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James Crews
Birth: Jul. 2, 1785
Granville County
North Carolina, USA
Death: Sep. 28, 1875
North Carolina, USA

James Crews was one of four sons of Gideon Crews and Jemima Wicker originally of Virginia. The Crews family relocated to Granville County after Gideon was expelled from the Quaker Church of Virginia in the mid 1700s. In 1808, James Crews married Sarah Earl, the third daughter of John and Zebiah Watts Earl. They had ten children - six daughters (Mary, Rebecca, Martha, Isabel, Susan, Melissa), and four sons (Allen, James, Elijah and Edward). All but Allen, their oldest son lived to be adults. James was one of the founders of Salem church, donated the land on which it stands, and was the leading member of its congregation for many years.

After the death of Sarah (Sally) Earl Crews in 1863, James Crews married a second time at the age of 81 to Sarah Blackwell Currin, age 65, the widow of Elijah T. Currin. The book, "Marriages of Granville County, North Carolina, 1753-1868", compiled by Brent H.Holcomb, lists both marriages:
- Crews, James & Sally (Sarah) Earl, 2 Feb 1808: David Rice, bm; A.H.Sneed. wit. and
- Crews, James Senr. & Sarah Currin, 12 March 1867: m 14 March 1867 by W. S. Hester, M.G.Rev. The officiant at the marriage M.G. Hester was married to James' daughter, Melissa Crews (Hester), who was the organist at Salem Church.

According to "Sketches" by T.T. Hicks (who was James Crews' grandson),

"James Crews, the father and head of his large and honorable family, lived to be 90 years of age, dying in September 1875. I have heard my mother say he started life in a house with a dirt floor. Grandpa Crews could read the Bible a little and write his name, but he had no education in books. In his long life he became a very well informed man. No one ever thought him conceited or proud, but he enjoyed the prosperity he wrenched from nature. A few acres at a time, he acquired more than a thousand acres. At the time of the Civil War, he owned more than fifty slaves. I never heard of his mistreating or abusing one. He was born poor and lived to be rich, but he never spent a quarter without first considering whether what he would get would be worth a quarter. A photo, taken some years before his death shows him holding in one hand, barely perceptible, a quid which he intended to chew some more..

"Grandfather Crews was 72 when I was born and 90 when he died. His speech was all kindly and gentle, but I cannot remember that I ever saw him smile..

"At his funeral, Rev. Lewis K Willis told of his last words. He had been given some medicine in which some of the sugar, not having dissolved, lodged on his tongue. He wiped it off with us finger and said to a child standing by: "Did you ever see anybody spit out sugar before?" Then he died..."

[Will proved October, 1875]

"Know all men by these presents that I James Crews of the county of Granville and State of North Carolina do make publish and declare this to be my last will and testament in manner and form following to wit
1. I confirm to my children respectively all the advancements that I have heretofore made to them respectively.
2. I direct that all my land shall be divided into eight tracts of equal size and valued by three disinterested men selected by my Executors hereinafter named and distributed by ballot as follows: one share to my son James A. Crews, one share to my son Elijah T. Crews, one share to my son Edward N. Crews, one share to my daughter Rebecca A. Cheatham, widow of James Cheatham dec'd, one share to my daughter Martha M. Hunt, wife of Joseph P. Hunt, one share to my daughter Isabella J. Hicks wife of Benjamin W. Hicks, one share to my daughter Susan C. Hunt, wife of George W. Hunt and one share to my daughter Melissa F. Hester wife of William T. Hester.
3. I direct that my Executors shall sell all my personal property on credit or for cash as they may think proper and divide the proceeds together with the value of my real estate and all other personal property after payment of my debts into nine equal shares, one share of which shall be paid to the heirs of my daughter Mary E. Wright dec'd and the remainder equally distributed between my heirs herein before named in second clause above.
4. My Executors shall have the like privelege with all other persons of bidding for and purchasing any property sold by them
5. I nominate and appoint my son James A. Crews and my son-in-law Joseph P. Hunt Executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking and annuling any and all other wills by me at any time hereterfore made.
"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 18th day of January A.D. 1871
"Signed published and declared by the above named James Crews as, and for, his last will and testament in presence of us who in his presence and at his request have subscribed our names and witness hereto"
A. Landis
L. H. Paschall
(Signed) James Crews

His estate settlement included a $500 cash payment to a "Sarah Crews, widow, for all clames against said estate according to marriage contract." This was a large payment, almost equivalent to the amount each son and daughter received. His papers also contained a map/plat of James' land which, which was just SE of the church; and that a cemetery existed behind his house in the middle of this land.

Obituary of James Crews
TorchLight, Oxford, Granville County, North Carolina
October 12, 1875
Died on Tuesday morning, Sept. 28th, 1875, at his residence near Salem Church in Granville county, James Crews, aged 90 years and nearly two months, having been born July 2, 1785. Mr. Crews at the time of his death was doubtless the oldest white male citizen of Granville county. His career has been in many respects a remarkable one. Endowed by nature with a vigorous constitution and a sound mind, he married early and set out in life to carve out his fortune with no human aid but his wife, but carrying within a brave heart, a strong will and an implicit trust in God. He steadily and actively pursued a course of honest industry in the quiet, rural life of a farmer until he acquired an estate that enabled him to provide well for a large family of children and to secure for his declining years all the comforts which his simple habits required. He early connected himself with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and amid all its vicissitudes in Granville county he maintained to the end of life his devotion to her doctrines and mode of worship. He was literally the temporal father of Salem Church, for by his instrumentality it was founded, and until his children grew up around him and begun to take their places in the Church, and it was mainly through his support that it was sustained. Though devoted to the Church of his choice he was no bigot. There was nothing narrow contracted in his religious opinions. His great heart was too deep and too broad and his Christianity was too earnest to be confined within any mere sectarian limits. His religion was emphatically a religion of the heart. It was the great motor of his life; it was practical, earnest, diffusive. It consisted of a profound love for the God he worshiped, and a broad liberal christian charity for his fellow men, and as he approached the end of life, it seemed to shed upon his path-way a radiance of more than earthly splendor. His fondness for sacred music amounted to a passion. He purchased and presented to the Salem Church a handsome Cabinet Organ, and it was his great delight to sit near this his favorite instrument during divine service and on other occasions when opportunity offered, always with an attentive ear, and often were the big tears seen to roll down his cheeks as he would become enraptured by its sweet strains.
James Crews had passed away from earth. He is at home with his God his Savior. A heavenly harp and crown are his. His death gives no occasion for tears for he is infinitely happier than we, and he leaves to his children the rich legacy of a noble example and a stainless character. His whole life was a testimony to the truth of the christian religion, and truly may it be said of him, that he had fought the good fight, he had kept the faith and was ready to be offered up.
For several weeks before his death it was evident that his end was near. His body was unaltered by disease but was literally worn out with age. His mind was not clouded and his usual cheerfulness never forsook him to the last.
His funeral was preached at Salem Church on Wednesday afternoon the 29th ult., by Rev. J. R. Griffith from Psalms 58:11. "Verily there is a reward for the righteous." At the close of the sermon L. K. Willie pronounced a eulogy of the deceased after which the body was interred near the church.
There was present at these services a larger number of relatives of the deceased than was even known to be assembled on a similar occasion in Granville County. Mr. Crews has had more than one hundred lineal descendants, exclusive of those who may have been born in other States, and his family connections can scarcely be numbered. They all loved him dearly, and his influence upon them will be felt for good, to the latest generations of his posterity.
 (bio by: RosalieAnn) 
Family links: 
  Gideon Crews (1730 - 1815)
  Jemina Wicker Crews (1739 - 1825)
  Sarah J. Earl Crews (1791 - 1863)
  James A Crews (1813 - 1892)*
  Rebecca Ann Crews Cheatham (1818 - 1894)*
  Martha M. Crews Hunt (1820 - 1882)*
  Elijah Thomas Crews (1822 - 1881)*
  Edward Norbert Crews (1824 - 1899)*
  Isabella Jane Crews Hicks (1829 - 1913)*
  Susan Caroline Crews Hunt (1832 - 1918)*
  Melissa Frances Crews Hester (1835 - 1897)*
  Gideon Crews (1779 - 1859)*
  James Crews (1785 - 1875)
*Calculated relationship
Note: my third great grandfather
Salem United Methodist Church Cemetery
Granville County
North Carolina, USA
Maintained by: RosalieAnn
Originally Created by: Georgia
Record added: Dec 12, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23364939
James Crews
Added by: RosalieAnn
James Crews
Added by: Kenneth Fawcett
James Crews
Added by: RosalieAnn
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- Maggie Mac
 Added: Jul. 15, 2014
My fourth g-grandfather through his daughter, Mary Crews Wright.
- Pat
 Added: Nov. 12, 2012
4th G-granddaughter thru Mary E Crews Wright who is buried in Johnson co TX
- Jennifer
 Added: Jun. 29, 2011
This page is sponsored by: RosalieAnn

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