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 Lillie Mae <I>Runyan</I> Crouch

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Lillie Mae Runyan Crouch

  • Birth 1886 Arkansas, USA
  • Death 1914 Johnsonville, McClain County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Burial Johnsonville, McClain County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Memorial ID 29387151

Lillie Mae Runyan was the last child of George Washington and Nancy Jane (Mantooth) Runyan. She was born on March 5, 1885 most likely on the family farm by the Bennett River in Fulton County, Arkansas, a location now called Vidette. Most of what is known of Lillie Mae’s early life with her family is described in the biographies of her parents, to which there are links below, but the main points are as follows:

In late 1888 the family moved a few miles west from Fulton County into Baxter County, onto a farm on the North Fork River that they had bought from Lillie Mae’s sister Mary and her husband WT. Then early in 1991 the family sold the farm and moved to Indian Territory (later Oklahoma), where they bought land near Johnsonville close to present-day Byars in McClain County. There they established a farm where they evidently raised chickens and other livestock and grew a garden and crops. There was a school in Johnsonville which Lillie Mae probably attended, since the 1900 census says she could read and write.
In 1900, when she was 14, her mother Nancy Jane died. Afterwards Lillie and her father and brothers moved to Johnsonville. Her married brother Malcom opened a barber shop there, and her sister Naomi worked as a seamstress. Her married sister Docia Brown moved there with her family from Pauls Valley. The July 1904 issue of the Byars Banner mentions Lillie Mae and Docia coming from Johnsonville to Byars to shop together. That same month their father George passed away in Johnsonville.

In November of 1904 Lillie Mae’s sister Naomi (called “Oma”) moved to Shawnee and rented a house. Presumably she worked there as a seamstress. Sometime afterwards Lillie went to Shawnee and moved in with her older sister, presumably doing the same work. Two of her brothers moved there as well, Alonzo and Hodge. They had learned the hair-cutting trade and presumably worked as barbers.
During this time a railway was being built that passed just a mile to the south of Johnsonville, with a rail stop at that point, and real estate developers had founded the town of Byars to take advantage of the railway station that would be there. The town quickly grew as businesses relocated there from Johnsonville, including Malcom’s barbershop. In 1907 the railroad began train service to the new town of Byars. The town was booming, and the Runyan siblings moved there from Shawnee. Oma set up a barbershop and seamstress service in the Postoffice Building, while her brothers Alonzo and Hodge worked there as barbers, although Hodge died soon afterwards. Lillie May, on the other hand, became a wife; in August of 1907 she was married to a farmer named James Washington "Jim" Crouch. They lived on Main Street in Byars, near her siblings.

Lillie Mae gave birth to two daughters: Zelma Ruth (called “Ruth”, born Mar 1, 1908) and Gladys (born Sep 12, 1910.) In later years, Ruth remembered that Lillie Mae and her sister Docia frequently visited one another, and that she used to play with Docia’s son Ual. She remembers as well that Docia used to sing to them. Unfortunately, Docia died of tuberculosis in October of 1913, and the next year Ual was sent to live with relatives. Then on December 5, 1914, Lillie Mae passed away, only 29 years old. Her husband merged households with Lillie Mae’s sister Oma and brother Alonzo. Later the men moved out and Oma raised Lillie Mae’s daughters by herself, although their father might have contributed financially.


Family Members


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  • Maintained by: Darrell Brown
  • Originally Created by: Tammy
  • Added: 28 Aug 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 29387151
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lillie Mae Runyan Crouch (1886–1914), Find A Grave Memorial no. 29387151, citing Old Johnsonville Cemetery, Johnsonville, McClain County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Darrell Brown (contributor 47458585) .