DR. ISAAC CRAWFORD, deceased, was born in Argyle, Washington Co., N.Y., in 1796, and was a son of James and Martha (Dickey) Crawford, who were married July 4, 1776, in Nova Scotia, and soon after went to America, where James Crawford joined the American army, and was later a prisoner during the war of the Revolution, being chained in a dungeon at Halifax for many months. His manacles made him a cripple for life, he not being treated as a common prisoner of war. His wife was for weeks a waiter upon the prisoners, and together they contrived a plan for escape. Leaving her child, aged only six months, with her parents, she procured a sleigh, and was successful in getting him safely aboard a steamer. After the war they returned to Nova Scotia, obtained their baby boy, and then settled in Cambridge, N.Y.
Dr. Crawford was the third son of this union, and after graduating in medicine at Columbus, Ohio, and becoming the husband of Nancy Frazier, he located in New Athens, Ohio, where for a number of years he engaged in practice and in the drug trade. Prior to the death of Mrs. Crawford she bore five children, of whom only two now surviveMrs. S. E. Rankin and J. W. Crawford. The oldest, Mary Ann, married S. A. Russell; the second, Martha J., married William Bradsee; the third, J. W.; the fourth, William D., married Miss Maggie Jones, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; the fifth is Mrs. Rankin. Mrs. Rankin's husband, Maj. Samuel E. Rankin, was, during the late war, Major of the 8th Iowa Infantry, and after his return from the service was elected State Treasurer of Iowa, to which position he was twice re-elected. He was later the
founder and editor of the Greeley News, of Kansas, and was engaged in that work when his death occurred. He was a leading lawyer in this county, and twice represented it in the State Legislature. He also, in company with other ardent anti-slavery men, published at Ft. Madison, and later in Washington, a strong anti-slavery paper, the present Washington Press of to-day. His son, John Adams Rankin, is now Clerk of the District Court of Anderson County, Kan. Eleven children graced their union, six living: John A., Mary, the wife of Lincoln Barnes; Crawford, Birdie, Lizzie and Sarah. Maj. Rankin was one of the fearless few who maintained a depot on the Underground Railroad, and many a dusky son of Ham was indebted to him for succor, food, and finally assured freedom. He was on the staff of Grant, at Vicksburg, on the staff of Sherman, Judge-Advocate and Provost-Marshall of Memphis, Tenn., and served in almost all the important battles of the West and South. He was known as an educated gentleman, an able writer, and intrepid soldier, an orator with few peers; a man courteous, discreet, tolerant, yet bold and incisive for the right.
After the death of his first wife, Dr. Crawford wedded Mary Neal, of New Athens, whose brothers, as mentioned in the sketch of Capt. S. A. Russell, founded the village of Crawfordsville. The Doctor and his wife came here in 1841, and he built a house on the corner where the Iowa House now stands. In his honor the village was named, and he was the first physician, continuing in practice five years, when his death occurred. He was an able speaker, earnest and logical, and one who never tired of debate. He was an ardent Whig, and in this county was a prominent politician. His avowed anti-slavery opinions were widely proclaimed. Mary (Neal) Crawford became the mother of five children, three surviving: Sarah Neal, Mrs. Melissa Morehouse, and Mary M. Coe, of Nebraska, of Nebraska. Mrs. Crawford is supposed to be the oldest person living in the county, and is, June 30, 1887, in her eighty-seventh year, and except partial deafness, is sprightly and enjoys life in a high degree.
The energy of Dr. Crawford aided largely in the building of Crawfordsville. He was an ardent Seceder, religiously, and was one of the first members of that Church in this village. James, his son by his second wife, was a graduate of Rush Medical College, of Chicago, but his death occurred May 28, 1875, from disease contracted in the army. Miss Sarah has been a teacher in this county, and has taught seventeen terms of school, the last nine having been taught in Crawfordsville. She is now the only milliner in the village and has a very neat store. Thompson, the son of Dr. Crawford's last wife, with his brother James, were sent out by a committee, in 1856, and became interested in the border ruffian war in Kansas, and were intimately associated with John Brown, which continued until the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion. The two sisters, Sarah and Melissa, were also engaged, and were both proficient in the use of a Sharp's rifle, as well as manufacturers of cartridges. They were women whose names deserve to live in history, and such we desire to honor in this volume. Claims that had been taken by their brothers in Kansas were stocked and watched over by them while the men were engaged in the border ruffian war, and many sleepless nights were passed on the wild prairies, where with rifles in hand, a lonely vigil was kept with no help within miles should they be attacked, and as they then hourly expected.
The Crawford family has been one renowned in the history of this county, and elsewhere mention is made of other members. Thompson was a member of the 8th Iowa Infantry, and for twenty-three months a prisoner of war. He was also a scout for several months, being trusted with the most difficult and arduous duties. He was a man full of courage, and although so many times captured, managed to escape thrice from the prison pen at Andersonville. He would have shared John Brown's fate had he not been confined to bed with pneumonia. Brown waited six weeks for his recovery before making his attack upon Harper's Ferry, but at last became engaged before young Crawford could reach him.
John W. Crawford, the only male representative of the original Crawford stock, was wedded in Crawfordsville, Iowa, Oct. 1, 1836, was wedded to Miss Ann J. Crawford, of Trumbull County, Ohio. She was not in any way related, although bearing the same name.
They have reared seven children, six sons and one daughter. James B. married Nellie Coe; they have three children. William D. graduated in medicine and died after several years of successful practice in his native town; his wife was Jennie Maxwell, who bore one son, Howard. Russell E; Frank H. is the husband of Julia A. Moore, of Youngstown, Ohio; he is now yardmaster of the Lucy Furnace, at Pittsburgh, Pa. John R. is a physician of Lafayette, Stark Co., Ill.; his wife was Miss Maggie Phillips, of Coal Valley, Ill. Mary A. is the wife of Dr. A. M. Cowden, of Elvira, Clinton Co., Iowa. Isaac T. is stockhouse keeper of the Lucy Furnace, at Pittsburgh, Pa.
Mr. Crawford has been, and is yet, one of the most enterprising men of the county, and to his efforts is due the building of the Burlington & Northwestern Railway. For this purpose he called the first meeting, and was one of the first Directors elected. J. W. Crawford and sons, James B. and F. H., built the road from Winfield to Washington with their own money, but were reimbursed after the iron was laid, from taxes collected. For twenty-four years Mr. Crawford followed bridge-building, and in 1887, with his son James, formed a partnership in the building of iron bridges, with headquarters at Burlington. They have the exclusive agency for Iowa and Western Illinois, to which their entire attention will be given, as the representatives of the Pittsburgh Bridge Company. Following in the footsteps of his father, Mr. Crawford is a decided Republican. He is a noted party organizer in his county, and has filled all the important offices in his township.
PROF. SAMUEL EWING McKEE, Principal of the Washington Academy, Washington, Iowa, is a native of Allegheny County, Pa., born Sept. 26, 1836. His parents, David and Mary (Ewing) McKee, were also natives of the same county in Pennsylvania. They were the parents of ten children, nine of whom are yet living. The subject of this sketch attended the common schools of his native county until he acquired such an education as fitted him for teaching in the public schools. By teaching he accumulated sufficient money to enable him to enter Jefferson College in 1848, from which institution he was graduated in 1851. He was then employed by the college two years as a teacher. In 1853 he entered the Allegheny Theological Seminary, which was under the auspices of the Associate Reformed Church, and graduated therefrom in 1856.
In May of the latter-named year, Mr. McKee came to Iowa, locating at Le Claire, Scott County, where he had charge of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of that place in connection with the church at Port Byron, Ill. In 1858 the United Presbyterian Church was formed by the union of the Associate and Associate Reformed Presbyterian Churches. By this union Mr. McKee was temporarily disengaged, but soon afterward, by the direction of the Church, traveled as a missionary through Ohio, Indiana and New York, for about one year. In April, 1861, he came to Washington, Iowa, and was employed as a teacher in the old Washington College, which blew down in 1862, while he was temporarily in the East. Returning to Washington, he started a private school, which he continued for two and a half years, and which was a success. In the fall of 1865, Mr. McKee was employed in the Iowa State University, where he remained for one year. He then abandoned teaching for a time, but subsequently went to Aledo, Ill., where he engaged as Principal of the academy at that place, and remained for two years.
Returning to Washington County, Mr. McKee was employed as Principal of the public schools of Ainsworth, and there remained for two years. On the 12th of February, 1873, the Washington Academy became an incorporated institution, the Professor being the originator, and taking an active interest in its establishment, securing by his own exertions, $12,000 out of the $15,000 which was raised for the erection of the building. In September, 1874, the academy was opened with Prof. McKee as Principle, which position he retained until 1879, when Prof. W. P. Johnson was associated with him in the work. He remained for two years with Mr. Johnson, when in 1882, he retired from school work, but again, in 1883, he engaged as teacher
in the academy, and continued as such for two years, since which time he has alone had charge of it.
Prof. McKee was united in marriage, July 25, 1861, in Mahoning County, Ohio, with Miss Hannah Harris, a daughter of George and Eliza Harris. She was born in Coitsville, Mahoning Co., Ohio, Sept. 8, 1833. By this union there are four living children: Charles C., now residing in Sioux City, Iowa; Frances Celia, David H. and N. Paul, at home. Mrs. McKee died in Washington, Iowa, May 27, 1887. She was a sincere Christian woman, highly respected by all who knew her. In the various lines of Church and temperance work she was very active. Her last sickness she bore uncomplainingly, being ready and willing to go.
While not an active party man, Prof. McKee is a strong Republican, and has affiliated with that party since its organization. He was present at the first meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa., when the party was organized in that State. As an educator, he is probably surpassed by no man in the Northwest. Socially, he is pleasant and agreeable, enjoying the esteem not alone of those whom he has assisted in acquiring an education, but of the entire community in which he lives.