Family Stories

James Crawford – Irish Emigrant

from Who Was Who in Hardin County, Hardin County Historical Society

James Crawford

James Crawford was born in Ireland in the year 1800, and died in Hardin County, in 1874.  He was a son of John Crawford, an Irish emigrant who came to America in the early days and settled first in Pennsylvania.  Remaining there for a few years, he came on to Nelson County.  He died at his home place in Hardin County over a hundred years ago.  He was a farmer and large land-holder.  He was the father of three children, among them James, the subject of this sketch.  James was ten years old when the family came to this country; Peggy (Weller) was also born in Ireland; John (junior) was born at sea as the family came over.

About the present site of the village of Boston, and near the old Crawford home, lived Jonathan Harned, one of the early settlers of Nelson County, who was in Kentucky as early as 1780, being one of the signers of a settlers’ petition to Congress dated August 23, of that year.  He was also a large farmer in his day.  He was a descendant of Edward Harned, who came from Sandwich, Kent County, England, some 300 years ago and joined the little settlement which John Endicott was fostering in Massachusetts at a place which the Indians called Naumkeag, and to which Endicott gave the Bible name of Salem, or “Peace”.  James Crawford married Jonathan Harned’s daughter, Catherine.  He was a successful and energetic farmer and stock raiser, and acquired extensive holdings of fertile Rolling Fork [River] lands and more than a thousand acres near Millwood, in Grayson County.  His home place was among the best equipped farms in Hardin County, well stocked and thriftily operated, with a large amount of personal property on hand.  Both the Crawford and Harned families are well represented in Hardin County, as well as Nelson, Grayson and Breckinridge.

James and Catherine (Harned) Crawford were the parents of ten children, among them, William, Henry, Sallie (Sprigg), Benjamin F., Elizabeth (Bird), John W., James M., Colmore L. and Mary (Howlett).  Catherine died at the age of forty-four, and James married for his second wife Mariam Irwin (1847), and for his third wife, Bettie Florence.  To this union were born eleven children, among whom were Catherine (Duvall), Margaret, Rebecca, Emily, Clay, Evaline, Melissa, McClellan and Sherman.

Of the sons of James Crawford, William went to Grayson County in 1853, John W. about 1858, and Benjamin in 1860.  Clay also removed to Grayson.  They settled on their father’s lands and added large tracts by purchase.  William had a family of eleven children, John W., nine, Benjamin F. had twelve children.  Benjamin F. Crawford was appointed sheriff of Grayson County in 1883, and county road supervisor in 1884.

Sallie married William Sprigg, prominent farmer of the southern part of Hardin County, and became the mother of County Attorney John S. Sprigg and grandmother of County Court Clerk Robert N. Sprigg.  James M., Colmore L. and Clell Crawford were successful farmers and stock raisers and identified with the progressive agricultural interest of Hardin County.  For many years James M. was interested in the undertaking business with his son, Thomas C., at Elizabethtown.  Colmore L. was for a number of years a director of the Union Bank & Trust Co., of Elizabethtown.

Few families have contributed more to the substantial citizenship of Hardin County than the family of James Crawford.

Leave a Reply