Help Needed: Just How Many Crit Dulworths Were There?

I have been happily working away at renaming and reattaching images in RootsMagic 7, but I was reminded of a quandary I put aside when researching as it had no direct bearing on my husband’s line.

However, now that I am attaching images in the family tree, the unpleasant knot of Crit Dulworths has again reared its ugly head. Without knowing who was who, it is impossible to attach images to the correct people.

Here are the records I’ve found for Crit (Crittenden) Dulworth. Readers, I would love your input as to whether you believe there are three or just two Crits in the Dulworth family tree. I have to warn you beforehand, though, that the records are confusing because of parentage or lack thereof.

It also doesn’t help matters that the Dulworths lived in Cumberland County, Kentucky and Clay County, Tennessee and made additional treks to Oklahoma and back again.

Finally, beginning with Abraham Dulworth and his wife, Mary Jane Adams, we have an unconventional living arrangement for the 1860s through the 1890s. You see, Abe and Jane started their family with the birth of their daughter Matilda Jane in July 1869 and had at least four more children together before they married in Clay County, Tennessee on 1 February 1883!

Matilda, or Tilda Jane, as she was called, had at least two children out of wedlock herself, daughter Maggie, born March 1892 and listed as a step daughter to Clay in 1900, and a son, James Crittenden Nation, born January 1896, before she married Clayton Columbus Nation on 20 June 1896, also in Clay County, Tennessee.  James is listed as Clay’s son in 1900, but I don’t know whether that is true or not.

It is important to review information found in the 1900 and 1910 censuses for Tilda Jane (Dulworth) Nation:

In 1900, Tilda reported that she had given birth to five children, but only four were living. Children in the home were Maggie, born 1892 (stepdaughter of Clay in the census, so Tilda’s child), James, born 1896 and Ethel M., one month old. Was the child not in the home but still living Crit Dulworth born October 1887 enumerated that year as a grandson of Abraham Dulworth?

In 1920, Tilda reported having given birth to 6 children, all of whom were living. In the home we find Crit, born c1892, Maggie, born c1894, James, born c1897, Ethel, born c1899, Willie, born c1903, Addie, born c1904.

These are the main players in the Crit Dulworth mystery:

Here we go:

1. The 1900 census for Abraham Dulworth and his family in Clay County, Tennessee includes children between the ages of 4 and 23, all called sons and daughters. The last person living in the home is grandson Crit Dulworth, aged 12, born October 1887. Note: If Crit Dulworth is his grandson, then the only two possibilities for a Dulworth parent are Matilda Jane, born 1869 as his mother or young, but not impossible, James or John Dulworth, Abraham’s eldest sons if Crit was born closer to 1892, which he reported in later records.

2. In 1910, Abe Dulworth had moved over the state line to Cumberland County, Kentucky. Again in his home, listed last, is Crit Dulworth, 23, born c1887. This time he is called a son, not a grandson.

I tend to believe the earlier 1900 census, which called Crit a grandson of Abraham because the record was created at an earlier time period and Crit was enumerated last in the home. Even though he is called a son in 1910, he is still listed last and not in birth order with the other children of Abe and Jane. This young man was unmarried in 1910.

There are no other records found after the 1910 census that clearly pertain to Crit Dulworth, born 1887. He may have died between 1910 and 1920.

However, this is clearly the same person, so we have Crit Dulworth #1.

Let’s move on.

3. On 9 May 1914, Crit Dulworth married Della Short in Granite, Greer, Oklahoma. This Crit Dulworth was 27 in 1920 and reported that he was born c1893 in Kentucky (probably Cumberland County, which borders Clay County, Tennessee). Sometime after the 1927 Oklahoma school census when their two children, Odell Russell and Wilma K. lived with Crit (and possibly Della), Crit and Della went their separate ways. In 1930, Della had remarried, was going by Dora, and the children lived with her and her second husband’s family.

4. Crit and Della apparently had a turbulent marriage right from the start. There are two newspaper articles dated March 1915 telling the tale of Crit’s and Della’s difficulties that progressed to the point that “Crittenden Dulworth, 24” (if 24 then born c1891) was arrested for the attempted murder of his step father-in-law, W. B. Hooper in Kiowa County, Oklahoma. Kiowa borders Greer County and Crit and Della apparently lived near the county line in Greer while the Hoopers lived near the county line in Kiowa.

During the summer of 1921, Crit Dulworth was arrested for running an illegal still. Police said he was dead – dead drunk, according to the newspaper article. He was sentenced to 90 days at hard labor in the county jail and a $250 fine. The judge cut his sentence in half because he said he felt sorry for Crit’s family.

I am quite certain that this Crit is the son of Matilda Jane Dulworth Nation, as Clay and Matilda had moved to Greer County by this time. Proof is found in several other newspaper articles as Clay was tried for, and acquitted of, the shotgun murder of Matilda’s younger brother, Jacob Dulworth, in the summer of 1913.

5. There is a 1918 World War I draft registration card for Crit Dulworth, born 17 October 1892 in Burkesville, Cumberland, Kentucky. This man lived in Greer County, Oklahoma, was married and had one child. This fits Crit above, as son Odell was born in 1917 and daughter Wilma in 1919.

6. Crit Dulworth, born c1892, married Mattie Clary Cary [Yes, two different, but similar names] on 2 May 1927 in Granite, Greer, Oklahoma.

This is clearly not Crit Dulworth born in 1887, so we have Crit Dulworth #2.

7. Next, we have James Crit Dulworth, born 2 January 1896 and died 7 April 1960 and is buried in Hobart, Kiowa, Oklahoma. His sister, Maggie Dulworth Wright made application for his military gravestone. This record gives an alternate middle name for him – Carlyle. This Maggie Dulworth is the stepchild of Clay Nation enumerated in 1900, so the daughter of Matilda Jane (Dulworth) Nation. I mentioned earlier Maggie was possibly her first child born out of wedlock. Note that the gravestone gives a birth date of 22 June 1895, but the 1900 census said James Nation was born in January 1896. That might just be a mistake on the part of the V.A. Remember I also questioned whether James Nation was really Clay Nation’s son? James Nation in 1900 appears to be James buried in Hobart as James C. Dulworth in 1960.

8. The 1910 census for the family of Clay and Tilda Nation includes Crit Nation, aged 18, so born c1892 in Kentucky. The family lived in Overton County, Tennessee. This is the ONLY record I find for James C. Nation/Dulworth with Clay or Matilda Jane that gives an 1892 birth year.

9. The 1930 census of Granite, Greer, Oklahoma includes James C. Nation, divorced, living with his brother William and his mother, Tilda Jane Nation. Clay Nation died in 1922 in Granite. If he is the Crit Dulworth who married  Mattie Clary, it apparently was very short lived. He was born c1896. If he isn’t the Crit Dulworth who married Mattie, who did he marry and divorce??

10. There is a World War II draft registration card for James C. Dulworth of Hobart, Kiowa, Oklahoma. His birth date is given as 2 January 1896 and his contact person was G. A. Wright. That would be George Wright who married Maggie (Dulworth Nation), Matilda Jane’s daughter born in 1892. James Crit Dulworth apparently never remarried after his divorce from Mattie Clary.

11. The 1940 census of Kiowa County, Oklahoma includes the household of Captain (that’s his given name, not a title!) Duley, his two sons, and Jimmie Dulworth, aged 44, (born c1896). Jimmie is listed as Cap’s nephew. [However, proving that is another matter. Cap Duley married Sarah E., aka Ellen, supposedly about 1892.  Ellen was a daughter of Abe Dulworth, proven by a land deed filed in Cumberland County, Kentucky on 6 May 1925 by his heirs. She is called Ellen Dooley. In 1880, she was living with her mother Mary Jane Adams’ family and enumerated as Sarah Adams, aged 4. Also in the home was Matilda, aged 1.]

To complicate matters, Cap’s son, Joe Duley, married Addie Florence Nation, daughter of Clay and Matilda Jane Nation. That means that Jimmie’s (aka Crit’s) half sister Addie married Cap’s son Joe, who was also Addie’s first cousin. These Dulworths are a complicated lot!]

So, is James Crit Nation aka James Crit Dulworth the Crit Dulworth #3?

There are definitely two Crit Dulworths, one born October 1887 and the second born in the early to mid 1890s. However, are there just two men or are there three?

In some records, Crit Dulworth’s birth year is approximately 1892, with one record giving a birth date of 17 October 1892, while other records give a birth date of 2 January 1896.

Evidence seems to point to Crit who married Della Short (and reportedly born c1892) being the son of Matilda Jane (Dulworth) Nation, given the rarity of the name and the fact that all are living in Greer County, Oklahoma between 1910 and 1920.

Unfortunately, the 1892 birth year falls about halfway between 1877 and 1896. Could it be that Crit born 1887 sliced several years off his age (Della was just 16 when they married) or did Crit born 1896 add a few years to make himself appear a bit older?

A last factor to consider is that everyone in this family was illiterate. Schooling wasn’t an option for this family until the following generation came along. That makes it more likely that family members didn’t know when each other was born. However, it is odd that 1887, 1892 and 1896 are all given more than once in records.

So, readers, what is your opinion? Are there two or three Crit Dulworths? If there are just two, born 1887 and 1896, to whom do the 1892 records belong?

Comments, please!






5 thoughts on “Help Needed: Just How Many Crit Dulworths Were There?”

  1. For #9, have you already found the marriage record for JC Dulworth of Granite OK, b, 1895 son of “Hilda” Nation, wed to Helen Willis of Jackson Co. OK in 1929? It is indexed on Ancestry and linked to a FamSearch digital image. I’m still contemplating the rest……….. but leaning towards two called Chit Dulworths with the 1887 as the incorrect thing……. KG

  2. Hi again Linda – I decided to look into the details deep as I could; thanks for a fun diversion! I keep coming back to the conclusion of “Two”. Here’s what the gaps and records say to me:
    1.Abe Dulworth was likely married twice; A nearly 10 year age gap between his first 3 children and the rest implies wife #1 died or left between 1875 – 1880. In the 1880 census he is listed as a Widower. His brother Matthias lost two children (in 1877, and in 1878) to small pox and the croup in the same area. Abe remarries in 1883. And Abe’s second wife Mary Jane is nearly always recorded as too young to be Matilda’s birth mother. Mary Jane’s birth year is most often 1857 (while Matilda’s in 1869) and likely not an age 12 mother, occasionally its 1855 (likely not an age 14 mother either), and once as 1852, which still makes her at best age 17 when Matilda is born to a father age 35-40.

    2. Matilda was also likely married or in a relationship twice; Cumberland County KY Death listings show a (blank)& Tilda Dulworth as parents of a daughter Mirtie who died in 1894 at age 6. Mirtie would be born in 1888. Crit Dulworth, Abe’s grandson and possibly Matilda’s son, was born in 1887. Tilda’s daughter Maggie (1892) and son James Crit (1893-96) could all be one family. That all are surnamed Dulworth implies there either was no marriage or there’s a curious reason to never name the father. Since Tilda remarries CC Nation in 1896 and raises a second family, its not uncommon in the time period to find children of the first family living with the grandparents, or back and forth.

    3. There are then two Crit Dulworth’s. Some of the records for “Crit” Dulworth 1892/93 appear to be for James Crit Dulworth. He doesn’t appear to go by “Crit” until the absence of the Crit 1887, about 1917 and after. James Crit’s birth year varies consistently within years 1892 to 1896 but the life events fit logically into one timeline for him. It appears he likely is the one who had 3 marriages, at least one additional child from a short marriage, served overseas in WWI and had difficulties afterwards that landed his stories in the news.
    And all the “unknown” players? I wonder if social history might help figure out what happened to them?

  3. Tangled indeed! And you state some convincing social history of marriage ages, practices of insular communities and family support for the area. I’m encountering something similar with an immigrant Scots family in the late 1700s; the 14-15 yr old with a spouse 10 years older. I see Abraham in 1870 was actually doing pretty well as a farmer for the post-Civil War era (the value of his personal estate much higher than his neighbors, or his own father’s) so survival for a household of women could well be via (Mary)Jane’s relationship with an older man. In the 1880 Ag schedule, his is also one of the more productive farms. In light of the lack of paper trails and the record loss there’s still a lot that can be pieced back together, along with full-family research. Great example! and never a dull moment…….

  4. obituary for Crittenden Dulworth located in The Granite Enterprise 17 May 1929, Fri · Page 1. Died of pneumonia. There is a marriage record Crit Dulworth for 2 May 1927 to Mrs Mattie Carrie, whom I suspect is the widow. There is one unnamed child mentioned from this 2nd marriage.

    sources are attached to Crittenden Dulworth in GS5J-LGN. There maybe mistakes in the research

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