Crittenden Dulworth (c1889-10 May 1929)

My husband’s Dulworth family hasn’t been the easiest to research for several reasons. First, they lived in places where there is a scarcity of paper records. Second, most of the family didn’t have the benefit of education, even well into the 20th century, and birth years tend to vary quite a bit. Lastly, some of the women in the family didn’t follow the traditional “marriage first, children later” pattern that was expected by society.

Crittenden Dulworth is one of the collateral ancestors about whom not a lot is known. He was born into poor circumstances, had a volatile first marriage and died of pneumonia when he was only about 40 years old.

Crit, as he was known, is first found in the 1900 census, enumerated in Kettle Creek, Cumberland, Kentucky, living with Abraham Dulworth, wife Mary Jane, and seven children. His reported birth date was October 1887 in Kentucky with both parents reported born in Kentucky. Although only 12 years old, Crit worked as a farm laborer.

In 1910, Crit was still living with Abe, Mary Jane and three of their children, but in this census, taken in Speers Precinct, Cumberland, Kentucky, he was called their son, aged 23 years old. I don’t believe this is true, given that he was called their grandson in 1900 and, in 1910, he is enumerated last in the home, not in birth order with the other three children. Crit again is listed as born in Kentucky, as were both his parents. That highlights a second conflict with Crit being a child of Abe and Mary Jane – she was born in Tennessee and is enumerated as such.

Who are Crit’s parents? I am hoping his death certificate (for which I’ve sent) will name his father, but I’m not confident of that. His mother, from family lore, was Matilda Jane Dulworth, born July 1869, and the daughter of Abraham Dulworth and Mary Jane Adams.

Abe and Jane were part of the untraditional “marriage, then children” pattern that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, as they married on 1 February 1883, but already had five children at the time.

Matilda Jane apparently continued this lifestyle as she married Clayton Columbus Nation on 20 June 1896, but was already the mother of Myrtie born in 1888, Maggie born in 1892 and James born in January 1896. I believe she was also the mother of Crit, who might have been born in 1887, but later records place his birth c1889. It’s possible that Abe told the census taker that Crit was 12, not 10 years old, because he was a farm laborer. It’s also possible that Crit was born in 1887, but didn’t know exactly how old he was.

In support of my theory, Crit Dulworth was enumerated a second time in 1910, this time in Overton County, Tennessee, but called Crit Nation, living with Clay Nation and Tilda Jane (Dulworth) Nation, reportedly 18 years old, so born c1892, and called a son.

Crit is not found in the Clay Nation household in 1900, but Matilda’s daughter, Maggie, reportedly born in March 1892, is living there and is called stepdaughter to the head of household (Clay Nation.)

In 1917, Crit Dulworth registered for the draft and reported a birth date of 17 October 1892. That fits with the 1910 census in the Nation home, but either Maggie wasn’t born in March 1892 or Crit wasn’t born in October 1892.

The last census in which Crit Dulworth appears is the 1920 census, when he lived in Dill, Kiowa, Oklahoma with his wife, Della (Short), and two children, a son, Russell Odell and a daughter, Wilma Kate.

Crit and Della had a rocky marriage, perhaps first beginning when they married on 9 May 1914 in Greer County, Oklahoma. Both stated that they were 21 years old, but Della, in fact, was somewhere between 15-17 years old. Her birth years also vary in the census.

On 25 March 1915, The Kiowa County News carried a front page story about an intoxicated Crit Dulworth showing up at his father-in-law’s home. the article stated that Crit and Della had been separated “for some time.” Crit has a .45 pistol, shot at Della’s father. He, in turn, got his rifle and shot Crit in the face, neck, chest and fingers.

In spite of the shooting, Crit and Della reconciled and were enumerated at home in 1920. However, they had divorced by 1927, when Crit married (2) Mrs. Mattie Belle (Cleary) Cary, 2 May 1927, Greer County, Oklahoma.

In 1926, Della married (2) Vernon S. Sebastian in Parker County, Texas.

By 1930, Vernon and Della were living in Forth Worth, Tarrant, Texas with the two Dulworth children. There were no Sebastian children in the home.

Della married Edwin D. Belden by 1950 when they were living in Forth Worth, Tarrant, Texas, but they had no children together. Della (Short) (Dulworth) (Sebastian) Belden died 31 January 1958 of heart problems in Fort Worth, Tarrant, Texas.

Crit was the father of two children with Della:

  1. Odell Russell, born 17 October 1916, Oklahoma; died 29 November 1986, Johnson County, Texas; married Hazel Baxter, before 13 April 1940. They were the parents of one child.
  2. Wilma Kate, born 3 May 1918, Oklahoma; died 5 December 1983, Tulsa County, Oklahoma; married (1) Harold Wayne Fowler, c1935; divorced between 1940-1950 (2) Marion Eddingfield, 19 March 1964, Joplin, Jasper, Missouri. Harold and Wilma had one child.

Crit was the father of one child with Mattie:

  1. Ruby Jewel, born 18 March 1928, Granite, Greer, Oklahoma; died 27 March 2013, Colorado Springs, Colorado; married Joseph Richard Griffin, c1950. They were the parents of six children.

Although there are no Dulworth-surnamed descendants of Crittenden Dulworth, he does have many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

If you are related to Crit, please leave a comment. I’d love to share more family history with you.

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