Catherine Crumley (c1712-c1790), Raised Her Family in a Two Room Cabin, 52 Ancestors #94

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I had been planning to make my way to Apple Pie Ridge for some time now, when an opportunity presented itself by way of a speaking engagement in Richmond, VA in the fall of 2015.  I checked the map, and sure enough, Apple Pie Ridge, where my Quaker ancestors, James Crumley and his wife, Catherine, lived, was right on the way home.

When driving in Frederick County close to Apple Pie Ridge, how the Ridge obtained its name becomes immediately obvious.

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There are indeed apple orchards everyplace.  This time of year, the apples are being harvested and there are semis taking the apples to be processed into yummy goodies that will provide people from all over the US with apple products until next year’s harvest.

However, this is not how James and Catherine would have harvested apples or what they would have done with them.  The Museum of the Shenandoah, in Winchester, VA, provides a wonderful exhibit of farm implements of yesteryear, including an apple picker, right under the “What is it?” question, below.

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I had no idea what this was, being so long, but when they provided the answer – it seemed obvious.

Since we’re on the subject, the item on the bottom is a mash stirrer.  Mash, for those who don’t know, is part of the whiskey making process.  James Crumley was a Quaker, but a still was listed in his estate inventory, so he would likely have used one of these as well.

Directly under the basket of the apple picker is a weighing system.  James had a brass scales, stillyards and money scales in his estate inventory too, so it probably looked something like this.

Apples, however, were not made into whiskey, but into “cyder’ and sometimes hard cyder and things like applesauce and applebutter.  Not to mention items like pies, but pies didn’t keep.  Apples were also dried.

Below, an apple butter pot probably similar to one Catherine would have used.

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When I was a child, we made a lot of applesauce and applebutter, but we did not cook it in a pot outdoors, although some of the “less progressive” families did – in the same outside facility they used for maple sugar in the winter time.

And of course, there was apple juice which preceded hard cyder.

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The first step to juicing apples were to press them in an apple press similar to the one above.

Apples were a staple in Frederick County and were raised with little effort to provide for the family for the upcoming winter and until next fall.  Today, they are an important cash crop for the families of the region.  The orchards are beautiful, but it’s surprising that there are few farm markets.  We did find one, but it was a bit north, towards Martinsville in Berkeley Co., West Virginia.

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Orr’s Farm Market sells lots of different varieties of apples.  They also allow tasting and the apples were so good.  I was surprised at how different the differing varieties tasted.

The Ridge

Sometimes when you visit a location, things become obvious which were not obvious previously.  For example, that there was a ridge of mountains that “began” the Blue Ridge just to the west of James and Catherine Crumley’s land.  Apple Pie Ridge Road runs along that ridge, parallel, in the valley, north to south.

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The “good land” for faming lies in that valley to the east of those mountains which run the length of the county and of course into two adjacent counties, one to the south in Virginia, the beginning of the Shenandoah Valley and then extending north into Berkeley County, West Virginia.  In fact, James and Catherine also owned land in Berkeley County, just a hop, skip and a jump up the road.

Who Was Catherine?

Catherine has been rumored to be a Gilkey, but I doubt seriously if she is.  Or better stated, other than family stories, there is nothing at all to substantiate this claim, and several reasons to introduce questions.

In Paul Morton’s book, “The Crumley Family,” he reports that James married a Scottish lass named Catherine Gilkey in 1732 in Chester County, PA, but he provided no documentation.  A Scottish lass would have been Presbyterian.  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.

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:


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 credible, because Aaron Griffith was born only 40 years after James Crumley died, and only a couple years after James’ wife Catherine died.  His parents and family would have known this family first hand.

In 1758, it seems that James Crumley had a bit of a meltdown in court, potentially having to do with Barbara Gilkey Hagen, the remarried wife of David Gilkey.  If Catherine Crumley is a Gilkey, Barbara is her mother.  In the court records, the first record immediately before a proceeding with Barbara Hagen having to do with her bond (probably in conjunction with an estate, probably David Gilkey’s 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.

If Catherine was the daughter of David and Barbara Gilkey, why are there no children named David or Barbara?

Sometimes family stories are true, but sometimes, they aren’t.  In this case, we have two stories to choose from.

There is also another family story that Catherine in a Bowen which has exactly as much credibility as the Gilkey story, and for exactly the same reason.

The Bowen rumor says that Catherine was the daughter of Henry Bowen.  James Crumley and Henry Bowen were neighbors in Frederick County, VA, but James Crumley’s marriage to Catherine 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. This book indicates Catherine may have been a Bowen and not a Gilkey.

Dorothy T. Hennen in “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 land, and submit their report to the court to be filed.

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 and no David or Barbara Gilkey, nor a Catherine Gilkey or Bowen mentioned.

I do, however, know why both stories exist.  James Crumley bought land from both David Gilkey and Henry Bowen, both men reputed to have been the father of Catherine.

On October 1, 1745, James purchased 219 acres of a 438 acre tract, part of a November 12, 1735 patent from the Colony issued to James Wright and John Littler who later sold the land to David and Barbara Gilkey his wife. (Tract 71A, Map 5.) James Crumley paid 37 pounds to the Gilkeys, who had lived on the land. James then sold the Gilkey land to his son John on February 28, 1757 for 25 shillings. Later, the same 219 acres was willed to John in his father’s will.  Perhaps James wanted to assure that John did actually receive this land.

On April 1, 1755, Henry Bowen sells to James Crumley for 5 shillings a tract of land containing 53 acres being part of a larger tract containing 103 acres.  It’s signed by Henry Bowen and witnessed by Charles Parkins and Evan Thomas and recorded in Deed Book 3, page 447.

Granted, 5 shillings is an artificially low price for 53 acres, but then again, we don’t know what kind of land constituted that 53 acres.  It could have been prime, cleared farmland or swamp – and that would make a huge difference in how much the land was worth.

Henry Bowen’s land abutted James land – so they were neighbors as well.

However, Henry Bowen left a will and named his children; Henry, John, Jacob, Mary, Hannah, Margaret, Jean, Ann and Persilla.  He lists both Isaac Eaton and Peter Babb as sons-in-law, but neither a daughter Catherine nor a son-in-law James Crumley are mentioned.  Henry did, before his death, deed land to daughter Presilla and her husband, William Gaddis, but Presilla is still mentioned in Henry’s will. In the deeds where Henry Bowen sells to his children, the price is “for love and affection.”  Of course, none of this resolves the 5 shilling question relative to James Crumley.

James Crumley married his wife, Catherine, before they came to Frederick County.  In fact, he married her several years before, back when they were living in Chester County, PA, and I have yet to find any record of either David Gilkey or Henry Bowen in Chester County, PA. Now of course, one can’t prove a negative, but autosomal DNA testing and matching has also failed to connect to either of these families.  Again, that’s not proof that Catherine is not a Gilkey or a Bowen, but together the evidence is suggestive that she is not.  Said another way, the DNA evidence is not suggestive that Catherine was a Gilkey or a Bowen, but new people test daily and we don’t know what the future will hold.

Unfortunately, we have no idea, besides those two stories, what Catherine’s surname might be.

However, what we do know is that James and Catherine did not live on the Gilkey land.  How do we know this?  Because James was considerate enough to die with a will.  In his will, he left ”the plantation” to his youngest son Samuel, and when John sold that land in 1793, the deed very specifically said that this was the land James purchased of Giles Chapman.  In James Crumley’s will, John inherited the Gilkey land.  We know this because John states such when he sells that tract as well.

Virginia tax records indicate that Catherine lived for at least another 18 years after James Crumley’s death, as she is listed as a white female head of household in 1782 with one white male and three blacks, 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.  The white male was probably John, because Samuel appears to be dead by 1768 or Samuel.

There is no 1790 census, and John sells the land in 1793, so Catherine is assuredly gone by this time.  By 1782, Catherine would have been about 70 years old, or perhaps slightly younger.  She lived to be at least 75.

The 1793 deed from John Crumly and wife Hannah, then of Newberry in the 96 District of SC, tells us that the tract contains 150 acres and is part of a larger tract granted to Giles Chapman by grant and that he conveyed that land to James Crumley and then a second tract granted by James Crumley and devised in his will to Samuel Crumley and said John Crumly was his heir.  This tells us that Samuel probably was underage when he died and John was likely James’ eldest son.  Another possibility is that Samuel was not underage when he died, and moved away, leaving a will elsewhere that names his brother as his heir.  There is no Samuel Crumley will in Frederick County.

There is also a very interesting deed from William Crumley, Henry Crumley and Thomas Doster, all of Frederick County, on January 30, 1768 where they are bound to their brother John Crumly for the sum of 1000 pounds to secure their obligation that after the death of their mother Katherine Crumly they convey all their rights to the plantation on which she now resides and to allow said John Crumly the quiet possession of said property, signed by the same.  Witnesses were Henry Ross, M. Morgan, John Lindsey Jr. and Josiah Pickett, recorded in Deed Book 12, page 351.

Thomas Doster marries Mary, the daughter of Catherine and James, so he is the brother-in-law of Henry, William and John.

This indicates that Samuel had died by 1768, but sometime after the 1757 will.  That would explain why Katherine was living on the estate that John owned and he would eventually retain possession. If Samuel were living, Katherine would have been living with him on the home plantation that Samuel would have owned.

This means that Catherine, probably after burying her husband, also buried her son.

The Crumley Home

Sometimes luck smiles on a genealogist, and it smiled on me.  When researching James Crumley, cousins discovered that the home he and Catherine once owned was now a historic property and had been lovingly restored.

When visiting Frederick County, I had only planned to drive by, pull into the driveway by the road, and take some photos.  I was accompanied by my Crumley cousin, Pam.  However, when we arrived, the property is fairly heavily treed, and while you can see the house, you can’t see all of the house.

Pam and I decided to muster our combined courage and go to the door to ask permission to take closer photos of the house.  The dog was chained, so we felt relatively safe.  The owner came to the door, was a bit surprised to say the least, but was extremely gracious and provided a great deal of information.  She went inside to call her husband who had information in his office, and when she came back outside, she offered to give us an impromptu tour of the old section of the house.

Pam and I thought we had died and gone to heaven.  This is the house that Catherine would have lived in – all two rooms of it – from the time she was about 30 years old until her death.  She clearly had children within these walls, because in 1757, when James made his will, at least one of her children, Samuel, was underage, indicating he was born sometime after 1736.  Catherine would have had children until she was in her early-mid 40s, 42 or 43, so about 1754 or 1755. When Catherine was the woman of the house, she would have been managing at least 5 children, if not more, plus her husband, herself and at least 4 slaves in these two rooms.  Not exactly a wealthy plantation owner.

The second half of the house was added in the 1800s as a separate building that shared a wall, but at that time, there was no connection inside between the two halves of the house.  You had to go outside to go into the “other half” from whichever half you were in.  You can clearly see the divide, looking at the front of the house.  Cousin Pam and a friendly cat are posing, below.  The old half is on the left.

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In the photo below, the original log cabin is the part with the fireplace, and the entire section beginning with the door that extends to the rear (left) was added as a third section much later.

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Eventually, the owners, sometime in the late 1800s cut an inside doorway between the two halves of the house.  A rear addition was also put on, doubling the size of the house.  However, the piece that Catherine would recognize was the left part, looking straight on to the house from the road, which is the right section in the photo above, taken from the side.  Furthermore, the upper level was at one time raised to make a full story.  In Catherine’s day, it was about half-height – perfect for children.

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This picture is of the original chimney.  You can see that it was extended with bricks when the roof was raised.  The chimney must extend above the roof to prevent the roof from catching on fire, so the original roof was likely below the second story window that was added when the second floor was raised.

When Catherine lived here, it was a half story and probably where the children slept.

This floor, upstairs, is most likely original.

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My ancestor, Catherine’s son William Crumley, born in 1735 or 1736, climbed these stairs and played on this floor, perhaps, and slept in this very room, but probably not in a bed by himself.  Children shared beds – those children lucky enough to sleep in a bed and not on straw on the floor.

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The upstairs was accessible through an unusual stairway beside the fireplace.  In the photo below, you can see the yellow door to the far right.

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It’s extremely narrow and is accessible today.  Here is what it looks like from the upstairs.

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Here is cousin Pam emerging from the stairway on the bottom floor.  You can tell from her smile what a wonderful day we are having!

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There are two original windows that remain.

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One original windows is shown in the photo above to the right of the fireplace on the lower floor  An exact duplicate looks into the second half of the house.  Of course, at one time, that second window looked outside.

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The house is dark (without lights) as it would have been when Catherine lived there.  The only other source of light would have been a front and back door.  The front door is original.  That in itself is absolutely incredible, almost 300 years later.

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This “old” door is far more substantial than any door manufactured today.

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The logs of the house itself can still be seen in the rear of the original part where the new addition was added.  The owners exposed that portion and it’s beautiful.  It’s now part of a hallway.

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You can see the square headed forged nails.

It’s unusual, but there were rows of rock between the logs.

Here, you can see the logs chinked together at what was the original corner of the house.

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Looking down, there is a metal something sticking out of the log.  We don’t know what this is.

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You can see another view of this metal piece in a photo provided by Pam.

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If anyone knows what it is, please let me know.

Pam and I both had to touch the logs – knowing that James and Catherine both touched them.

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The current owner has marked “age lines” with each of her children’s birthdays on the door jam.  I remember my mother doing the same thing, and it makes me wonder if Catherine did something similar, oh so long ago.

Looking at James Crumley’s estate inventory, we can get some idea of how much furniture they had and where it might have fit in the two room cabin.

James had “beds and furniture” but unfortunately, they don’t tell us how many beds – although we know there was more than one.  About the only other things inside the house were brass scales, stillyards and money scales for conducting business, chests, pewter, stove and kitchen iron ware.  It says nothing about plates and such, and often those things are listed individually.  It also does not list any books or a Bible.  Nor a mirror.  Nor pewter plates, so they likely ate out of wooden trenchers.  While James did have a nontrivial amount of “cash, silver, gold and paper” to the tune of 26 pounds, and he was owed notes for 119 pounds, they didn’t seem to have much in terms of physical property.

Catherine probably cooked over the fire in the fireplace.  There could possibly have been an outside kitchen as well, but so far, nothing like that has come to light.  There would be evidence of a cooking area, and none has been found.

Furthermore, there have been no slave quarters found either, and we know that James had at least four slaves and Catherine continued to have slaves through the 1787 tax list.  Did they sleep with the family or perhaps upstairs with the children?

And then there was the matter of the still…

The Still

A still was not a common estate inventory item in Frederick County.  This means that not everyone had one, and I’m guessing that most of the Quaker men did not have a still.  But James assuredly did, and used it liberally according to his estate inventory where he had 15 gallons of liquor, a cyder mill and casks.

This still likely caused Catherine no small amount of heartburn.  This family was Quaker, but they apparently weren’t fanatically Quaker.  How much trouble did this still cause Catherine at church or within the community?  For that matter, did it cause trouble at home?

Or is the fact that there was so much debt owed to James indicative of the fact that he was a successful “businessman” within the community?  Yes, he appeared to be a shoemaker, but he also appeared to be what we would term a moonshiner today.

However, there may be more to this story than we already know.

The road that intersects Apple Pie Ridge Road in front of James and Catherine’s home is called Tuscarora Road.  The current owner told us that the Tuscarora migrated through the area.  This makes perfect sense given that they left North Caroline beginning in 1713 after the Tuscarora War, and groups migrated back and forth from then until the last group left North Carolina for New York in the early 1800s.  There are many place names along the Blue Ridge mountains, roughly paralleling I81, that include the word Tuscarora. In fact, Tuscarora Creek runs through the center of Martinsville, West Virginia, the next county north of Frederick County.

The local people tell us that the Tuscarora camped and lived in these locations for some time.  It’s unlikely that they all left.  Some would have worked and traded within the community.

We visited the historic village of Gerrardstown, about 10 miles north of James Crumley’s land where the “History of Gerrardstown” also told us the same story – that the Tuscarora were found throughout this area and along the ridge as they migrated to the north – except this book also says that the Tuscarora lived here.  There are many local areas and landmarks there with Tuscarora in their name.

Did the fact that James Crumley had a still have something to do with why the Tuscarora continued to stay and perhaps live on his land?  Was he simply an opportunist after discovering that the Tuscarora, whose chiefs had asked the whites not to provide drink to their Indian men, were camping and perhaps living on his land?  Is that part of why he carried so very much debt owed to him?

How did Catherine feel about this?  It makes me wonder if their “slaves” were African or if they were perhaps Indian – although if they were Indian it begs the question of why they simply did not just leave.  If they were Indian, they would not have been Tuscarora, but captives of other tribes that the Tuscarora held or sold or maybe used to pay their debts.  The men captives were often killed, but the women and children, being much easier to control and less likely to cause trouble, were generally sold into bondage.

There may be yet more to this story to be unraveled.

The French and Indian War

This part of the country was incessantly raided, up and down this valley, during the French and Indian War which began in 1754.  The old Indian Path became the Wagon Road which has now become I81.  During the French and Indian War, this area became the ingress and egress for both the French and hostile Indians conducting raids, hoping to drive the settlers out of their area and back from whence they came.

Areas from Martinsburg into Gerrardstown and down the valley through Winchester and further south were raided by the French and Indians.  This is exactly where James and Catherine lived – on the old main road.

Prisoners were taken, settler families were killed and life during this time period was in a state of upheaval.  In some areas, entire counties were abandoned, to be resettled later.  But that didn’t happen in Frederick County.  These settlers stayed put right where they were.  They had put down roots and they weren’t going anyplace, not even upon threat of death.

The Tuscarora Indians sided with the Americans.  Perhaps the proximity of the Tuscarora to James Crumley provided him with some modicum of protection – or at least forewarning.  Neither James nor any of his sons show any record of having served in this conflict, with the exception of one entry regarding being absent from militia service.  James would have been in his early 40s and his eldest sons between 18 and 20, so any of these men could have served.  Maybe their Quaker religion precluded it in their case, but their Quaker religion did not seem to preclude the still.  Perhaps they were selectively Quaker.

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.

I have to wonder if Catherine ever hid in the cellar.  This is one of the very few log cabins I’ve ever seen with a cellar.  Would the cellar have been considered an area of safety or a sure trap with no exit?  Did the men have guns to protect the homeplace?  No guns are listed in James Crumley’s estate inventory in 1764, just a few years later.

Catherine was raising her children on a frontier that was also a war zone – a situation that never entirely resolved until after the Revolutionary War ended.  Catherine lived to see that as well.  Of her three sons, we know nothing of the children of Henry, but William and John had 8 sons between them.  We know that son William, then living just north of Catherine on land once owned by James and Catherine spanning the border with Berkeley County, now West Virginia, provided supplies for the use of the Revolutionary army.  He was allowed 5 pounds for 8 days of service as a “receiver” in collecting clothing and provisions.  He also contributed 11 bushels and a peck of wheat along with his wife’s brother-in-law and his wife’s step-father.

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Perhaps those supplies were stored in William’s barn, shown above, on land left to William by his father, once granted to James and Catherine by Lord Fairfax.

Fortunately for Catherine, and the other settlers, there were no actual battles in Frederick County in the Revolutionary War.  However, when living there, with war and raids raging all around, following the French and Indian War which was not really resolved until 1763 – it must have felt like there was always some kind of unrest and conflict that threatened not only your possessions and home, but your very life and that of your children and grandchildren. This must have somehow become “normal” to Catherine, because life went on.  She raised her children and did all the things that needed to be done – somehow.  Both before and after James’ death.

Let’s take a look at how Catherine would have lived on the farm, outside of her 2 room cabin.  One thing is for sure, with very little space, most activities other than some cooking, sleeping and keeping warm in the winter likely took place outside.

Out Buildings

There were some outbuildings on the property.  The one I find the most interesting is nestled behind the house.  It’s quite close today, but before the additions, it was a bit further away.  The owner thinks it may have been a smokehouse just for hanging meat, since no evidence of fire has been found there either.  She does not think it’s original to the property, but it does look quite old and I wonder if it is.  It’s log, not sawed planks, so it likely predates a sawmill.

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This little building is just fascinating.

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I wondered about this house being for the still, but a still would have required a fire as well, and there is no evidence of a fire being built inside this building.  The owner told us that the construction was said to have been of Irish origin by on one of the individuals who came to look at the property when it was being listed on the Historic Register.  of course, since we don’t know when it was constructed, we don’t know if this is a hint as to James and Catherine Crumley’s origins or not.  We don’t even know who said it was Irish, why, and if that was accurate or not.

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There are two other outbuilding, but both of them date to after the Crumley’s owned this land.

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This building was rebuilt with many of the original materials.

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This corn crib has never been rebuilt, but doesn’t date to when Catherine lived here.

The original well still exists too, just a few feet in front of the house.  Behind the house, down a hill, is a creek.  I’m sure the well was a welcome addition, but I doubt it was here when Catherine was alive.  She, I’m sure, walked to the creek, or sent her children or slaves.

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Another outbuilding that is “gone” would be the outhouse, of course.

One final building was the all-important barn.  The barn on this property was substantial.  The owner indicated that the barn was in very poor condition when they bought the property some 40+ years ago.  They felt it was a second barn built on an original foundation.  The foundation remains, and we could see differences in construction styles in different sections.

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Ironically, the barn was substantially larger than the original log cabin house.

Last on the tour was the cellar.  While many people would not find this exciting, we did.  We don’t know if James built this cabin or not, but it was rather “deluxe” for its time with two rooms and a cellar – albeit a dirt floor cellar.  It would have provided storage for root vegetables through the winter and probably storage for perishables like milk in the summer as well.

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These steps would have been original of course, although the doors have been just recently replaced..

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These stones are huge and very heavy.  I wonder how they found or quarried them, transported them and placed them.

The chestnut beams supporting the house are in amazing condition considering their age and moist conditions under the house.

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Based on modifications made to the walls for ductwork, we could see the significant depth of the walls.  This looks more like a fort than a house.  Maybe this is part of the answer as to the defense of the family.  It could also explain why there are rocks between the logs.  Rocks deflect gunfire better than wood.

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These walls appear to be more than 2 feet thick in some areas.

The Cemetery?

Where is Catherine buried?  That’s a good question.  Most likely, where James and her son Samuel are buried.  So, where is James buried?

He would have been buried in one of two places.  Either on his own land or at the Hopewell church.

James and Catherine were Quakers.  Some of their children and their descendants continued that Quaker tradition for generations.  Some may still be Quaker today.

However, James didn’t seem, from his estate inventory, considering his liquor and still, to be a fundamentalist Quaker, although we have no evidence he was ever in any trouble within the church.  Whether he was discreet, meaning perhaps the church elders were among those who owed him money, or the elders were simply turning a blind eye – we’ll likely never know.  He was also a vestry member of the Anglican church which was likely political in nature but shows that he was a respected citizen.  For the rest of that story, see the James Crumley article.

The property owner told us that when they bought the property, there was one single gravestone propped up in the barn.  They wanted that stone, but the previous owners took it when they left.  We don’t know where on the property that stone would have been located, or why it was in the barn.  It was from a later date when the Lodge family owned the land.  But it does tell us one thing.  There was a cemetery at one time.  Was it the Crumley cemetery repurposed for new owners?  Or was it truly the Lodge cemetery with only one burial?  Are James and Catherine along with their son Samuel buried at their home or at Hopewell Friends Church?

The Hopewell Friends Church

Catherine Crumley 38

Churches and religion were extremely important to these pioneer families.  Many had sacrificed greatly in order to be able to participate in their religion of choice – and not just in the present generation – but often for many preceding generations.  Most of these people demonstrated a willingness to lay their lives down and risk everything for their religion.  This leads me to believe that, if possible, James Crumley would have wanted to be buried at Hopewell, according to his Quaker beliefs.

Catherine Crumley 39

The Hopewell Church was the first Quaker Church or Meeting House in this area and was established in 1734, before James and Catherine arrived, but not terribly long before they arrived.  They would have worshipped in this church, part of which has been expanded.

Catherine Crumley 40

If James and Catherine Crumley are buried here, it is likely in the center part under this very old tree where the earliest burials likely took place.  There are many unmarked graves.

Catherine Crumley 41

This church, except for modernization somewhat, likely has not changed much since Catherine attended.

Catherine Crumley 42

Did Catherine pick flowers and sit them in the windows of the house or the church to cheer the family or to lift her own spirits when warfare, strife and sorrow invaded her life?

Catherine Crumley 43

Gazing across the fields from the back of the church, we see the ever-present mountains in the distance.  These mountains at once defined boundaries and opportunity.  Did Catherine look at them and think about the lands she came from?  Did she think about her parents and perhaps children buried in hallowed ground left behind?  What did Catherine think about when she gazed at these mountains?  Did she have any idea that her descendants would spread across and settle the rest of the country within just a few generations?

Catherine Crumley 44

Those mountains would be both a barrier and a highway. It would be down those mountains and through the valleys that at least one of Catherine’s sons and many of her grandchildren would venture.  It would be across those mountains that the husbands and sons of settlers would march to fight the French and Indians in 1754 and to settle distant places, founding Quaker churches wherever they went.  The mountains were somewhat of a barrier for settlers, at least for a little while, but they provided no barrier at all to Indians who raided the settlements, hoping to stem the ever-growing tide of intruding settlers.  That didn’t work, and the settlers pressed on, through the mountains, into the heartland and eventually, from sea to sea.

Catherine’s Children

Catherine and James had a total of five known children, four that lived to adulthood.

  • John Crumley, probably the oldest, born about 1733 or 1734 in Chester County, PA. He married Hannah Faulkner and moved to Newberry County, SC before 1790.
  • William Crumley, born about 1735 or 1736, also in Chester County. William lived his life on land bordering Frederick County, VA and Berkeley County, West VA left to him in his father’s will. William married Hannah Mercer.
  • Mary Crumley married Thomas Doster and possibly secondly to Jesse Faulkner.
  • Henry Crumley married Sarah whose last name is unknown. All we know about Henry is that he left the area and apparently died about 1792.
  • Samuel Crumley is mentioned in his father’s will as underage, but he did not live to claim his inheritance.

In that day and time, there would likely have been at least twice and maybe three times that many children born to a pioneer couple, so at least some of those children are buried someplace in Frederick County – likely the same place James, Catherine and Samuel are buried.

Catherine’s Mitochondrial DNA

Of the four surviving children, only one was female, which limits our ability to find someone who carries Catherine’s mitochondrial DNA.  Fortunately, daughter Mary Crumley who married Thomas Doster and had three daughters, Ruth, Sarah and Mary.

Mother’s pass their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of their children, but only females pass it on.  Mitochondrial DNA can tell us a great deal about the ancestry of Catherine – information we will likely never know unless we find someone who carries her mitochondrial DNA and who is willing to test.

If you descend from Catherine’s daughter, Mary Crumley, who married Thomas Doster and possibly Jesse Faulkner, through all females to the current generation, in which you can be male or female, and you’re willing to DNA test – I have a DNA testing scholarship for you!!!!



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28 thoughts on “Catherine Crumley (c1712-c1790), Raised Her Family in a Two Room Cabin, 52 Ancestors #94

  1. It is true that Quakers strongly discouraged the consumption or manufacture of alcohol (see the discussion in this paper discussing the excavation of a tavern on land owned by a Quaker ( In colonial times attitudes regarding the manufacture of alcohol were more relaxed among the Mennonite and Amish communities because for those living on the frontier it was a practical issue. It was much easier to transport the alcohol products (whiskey, etc) produced by a still than it was to transport the raw grain to a distant market. I cannot speak for Quakers, but 18th and 19th century Amish and Mennonites did consume hard cider, but probably not the whiskey they produced. With the emergence of the temperance movement in the late 19th century that went away as well, although my Amish grandfather remembers consuming hard cider in the first quarter of the 20th century. As an interesting historical note, the Mennonite uncle of one of my ancestors produced Overholt’s Whiskey in Pennsylvania. It was the favorite whiskey of both Abraham Lincoln and U.S. Grant and there is good evidence they both kept themselves supplied with it wherever they were throughout the Civil War. I would suggest you research how distant the nearest market for grain was for this household. If it was far they probably produced whiskey to transport and sell and the church may have tolerated it as an economic necessity if they were on the frontier.

  2. Thank you for this, Roberta. My relatives (Richard Fallis) were a part of the Quaker Meeting House at Apple Pie Ridge. I went there last year and was at the Quaker cemetery there.

  3. Roberta, You are bouncing all over my lineage but not on it. My cousin and I , she was a BOWEN did much research on this area. It is stored in my garage. Some of what you have written I have seen before. Also a word about the Whiskey, it was also used for medicinal purposes and tolerated for that reason in some of the groups. After Seminar 7 Nov I am going to go to storage in the garage and find Vicki’s papers because I was able to retrieve them after her death. I so hoped you were going to solve my riddle from that area. Thanks

  4. Re farm markets around Winchester: try Virginia Farm Market four or five miles NW of Winchester on 522 toward Berkeley Springs. Quite large and usually open about April-November.

  5. Yes, thank you very much for this, Roberta. (And for the comment, Mark!) I’ve spent waaaay too much time pouring over this post. Besides the puzzle, which i can’t help you with, the apple processing information and the detail on the house is fascinating.

    A couple of questions — about that almost 300-year old front door: The middle horizontal timber is very puzzling. Is it about 4×4(?) at the hinge end? Does the thickness taper considerably to the lock end? And what is that black box on it? Since there are no nails showing in that position on the front, i *assume* that’s a nailhead on top of the timber in the light from the window, but i don’t see any other evidence of nails holding that timber in place. Did you when you were there?

    Again, many thanks for your carefully-taken photos, and your detailed descriptions. You make me ache to return to Virginia to search for estate inventories.

  6. Great article! I’m familiar with the meeting house and cemetery where my great uncle and his Quaker wife are buried. Your documentation of the house is fascinating!

  7. Another interesting article, thank you.
    I got a little excited when you mentioned Orr’s Market near Martinsburg, WV. We live in Berkeley county and go to Orr’s on a regular basis. We travel to Frederick County, Virginia regularly as well.
    Thanks again for another interesting article.

  8. Hi, Going from Martinsburg to Winchester is going “up the valley.” The Shenandoah River flows N to the Potomac… the land rises going south. Going south is going “upstream.”

  9. Roberta, I have a book, entitled Quaker Marriage Certificates, that is an incomplete compilation of New Garden (Chester & Cecil County) meetings, including a few from early Nottingham, compiled by Gwen Boyer Bjorkman, Westminster, Maryland, 2012. On pp. 22-23, there is a marriage certificate from Nottingham for Roger Kirk, son of Alphonsus Kirk of New Castle (Delaware) and Jane Bowen, daughter of Henry Bowen. Henry Bowen signs, as do some other somewhat familiar names – Rees Bowen, John Bowen, Kathrine Ross, john Chenowith, John Chenowith Jr. and Samuel Littler, people who may have made the migration to Hopewell MM. The marriage was December 9, 1726/7. There is no mention in this small collection of the Crumleys, but this may constitute some evidence that the Bowens were there. I feel that I have seen other sources mentioning Henry Bowen and Jane Carter at Nottingham, but I’m not finding them now, and I have never seen anything about the Crumleys time at the Nottingham Lots, except the tax roll entries that have been cited by others. I got this book at Amazon or ABE, I’ve forgotten which.

    • That’s very interesting. I have the Nottingham book and there isn’t anything in there. Putting Henry Bowman, assuming it’s the same one, in that location may be quite important.

      • Yes, a key is whether or not this is the same Henry Bowen who became a neighbor of James and Catherine Crumley in Frederick County, Virginia. Perhaps we can somehow figure out the relationships among Rees Bowen, John Bowen and Henry Bowen, and that would be a further clue. Gregg

        • I meant to mention that Littler was involved with land sales in that area too. I think a Littler patented land that Edward Mercer bought, another Quaker neighbor of James Crumley.

  10. Hi Roberta,

    This was a great article. I too have visited this wonderful house, and kind people who live there. The first time I went I took two young nephews with me, and the owner of the home showed us a box of old chipped blue and white pottery that had been dug up when they built on the new kitchen. My two nephew gazed with wondering eyes at the shards of pottery that might have been used by our ancestors. It looked like most of the pottery we had seen at the Smithsonian. It was an unforgettable memory for all three of us. Several years later I took my 80 year old father to see this home also. The poor people living in this house have welcomed many “Crumley Cousins”.

    The Bowen/Gilkey question got me thinking. Those believing Catherine was a Bowen was a deeply intrenched idea found in many “old” Mormon family group sheets I have seen. The Gilkey idea seemed to get a foothold in the 1970’s. I have always thought she was a Gilkey and maybe the Gilkisons in Chester County ended up being Gilkeys. Anyway, I decided to see how many Bowens might turn up on my Ancestry DNA matches. I ended up with six matches to the Bowen family in Frederick and August County Virginia. Henry, Moses, and Reese appear most frequently. My sister has five matches to the same family. Most of these families tie back to Henry Bowen Jr. and Anna Moon with claims on family trees of them living in Frederick County Virginia. Supposedly, Henry Junior is a brother of Catherine. I have no idea if this is important or not. I am a DNA neophyte, but I am fascinated by it!

    Aartje Crumley

  11. I wonder if the still and the whiskey inventory had to do with keeping the native people happy? – those living nearby and those migrating through. Given the tenseness of the issue during the 1750s and 1760s, it seems it could have been a pragmatic move. Similar things were done in other areas of the frontier.

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  13. Here is a compilation of some of the better sources on Henry Bowen. There is nothing particularly new and noteworthy to mention except perhaps for the affidavit of “James B. Crumly” who stated that “he was well acquainted with Rees Bowen and Henry Bowen formerly of Said County and Brothers of John Bowen of the Same County that he well recollects that they boath enlisted in the Revolutionary war. …”
    Unfortunately James did not indicate if he was related to them. So he could have been speaking only as a neighbor.

  14. 1 . james Crumley (virginia) 2. John (SC) 3. Charles (SC.) Benjamin (Ga.) William Smith Crumley (Georgia) ) Benjamin Smith Crumley. (Alabama) Benjamin Franklin Crumley (Georgia) Dewey Russell Crumley (Georgia. I am daughter of Dewey Russell Crumley

  15. Just curious. I have tested with Family Tree DNA and am showing matches with Crumley descendants on both Family Finder and Gedmatch. One of them I even have an X match with.
    GEDmatch.Com X-DNA Comparison – V2.1.0(a)
    Comparing Kit T402351 (Connie Graves)(F) and T764570 (Eddie Crumley Crews)(F)
    Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
    X 132,133,637 138,956,268 8.2 771
    Largest segment = 8.2 cM
    Total of segments > 7 cM = 8.2 cM Actual.

    There is an Autosomal DNA match as well:
    GEDmatch.Com Autosomal Comparison – V2.1.1(c)
    Comparing Kit T402351 (Connie Graves) and T764570 (Eddie Crumley Crews)
    Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
    1 158,002,763 163,510,130 10.9 1,713
    11 60,021,578 72,562,030 13.1 2,886
    Largest segment = 13.1 cM
    Total of segments > 7 cM = 24.0 cM
    2 matching segments
    Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 4.6

    I have a well documented paper trail to Bowen in Baltimore Co MD on my maternal line as well as a paternal line that goes to the Gilkey family. Would this help resolve whether Catherine was a Gilkey or Bowen?

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