George B. Crawford


GEORGE B. CRAWFORD, a prominent citizen of Wellsburg and mayor since May 1889, is a native of that city, born November 14, 1838. His father, Cornelius H. Crawford was one of the prominent men of his day and one of the best Ohio river pilots, a calling in which he engaged for some years, although he was reared upon the farm and in his latter years was a carpenter. He was born on Buffalo creek, near Bethany, W. Va., September 8, 1814 and died at Wharton, Texas, August 28, 1859 while sojourning there pursuing his occupation. By his marriage to Maria S., daughter of John and Mary Moren, he had seven children, George B., Oscar F.; Helen, deceased; Narcissa and Eliza, both deceased; John M. and William M. The mother, a devoted Christian and benevolent lady, died March 3, 1884 in the sixty-ninth year of her age. Her father, who came to Wellsburg in 1806 enlisted in the war of 1812 but had proceeded only as far as Northfolk when peace was declared. George B. Crawford was first employed at ten years of age turning a wheel in a "rope walk", was subsequently in a cotton factory until 1860 and then in a paper mill until 1861. In the latter year he enlisted in Company G, of the First Virginia volunteer infantry for three months' service, and on August 4, 1862 re-enlisted for three years. As a veteran he served until the close of the war being discharged at Clarksburg, W. Va., June 23, 1865 as a member of Company D, Second regiment for gallantry and he saw active and dangerous service in all the campaigns of the Shenandoah valley, except while held by the enemy. He had the misfortune to be captured at Moorefield, W. Va., September 11, 1863 and was taken to Libby prison, and thence thirty-six hours later to Belle Isle, where until March 7, 1864 he suffered great deprivations, his rations toward the last consisting of only a finer length square of corn bread twice a day, and his bed being the sand, under poor tents without covering and no fuel. Being paroled at Richmond, March 7, 1864 he was transported to Annapolis then to Camp Chase, Ohio and he then remained at home on furlough until June 1864 when he was exchanged. He then joined his regiment in Sheridan's army in the Shenandoah valley, and fought till peace was established. In 1867 Mr. Crawford engaged in the grocery business with Barclay then sheriff for four and a half years. He was subsequently employed at Pittsburgh with J. S. Dilworth & Co., wholesale grocers and then with T. B. Litten at Wellsburg. Purchasing the store of Mr. Litten he continued the grocery business until 1876 since which time he has been engaged in woodworking in its various mechanical departments. His most famous work in this line was constructed while he was in business and was an object of great attention during its exhibition at Wheeling and afterward at the Centennial exposition of 1876. This is a Centennial bracket, composed of seventy-six varities of wood native to West Virginia, joined in a mosaic thirty-five inches by five and a half feet in area. On this an elaborate design is worked out, including the American eagle, the flag, stars representing the thirteen original states, "Liberty", "Union" and "Independence". "In God We Trust", the opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence, followed by the names of the signers, each state being represented by a different wood, and after this "Philadelphia, July 4, 1776", "Constitution", names of the presidents from Washington to Grant, the figures "100", "Esto Perpetua", closing with the name of the maker, "Geo. B. Crawford, Wellsburg, West Virginia, 1876". Surrounding all are stars for each state in 1876 and appropriate emblems for the territories. Mr. Crawford has been active in public affairs, and has rendered efficient service for several terms each as city clerk and councilman. In fraternal matters he has been equally active and has held prominent official positions in the Masonic order, the G. A. R. and the Union Veteran Legion. In politics he is a republican. Mr. Crawford was married February 13, 1889, to Miss Margaret, daughter of Reuben and Bethira Hale, of Holliday's Cove, Hancock county, W. Va. They have been blessed with one child, Maria Hale, born February 14, 1890.

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