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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Judge Richard F. Crawford

The lineage of the family represented by this influential attorney of Santa Rosa is traced to Pennsylvania, where tradition says his grandfather, John Crawford, was a soldier in both the Revolutionary war and the war of 1812. He was of Scotch ancestry, and the sturdy and dependable qualities which come as a rich inheritance to the sons of Scotland were his in ample measure. He bequeathed these qualities in equal good measure to his son, Henry C4rawford, who was born and reared to manhood on the ancestral farm in Columbia county, Pa. As a preparation for the business of life he learned the stone-mason's trade, and after mastering it he removed to what at that time 1847, was considered the frontier, going to McHenry county, Ill., where he purchased a large tract of land, and undertook agricultural life on a large scale. Notwithstanding the fact that he had equipped himself in young manhood with a knowledge of the stone-mason's trade, he made little or no use of it, giving the strength of his active years to tilling the soil, and when advancing years and the accumulations of past efforts made labor no longer desirable or necessary, he went to Rockford, Ill., and there rounded out his long and useful life, passing away in that city November 14, 1879, at the age of eighty-one years. In his marriage he was peculiarly blessed, his wife being a woman of fine, noble qualities, one whose presence was a constant solace and benediction,. In maidenhood she was Eliza Blaker, the daughter of Jesse Blaker. She died in Rockford, Ill, also May 10, 1881, when seventy-three years of age. A large family of thirteen children was born to this worthy couple, and of those who attained mature years we mention the following: Mary Ann, now living in Sebastopol, Cal., the widow of C. Gould, formerly of Santa Rosa; Richard F., of this sketch; Peter S., who makes his home in Rockford, Ill.; Malinda B., the widow of C. R. Woodley of Sioux City, Iowa; Esther S., who became the wife of Peter Deits, and died August 19, 1882; Sarah E., who died July 16, 1877; Jesse B., a merchant in Sebastopol, Cal.; Charlotte S., a resident of Chicago, Ill.; Harriet, the widow of George Flanders, and also a resident of Chicago; Theresa, the wife of B. B. Brown, president of the Western National Bank of Pueblo, Colo.; and Araminta, who died April 14, 1878.

The second in the list of this large family, Richard F. Crawford was born September 20, 1833, in what at that time was Columbia county, but is now known as Montour county, Pa., in the town of Whitehall. The immigration of his parents to the middle west when he was a boy changed the course of his life materially, for instead of being reared in the surroundings of more or less ease and culture in the east, he was brought face to face with the stern realities of frontier life at an early age, a circumstance which undoubtedly brought out latent qualities which otherwise might never have been brought into use. His earliest recollections are of assisting his father in opening up a new farm in McHenry county, Ill, alternating work of this character with attendance at the district school when that temple of learning was in session, during the winter months. Not satisfied with the meagre opportunities which the schools of his home locality offered, in 1855 he returned to Pennsylvania and entered Lewisburg University, since known as Bucknell College, from which he graduated with honors and the degree of A. M. Following his graduation from college he returned to his home in McHenry county, Ill., where, instead of settling down to farm life, he indulged in ambitious leaning toward the legal profession by beginning the reading of law. Fortune favored him in that he secured an opening in the office of the well-known lawyers of Woodstock, Church & Kerr, with whom he remained until his admission to the bar, after passing his examination in Chicago.

Instead of seeking his own private welfare after his admission to the bar Mr. Crawford responded to the call of his country for able-bodied men to come to the front in the effort to put down the Rebellion. Enlisting as a private he became a member of the Elgin, Illinois, Battery of Heavy Artillery at Camp Douglas, whence he went with his company to Glasgow, Ky., and later he was detailed as clerk in the office of the mustering officer, Capt. J. H. Knight, of the staff of General Boyle, at Louisville, Ky. Promotion followed his service in this capacity, he being commissioned second lieutenant of Company K, Thirty-fifth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, with which he was connected until he was mustered out of the service at Louisville, Ky., December 29, 1864.

Following the close of his war service Mr. Crawford returned to Rockford and began the practice of law, and during the quarter of a century that he continued there built up a large and influential practice, besides which he served two years a city attorney and was a member of the legislature in 1873, 1874 and 1875. His association with California dates from the year 1888, and since July 6 of that year he has been a continuous and contented resident of Santa Rosa, and in the meantime he has become as well known in legal circles here as he was during his long residence in Illinois. Shortly after locating here, in November 18909, his ability received recognition in the election to the superior judgeship on the Republican ticket, a position in which he rendered efficient service for six years.

Judge Crawford's marriage occurred in Lewisburg, Pa., August 10, 1858, and united him with Miss Maggie M. Kremer, who was born in Milton,, Pa., August 30, 1838. Four children were born of this marriage, of whom only two are living, namely: Elbert K., now assistant manager of the western department of the Security Company of Connecticut at Rockford, Ill., and Edwin Henry (familiarly known as Dr. Ted), a well-known dentist of Santa Rosa. Both of the sons are happily married and were present with their families at the Golden wedding anniversary of the Judge and his wife August 10, 1908. In his early days Judge Crawford espoused Democratic principles, but he was led to change his views after the incident at Fort Sumter that brought the Civil war to a crisis, and from that time forward has been a stanch Republican. For a number of years he has been a director and vice-president of the Santa Rosa National Bank. For thirty-five years he has been a member of the Masonic fraternity, joining the order in Illinois, and he is now identified with Santa Rosa Lodge, No. 57, F. & A. M., Santa Rosa Chapter No. 45, R. A. M., Santa Rosa Commandery, K. T. and Scottish Rite lodge of Perfection No. 11. His long and arduous service in the service of his country makes him especially interested in the welfare of his comrades of the days of long ago, and no one is more active or prominent in the work of the Grand Army that is he. He first joined that noble band of veterans in Illinois as a member of Nevins Post No. `, G. A. R. of Rockford, now No. 1 of the United States, but in later years he has affiliated with Ellsworth Post No. 20, G. A. R., of Santa Rosa. While in Rockford he has served in this capacity in the department of California. The Baptist Church has received the stanch allegiance of Judge Crawford and his wife for many years, and for a number of years past he has been chairman of the board of trustees of the church of that denomination in Santa Rosa.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011