought strap and H & L hinges are all intact. The boxed staircase in the southwest corner of this room is enclosed with wide planks and contains a small closet beneath it. This stair would have originally led to the ½-story loft which was enlarged to a full story ca. 1850. Just to the right of this staircase is a three-over-six-sash window that, along with the window to the left of the fireplace, is smaller in size than the ones on the front (east) wall and probably indicates the original size of the windows in this section of the house. A doorway with a batten door, also along this rear wall, lines up with the front door.
Also part of the earliest log section of the house is a smaller room north of the larger room (or parlor) that was originally unheated. The two rooms are separated by a wooden paneled partition of vertical yellow pine boards, some of which are tongue and grooved.
This is a wonderful document to have about James Crumley’s home. I do have a couple of comments to make. The historian is referencing the fact that James Crumley was on the tax list by 1759, and perhaps they are looking at a jump in value on the tax list that would indicate a home was built on this property, albeit a 2 room log cabin. However, given that James Crumley purchased this land in 1748 from the Gilkeys, this home could have been another decade (or more) older than originally thought.
A cousin who visited provided me with the photo above of the door and the photo below as well.
James and Catherine’s Children
As evidenced by James will, James and Catherine had 5 children who were living in 1757, but apparently only 4 who survived to adulthood. Samuel is not mentioned in any records after his father’s will in 1757.
- John Crumley was probably the eldest child. He was probably born about 1733 or 1734 in Chester County, PA. He was of age by 1757 when James sold him land. John married Hannah Faulkner about 1761 in Frederick County, VA and moved to Newberry County, SC before 1790 where he is found in the 96 District. He died according in 1794 with a will, having 9 children.
- William Crumley was probably the second eldest son, born around 1735 or 1736, also in Chester County, PA. He too was of age by 1757 when James sold him land. William married Hannah Mercer about 1761 in Frederick County, VA. William lived his life on the land originally owned by James and died in 1793 in Berkeley County, West Virginia where that land was located after Virginia and West Virginia divided. He married a second time to Sarah Dunn in 1774, having a total of 15 children by his two wives.
- Mary Crumley was also born early to the marriage, as she was already married to Thomas Doster and had daughter Ruth in 1757 when James wrote his will. It’s unclear, but Mary may have been married a second time to a Jesse Faulkner.
- Henry Crumley married Sarah whose last name is unknown. Very little is known about Henry. Henry signed deeds in 1766 and 1768 and in 1770 appointed William Crumley his power of attorney. He apparently moved from the area and died about 1792. There are no known children but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
James and Catherine likely had additional children…probably 5 or 6, who died as children. Note that there are no children named James or Catherine.
Over the years, many Crumley descendants have been interested in genealogy. With the advent of genetic genealogy, almost 15 years ago now, several Crumley males reached out and tested through the Crumley Y DNA project with the hope of confirming their common ancestry. And indeed, they did.
As time moved on, autosomal DNA testing became available to supplement the Y DNA results. Autosomal DNA is the DNA received from both parents which is contributed by ancestors in various amounts. In each generation, more ancestral DNA is lost and the pieces that remain are often passed in smaller and smaller segments. However, often, enough DNA remains intact to match to other descendants who also carry that same DNA segment from the same ancestor.
Today, there are almost 50 Crumley descendants who have joined the Crumley DNA project or tested outside of Family Tree DNA at either 23andMe or Ancestry and who have downloaded their results to GedMatch.
I utilized the tools at both Family Tree DNA and at GedMatch to see just how much of James Crumley’s DNA is found in his descendants. More specifically, if several of James descendants match on a particular segment of DNA, that DNA is very likely descended from James. To prove this, each segment would need to be triangulated between any 3 descendants. This is a manual process and with almost 50 individuals involved, would take me from now to next year. So, I did not triangulate or prove these segments. These are match groups between 49 of James descendants today who descend through two different sons, John and William. To eliminate picking up downstream DNA of the son’s wives, the descendants of son John are only matched to the descendants of son William. I took that resulting match spreadsheet and utilized Kitty Cooper’s overlapping segment mapping tool to see how many of the matched pairs exist on various chromosomes.
Note that in the legend, when you see Carl V, for example, that really means that Carl matches to one of the other participants, so what you see mapped on the chromosome are not single matches, but paired matches.
If there are more than 4 match pairs on any segment, they are “behind” or overlapping each other on the chromosome and you can’t see them. What I’m saying is not to pay attention to the names, just the colored segments on the chromosomes.
This wonderful tool gives you a good idea of the segments where James descendants match each other above 3 cM and 300 SNPs. As more descendants test, more matching segments will appear.
Does this mean that all of these segments come from James or Catherine? Probably not. Some of the smallest segments are probably identical by chance, especially segments not found in large groups or clusters. When you have a large cluster of the same matching segment, it increases the chances significantly that these are not matches by chance and are identical by descent – in other words, they do come directly from James and Catherine..
Kitty also provides a tool where you can look at any single chromosome and how the matches stack up. Below is James (and Catherine) Crumley’s chromosome 8. For me, the fact that I and so many of my Crumley kin still carry part of James and Catherine is absolutely amazing. I look at the colorful representation of their ancestors on this chromosome map, rebuilt by their descendants and I see the beauty of Nature and the everlasting legacy of the ancestors, in this case, my very own moonshining Quaker, James Crumley.
Looking at these graphics makes me feel like a happy confetti explosion has occurred, except in reverse, and the pieces of confetti are being fit back together again, at least on paper, to recreate at least a small part of our common ancestor, James Crumley and his wife, Catherine. While part of this DNA is James, Catherine would have contributed an equal amount of DNA to all of their children, so part of this, today, is hers as well. As more people test and technology improves, maybe one day we’ll knows which pieces of DNA were contributed by James and which by Catherine. Who knows, it may even be their cumulative DNA found in their descendants that one day that will lead us to their parents.
Acknowledgements: This article is a combination of the research of several Crumley descendants, both living and dead. I want to thank each and every one who contributed (and continues to contribute) and all of those who DNA tested as well. What we can accomplish together is amazing!
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