Tag Archives: Abraham Crabtree

Abraham Crabtree, Rev. War Soldier: Updated Timeline

While working on Tobias Tillman, subject of yesterday’s timeline update, the Botetourt County, Virginia tax lists where I found Tobias yielded an unexpected surprise – Abraham Crabtree, plus William Crabtree Sr. and Jr.

Like Tobias, Abraham Crabtree let no grass grow under his feet and moved several times in his long life.

Therefore, it’s time to update his timeline, too. These facts are found in his Revolutionary War pension application, tax lists court records, and Abraham’s 1838 will.

  • 1750 – Abraham Crabtree born, likely in Baltimore County, Maryland
  • 1771 – Botetourt County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1772 – Botetourt County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1775, June – Abraham Crabtree served as a scout under Col. Arthur Campbell covering Washington County to near the Holston River, which today is in Tennessee
  • 1776 – Abraham Crabtree married Mary (possibly Lyon) about this time
  • 1776 – Washington County, Virginia: Abraham Crabtree enlisted in Captain Aaron Lewis’s Company
  • 1782 – Washington County, Virginia tithables – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1787 – Washington County, Virginia tithables – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1788, March 24 – Abraham Crabtree in Washington County, Virginia court record re: estate of Humberson Lyon
  • 1791 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1792 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
    • 1793 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1794 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1795 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1796 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1797 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1798 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1799 – Russell County, Virginia Tax List – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1805 – Washington County, Virginia land deed: Abraham Crabtree selling to William Crabtree
  • 1810 – Census of Cumberland County, Kentucky – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1820 – Census of Cumberland County, Kentucky – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1824, November 24 – Cumberland County, Kentucky – Abraham Crabtree applied for a war pension.
  • 1830 – Census of Russell County, Virginia – Abraham Crabtree
  • 1838, April 29 – Abraham Crabtree wrote his will in Russell County, Virginia
  • 1838, June 5 – Abraham Crabtree’s will was proved in Russell County, Virginia

There aren’t as many details in Abraham Crabtree’s timeline as in that of Tobias Tillman, but it gives an excellent overview of his life.

I had wondered why Abraham left Kentucky late in life to move back to Virginia, especially to what appeared to be a new locale for him – Russell County, Virginia. However, finding him living in Russell County through the 1790s means he decided to return home to a place he apparently loved. He came home to live out his last years back in his old neighborhood.

The Mystery of Abraham Crabtree & Humberson Lyon, 1784

As far as I can determine, no one has ever suggested a possible maiden name for Mary, wife of Abraham Crabtree. Quite a bit is known about Abraham’s life, but to try to sort out why Abraham Crabtree was named as the executor of the will of Humberson Lyon in 1784, readers need to know just a bit about Abraham’s parents and siblings.

First, Abraham was the son of William Crabtree, who died in 1777 in Washington County, Virginia. His mother was Hannah Whitaker and the family settled on the Virginia frontier before the American Revolution from Maryland.

Abraham, the second born child,  had the following siblings. The marriages took place in Washington County, Virginia:

William, born c1748, who married Catherine (MNU)
Isaac, born c1757, who married maybe Miss (Mary?) Pike
Jacob, born c1760, married Mary Price, 4 August 1786
James, born 20 February 1762; no evidence that he ever married
Job, born 29 April 1765; married Rebecca Smith, between 7 December 1790-18 May 1791 by Rev. Nicholas Reagan, who often turned in marriage records with not dates.
Hannah, born c1766; married Edward Smith, 7 September 1787
Priscilla, born c1768; married Richard Price, 7 December 1790
Margaret, born c1770; married John Simmons
John,
born 25 August 1774; married Alice Friend, 29 July 1800

It is important to note here that there are statements – undocumented – that William Crabtree (born 1748) married Hannah Lyon as his first wife and that his second wife was Catherine Starnes, who he reportedly married c1777. I haven’t found any proof of these statements, but I haven’t found any evidence to shed doubt on them either.

By 1758, the young Crabtree family was living in Bedford County, Virginia, but removed to what was then Fincastle County, Virginia no later than the spring of 1774, when land was surveyed for William Crabtree, in addition to Isaac, William, James, John (probably uncle of Abraham) and  Abraham himself. Fincastle County later became Washington County.

Now for the mysterious Humberson Lyon connection. How difficult do you think it could be to find someone named Humberson Lyon? Not exactly like looking for John Smith, is it?

Well, it turns out that I found Humberson #1, Humberson #2, probably Humberson #3 and maybe even Humberson #4. As you might imagine, given this many Humberson Lyons, online family trees are a total mess. Although one of these men left a will proved in 1784, which named his wife and five children – fours sons and one daughter, all minors – trees have his eldest child born years before him, his last child born years after he died and way more children than those named in his will.

At the start of the 19th century, a lawsuit was filed in the Chancery Court of Augusta County, Virginia by the heirs of Humberson Lyon. By 1804, all five Lyon children – James, William, Stephen, Jacob and Susannnah (Lyon) Miller, wife of Joseph Miller (married 1801), were of legal age and they sued their stepfather, George Pemberton, for keeping part of the estate that was willed to them by their father. George Pemberton had married widow Mary Lyon on 5 November 1785 and had been given custody of her children.

To estimate the birth years of the children, Susannah, who married in 1801, appears to have been the youngest child and probably born between 1780-1783, assuming she was between 18-21 years old when she married. A starting point, then, for possible birth years of her brothers would be to count back by two years each. Another assumption, that they were named in birth order in their father’s will, would mean James was born c1773, William c1775, Stephen c1777 and Jacob c1779.

What does all this Humberson Lyon information have to do with Abraham Crabtree? Abraham was named as the executor of the will of Humberson Lyon. I want to know why and I wonder if Abraham’s wife, Mary, was a sister of Humberson Lyon? Otherwise, why would someone agree to take on managing an estate for years? Not only was Abraham not a lawyer, he wasn’t even able to read and write. There must have been some other close connection to get him to agree to that job.

Not only was Abraham the executor, but EVERY – all four witnesses to the will were Crabtrees – Abraham, Isaac, Job and their mother, Hannah.


1782 Tithables, Washington County, Virginia

Note that in Colonel Aaron Lewis’s precinct, several Crabtrees are listed, but particularly, William Crabtree is followed by Humberson Lyon who is followed by Abraham Crabtree. It appears these men were close, if not next-door, neighbors.

Next, we will take a much closer look at all these Humberson Lyons to see what can be proven as fact.

Family of Rev. War Soldier Abraham and Mary Crabtree

Abraham and Mary Crabtree left little in the way of a paper trail, as they often lived on the frontier. If it weren’t for his Revolutionary War pension file, even less would be known about his life.

Abraham was born about 1750, probably in Baltimore County, Maryland. He was the son of William Crabtree and Hannah Whitaker.

By 1770, Abraham appears on a tax list for Botetourt County, Virginia. By April 1777, he was in Washington County, Virginia and was named administrator of his father’s estate. He stated that his war service took place from Washington County, where he served as a spy on the lookout for Indian attacks in the Clinch River Valley of eastern Tennessee. He also participated in expeditions against the Cherokees in the area.

Sometime around 1775 or 1776, he married Mary, whose maiden name is unknown. This is proven by Abraham’s statement in his pension application that, while in militia service in 1777, he refused to go to a hospital and his brother and his own wife came to take him home. He likely married in Washington County and the marriage record was lost to time.

Abraham and Mary were the parents of five known children:

  1. William, born about 1777, probably in Washington County, Virginia. He reportedly married Catherine Phelps, but I have no documentation for her surname. William is not mentioned in Abraham’s will, so he likely predeceased him.
  2. Solomon, born 18 February 1779, probably Washington County, Virginia. He died after 1860, probably in Wayne County, Kentucky. Solomon married Susannah Thompson.
  3. Naomi, born 15 August 1783, probably Washington County, Virginia. She died after 1830, probably in Cumberland County, Kentucky, but before her father, as she is not mentioned in his will. She married Benjamin Spear.
  4. Ruth, born about 1788, probably Washington County, Virginia; died after 1820, probably Cumberland County, Kentucky. She married Joseph Spear, c1810.
  5. Mary, born about 1792, probably Washington County, Virginia; died 20 August 1840, Russell County, Virginia; never married.

While I have found some additional information on these children online, I haven’t been very successful in tracking down documentation.

My husband’s line is through daughter Naomi, who married Benjamin Spear. I will write about the Spear family some other time.