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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Texas: Runnels County

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Re: Crockett/Cook in Runnels Co
Posted by: Ronald W. Crockett Date: October 05, 2001 at 13:30:32
In Reply to: Crockett/Cook in Runnels Co by Wanda J Stemp of 310

Hi Wanda,
Here is some information on W.T. Crockett and Martha Elizabeth Crockett

William Thomas Crockett, the second son and the third child of the ten children of Thomas Jefferson Crockett and Minerva Elvira ( Elvi or L V) Taylor, was born on August 17, 1873 in McMinn County, Tennessee near the town of Englewood. His father Thomas Jefferson Crockett was the grandson of John A. Crockett of McMinn Co., Tennessee, who was a first cousin of Davy Crockett of Alamo fame. John A. Crockett was the son of Davy's uncle William Crockett and Catherine Hawkins. Being a farmer's son, he grew up helping on the farm and with the livestock. His mother died when he was twelve years old and his father married Amy Cobble the next year.

William Thomas Crockett, known as Will or W. T., left McMinn Co. around 1900 and came to Texas. Many people form McMinn had left for Texas starting after the Civil war including several of the Crocketts and other family members. He lived in the eastern part of the state and worked as a muleskinner hauling timber. East Texas was booming at the time with several major oil discoveries. In about 1912 he returned to Tennessee to visit the family and while there met Martha Elizabeth Cook. Martha was raised in Monroe County, Tennessee, but her family had moved near the Crocketts in the Englewood area of McMinn. They were married on November 12, 1912 in Memphis on their way back to Texas.

They settled in Runnels County, Texas in the farming community of New Home which is east of Ballinger. Ballinger had been subdivided in 1886 when the Santa Fe Railroad was built. Ballinger, the county seat lies in the north central part of Texas. Besides farming, Will had a horse and mule business in Ballinger in the 1920's and 1930's. His partner in the horse and mule business was Walter O. Middleton. Walter Middleton was also a neighbor of the Crocketts. Will bought a farm just east of Norton in Runnels County which is 18 miles north of Ballinger and continued to farm until 1952 when he sold it and retired. This sale was probably influenced by the fact that his son Arthur decided to go into building houses. Arthur was the only child that stayed in the Runnels Co. area and worked on the farm with his father.

During the 1930's and later the Crocketts had houses both in Ballinger and at the farm. Their children Rosa, Arthur, and T.J., and Ruby Ferguson (a neice they raised) attended school in Ballinger. Ruby was the daughter of Will's sister Emma, and William Ferguson who lived in McMinn Co., Tennessee. Emma died in 1916 and William died in 1924. Will went to Tennesee and brought Ruby back to raise with his children. The children attended Ballinger schools and Ruby and Rosa went to Hardin Simons College in Abilene. Arthur went to business school in Abilene. His son Arthur worked with him on the farm till nearly the time his sold in in 1952.

Will and Martha Crockett saw many things during their lives including the invention of the radio, automobile, airplane, tractor, and television. When he was a child Tennessee was still healing over the events of the Civil War which ended just eight years before he was born, and of which his father was a veteran. He experienced the events of the first atomic bomb, WW I, and WW II. I do not know if he ever flew in an airplane. He liked to name his cars and trucks, and he talked to them just like he talked to his horses and mules when he rode or worked with them. He loved to play dominoes and many afternoons in the west Texas heat the ranchers and farmers gathered at the domino hall for a game. As a father, he was rather stern. He worked hard all of his life, and left a very modest estate, but during his life he gave each child enough cash to build a house of their own.

William Thomas Crockett was about 6'1" tall, of medium build, brown hair, and blue eyes. He always stood straight and tended to dress well with a coat, vest, and Stetson hat when not working. He had very little gray hair even in his eighties. He did not want to give up his mobility and drove the car over the families objections as long as he could. He was in good health most of his life, until he fell on an icy step about November 1959 and broke his hip. He was never able to walk after this accident and his health started to decline. He died on November 14, 1962 at the age of 89 years/. He was buried in Evergreen cemetery, Ballinger, Runnels Co., Texas.

Abilene, Texas, November 15, 1962
W.T. CROCKETT Funeral Set
Ballinger - Funeral for William Thomas Crockett, 89, who died at 6:30 Wednesday in Ballinger Cilnic Hospital following a three - year illness, will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Newby - Davis Chapel.
Officiating will be the Rev. J. B. Fowler Jr., pastor of the First Baptist Church here, with burial in Evergreen Cemetery.
Pallbears will be Steve Stubblevield, Harper McFarland, W. O. Middleton, Vernon Dankworth, W. S. Baily, and Hilton Yarnell.
Mr. Crockett was born Aug. 17, 1873, at Athens, Tenn. He married Martha Elizabeth Cook Nov. 12, 1912, at Memphis, Tenn., and they came to Runnels County in 1913. He was a retired stock farmer and sold horses and mules in the 1920's.
Surviving are his wife: two sons, T J and Arthur, both of Ballinger; one daughter, Mrs. R. R. Kelley of Stamford; one niece, Mrs. Ruby Coody of Perryton; eight grandchildren and one great - grandchild.

Martha Elizabeth Cook was born on September 12, 1886 near Mt. Veron, Monroe Co., Tennessee. She was the daughter of James L. Cook and Emma Peeler of Monroe Co. When she was a teenager, she moved with her parents to McMinn Co., Tennessee near the small community of Englewood.

She met William (Will) Thomas Crockett in 1912 when he went home from Texas to visit his father. They soon eloped and married in Memphis, Tennessee on their way back to Texas and moved to Runnels Co., Texas. They lived on the farm, but later built a house on 9th street in Ballinger.

They had three children: Rosa, Arthur, and T J, and also raised Will's neice, Ruby Ferguson. Ruby's mother, Will's sister Emma died when Ruby was a small child and her father was killed when she was about twelve.

Martha always liked to work in her garden where she raised vegetables. I think it reminded her of working on the farm with her family as a child. She had a wash house in the back yard where she did the laundry and for many years there was a small cow lot behind the house where a milk cow was kept by her son Arthur who lived two houses down until about 1950. Martha was very frugal and made most of her own clothes on old foot powered sewing machine. Martha was always well tanned from working in the yard and had soft blue eyes and nearly white hair in her later years.

In the 1950's she gave information on the family to her grandson Ron Crockett which was the beginning of his research on the Crockett and Cook families. Her SS # was 467-76-9502 under her married name of Martha Crockett. Martha died in January 1969. Her son Arthur died in January 1970 and her son TJ died in January 1971.


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