Well better late then never, I finally have my second week story about an ancestor of mine. See I had said at the beginning, sometimes they might be late but I would get them done.
My 4th great-grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family, was Sarah Ann Hawks, who was born April 10, 1830 in Williamson County, Tennessee the daughter of Thomas Hawks and Nancy Smith. She was the oldest child of her parents and had the following siblings: James Thomas Hawks (1833-1898), Elizabeth J. Hawks (ca. 1834 – before 1869), Saphronia Hawks (ca. 1843 – before 1873), Lucy Jane Hawks (ca. 1845 – before 1900), Louisa A. Hawks (ca. 1847 – after 1880), Mary F. Hawks (ca. 1849 – after 1873), Caldonia Isabell Hawks (ca. 1854 – after 1880), and Victoria Clementine Hawks (1858-1912).
Sarah’s father, Thomas Hawks died sometime between April 5, 1873 when he wrote his will and November 3, 1873 when it was probated. Sarah’s mother Nancy Smith Hawks was still living in June of 1880, but so far I have not been able to find when and where she passed away. I don’t know the name of the cemetery either, but I am sure both passed away in Coffee County, Tennessee. Their son James is buried at Hopewell Cemetery and their daughter Victoria is buried at Fredonia Cemetery. Both cemeteries are located in Coffee County, Tennessee so it is possible that Thomas and Nancy could be buried in one of those cemeteries in an unmarked grave.
Sarah meet Richard J. Crow whose family also lived in District #10 in Coffee County, Tennessee in 1850 and they were married September 7, 1855 in Manchester, Coffee County, Tennessee. Sarah was 25 and Richard was 19 almost 20 years old. Shortly after Sarah and Richard married they packed up their belongings and along with some of Richard’s siblings they left Tennessee and moved to Texas. By 1860 they were living in Precinct #5 in Owensville, Robertson County, Texas and it was there that their first child, a son, was born in December 1859, who they named John Thomas Crow (1859-1936) after both of his grandfathers.
Family stories have always said that they owned a section of land which was where present day Dallas, Texas was located and that in the 1930’s or so there was a stew about some properties rights because they couldn't find the deed of sale for the Crow property. Now that is a cool story and I have always loved that story, but in 1860 they were living in Robertson County, Texas which is located south of Dallas. Robertson County is about 120 miles or so as the crow flies from Dallas, or if you are on modern day roads anywhere from 135 to 148 miles depending on which road you take. Now I don’t think they moved from Robertson County after 1860 up to Dallas, because in the winter or early spring of 1862, Richard and his brothers left Texas and went back to Tennessee to join the Rebel Army and fight for the Confederacy in the Civil War.
Again from family stories and I don’t have any actual proof, but they say that after the men left for Tennessee and the war, that the women were left alone to fend for themselves. Now Texas in the 1860’s would not have been very safe for men well off women and children. Comanches, Comancheros, and outlaws would have been all over the place. The family stories go on to say that Sarah sold their land after Richard left, for a wagon and team and enough provisions to get them back to Tennessee. I know they were on their way back from Texas to Tennessee in October of 1862, because they stopped in Arkansas and Sarah had their second child, a daughter who they named Harriet Crow (1862-1941), Hattie was her nickname, who was my 3rd great-grandmother. They probably stayed there just long enough for Sarah to get her strength back after the birth, and then continued on to Tennessee.
Life in Tennessee during the war was not easy for anyone and Sarah definitely didn't have it easy. The family stories go on to say that she lived in a tiny little cabin, just her and her two young children. Her mother and father should have been close by and her younger siblings, but to make this more exciting the family stories say she and the children were all alone, way out in the woods. Anyway on with the war years and the family story. Sarah had to plant a little garden to keep her and her children from starving, but the wolves were so bad that she built a little fence around the garden and kept a large bonfire going and left the children by the fire so the wolves would not get them. The baby I can see leaving by the fire, but how in the world did she work in her garden and keep a 4 year old little boy from crawling under the fence or falling in the fire. I wonder if she tied a rope around him and staked him closer to her, I think I would have. I have 5 grandsons from age 5 to 4 months old and they would all be trying to see how close they could get to the fire, well except the baby of course.
The family stories also say she was afraid to leave them alone in the cabin, so it makes me wonder how far the garden was from her cabin. I will never know for sure, but I am sure glad I don’t have to do anything that hard or that frightening. Sarah continued doing this throughout the war, but by wars end my grandma Hattie would have been close to 4 years old and so she would have been right there with her brother, probably close to that big old fire. Thankfully when the war ended Richard and his brothers all made it back home safe and sound. Richard must have gotten home before September of 1864, or stopped by for a minute or too, because Sarah had their third child, Alexander in June of 1865. The war had ended in April of 1865.
Three more children were born to Sarah and Richard while living in Coffee County, before they left the state of Tennessee again, Robert Crow (ca. 1866 – before 1880), James Madison Crow (1868-1937) and Nancy Abigail Crow (1870-1943). Before 1874, Sarah and Richard had moved to Christian County, Kentucky to the Bainbridge community. There followed their last 4 children: Ernest Rastus Crow (1874-1914), William Murphy Crow (1877-1967), Sarah Frances Crow (1880-1910) and Nellie Iona Crow (1883-1962). Just two years after the birth of their last child, Sarah’s husband Richard passed away on Christmas Day in 1885, he was only 55 years old. He was buried at Mt. Carmel Cemetery there in Christian County. I don’t know the cause of his death, but I have always wondered if perhaps he had contracted some kind of disease during the war or maybe even some kind of wound that finally took him down, wish there had been a family story about that.
Sarah continued to live on their farm there in Christian County and stayed a widow. Seven of her children stayed close by and died there as well. The other three including my 3rd great-grandma left Kentucky, Hattie went to Jarvis, Illinois; Nancy went to Birmingham, Alabama and Nellie went to Columbia, Tennessee where they all died.
When you look at the census records Sarah’s age fluctuates quite a bit from 1830 to 1841. It tends to average about 1835 which is the year her husband Richard was born, so either she was born the same year as Richard or she really was born in 1830. Sarah lived a very long life whether she was born in 1830 or 1840 or somewhere in between. I have a couple of wonderful old newspaper articles where she was interviewed asking her how and what she attributed her longevity too. I am out of town writing this and I thought I had scanned those old articles, but apparently not. I will have to scan those when I get back home and add them to this story.
Sarah lived to the ripe old age of 106, if indeed she was born in 1830, and died just 3 months before her 107th birthday on January 18, 1937. They say that the shock of losing her son, James Madison Crow just 10 days before is probably what caused her death, she took to her bed and pretty much stopped eating and basically pined away. She was still going strong and would walk a little over a mile one way to his home almost every day to have lunch with James and his wife Malissa. If the weather was bad James would come and get her in the wagon or buggy, he owned a car, but she would not ride in one of those new-fangled automobiles as she called them. James had gone across the street to check the mail and was hit by a car and died almost instantly from a fractured skull and internal injuries.
So ended the life of a remarkable woman, the things she saw from wagons and wild Indians, to trains, telephones and airplanes. How I wish I could have set at her feet and heard the stories of the wildness of Texas in the 1850’s and 1860’s, the wolves howling during the day and into the night and a war that pitted brother against brother. I can’t wait to meet her one of these days and find out all the truth and nothing but the truth. Following are the few pictures that I have of her, one when she is about 70 and the others when she was over 100.