John Hart Crenshaw (1905)

    JOHN HART CRENSHAW, the son of William Crenshaw and Elizabeth Hart, the daughter of John Hart of New Jersey, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born in the southern part of North Carolina on Nov. 19, 1797. His parents moved to New Madrid, Mo., in 1809, and in the earthquake of 1811 their home was ruined. They then removed to Gallatin County, Ill., and settled on Eagle Creek, not far from the salt wells called the "Half Mocn." His father died soon after coming to Gallatin County, leaving his mother and seven children.
    John, being among the oldest children, went to the salt works and began drawing water for the company who were making salt. He continued in this business until after he married Miss Sina Taylor in 18l7. He went to housekeeping in the "Half Moon," and in a few years rented the wells from the state and began to make salt, which industry he followed for many years. He bought a large body of land near Equality, and moved his salt works to his own land, which was heavily timbered. He used the wood in the salt works, and in that way cleared his land. When the production of salt became unprofitable, he turned to farming, which he continued to follow until his death, Dec. 4, 1871.
    He and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. His wife died Sept. 14, 1881, at the age of eighty-two years. They had ten children, five of whom lived to maturity, viz.: Mary, widow of John E. Hall; Elizabeth, widow of Gen. M. K. Lawler; William T., deceased; Margaret, who married Charles Lanphier, of Springfield, both now deceased; and Julia, widow of James Foster, a native of Bledsoe County, Tenn.
    He was born Dec. 14, 1827. On arriving at man's estate he became a dealer in live stock. This business made it necessary for him to make frequent trips to the North, and on one of these occasions he formed the acquaintance of Mrs. Julia A. Morris, nee Crenshaw, to whom he was united in marriage on April 6, 1858. From that time until the commencement of the Civil War he followed farming on what is now known as the old Crenshaw place.
    At the beginning of the war he enlisted in the First Illinois cavalry and was made captain of his company. In September, 1861, he was captured at Lexington, Mo., and soon afterward was paroled. He returned home while on parole and never rejoined his command. He continued agricultural pursuits on the farm where his widow still lives until his death on Dec. 16, 1875. They had four children, three of whom died in infancy. Edward, their youngest son, lives on the old home place with his mother. He married Miss Mary Lamb, of St. Louis, and they have seven children.
    1905. Memoirs of the Lower Ohio Valley . Madison, Wis.: Federal Publishing Company. 2:373-374.

NOTE: Recent research by Crenshaw genealogists out East has confirmed that Elizabeth Hart is the not the daughter of the John Hart who signed the Declaration of Independence. Instead, she is the daughter of a John Hart of North Carolina who served as an officer during the Revolutionary War. The Signer story is an old one in the family. How it developed is not clear. — Jon Musgrave.


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