Family Stories

1898 Letter From Samuel M. Duncan About the Crockett Family and 1837 Will of Col. Anthony Crockett – Franklin County

Anthony Crockett 1756-1838, 7th Virginia Continental Regiment, Frankfort Cemetery, Franklin County, Kentucky.

I found the above gravestone photo from those I took when visiting the Frankfort Cemetery a few years ago. In a short of amount of research I have enough information to write several posts on Anthony Crockett. The first I will share with you is a letter written in 1898 by Samuel M. Duncan to Crockett M. Riddell of Tacoma, Washington, Riddell being a great-grandson of Anthony. I found this in Genealogies of Kentucky Families A-M taken from The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. The article is on page 222 and mentions ‘the letters of Col. Anthony Crockett have been deleted in the interest of economy.’ Not to be deterred I have emailed the Kentucky Historical Society for copies of these letters and hope to receive them within a week – which I will share with you at that time.

April 6, 1898 – Nicholasville, Kentucky

Mr. Crockett M. Riddell, Tacoma, Washington

Dear Sir:

I have yours of March 30th, and will answer your questions to the best of my ability; or, in other words, I will give you the facts as I received them more than forty years ago from persons who knew Col. Anthony Crockett most intimately for fifty years before he died in Franklin County in 1838.

He was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, January 19, 1756, and married Margaret Robertson, daughter of Alexander Robertson, who was from Augusta County, Virginia, and who was the son of James Robertson, who was a native of Scotland, and a first cousin of Robertson, the historian.

The late George Robertson was a nephew of Col. Anthony Crockett.  He was one of the greatest lawyers ever born in Kentucky.  Was Chief Justice of Kentucky for many years, and was born in Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1790, and died in Lexington, Kentucky in 1869.

In 1859 I was in Lexington, Kentucky, attending the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church.  At that day I met there a gentleman named David T. Maurey, whose forefathers were descendants of the French Huguenots, being driven from France by the order of Louis XIV in the year 1719.  Mr. Maurey informed me that his mother was a Crockett before her marriage.  In his letters to me in 1858, he sent me the following interesting record:

‘Anthony Dessasune Crockett was the son of Gabriel Gustave Crockett; was born near Montauban, in the south part of France, July 10, 1648.  In France the name was “Crockeshawney,’ and was pronounced Crocketawne.  After the family fled to the north of Ireland, in 1672, the name was changed to Crockett.  In 1664 the father of Anthony Dessasune obtained for him a position in the household troops of Louis XIV.  His fine personal appearance, splendid horsemanship and his devotion to duty drew at once the attention of the King, who was anxious to retain him in his service and to place him as second in command of the Household Guards.  His wife, Louise DeSaix, whom he married in 1669, bore him the following children:  Gabriel Gustavus was born at Bordeaux, October 12, 1672, which was the year the family was exiled to France for becoming protestants.  In 1672, after the family became Protestants, they were employed by the La Fontaines and Maureys as commercial agents and envoys, and took up their residence in the north of Ireland.  In Ireland six children were born.  James Crockett was born November 20, 1674; Joseph Louis, January 9, 1676; Robert Watkins, July 18, 1678; Louise DeSaix, March 15, 1680; Mary Frances, February 20, 1682; Sarah Elizabeth, April 13, 1685.

James Crockett married an Irish lady, Miss Martha Montgomery, daughter of Thomas Montgomery, a sailor in the English naval service.  Joseph married Sarah Stuart, of Donegal, and was the father of ten children, six sons and four daughters.  His first child was Joseph Crockett, Jr., born at Donegal, May 6, 1702; Thomas Stuart, same city, March 8, 1704; John Crockett, father of Col. Joseph Crockett, whom you have so often mentioned in your letters, was born near Bantryboy, June 10, 1707.  His father, after the death of Louis XIV in 1715, revisited France, and such was the hatred against all Protestants and persons who had changed their religion that he gathered up all his friends and settled in the French colony of New Rochelle, in the colony of New York.  At New Rochelle was born William Crockett, the first child of American birth.  He was born August 10, 1709.  The whole family of Crocketts afterwards left Ireland and settled in the colony of Virginia about the 1716, 1718 and 1719.  John Crockett removed from new Rochelle and settled in Virginia on the Rapidan River, among the Fontaines, Maureys and Guerants, in 1718.  James Edwin Crockett was born November 10, 1711; Jason Spottswood, December 2, 1713; Elizabeth Lee, June 10, 1715; Martha Ellen, twin, September 10, 1719; Mary Dandridge, August 8, 1720; Sarah Jane, May 9, 1722.

Robert Watkins Crockett, the third son, married before the family left Ireland.  He married Rachel Watkins, third cousin, in 1702.  Three sons and two daughters, Rachel, Elizabeth, May 1, 170, Hannah Watkins, June 10, 1705.

John Crockett married Eliza Boulay, 1732, taught a school at White Post Academy in Culpeper County, Virginia, and afterwards removed to Albemarle, and was principal of High School up to the time of his death, which took place June 9, 1770, five years before the Revolutionary War.

His first child was a daughter, Eliza, who was born in Culpeper, and married James Pryon, of Augusta County, Virginia.  Sarah was also born in Culpeper, and married James Cummings, of Rockbridge County.  Mary married Thomas Nicholson, of Albemarle.  Mr. Nicholson died soon after his marriage.  His widow married again and settled somewhere on the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky, but at what time she settled and the name of her second husband is now lost, and the facts can not be found out.  His fourth daughter married Charles Watkins, and died in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, after the close of the Revolutionary War.  Colonel Joseph Crockett was the eldest son.  He was nine years older than his brother, Anthony Crockett, who was the youngest son.  He and his brother, Joseph, commanded a regiment in the Indian wars under Gen. George Rogers Clark.  Joseph Crockett was colonel and your grandfather was lieutenant-colonel in the regiment, and he was elected doorkeeper of the Legislature forty-one years.  Hamilton Crockett died in Tennessee in 1826.  Alexander Crockett died in 1816.  William Crockett died in Tennessee in 1812.  They were all soldiers in the Revolutionary War.  Jason Spottswood Crockett, who was an uncle of Col. Anthony and Joseph Crockett, married Margaret Lacey, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  He married I 1740, and resided in Pennsylvania nearly a year and removed to Granville County, North Carolina, where he reared a family of four sons and two daughters.  It is believed that he was the grandfather of the celebrated Davy Crockett, who fell at the siege of the Alamo, 1836.

John Crockett was the son of Jason Spottswood Crockett.  He married Rebecca Hawkins, who was the mother of David Crockett, who was born in East Tennessee August 17, 1786.  You will learn that the first ancestor of the Crockett family in the United States was a Frenchman, and a member of the Household Troops of Louis XIV.  He, after serving his term out in the Household Guards of Louis, returned to Montauban, in the south of France, and fell in with such Protestants in the south of France as the La Fontaines, Maureys and the Legres, and was converted by the company of such worthy men as the Maureys, who had entire control of the wine and salt trade in the South of France.’

As I am growing very old and feeble, I send you a letter written to Judge Robertson by your great grandfather Anthony Crockett.  It was this letter that gave me the facts in the sketch I wrote of him ten years ago.  As I have several printed copies of his letters, I send you this which he wrote over seventy years ago.  When Judge Robertson died I got hold of several very interesting old letters he wrote about the War of 1812.  I also send you the true sketch of Fitzhugh Lee.  When I have to trust to newspapers I am often deceived, so I wrote to Gen. Lee and he stated the facts.  I charge you five dollars for the information, and as a grandson I hope you will keep the old letter as long as you live.  Excuse my writing with a pencil, as I am not in a place where there is ink.


Samuel M. Duncan

P.S. Let me hear soon.

I would also like to share the will of Anthony Crockett, found in Franklin County Will Book 3, Pages 101-102. Anthony’s wife, Mary Robertson, died September 1, 1818. He had three daughters that predeceased him – Sally, born January 29, 1783; Margaret, born February 2, 1787, died January 17, 1788 – two who died young and left no heirs. Daughter Elizabeth McKee and son Fountain P. Crockett left children who received their parents share of Anthony’s estate.

Will of Anthony Crockett

In the name of God, Amen.  I, Anthony Crockett, of the County of Franklin and State of Kentucky, do make and ordain and establish this writing as and for my last will and testament.  Viz.

Item first.  I will, bequeath and devise unto William R. Crockett, Samuel B. Crockett, Overton W. Crockett, Granville S. Crockett, Mary Hawkins, Martha Dillon and Catherine Buckner, my surviving children, and the children and heirs of my deceased son Fountain P. Crockett and my deceased daughter, Elizabeth McKee, all the slaves which I may own at my decease, to be equally divided between them, viz., the heirs of my said deceased son and daughter taking the share which their parents would be entitled to if they were living.

Item second.  I give, devise and bequeath unto my son Dandridge S.

Crockett, all my land which I possess in Franklin County, Kentucky.

Item third.  All my stock of every description, farming utensils, household and kitchen furniture to be equally divided between them in the manner pointed out in the first item for the division of the slaves therein devised.

Item fourth.  I do hereby constitute and appoint John McKee and Dandridge, S. Crockett, executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all other wills by me heretofore made, have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal this 28th day of April A.D. 1837.

Anthony Crockett

Signed, sealed and published by the testator for his last will and testament in our presence – James Vaughan, W. L. Vaughan

Franklin County Court, December Term 1838

A writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Anthony Crockett, deceased, was produced in Court and proven by the oath of William L. Vaughn, a subscribing witness thereto and was further proven by the oath of said Vaughan that the signature of James Vaughan is in the handwriting of James Vaughan, whereupon the said will is ordered to be recorded, which is done accordingly.

A H Pennick, C.F.C.C.

Any thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s