Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eight Crow Family Households in Union Listed in 1834 Census

Examining the 1834 Union County census for early settlers, I discovered eight families with the surname Crow. These were, as listed from the census, with numbers following the names indicative of count of males (first) and count of females (second) recorded in each family when the census was finished on March 24, 1834.
William L. Crow 3 – 4
John L. Crow 3 – 4
Isaac (?) Crow 2 – 2
Peter Crow 2 – 1
James Crow 4 – 4
John Crow 4 – 4
William Crow 2 – 3
Thomas Crow 3 – 4
The total count of Crow residents in 1834 numbered 23 males and 26 females. Out of a population of 903 registered in the census, these 49 people with the same family surname definitely represented a goodly proportion of the citizenship of the county.

With my curiosity thoroughly whetted, I went next to the Marriage Records of Union County, Georgia, 1833-1897, a very handy printed reference book that serves me well when I need to look up information. Thinking I would find many marriages of Crow citizens, I was disappointed to find only these registered listings:

Crow, Clarinda S. to Alfred Nicholson on May 26, 1872 by Charles Crumbley, MG.
Crow, Millisa to Jeremiah Kittle on Dec. 23, 1841 by J. M. Rogers, JP.
Crow, Thomas to Elizabeth Logan on Sept. 23, 1837 by John Martin, JIC.

(Note: For those wondering about the abbreviations following the marriage officers’ names, MG is Minister of the Gospel; JP is Justice of the Peace; and JIC is Justice of the Inferior Court.) To have three marriages registered from Crow family members over a period of sixty-four years of county records, especially with the forty-nine Crows living in the county in 1834, seemed a bit strange to me. Did they not register marriages?

Then I thought, perhaps some of the Crow families were Indians, since all the exodus of Native Americans had not occurred when the first census was taken. Crow sounded a bit like an Indian name, such as Chief Crow, perhaps.

My next tool was the excellent book, Cemeteries of Union County, Georgia (c1990). I searched for Crow entries in the book and the cemeteries where interred. Again, I found only three entries of marked graves of Crow family members in comparison to the number who were registered in the 1834 census. Another question was raised by what I discovered in the cemetery book listing. Here is what I found:

Crow, E. A. - b. 1835, died 1841, Choestoe 1 Cemetery
Crow, Francis M., - no birth date, died August 20, 1841, Choestoe 1 Cemetery
*Crow Indian Children, no birth or death dates, buried Indian 1 Cemetery.
I proceeded to look up the Indian Graves section in the book and read this explanation: “Two graves about 100 yards above the Roy Townsend residence in Coosa District are said to be those of Indian children. The Indian family name was Crow. This story has been handed down from older generations from the Pre-Civil War years.” (p. 249).

This Indian Cemetery, only if containing two graves and those of children, seemed to support somewhat my theory that some of the Crow families listed in the 1834 census might, therefore, have been Native Americans—Cherokee Indians.

That took me on a search for Crow as an Indian name. I found another surprising fact. Crows are a western states Indian group. Crow is a tribal name, a break-off from the Sioux Indians’ Hidatsa Group native to the Missouri River region of America. When the Crow broke from the Sioux, the Crow tribe went westward mainly to the Rocky Mountains area of Colorado. So if any Indian families had the name Crow in Union County, Georgia they were likely given the name due to their raven hair or characteristics considered appropriate to a crow.

Looking up the origin of the surname Crow and Crowe, I discovered that it is Anglo-Saxon in origin, an anthromorphic name, with characteristics resembling a crow, having to do more with character traits than appearance, although the early Crow families may have had very black hair. As early as 1100, Crow families lived in Norfolk and Suffolk in East England. Ailwin Crowe in 1180 was on the “Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire” England. He lived from 1154-1189, and was known as a “Builder of churches.” The first Crow I found migrating to the Southern colonies was Adam Crow, age 19, who sailed from London on the ship “Thomas” and landed in Virginia in 1635. Adam was followed the next year, 1636, by Henry Crow who also settled in Virginia. Adam and Henry were probably the progenitors of the Southern Crow families that migrated to North and South Carolina and into North Georgia. Others listed in the northern colonies were William Crow who arrived in Plymouth Colony in the early 1620s and John Crow in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1630.

One of the Crow men in early Union County served as a public officer. The first county officers were installed on March 20, 1833 when the county was a little more than three months old (founded Dec. 3, 1832). These were, according to the marker on the old courthouse square: James Crow – Sheriff; Arthur Gilbert – Clerk of Superior Court; Joseph Jackson – Clerk of Inferior Court; James Gaddis, Sr. – Coroner; and Joseph Chaffin – Surveyor. John Thomas was the representative to the Georgia Legislature and had been the one to suggest Union as the name for the new county, stating, “There are none but Union men there.”

c 2009 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Aug. 20, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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