In the year 1816, Richard Crowson built a two-story log cabin north of Montevallo. When he died, he was buried behind the pioneer home he built.
The log cabin has been remodeled by its present owners, Jack and Martha Ward, and stands on County 22 just west of Shelby Academy. But Crowson's burial site – about a quarter of a mile from the highway – has almost disappeared.
Realizing that the location of the grave might be lost forever unless they acted soon, Crowson Family descendants chipped in to buy a marker.
On October 20, family members came from north Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi to see the granite monument put in place at the old Shelby County homestead.
Bricks from the fallen wall which once surrounded the grave of Richard Crowson and two others, lay scattered on the ground which is now part of a pasture where Jack Ward's cows graze.
The family is also considering putting up a fence around the grave sites.
Martha Ward said that a former resident of the cabin told her and her husband about the graves in the late 1970's, several years after they bought the property.
After realizing that the grave site might be lost unless some action was taken, family members from seven states contributed to the fund to buy a marker.
Elton Crowson of Florence, who headed up the project, says there are 1,400 Crowson households across the country.
He says that 416 family members from 22 states attended the first family reunion held in Tull, Ark. in 1977.
Although the number was expected to double at the second reunion in Hot Springs two years later, Crowson says that a gas shortage kept the number in the 400's.
No other reunions have been planned, Crowson says, but he notes that a family history is available for those who want to delve into their past.
The book was written by Dr. William L. Crowson of Ellisville, Miss.
Elton Crowson says that he also plans to write a book, adding information that he has come across since the first history was written.
The first book chronicles the birthdate of Richard Crowson as April 17, 1770. He was born in North Carolina, the oldest of 12 children born to William and Mary Thomas Crowson.
He lived for a while in east Tennessee and was a first lieutenant in the militia there.
When he first moved to Alabama, Crowson lived around Huntsville where he was a Methodist class leader.
After moving to Shelby County, he served as a justice of the peace when the area was still part of the Mississippi territory, and was later reappointed to the position when the Alabama territory was formed.
Crowson died Sept. 12, 1826 at the age of 56.
Speaking about the marker put at his ancestor's grave site, Elton Crowson says that it wasn't put up just for his family.
"We dedicate it to the memory of all who added constructively to the making of this nation," he says.