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A Historical Account of Asher Crockett alias James Anderson
by Teresa Carr
I had received e-mail from a fellow genealogist a couple of years ago trying to fit an elaborate mystery puzzle of our common ancestor, Asher Crockett. To view the e-mail I received regarding the inquiry, The Crockett Letters. There have been quite some unusual turns in a wild goose hunt for this elusive soldier of fortune. I guess we can start from the beginning. Asher Crockett was born in September 1760 in Hampshire Co., Virginia, and now part of West Virginia. It’s been a mystery of who Asher’s parents are, and if there are any siblings. I’ve researched Hampshire and all surrounding counties with no luck. There were two Crocketts in the Hampshire Co., VA Tax List. One being an Anthony Crocket. There were also three Anderson men listed. It’s been determined that Asher Crockett is his real name and James Anderson was used as a substitute. In 1775, he ran away from Hampshire Co., Virginia to enter the Continental Army under General George Washington and other officers of that day as a camp boy and waiter. The reason he gave on his pension record for leaving Hampshire Co., Virginia was that he ran away from a cruel master who was to use him as an apprentice to learn this trade he refused to do.
After his service with the army he returned to Hampshire Co., Virginia in 1778 only to find out that the master was looking for him to reclaim him back. In order to escape this fate, Asher ran off again to join the army only he took the name of another man, James Anderson, who had been drafted and didn’t want to enlist. He made this statement in his pension record why he went by an alias and served in the place of James Anderson. Asher, now known as James Anderson served until the duration of the American Revolution and was at the last battle of Yorktown and witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis to General George Washington. Asher also saw the battles of Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse, Hanging Rock, Camden, Powhatan Courthouse and Yorktown. Asher Crocket’s name appeared on the monument at Cowpens battlefield along with the names of other minorities. Interesting that Asher was among the minorities at Cowpens. This was a diverse group of individuals met on the field of battle on a bitterly cold Wednesday morning, January 17, 1781. Of the two thousand men who fought this battle the National Park Service can document fifteen black males who fought with the Americans. In addition there is one famous black male who the NPS cannot document Ball/Collins/Collin, Washington’s waiter, depicted in William Ranney’s painting, “The Battle of Cowpens.” The known minorities at Cowpens were James Anderson (or, Asher Crockett), Julius Cesar, Lemerick Farr, Andrew Ferguson, Fortune Freeman, Gideon Griffen, Morgan Griffen, Drury Harris, Edward Harris, Allen Jeffers, Berry Jeffers, Osborne Jeffers, Andrew Peeleg, Dick Pickens, and Record Primes (or, Primus Record). The question arises if Asher was of mixed race, he was a servant or the man he replaced was a minority in the case of mistaken identity. I obtained a copy of his military record and pension and it doesn’t give any information about him being of mixed race although he claimed to be white in the census records. During his service in the American Revolution Asher came down with smallpox at Hillsborough, North Carolina. His unit left him behind when they departed. After his recovery, he returned to fight at Hanging Rock, South Carolina. In his pension record, he stated that he was on the field at Camden and was a witness to the mortal wounding of Baron de Kalb. He ws at the battle of Guilford Courthouse. He stayed behind at Guilford with the sick and then joined General Lafayette and was present at Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown, Virginia. After Yorktown, he marched with the baggage to Winchester, Virginia. Under Captain Fitzpatrick, he guarded the magazine and public stores at Powhatan Courthouse.
After the war ended, he was under the command of General Clark in Kentucky; Asher Crockett married Sarah Blankenship from Giles Co., Virginia in September 11, 1800, at Christiansburg, (Montgomery Co., VA Marriage Records) preformed by Rev. Alexander Ross. Sarah Blankenship was the daughter of Peter and Jemima (Perdue) Blankenship. Sarah died on September 9, 1862 in Wayne Co., VA. Between 1800 and 1804, Asher and Sarah settled in Cabell Co., VA. They originally lived in Ona and then moved to Miller’s Fork. Asher received bounty land in what was originally in Kanawha County, and later became Cabell and then eventually Wayne County, VA. This land was presumed to be on the Miller’s Fork of Beech Fork of 12 Pole. He filed for a pension on November 26, 1832. He was listed as white in the 1840 Cabell Co., VA census. Asher died on January 16, 1846 in Wayne Co., VA. Asher’s sons were Peter and Andrew Johnson Crockett. Asher’s daughters were Mary, born 1808 married William Miller; Charlotte Miller, wife of Edward Miller; and Elizabeth Kelley, born 1801, wife of Joseph Kelley. Peter Crockett married Nancy Spurlock, daughter of Matthew and Juda Garrett Spurlock, on Feb. 18, 1828 in Cabell Co., VA. Peter and Nancy moved west to the Shawnee Indian Territory in Kansas. Andrew married Eliza Blankenship, daughter of Jesse Blankenship and Margaret Stafford, on September 27, 1834, Louisa, Lawrence Co., KY. Andrew died 1907 and is buried in the Crockett Family gravesite in Joe Fry Cemetery, Miller’s Fork, Wayne Co., WV.
The children of Peter and Nancy (Spurlock) Crockett were:
1. Stephen Marshall Crockett, married Matilda Caroline Hurst
The children of Andrew and Eliza (Blankenship) Crockett were:
1. Amanda Crockett, born July 15, 1832, married Jacob Sullivan
2. John Wesley Crockett, born August 1836, married Polly Stafford
3. Margaret Crockett, born August 28, 1840
4. James A. Crockett, born 1845
5. Sylvester Brooks Crockett, born 1849
6. Talitha Cuma Crockett, born Feb. 9, 1854
7. Safrona Crockett, born 1852
John Wesley Crockett a native of Wayne Co., VA served in the 16th VA CSA Ferguson’s Battalion of the Virginia Cavalry during the Civil War. He was probably a Methodist because of his middle name. He married Mary “Polly” Stafford, born Nov. 1843, daughter of James and Hulda Blankenship Stafford, died March 25, 1903. Polly Stafford is a descendent of the John Stafford from Staffordshire, England of the royal family of Stafford, Henry Stafford the 1st Baron and Ralph de Stafford the 2nd Baron and 1st Earl of Stafford who built Stafford Castle. Henry Stafford was the son of Edward Stafford the 3rd Duke of Buckingham who was judicially murdered by King Henry VIII in 1521. (See, Stafford Family Chart)
The children of John Wesley and Polly (Stafford) Crockett were:
1. Tennessee Crockett
2. Nancy Crockett, born March 20, 1860 married James Bonds
3. Margaret Crockett, born 1863
4. Eliza J. Crockett, born May 1872, married Samuel L. Blankenship son of Levi & Polly Williams Blankenship, March 10, 1892. Eliza died May 1923.
5. Andrew Crockett, born 1873
6. James Crockett, born Nov. 1867, East Lynn, WV
7. George Crockett, born Feb. 27, 1880 married Katie Dunn
The children of Samuel Lee and Eliza (Crockett) Blankenship were:
1. Levi Blankenship married Carrie Wilson
2. Samuel Blankenship, died at age 2
3. Hardrick Blankenship
4. Mollie P. Blankenship, born June 30, 1901 married Jubal S. Hall, died January 15, 1995, age 93 buried at Spring Hill Cemetery, Charleston, WV
5. Minnie Blankenship Runnion, born 1903, married William Chrisel
§ South Carolina Department of Archives and History (803) 896-6100.
§ West Virginia Department of Archives and History, Charleston, WV (304) 558-0230 ext. 168.
§ Moss, Bobby G. The Patriots at the Cowpens, Revised Edition, Blacksburg, SC: Scotia Press, 1994.
§ Gallagher, Glen. The 16th Virginia Cavalry, Wayne County, West Virginia.
§ French, J.P. Collup and Armstrong, Zella. Notable Southern Families: The Crockett Family and Connecting Lines, Vol. V, The King Printing Co., Bristol, TN
§ McDuffee, Alice Louise. Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book, Vol. XCII, 91001-92000, 1912: Washington, D.C. 1927. pp. 98-99, 91303.
§ Cabell County Annals and Families, pg. 72.§ John Stafford Family.