Forgotten Trails: Crenshaw family traced to Virginia

Published 12:59 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By by Lydia Grimes
The very first thing I want to tell you about is the new book about this area.
Through the efforts of Tom McMillan, the author John Appleyard has written a book about Brewton and East Brewton. In addition to the stories and events mentioned in the book, there are more than 150 illustrations to add to the enjoyment of the reading.
Mr. Appleyard will speak at the next meeting of the Escambia County Historical Society on Oct. 28. He will discuss the writing of the book and those attending can buy a signed copy of the book.
If you would like to order a book, make a check payable to the Escambia County Historical Society and pick the book up at Leigh Place beginning Oct. 28. The price is $45 for a softcover edition and $60 for a hardcover.
I will also have some copies at The Brewton Standard and will be glad to have you stop by to buy your copy if you cannot attend the meeting of the Historical Society.
Now, I want to get into something else for a little while.
I have been asked by a member of our Brewton Police Department to do an article on the Crenshaw family.
I have some information that was collected by the late Bruce Shell that I can share with you.
The Crenshaw family can be traced back to Virginia, where Benjamin Crenshaw was born somewhere around 1770-80. He may have been a part of the Crenshaw family that was located in Goochland County, Virginia as early as 1757.
Benjamin Crenshaw lived most of his adult life in Warren County, Ga. (now Taliferro County). He probably died about July 1850 in Georgia. His wife, Polly Hight was born about 1780 and was still alive at the time of his death in 1850. They were married in 1797 and she was the daughter of Howell Hight, also of Warren County. She was listed as an heir on her father's will which was probated 12 Feb. 1821. Other children were Julius Hight, Howell Hight Jr., Wiley Gilbert Hight, Sukey Hight Grierson, Anne Hight Sheffield, and Sally Hight Johnson.
The children of Benjamin Crenshaw and Polly Hight were Ann Crenshaw, who married an Allen, Elizabeth Crenshaw, who married a Baker, Mary Crenshaw, who married an Allen, Benjamin Crenshaw Jr., who married Sarah Darden, Henry Crenshaw and Joseph Crenshaw.
The will of Benjamin Crenshaw Sr. was probated in 1850 and referred to his son, Benjamin Crenshaw Jr. as being desceased. The will named three children of Benjamin Jr. as receiving their father's portion.
Benjamin Crenshaw Jr. and Elizabeth Darden were married in Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Ga., on 9 Oct. 1830. and only one child, Howell, is known. There is a tradition that says there were also two or maybe three girls.
Howell Crenshaw was born near Warrenton, Warren County, Ga. on 10 July 1831, He was married shortly before 1860 to Frances Sebrian Varner and they moved to Butler County, Ala. Frances Varner was the daughter of James Madison Varner (1 June 1815-27 Nov. 1850) and Pency Rosier (29 March 1815-15 Feb. 1892) who were married 28 Oct. 1838.
I will continue with this material next week.
On another note, Wilellen Elliott has sent a letter to the editor that does some explaining about the Downing Shofner Institute.
I will use that information when I am ready to do a column about the school a little bit later.
Remember, if you have an interest in researching some family or other historical information, please get in touch with me. I have a wealth of information on so many people and places connnected to this area. I'd love to help you with any research if I can.
If you are interested in hearing more about a particular family, place or event from our past, I'd love to tell the story. Just let me know what you're interested in and I'll do my best to look up the information and see what I can find out on the subject. I have gotten a lot of good information from putting what little bit of information I have in the paper and then get phone calls and letters from someone who had more information. Getting the information out there is a good way to get more.
If I can ever be of help, I'll certainly do what I can. I'll let you know if I have any leads or if I hit a dead end on any subject you lead me into. All you have to do is ask and if it's in my power, I'll help.
You can reach me by phone at the office at 867-4876. If you want to contact me by email you can do that at
Until next time, happy hunting.