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Sharon McConnel,
Gem County Coordinator

Crawford Family Story

Elisha Jordan CRAWFORD (1865-1943) & Christina Ellen TUTTLE (1872-1954)

Written and shared by Reba Logue McMillan

My aunt, Nancy Jane Crawford Gifford, was born January 11, 1889, in London, Kentucky. She died on my birthday in 1980 at age 91. Someone had asked her to write a story about her family coming to Idaho and the following is that story (I've added further information in parenthesis).

Mother (Christina Ellen TUTTLE, 1872-1954) and Dad (Elisha Jordan CRAWFORD, 1865-1943) were married in Kentucky around 1887, I don't know the month (Laurel County marriage records shows is really 5 November 1886). Dad was born and raised in Kentucky (was born May 17, 1865). Mother was born in Indiana, April 10, 1871. (Correct year is 1872)

♦    Jul 1860 census Elisha's family is in Laurel County, Kentucky. Family story on John W CRAWFORD is he left his wife taking all the children with him and went to Indiana. Elisha and Fannie wanted to return to their Mother, so their brother, Jake, gave them the money to return to Kentucky and he went west. Info found on Internet, John W CRAWFORD died 1868 in Indiana. 1870 census Elisha NOT located and 1880 census he is living with his mother in Laurel County, Kentucky.
♦    Sep 1870 census, Christina's family is in Jackson Twp, Parke County, Indiana. Jul 1860 & Jun 1880 census her family is in Laurel County, Kentucky and Jun 1900 census her father is remarried and in Civil District 14, Clairborne County, Tennessee.

Dad was youngest of his family and was given the home place in Kentucky to take care of his Mother (Mariah WEAVER Crawford, 1829-1897), but my Mother and her couldn't get along, so he traded it to his sister Fannie (Mrs. Hamilton PECK, 1872-1968) to take care of his Mother long as she lived.

I, Nancy (Nancy Jane CRAWFORD, 1889-1980), was born there in London, Kentucky, January 11, 1889. When I was six months old, mother and dad went to Indiana, stayed there a while and went to Arkansas and dad worked there in the timber and Will (William Jetal CRAWFORD, 1890-1966) was born there July 15, 1890. And they left there and went to Texas. I don't know the town nor what kind of work dad did. I can remember we lived among the Negroes and Joe (Joseph CRAWFORD, 1892-1967) was born there January 29, 1892.

All the time dad was trying to make money enough to go west so we left there for Colorado. So at the station dad had bought our tickets and he got mixed up with some robbers and they took all his money but $3.75 that mother had so we went on to Colorado any way, and when we landed there, dad got a job and the man furnished us a little log cabin [added to rewrite: which was just a cave in the hill] with a fireplace in it to live in and give us some cooking utensils such as a Dutch oven and a coffee pot. Dad bought some groceries and a broom with the $3.75 and mother had some bedding packed in a big box so we made a table of the box and put some straw in the corner for our bed.

We stayed there a short time and mother went back to Tennessee and dad rode the freight train to Idaho and stayed with his brother Jake who was a bachelor on a little homestead just below Montour, Idaho or was Anderson Ranch I think at that time and he worked at any thing he could get and took him eight months to save enough money to send for mother and us kids. He had an old boot hanging under the stairway and when he would get 25 or 50 cents he would put it in the boot till he got enough for a ticket. He only got 50 cents for a days work then.

While mother was in Tennessee and Kentucky we stayed with mother's sister Roda Jones and her brother Frank and mother's father Dan Tuttle. We sure liked to stay with Grandpa Tuttle. I can remember walking across the hill to their house. The forest was so thick it was almost dark going through it. While we were there Roda was born. I don't remember the date. She only lived 3 months. It wasn't too good for mother those days there. When she was a girl they didn't send girls to school in that country so she couldn't read or write. She had to depend on someone to do that for her. And they told her dad would never send for her so she did worry I know.

When dad sent mother a ticket they all got busy fixing a lunch basket for us on the train - roasted sweet potatoes, and baked corn pones- such a big lunch we couldn't eat half of it and was too much to carry anyway. Took us five days to come then to Caldwell, Idaho where Dad met us. It was evening when we got there and he took us to some people's home he had met named Roberson. I never will forget them. They were so nice; had such a nice supper and breakfast, had biscuits for breakfast and we never had not biscuits in Tennessee. Roberson's had a boy named Dude. I always thought he was tops.

Well after breakfast we got on our way across those same hills home, but it was quite pretty in those days. The grass was about two feet high and the wind waved it like water. Took all day to get home, but was we happy sitting back there in the wagon box. We camped for dinner, at what they called Box Spring, Idaho. Uncle Jake's home was quite homey for us in those days. It was just a small shack with an upstairs. Mother didn't know too much about cooking so dad done most of the cooking. He always made the biscuits. Mother used to drive across the hill to Bevils (?) (Possibly BIVENS--the family of John BIVENS settled in the "lower valley" and ranched for many years. Bivens died in 1926 and is buried in Payette, Idaho.) to learn to make light bread. You had to make your own yeast in those days. We stayed there at Uncle Jake's place around two years.

I remember dad told mother if she would shock the hay for him, he would get her a new sewing machine. So we went down with team and hack in those days to shock the hay. Della (born 1 Aug 1895) was a baby and the sun was so hot mother thought she would spread a quilt in the shade for me to take care of her while she shocked the hay and she bend down to put her on the quilt. She let the parasol drop down behind her and a rattle snake struck it so we had to move out in the hot sun and I held the parasol over Della all day in that hot sun. Was that a long day, but we got her done and mother got a sewing machine.

It was there that I went to my first school, at Anderson Ranch. We moved from there onto Uncle Joe's homestead which was below Emmett, Idaho on the river. It had just a small cabin on it which we lived in for one winter and dad built a new house and nice cellar further down on the place. He went to the timber and made shakes to cover it. Dad made a ditch and brought the water out of the river a way up above and come down around the hills. Was about three miles of ditch and at our house we had a big water fall. Dad built a big barn and covered it with shakes he made. We planted fruit trees and berries and lots of vegetables. Dad peddled vegetables and berries into Idaho City, Idaho during the gold rush there, with wagon and team.

I think now how dad worked to do all that with his own hands, he milked the cows and strained the milk in the cellar, took all the care when he was home. Mother was sick a lot. She was sick in bed all summer before Hattie (31 Aug 1898) was born. I did the cooking when I was seven years old. One day during the summer a family by the name of Hill from Sweet, Idaho came to visit us and Mrs Hill made gravy with onions cut up in it for dinner and I had to wait and they ate all the gravy. I felt so bad about it, Mrs Hill told me how to make some more gravy but I didn't do it. Dad dug a well and it was quite deep. So we had to draw our water and dad hauled big old logs down from Dry Buck area, Idaho just above Sweet, a big deck of them, for wood and Joe climbed on them one day and fell off and broke his arm. And another time he fell out of the back of the wagon and broke the other arm. Will and I went to school in a buckboard and drove a roan horse that kicked everything to pieces if he got the line under his tail so dad tied his tail down to the single tree. The coyotes used to follow us to school. We had to go about 3 miles on the bench toward Emmett. The school house stood just under the hill where the cemetery is now. Dad's brother Joe was killed by Mickey Morton was why we took over his homestead 3 miles down the river from Emmett on the north side.

We didn't live there long. Dad sold it to Jim Little for $12.00 in 1900 I think. We moved to Emmett on the McNish and Allen place and there was where Emma was born in 1900. I remember going to school from there. I think we lived there about three years and we moved and lived in tents one winter between there and the farmer co-op canal and we lived one summer in tents in Magee's (probably Alvin McGee who died in Emmett 29 Jun 1939) yard. I can't remember which place first.

Any way from there we went to a place down in the flat below Emmett about twelve miles on a place we called the Woods (possibly Harry Woods, whose obituary states he was a brother of a Mrs. Crawford) place which was near Bishop's (probably Hugh) place. This place had a little two room shack on it. Part of the time we had a tent for a kitchen and we went to school in a little log school house over near the river which was a good three miles and we walked most of the time in the cold of winter. Sometimes we drive a horse or a buggy. We only went to school about 3 months then. And was there at this place Alice was born May 12, 1902.

I remember mother was staying up to Emmett and I made her a birthday cake and I wanted to take it to her so I had to make Hattie, Emma, and Della a dress before I could take them to see mother and Uncle Jake was ditch walker and he went to Emmett every day so I told him to bring me some material to make them some dresses and he brought me a whole bolt of brown denim so it was so heavy I could scarcely sew it but I got it done and one day I got them all dressed up and hitched the old gray mare to the buggy and the way we went and visited mother and took her some cake. And we come back in the evening and I am not joking, it was really an old gray mare but she was a good old trotter. The weather got real warm before mother got home. Dad had a big barrel of cider just back of the house. He had it on its side with a spigot in it and one day the kids got to drinking it and every one got drunk and laid all the rest of the day in the back yard in the hot sun. I didn't give it a thought at the time, but later thought what an awful thing to do, to leave them lay there in the hot sun.

I can't remember how long we lived there but dad sold that place and we moved up on the slope on the Newman place and we lived there several years. I don't remember how many. It was there that dad's hay all burned up one year. We walked from there to Bramwell to school in the Mormon Church. Blanche Bishop taught school there and it was on the Newman place that Walter was born January 29, 1904. I didn't go to school too much that winter. I can remember sitting up nights and rocking him and feeding sagebrush to the old box heater. I did all the house work and fixed mothers meals and I thought afterwards that her meals surely was very good. We had a quarter beef hanging on the end of the house. I had to climb the ladder to cut the meat. The house was just two rooms with a side room on it. Was too small for our family and was cold, hard to keep warm burning sagebrush. Dad bought a place just above this place and up the canal and I can't remember if we moved from Newman place there or not. But we surely did and dad improved that place, put all below the canal in orchard. It was a nice place but our house burned down there. It wasn't much of a house but never did get one as good built again. We had a nice ice house and Dad always put up lots of ice. We raised lots of melons and put them on ice in the summer. We had lots of bees and had lots of honey. We still went to school at Bramwell. They finally built a brick school house just a little closer to us, but I never did go to school there.

Dad finally built a house up to Emmett and I stayed there with the kids and sent them to school. I don't know why, and Will stayed down on the place and did chores and feeding and didn't go to school. This was a nice four room plaster house Dad built. It was real nice but it didn't have any furniture in it not even a cupboard in the kitchen till Uncle Louis (John Lewis Crawford) bought me one.

Later in the winter mother and Dad moved up to town and about Christmas time I think Dad's sister and Sarah, Lige, and Nancy Crabtree came out from Arkansas and moved in with us so our bigger house was too little and Aunt Aveline (Evelenia Crawford Eaton) got sick so I had to quit school and do the work and sit up every third night with Aunt Aveline. And in February Mary was born and that spring in May we went to the Palouse country on wagon train. Aunt Aveline and Sarah I think stayed on the ranch while we were gone and they finally moved to Cambridge. Bill Estes came out too. I remember we went to see them there one time. But now I remember it was Cleve Gifford and I that went to see them there after we come back from Montana. But I am ahead of my story now. We had some trip to Palouse (eastern Idaho) country. There was nineteen of us all together. I drove the chuck wagon. I had to pick up and wash the dishes and hitch my team and catch up with the rest and some of that road down the Salmon River was high and narrow in those days. We crossed the big Salmon on a ferry boat and when we got across we had to tear down our wagon. The road was too narrow. Dad had built the box wide enough to sleep cross ways. Rocks stuck out till we couldn't get pass. We made it but was tough going. But dad couldn't get started farming over there. Was just too high rent, so he just worked some and went on to Montana. Stayed two winters in Montana and come back to the ranch. Buster was born in Montana October 4, 1908. Dad took his stock with him the rounds. Finally sold that place below Emmett on the slope for $21,000. We lived in Emmett on Washington Street for a while. I can't remember just how long but we went to Long Valley in 1911. Dora was born on the place before we moved to Emmett, October 4, 1910 and Cash was while at Emmett, September 18, 1911. He was a baby when we went to Long Valley in fall of 1911. Dad bought 3 places in Long Valley. The Haymaker place where we lived and what we called the blue house down by the river where Cleve (Gifford) and I lived and another place over by West Mountain opposite Lake Fork. But there was a misunderstanding about the deal for that place and I don't remember if dad ever got it settled. Dad farmed here a while but the bottom went out of the price of timothy seed so dad didn't make much there at that time farming, so he traded his Haymaker place for an apple orchard in New Plymouth and traded that for another house in Emmett below the saw mill and sold that and come back to Long Valley and lived in the blue house and he still owned the blue house when he went to California in 1916 and stayed a short time and come back and worked then in a logging camp up in the nook above Cascade. (Rachel was born before they left the Haymaker place in December 6, 1913.)

I also came across the following story by Nancy's younger sister, Alice Belle Crawford Marshall (born in 1902) which I found very interesting as well:

Born in Emmett, Idaho, in a little community called Bramwell, a Mormon settlement, although we weren't Mormons. Mother was a Baptist, and Dad just an ordinary everyday Christian. There were six children and I was No. 7 which has always been my lucky number. Also Friday the 13th has been my lucky day. Nancy took care of the kids and home while I was being born as Mother was in Emmett at a friend's home. During this period Nancy has quite a job on her hands. She made clothes and got all the wild Indians cleaned up, hooked up the old mare to the buggy and all came up to see me and Mother.

I just don't remember first seeing them but this is what Nancy has told me. This was in 1902, May 16th. She also told me that Dad has an old man working around the pace, maybe just for his board and room. Nancy didn't like him as he never took a bath and had long hair and whiskers. Nancy called him the sheepherder. She fed him sour beans one day and when he got well enough, he left. There were no ice boxes or refrigerators then so it didn't take long for beans to sour. But she wanted to be rid of him.

Dad always made several barrels of cider as apples were plentiful; but it wasn't long until it was hard cider. So one day Della, Walter, and Joe started drinking cider and it wasn't long until they passed out as the hard cider was potent. Nancy let them lay right out in the hot sun until they came to. She said later that she shouldn't have been so hard-hearted but she was disgusted that they drank so much but they thought they were just drinking cider.

Mother didn't stop when I came along. She had five more children [really it was six more]. Every two years there was another mouth to feed. She not only bore 13 of us, I should say 16, as 3 died in infancy. She also was a midwife for old Dr. Noggles. She helped deliver hundreds of babies all over Valley County.

Dad was even-tempered, easygoing but a hard worker. Mother was hot-tempered, would fight at the drop of a bucket and would fight a buzz saw if she thought she was in the right. She never went to school, couldn't even sign her name. Just make an "X" but she must have had a computer in her head. She could add faster and figure faster than most can figure with pencil and paper.

Mother and Dad didn't have prayers or any part of religion in the home but we were raised by the Ten Commandments -- not to steal or lie, do as you would be done by, judge not lest you be judged, and you were just as good as your word. And that's the same religion I follow now.

There was no big fuss over birthdays or any holidays, too many for that. We always had food on the table and necessary items but no luxuries. Most of our living was in the garden, meat from the pigs, cows and chickens, milk cows and churned our butter. Once a week our washing was done on a washboard with homemade lye soap. Took one whole day for the faily wash. Mother didn't like to cook so Dad did most of the cooking. She liked to bake bread, eight big loaves a couple of times a week. She'd work out in the garden and to heck with the rest of the cooking. Nancy took over when she was old enough and on down the line each one of us had our turn in the kitchen. I guess I took after Mother. I didn't like to cook either. It's a wonder Dad didn't die with stomach trouble eating eight girls learning-to-cook food. We all had to work, outside or in the house. And we were all at the table at the same time, ate what was on the table even if it was just rutabagas and side pork, hungry enough that anything tasted good.

Dad was born in London, Kentucky, and Mother in Tennessee. Both were raised in the Cumberland Gap with the Hatfields and the McCoy's. Maybe that's where my mother learned how to fight and that must be where Dad learned the art of making moonshine. He made it because he loved to make it, but it was a Godsend as Dad was a hard luck farmer. He could not hit the right year to raise clover or alfalfa seed. No market and the years he didn't have any, the price was good.

One year in Long Valley he, Mabel, Joe's wife, and I planted 11 acres of head lettuce. The company furnished the seeds and we did all the hard work and furnished the land. We thinned and hoed and raised beautiful lettuce there. When the lettuce was ready for market, the company brought out the crates but didn't haul out one load as they went belly-up, in plain words, broke. Dad sued them and got a judgment against the company but it wasn't worth the paper it was written on. It wouldn't have been a total loss if it could have been fermented -- Dad could have brewed it and sold the moonshine! We didn't have enough pigs to eat the crop so the heads burst overnight and all went to waste.

First trip to California (1917)

I was 13 years old. Dad sold everything, home ranch, cattle, horses and all household belongings; just kept a camping outfit and bought a tent and our clothes and bedding. He came to San Bernardino. I can't remember if he came by bus or train but he joined a Socialist Colony on the Mojave Desert between Lancaster and San Bernardino, a little place called Llona. Don't remember how many acres but each family that joined had to pay $1000 and work out a thousand shares. Was supposed to be a big cooperative farm where everybody shared alike. My dad was really enthused and worked hard for his shares. He sent word for the rest of the family to come on down and join him. Nine of us started out in a Model T Ford. We must have been packed in like sardines. We had our bedding and camping equipment tied on the running boards, clothing and food. It must have been a sight that was unbelievable. I remember it took us nine days to reach Reno. We must have driven at least 35 miles per hour to take so long.

Although it took time to unload for the night and cook our meals; otherwise I can't see why it took so long. The President of the Colony met us in Reno with a dozen other families and had a big picnic lunch. All had a good time. The one thing that was so outstanding was the first time that I had ever eaten potato chips and they sure hit the spot. Thought it was the best thing that I had ever tasted! We were treated Royal High but we must have looked like tramps and must have smelled the same as there was no way for baths. Just was our faces and comb our hair. Can't remember washing any clothes on the way down so must have worn the same clothes for days as we didn't have that many changes nor the room to carry them.

Another story − this one by Mary Crawford

The Crawfords sold their farm in Emmett Valley and came to Long Valley in 1911. They moved on the Hay Maker place. They lived there several years then move on the Jess CANTRALL place. They lived there a few years then they sold and went to California to a Colony, but didn't stay there long. Dad Crawford wanted to go to Canada but Mom wanted to move back close to her children.

When Dad went to California he left enough money to by our tickets, nine children and Mom. So Mom knew she wasn't about to stay in California so she took the money and bought a Model T Ford and loaded it down with nine kids and beds and hit out for California. That was the way we came back with Dad too. We camped on the road and worked several days to get money enough to get back on.

As soon as we landed Dad went to work for Dunn brothers then he work for Boise Payette Company in Crawford nook. He soon worked up to a real good job. He mad around $2500 to $3500 a month. He saved so he could buy another farm. He worked around McCall for Brown and in Round Valley on top of the Smith Ferry hill. Then he bought 10 acres in Emmett Valley and moved down in fall of 1921.

In January he traded the 10 areas in Emmett on 312 acres in Round Valley and he moved back to Round Valley. He fixed the old ranch up. Piped water from top of the hill into the house, put in a bath room, put in carbite lights, and painted it all white. He fixed it real nice. He and Mom made several trips to California and Oregon. They built a tourist cabin in Cascade and moved to town off the farm and lived in Cascade sever years. Then they sold the cabins and moved to Emmett.

They bought a home out by the mill. Then they sold that and went in partners with Will and bought a place near the bridge on river side in Emmett and built small house and lived there. He had the nicest gardens in Emmett. He lived there until his death in July 26 1943.

Mother died April 7 1954. They came to Idaho in 1894 and to Long Valley in 1911. We lived at Thunder City, Alpha, McCall, Smith Ferry, and Round Valley.

Dad had a very nice Ranch in Round Valley, a large nice house. It was insulated with saw dust. Very warm roomy house. Nice large kitchen and old fashion ice box with lots of ice in the old fashion ice house on the farm, a milk house, and barn full of mild cows. He had four good teams of horses.

There was a log cabin on the lower part of the place that was homey sitting in a lovely spot. I think "of it lots cause I and my boy friends use to walk by and the pretty wild roses grew all around it and lots of wild animals around it too. One night late, my boyfriend and I was waiting by the log cabin and a screech owl let a holler out of him and nearly scared us to death. He didn't go back by his home, he stayed all night."

"Cash went visiting at Nubs one night and they got to talking about cougars so Cash went out to the barn stolled a horse, road him home then got his horse and took their horseback but he didn't tie him up just like they had if so they know what he had done."

Before he bought his ranch in Round Valley he went to Chehalis, Washington and stated a butcher shop but didn't keep it very long.

At on time he owned land at Fruitland Idaho but didn't keep it very long.

Cash drove up in yard one night on the ranch and something jumped off a stump and run. He thought it was a cougar. He also drove Dad's new Overland right through the gate. He was going to scare us in the car but when he put on the brakes he did not have any, so he lifted up the gate on top of the car.

We had some good saddle horses. Dad bought Walt a little red Ford. Alice, Walt, and I had a real good time in it. I wish ever one had as good time as we had and I wish ever one had as good a Dad as we had.


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