Family Stories

Rev. William Crow, Wife Elizabeth and Daughter Ruth Buried In Bellevue Cemetery – Boyle County

At the back, left side of Bellevue Cemetery, in Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky, are three graves of the Crow family.  The husband and father, William Crow, was a Presbyterian minister; his wife, Elizabeth Scott McFerran, and eldest child, Ruth Crow, are buried beside him.

William Crow was born in 1831 in Fleming County, to William Crow (1799-1878) and Jane Porter (1802-1847).  William’s father was originally from Pennsylvania.  In the 1850 census for Fleming County, the elder William Crow was 51, a farmer with $1,200 value of real estate.  Jane was deceased by this date.  The following children were listed in the census – George Washington, 27, farmer; Margaret J., 24; William, 18, teacher; John B. W., 16, farmer; Paulina, 13; and Rebecca, 10.  I believe there was an elder brother, Francis Marion Crow, who was most likely married by 1850.

Elizabeth Scott McFerran was born in Danville, Boyle County, in 1837, to James Martin McFerran (1809-1884) and Ruth Brown (1811-1885).  James Martin McFerran was a prosperous farmer in the 1850 census.  He is listed as 40, his real estate valued at $15,000.  Ruth is 38.  Children listed in the census were Elizabeth Scott, 12; James B., 9; Scott Brown, 7; William, 5; and Lucy, 3.  Thomas M. and Della were born in years after the census.

Even though William Crow was not a rich man, he sent son William to Centre College in Danville, where he graduated in 1857.  He then attended the Danville Theological Seminary where he graduated in 1861.  It must have been at this time that William met Elizabeth Scott McFerran.  William was a Presbyterian, as was Elizabeth, and it could be they met at services at The Presbyterian Church of Danville, located at Main and Fifth streets, beside Centre College.  They married September 14, 1860.  According to the Ministerial Directory of the Ministers in the Presbyterian Church in the United States, Rev. William Crow’s first church was located in West Point, Iowa, during the years 1865-1867.  In 1867 he was recalled to Kentucky and spent the next 16 years as minister at Paint Lick Presbyterian in Garrard County.  From 1883 to 1895 he served as minister of the Presbyterian church at Kirksville in Madison County.  In 1896 William is listed as a ‘colporteur’.  This is a word from the French meaning ‘peddler’.  In the 19th century it was used especially of door-to-door peddlers of religious books and tracts.  It seems that William Crow never stopped spreading the word of God.

In the 1880 census of Garrard County William Crow was 49, a Presbyterian Preacher.  Elizabeth was 43.  Their children were Jane, 14; McFerran, 11; Lucy, 10; William, 8; Lettie, 3; Bob, 5; and Pauline, 5/12.  Daughter Ruth was not living with the family at this time, probably teaching in another area.

In 1900, living in Madison County, the census lists William as 69, a preacher.  He and Elizabeth, 63, were married 40 years.  She had given birth to ten children, eight of which were still alive.  The five adult children living with their parents were Ruth, 38, who taught school; Lucy, 30, also a school teacher; Robert, 25, principal of the high school; Letitia, 23, another teacher; and Bessie, 20.

Ruth never married, but continued her career in education.  Jane married Charles Graham Crooks.  McFerran (Mac) married Elizabeth Smith.  Lucy married Isaac Cochran Hunt.  William married Edith Miller, and at her death, Grace Filkington.  Robert married Maddie (?).  Letitia married James Winthrow Feamster.  Elizabeth Pauline (Bessie) married William Averill Bull.

William Crow, 1831-1900.  Bellevue Cemetery, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky.

Rev. William Crow died June 21, 1900, at Richmond, Madison County.  His obituary follows.

The Interior Journal, Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky

Monday, June 25, 1900

Rev. William Crow, one of the oldest and most widely known Presbyterian ministers in Central Kentucky, died at his home in Richmond of paralysis of the brain.  He was born in Fleming County in 1830, and was in his 70th year.  He was a graduate of Centre College, Danville, being a member of the famous class of ’57.  He was at one time pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Stanford, where he has legions of friends.  More recently his time was devoted to evangelical work in Southern Kentucky.  Besides a devoted wife, eight children are left.  They are the Rev. William Crow, of Frankfort, Dr. McFerran Crow, of Versailles, Prof. Robert Crow, of Danville, Mrs. C. G. Crooks, Misses Ruth, Lucy, Letitia and Bessie Crow, of Richmond.

Elizabeth Crow lived another 19 years after her husband’s death.

Elizabeth McFerran, wife of William Crow, 1837-1919.

An obituary contributed to the newspaper gives a lovely account of her life.

The Advocate Messenger, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Tuesday, August 26, 1919

Mrs. Elizabeth Crow, who passed away on the morning of the twenty-first of August, was born in Boyle county in 1837.  Her ancestors for three generations had lived in Boyle County, and she belonged to the fourth of six successive generations, who have worshipped in the First Presbyterian Church of Danville.  She united with this church early in life, and after many years had the privilege of returning in 1914 to the church of her childhood.  Wherever Mrs. Crow lived she was devoted to the interests of her church, a constant attendant upon its services and an active sharer in its work.  One of the greatest privations of her last years was her inability, became of infirmities, to join in the worship of the sanctuary.

Elizabeth McFerran was married in 1860 to Rev. William Crow, a member of the class of 1857, of Centre College.  During the thirty-nine years of her married life she was a helpmeet indeed, a wife in whom the “heart of her husband safely trusted.”  Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Crow.  Two of them died in infancy.  Both parents lived to bring up the other eight and to see them well trained and equipped for life’s work and service.  Mr. Crow died in 1900, but Mrs. Crow lived to see and rejoice in the results of their united efforts to bring up their family in the fear of God.  She saw all of them leading honorable and useful lives and keeping true to the ideals instilled into them by both parents.  She had the admiration and reverence as well as the love of her children in an unusual degree.  They were widely scattered, but she was the center around whom their thoughts and plans revolved.  Even in their mature years her ideals and purposes had very much to do with determining those of her children.  She was a woman of strong sense, warm affections, broad sympathies, steadfast purposes, deep convictions and an abiding faith in God.   These same characteristics she labored earnestly and successfully to develop her children.  Now they “rise up and call her blessed.”  In her last years she was an invalid with many infirmities, but these declining days were brightened and prolonged by the rare devotion and the tender ministrations of the children to whom she had given unsparingly her love and labor.

Mrs. Crow is survived by eight children, fifteen grandchildren, two sisters and two brothers.  The children are Miss Ruth Crow and Mrs. C. G. Crooks, of Danville, Mrs. J. C. Hunt, of Covington, Mrs. J. W. Feamster, of Washington City, Mrs. W. A. Bull, of Greenville, Mississippi, Dr. McFerran Crow, of Lexington, Kentucky, Rev. William Crow, D. D., of Memphis, Tennessee, and Mr. Robert S. Crow, of Beattyville, Kentucky.  The brothers and sisters are R. W. McFerran, of Houston, Texas, Scott McFerran, of Brownsville, Tennessee, Mrs. Lucy Welch, of Danville and Mrs. Della Bogle, of Washington City.

Within a year of Elizabeth Crow’s death, three of her daughters died within a six-month period.

February 9, 1920, Mrs. Lucy Crow Hunt died in Washington City.

The Richmond Daily Register, Madison County, Kentucky

Monday, February 9, 1920

Mrs. Lucy Crow Hunt Dies in Washington

A special dispatch was received from Washington City this morning announcing the death of Mrs. Lucy Crow Hunt, wife of the Presbyterian minister, Rev. I. Cochran Hunt, both of whom are well known, and greatly beloved here and the news will be heard with sincere regret by a host of friends.  The body will be shipped to Danville and the funeral service will be held at the home of her brother-in-law, Prof. Crooks, Wednesday, the 11th.

Ruth Crow, 1862-1920.

June 10, 1920, Ruth Crow died in Danville, at the home of her sister Jane, and brother-in-law Dr. Charles Crooks.

The Advocate Messenger, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Friday, June 11, 1920

Death of Miss Ruth Crow

Miss Ruth Crow died at the home of Dr. and Mrs. C. G. Crooks Thursday, June 10, at 2:40 p.m.  She was born in Boyle County.  Her father was Rev. William Crow, a graduate of Centre College of the class of ’57, and her mother was Elizabeth McFerran, daughter of James Martin McFerran.  Her ancestors for several generations were residents of Boyle County and members of the First Presbyterian Church.  For a number of years her family resided in Richmond, Kentucky, where she taught in Caldwell High School.  For the past six years she has lived in Danville and taught in the city schools.  For the last four years she was principal of the Broadway school, where she rendered very faithful and valuable service.  She is survived by three sisters and three brothers.  These are:  Mrs. C. G. Crooks, of Danville; Mrs. J. W. Feamster, of Washington, D. C.; Mrs. W. A. Bull, of Greenville, Mississippi; Dr. McFerran Crow, of Lexington; Dr. William Crow, of Memphis, and Mrs. Robert S. Crow, of Beattyville.  There are also two aunts, Mrs. Lucy M. Welch and Mrs. Della M. Bogle, of Danville, and one uncle, Mrs. Scott B. McFerran, of Brownsville, Tennessee.

The funeral services will be conducted by Rev. Dr. E. M. Green at the residence of Dr. and Mrs. C. G. Crooks, Saturday morning, June 12, at 10 o’clock.  The interment will be in Bellevue Cemetery.

Six weeks later Jane Crow Crooks died in Danville.

The Richmond Daily Register, Madison County, Kentucky

Friday, August 20, 1920

Mrs. C. G. Crooks Dies in Danville

The very sad news announcing the death of Mrs. Jane Crow Crooks, wife of Prof. C. G. Crooks of Centre College, Danville, was received by Richmond friends early Friday morning.  She had been in ill health for many months and only recently returned from a fortnight’s stay at Bayview, Michigan, hoping to regain her strength but she failed to rally and died of nervous exhaustion.

Mrs. Crooks was the daughter of the late Rev. William Crow, and her girlhood days were spent in Richmond, where she was greatly beloved for her many admirable characteristics.  It will be remembered that Mrs. I. Cochran Hunt, and Miss Ruth Crow, both sisters of Mrs. Crooks, have passed to the great beyond in the past few months, which, indeed, makes this blow inexpressibly sad to the remaining members of the family.  Funeral services will be held in Danville Saturday morning at 11 o’clock.  Interment in Danville cemetery.

The remaining brothers and sisters lived many more years than these three sisters, the last passing away in 1963 at the age of 84.

3 replies »

  1. I enjoyed this! My 2nd great grandfather, Homer Sheeley, graduated from Danville Theological Seminary in 1874. He was from Ohio, and most of his churches were in Ohio and Indiana. I’m hoping to write about him soon.

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