Grayson County TXGenWeb
Amos Aaron Crabtree 

Bell Ford "Jim" Crabtree
27 July 1889 (Pottsboro, Grayson Co., Texas) - 8 July 1919 (Willow Springs, Grayson Co., Texas)


ca1906

Born July 27, 1889, Bell Ford "Jim" Crabtree was the first child of Aaron and Louise Daniel Crabtree. He married Rosetta Sanders and they had two children, R.C. and C.R. Crabtree. Both boys were named after the sons of a local doctor, who had named his sons Carlos and Ruel. 

Wed Rosetta Sanders
(1876 - 1940)
1910
Oklahoma

Children :
Ruel C. Crabtree
4 June 1912 (Grayson Co., Texas) - 10 August 1930 (Davis, Oklahoma)

Carlos R. Crabtree
30 January 1914 (Grayson Co., Texas) - 11 October 1998 (Dension, Grayson Co., Texas)



C.R. & R.C. Crabtree



R.C. & C.R. Crabtree

C.R. Crabtree's remembrance of his father's death

Jim was shot in cold blood by a neighbor, Lee Miller, on July 9, 1919 near their farms in Willow Springs, Grayson County, Texas. Apparently they had had an argument about each using the other's land without remuneration; one version is that Jim threatened Lee, another version that Lee threatened Jim with death if he went to the local Shreriff to resolve the matter. Whatever the case, Lee Miller intercepted Jim and son R.C. in a buggy, heading to town, and shot Jim.  R.C. was sitting between his father's legs in the buggy and heard the thud of the bullet, a traumatic experience which is said to have haunted him thereafter. R.C. remained in the buggy with his dead father until someone came along and found them.
A trial was subsequently held in which Lee Miller brought his entire family into court, pleading hardship, and he was acquitted.
The controversy apparently started a feud in that area of Grayson County, with people taking sides and not socializing or conducting business with each other for the next 50 years or so. 

The Shooting of Bell Ford "Jim" Crabtree

Born July 27, 1889, "Jim" was the first child of Aaron and Louise Crabtree. He married Rosetta Sanders and they had two children, R.C. and C.R. Crabtree. Both boys were named after the sons of a local doctor, who had named his sons Carlos and Ruel.

Jim was shot in cold blood by a neighbor, Lee Miller, on July 9, 1919 near their farms in Willow Springs, Grayson County, Texas. Apparently they had had an argument about each using the other's land without remuneration; one version is that Jim threatened Lee, another version that Lee threatened Jim with death if he went to the local Shreriff to resolve the matter. Whatever the case, Lee Miller intercepted Jim and son R.C. in a buggy heading to town and shot Jim. R.C. was sitting between his father's legs in the buggy and heard the thud of the bullet, a traumatic experience which is said to have haunted him thereafter. He remained in the buggy with his dead father until someone came along and found them. A trial was subsequently held in which Lee Miller brought his entire family into court, pleading hardship, and he was acquitted. The controversy apparently started a feud in that area of Grayson County, with people taking sides and not socializing or conducting business with each other for the next 50 years or so.

(The foregoing are the details related to me by cousin C.R. Crabtree; following is the newspaper version)


Sherman Democrat

July 10, 1919

JIM CRABTREE SHOT AND KILLED NEAR POTTSBORO

"F. L. Miller, a farmer of the Pottsboro community, was brought to Sherman about midnight last night and placed in the county jail on a charge of murder, growing out of the fatal shooting of Jim Crabtree, which occurred on the road about one mile west of Pottsboro about 7 o'clock yesterday evening. Crabtree was shot once with a .22-calibre Winchester rifle, the bullet striking him in the face and causing instant death.
At the time of the shooting, Crabtree was in a buggy and Miller in an automobile. In the buggy with Crabtree was his son, while with Miller were several of his children. Crabtree pitched forward out of the vehicle after the shooting and his son drove off.
Miller gave himself up at once to the authorities at Pottsboro, and his bond was fixed at $5,000 at a preliminary hearing before Justice E. A. Wright of Pottsboro. On failure to give bond he was brought to Sherman and placed in the county jail.
According to the officers, the men have been having trouble in regard to their cattle, and it is thought that the shooting is the culmination of that trouble.
Miller this morning retained Attorneys J. D. Buster and LeGrand Woods of the firm Wolf, Freeman, Woods with Buster to defend him. According to the attorneys Miller's plea will be self defense. A pistol which Dr. Bradford and Dr. Slaughter of Pottsboro state was picked up about twelve inches from the dead man's body was turned over to Deputy Sheriff Harve Taylor and brought to Sherman. It was a .32 Colt and contained four cartridges unexploded.
Miller is 41 years of age. He lives on the farm of Mrs. Jean Childs, and has lived in the Pottsboro community for seven or eight years. He had a wife and twelve children. Crabtree was also married and had several children
Both Crabtree and Miller were said to be highly respected men."

Bell Ford "Jim" Crabtree is buried at the Hagerman cemetery.  His oldest son, R.C., was killed in a motorcycle accident in southern Oklahoma August 10, 1930.   His only surviving son, C.R., lives near Cherry Mound, east of Denison, Texas, with most of his children also living nearby. C.R. is of the opinion that if "Pappy" (Amos Aaron) had been more mobile at the time of Bell's murder, he would have taken justice into his own hands.

Crabtree Children

Hagerman Index


 
 


Elaine Nall Bay
Grayson County CC
2012
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