Loyalist Philip Crouse & Early Crouses in North Carolina: 12 for ’22

Next up in my 12 for ’22 deep dive is Loyalist Philip Crouse, born c1761 in Zeeland, Netherlands.

It is said he came to America as a young boy, probably arriving first in Pennsylvania, although nothing is certain about his parents, so that isn’t a fact!

Quite a bit is known about Philip, his wife Sarah Burt, daughter of Loyalist Benjamin Burt, their seventeen children (yes, Sarah was the mother of all 17!) and their lives in New Brunswick, Canada.

However, Philip Crouse’s name doesn’t appear in Canadian records until 1789 and almost nothing is known about his life in the colonies, except for the fact that he had previously lived in North Carolina and supposedly had a couple of brothers who remained there when the American Revolution ended.

His birthplace is known, thanks to family lore. His son Gould, in 1840, named the area in which the family lived “New Zealand Settlement” in honor of his father’s birthplace.

One of my blog readers recently left a lengthy comment about families who lived in Captain John Lopp’s district in Rowan County, North Carolina te the time of the Revolutionary War.

Previously published family histories on my Crouse family suggested – with no sources of any kind noted – that Philip lived in Tryon County, which later was abolished and renamed Lincoln County, North Carolina.

As you can see from this 18th century map, the two counties bordered each other at the time and, between them, covered most of western North Carolina.

Map in the public domain

My current Crouse deep dive consisted of in-depth (online) research in both Rowan County and Lincoln County, which also holds records created in the abolished Tryon County.

There wasn’t much to be found, aside from the nugget provided by my reader.

First, let’s review what is known about Philip and his life in North Carolina. He was born c1761, reportedly in Zeeland, Netherlands. There are no clues as to his parents, nor when he settled in North Carolina, which happened no later than his teen years.

My golden nugget, so to speak, is the list of those in Roman County in 1778 who refused to sign the Oath of Allegiance. “Phillip Crose” is on that list in Captain John Lopp’s district.

Philip does NOT appear on any of the tax lists in Rowan or Tryon/Lincoln County during the war period or on lists well into the 1790s.

So, why would he be on the list of those who refused to sign the oath, but not on the tax list?

If he had reached the age of 16, he would be eligible for militia duty and, thus, be asked to sign the Oath of Allegiance. Being under the age of 21, he wouldn’t yet be a taxable.

Although he is considered a Loyalist today (and he settled in New Brunswick, Canada), he doesn’t appear to have provided any military aid to either side and it’s possible that his family might have belonged to the Moravian, Mennonite, Quaker or Dunker religions that opposed armed warfare.

Now, let’s review Rowan County, North Carolina records.

The tax records for Rowan County seem reasonably complete for 1778 and there isn’t ANY Crouse who appears in any of the military districts.

There is a Philip CRUSE/GRUSE who lived in Captain Berger’s district. This man received a land grant in 1783 and part of his property bordered the land of Jacob Fisher, who also appears in Captain Berger’s district. It is said that Philip lived in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania before settling in North Carolina.

This Philip died in 1804, leaving a will that named wife Catherine, sons Henry and Peter and other unnamed heirs. It is also believed that this man arrived from Germany (not the Netherlands) in 1754. Furthermore, his descendants continued to spell their surname as CRUSE at least into the 1880s.

The “unnamed heirs” leaves the door open for a relationship with my Philip Crouse and I have found no source documentation for the statement that he was from Germany.

There are a handful of land deeds in Rowan County for Jacob Crouse, Jacob Cross, John Gross and Philip Croose on Dutchman’s Creek and Abbott’s Creek (where my Philip lived in Captain Lopp’s district, but these land records are all dated after the end of the war, from 1783 to 1795.

Given that it was wartime, my Philip could possibly have been living outside his parents’ home because extended family or neighbors needed extra hands.

There is a Franey (possibly short for Veronica) Crouse who died and left a will dated 13 October 1815, also in Rowan County. She named her son William and grandson James Cavender along with Caty March, Mary Hendricks, Frany “Crows” and Barbara “Crows.” She is said to be a Welty by birth and the widow of Jacob Crouse, who migrated from York County, Pennsylvania to North Carolina between 1773 and 1795. These Crouses might have been members of the Brethren Church.

Jacob, born c1738, is just old enough to be the father of Philip. However, he left no will, dying sometime between 1800-1810, and if Philip was his son, Franey made no mention of him in her will.  I think it’s unlikely Philip belonged to this family.

William Crouse who married Beckey Cross on 13 July 1789 in Rowan County is probably the son of Jacob and Franey.

Next, let’s look at Lincoln County Crouses. There are two men who are said to be the brothers of my Philip Crouse – John and Peter Crouse.

Yes, both of those are names that my Philip gave to two of his sons and Tryon/Lincoln County does border Rowan, so it is certainly possible that Philip might have been related to John and Peter.

On the other hand, there are no documents to be found suggesting any relationship between them. There still could be – there just isn’t anything to support or disprove the theory.

Peter Crouse married Ann (Nancy) Zimmerman (Carpenter, which is the English translation of Zimmerman and some family members went by the Anglicized version of their surname.) Peter left no will, but died before 8 April 1800, when his estate inventory was filed in Lincoln County.

His heirs – Ann and Barbara – sold some of his land in 1810 (Lot 15 in Lincolnton to Martin Shuford) and there is a Barbara Crouse who married Jacob Tutherow (Dotherow) on 30 March 1812 in Lincoln County, North Carolina.

This may be Peter’s daughter, but Barbara died soon, as Jacob married (2) Nancy Weathers, c1814 and migrated to Tennessee.

This theory is supported by the fact that Ann Crouse left a will dated 12 July 1828, proved in 1839 in Lincoln County, in which she left her entire estate to her brother, Jacob Carpenter.

Therefore, IF Peter Crouse was indeed a brother of my Philip, he has no known descendants as it seems that Barbara was his only surviving child.

John Crouse of Lincoln County also left a will, dated 1817, but the paperwork isn’t posted in where it should be online in File C. The 1810 census calls John “esquire” in the enumeration.

John is said to have married Sarah Mauney, which may be correct as the real estate that Ann Crouse left to her brother joined the property line of Michael Mauney.

This might also indicated that John and Peter could be related. They were of an age to be brothers and they lived in the same neighborhood.

Lastly, there was an Elizabeth Crouse who left a will – which also should be found, but isn’t, in File C in Lincoln County, dated 1811. The only heir named was Ann/Anna Crouse and it’s possible she was an unmarried daughter of Peter and Ann, who left what she received from her father’s estate to her mother.

Circling back to my original premise that my Philip Crouse is the Philip Crose who refused to sign the Oath of Allegiance, I feel quite comfortable accepting this because of the FAN club. Three other men – Jacob Hamm, Philip Henry and Jacob Kani/Noy and extended family members – were also Loyalists who settled in Canada after the war. Where did they live? In York County, next to Burtt’s Corner and Keswick, which are the two villages where Philip Crouse and his wife Sarah Burt had settled.

Finally, there is one more tantalizing tidbit that I found on JSTOR – Dunker Beginnings in North Carolina by Roger E. Sappington, The North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 46, No. 3 (July, 1969), pp. 214-238.

There is no land deed found for this John Crouse, but he is elderly and not well-to-do. He left no will or probate. Could this man be the father of my Philip Crouse? I don’t know!


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