Thursday, January 31, 2013

Family History Friday #1 - John Crihfield

   I have accepted a challenge from my daughter Sarah to do a family history post every Friday. Since I am traveling down to Portland today I thought I should try to get that done before I left. Otherwise, it would be like breaking a new year's resolution on January 2nd. Besides, I think this is a really good idea and I hope to encourage other family members to take it up.  I have been trying to repent and get back into genealogy again. I'm currently taking the family history class in sunday school and am trying to get back up to speed with all of the changes that have taken place over the past five years.

    I decided to do my first Family History Friday post on John Crihfield, my fourth great grandfather. According to the 1850 Census for Lauderdale county, Tennessee, John Crihfield was born in Virginia in about 1806.  Lauderdale County borders on the Mississippi river in the general vicinity of Memphis. John Crihfield lived with his wife, Elizabeth,  and their five children, Effie (age 19), Mary M.(age 15), William H.(age 8),  John H.(age 6), and Elizabeth(age 3). The y were enumerated by the census taker on September 31, 1850. I'm not sure if that means they were all alive on that date or if that is just the date the census taker counted the family.  I don't have the cause of death or the exact date of death, but John Crihfield died some time after the 1850 census and prior to November 1, 1851, the date of the estate sale. Obviously, John Crihfield's death was a serious tragedy as he left behind a widow with at least three children still at home.

     Mary M. Crihfield (my third great grandmother) married James H Heiskill(my third great grandfather) on July 23, 1851 in Lauderdale County, Tennessee. Note that she was only 15 years old at the time of the 1850 Census so she was probably 16 when she married.

    Probate records may sound a bit dull, but they can provide an interesting window into the everyday lives of our ancestors. In this particular instance, there is a wonderful summary of the goods sold at the estate sale, subsequent to John Crihfield's death.  It appears that he was a somewhat prosperous farmer as the sale included 2 horses, one yoke of oxen, 18 cattle, fifty hogs, and three plows.  The carpentry tools sold included one lot of augers and chisels, a plane, a square, two compasses (I'm assuming carpentry compasses), a draw knife, and two frowes.  I am assuming they lived very close to the river as the sale also included 1/2 of a fishing boat, 1/2 of a canoe, 1/2 of a seine and rope, twenty catfish hooks, and a grab hook.  It appears that his son-in-law, James H Heiskill owned the other half of the fishing boat, canoe, and seine.  I doubt that the fishing was recreational. The river no doubt provided a significant contribution to their livelihood. Items that James Heiskill purchased at the estate sale included 2 jars (15 cents),1 draw knife (35 cents), 1 hatchet (50 cents), 1 raw hide (50 cents), and a barrel (10 cents).

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