JAMES F. CRAWFORD, a representative man of Scott County, and an ex-county official, is a native of Lincoln County, Tenn., where he was born March 25, 1832. His father, Samuel Crawford, was a native of Augusta County, Va., while his paternal grandfather was born in the same State, and was a Revolutionary soldier, serving seven years as a Lieutenant in that memorable struggle. He died in Virginia.
Samuel Crawford, the father of James, was a young man when the War of 1812 commenced, and enlisting he served through until peace was declared. He later moved to Tennessee, where he married and settled down as a farmer. In 1836 he came to Scott County, and located where Bluffs is now situated. He bought a tract of land, broke it up, and commenced farming on a prosperous basis. His farm contained 480 acres. Later he gave up active pursuits and removed to Pike County, Ill., where he lived in retirement until the 8th of October, 1870, when he died at the age of eighty-two years. He was a Republican in politics, and had belonged to the Presbyterian Church for fifty years. His wife, the mother of the one of whom this sketch is written, was named Janet Gibson. She was a native of Rockingham County, N.C., and of Scotch Irish descent. Like her husband she was a member of the Presbyterian Church. She died in 1854, at the age of fifty-four years, and was the mother of fourteen children, whose names are herewith given: John G., Rachel C., William C., Margaret S., Levi P., Polly A., Felix M., George W., Samuel, Eliza, James F., Harriet N., Alexander N. and Martha A. Levi P. was the chaplain of the 105th Illinois Infantry, and enlisted in 1862, but resigned before the close of the war.
James F., whose name appears at the head of this sketch, was four years old when he came to Illinois. The journey from Tennessee was made by ox team, and occupied about four weeks. At this time all kinds of wild game was plenty, and especially deer, which afforded meat in abundance for the pioneers. Common schools were the only means of gaining an education, and they were of the most primitive kind. James remained at home until he became of age, when he began operating a farm for himself by renting land from his father. He was thus occupied until he enlisted, in August, 1862. He joined the 129th Infantry, and was tendered a captain's commission by Gov. Yates, which he declined and accepted that of First Lieutenant. His regiment was mustered into service at Pontiac, on September 8, from which point it was ordered to Louisville, just in time to participate in a raid conducted by Buell. The hardships surrounding a soldier's life completely broke down Lieut. Crawford's health, and he was therefore obliged to resign. H was discharged at Bowling Green, in December, 1862, and on account of his severe disabilities was sent home to die. He was confined to his room for a long time after, but slowly recovered, when he again engaged in farming for a short time, after which he was employed as a stonemason, which he followed for over twenty years, being a master at the business. In the meantime he carried on farming on a small scale, and in 1872 purchased his present homestead, with no improvements, but by degrees he has brought his farm up to a high state of cultivation, and has erected thereon comfortable buildings.
Lieut. Crawford has been married twice, his first wife being Miss Martha E. Peoples, who was born in Guilford County, N. C. The marriage occurred Sept. 29, 1853, and resulted in the birth of one child, May, now the wife of Charles Lincoln, a merchant of Naples. On the 8th of June, 1856, he was again married, this time to Miss Eliza Grady, a native of Bluffs, and whose birth occurred Dec. 23, 1836. She is the mother of thirteen children, as follows: Royal, Edward E., William G., Samuel G., Clara J., Margaret E., John F., Rachael A., Martha E., Annie E., Grace F., Fannie and James Blaine. Of these Royal, Rachael and Annie are deceased. Edward E. is a farmer of Clayton County, Kan., as is also Samuel G.; Clara J. married Charles Bloyd, a farmer of Clay County, Kan.; Margaret married William Murphy, also a farmer of the same place. The rest are at home.
Mr. Crawford has held the office of County Coroner, the term of which extended from 1881 to 1883. He was Township Trustee for eight years, Justice of Peace for six years, and School Director for twelve years. He is a prominent member of the A.F. & A.M., at Naples, and has been Master of his lodge. He also belongs to the I.O.O.F., at Bluffs, and has filled all the Chairs in that organization. He has also held the office of Post commander of the G.A.R., of Bluffs. Politically, he is a stanch and reliable Republican. He is particularly proud of the fact that President Harrison was his brigade commander during his service in the army. Mr. Crawford's record as a citizen and soldier is perfect.