The Crittenden Story
Dr. Adolphus L. & Judith L. Golightly Crittenden
Researched by: Gary Telford, Family Roots, Woodruff County Monitor
My dear husband, thou art gone and I am left
But oh! How cold and dark to me,
This world of every charm bereft,
Whereall was beautiful with Thee.
Thus reads the epitaph on a tombstone in the old White Church Cemetery, 12 miles north of Augusta, which marks the grave of a young pioneer doctor in Woodruff and Jackson Counties. The grief of his wife, Judith Leah Golightly Crittenden, is reflected in this poignant inscription. After only four months of marriage she had been left a widow and was expecting a child. She and the doctor had been married on December 22, 1869, with the Reverend George A. Donnelly officiating.
Dr. Adolphus Leon Crittenden, only 32 years old, had ministered to his patients day and night during the influenza epidemic of 1870. He contracted the disease himself, and died April 15, 1870.
Ten years before, at the age of 22 years, he had earned his "Doctoris of Medicina," written in Latin and dated March 1, 1861, from the University of Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee. The degree was awarded earlier than was customary because of the thundering clouds of Civil War which threatened both the University and its students.
Dr. Crittenden was born November 23, 1838, in Tennessee, but he grew to manhood in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He was the son of William H. Crittenden and Martha Leonora Dickey Crittenden. William H. Crittenden was a merchant in Holly Springs. One of his notebooks, which is in the possession of his grandson, A. L. Crittenden III, shows that he was studious and energetic, and meticulous in details of accounting and doctoring. He kept a notebook giving a summarized account of his school and traveling expenses for the 1860-61 school year and a few of his prescriptions for various illnesses. His listed expenses totaled $350.50.
The long feared Civil War erupted on April 15, 1861, a few weeks after he had earned his degree. Two days after the beginning of the War, on April 17, 1861, he was mustered into the service of the Confederate States of America, Co. B, 9th Regiment, Mississippi Volunteers, as a physician.
After his war service, he returned to Holly Springs where he lived with his father. Then a letter arrived inviting him to come to the White Church Community in Arkansas to practice his profession. The letter came from the Golightly family, then living in that area 12 miles north of Augusta. They had formerly been residents of Holly Springs. James Golightly with his wife, Leah Eddins, his son John, and his daughter Judith Leah, had come to what was then Jackson County in 1857. Golightly purchased land one and one-half miles from Tupelo in Jackson County, In 1862 this became a part of Woodruff County.
Dr. Crittenden accepted their invitation and came to Arkansas to build his practice. In due course, he and Judith Leah were married. She had completed her education in the Searcy schools, and was at home on the Golightly Plantation. (Mrs. Crittenden III has seen records showing that the name "Leah" had been carried down in Mrs. Golightly's family for four centuries.) On November 27, 1863, James Golightly died, and John died on January 7, 1877. So Judith Leah and her mother were left to manage the plantation. The young widow married McDonald D. Campbell in July of 1879, and in him found a helpmate of astute business acumen. To this union, on November 18, 1890, was born a daughter, Leah, who became the wife of Charles Columbus Heckart, a co-owner with Wade Sale and I. J. Stacy and president of the White River Land and Timber Company of Augusta.
During the war, there were several skirmishes on the Golightly land, and the descendants of former slaves related to A. L. III, that their parents were badly frightened when the troops marched over the fields.
Adolphus Leon Crittenden II had been born November 23, 1870, seven months after the death of his father, Dr. Crittenden. Sometime after the birth of her daughter, Judith Leah wrote about her conversion experience and her deep religious faith which sustained her during those difficult years.
"On the afternoon of August 12, 1872, I was converted In the Wash Murry house near White Church, and was so happy. I was all alone in the room except for my little son, Adolphus, not quite two years old. God has been gracious and given me strength to work and bear my children to be a credit to me. And I now invoke God's blessings upon them to guide and direct their footsteps through life's rugged journey. When life is at an end, may they leave an evidence behind them that they are and were His children by God's help."
Adolphus Leon II received his education at Bell Buckle, Tennessee, in a boarding school. It was a prep school with an excellent reputation. Here he earned a teaching license, but it is believed that he never taught. During the following years, he and Mr. Campbell expanded the operations of the plantation, building a new home, a plantation store, and a cotton gin.
According to Polk's Arkansas State Gazeteer and Business Directory, published by R.L. Polk Company, the list of businesses in Tupelo in 1906 included a Campbell and Crittenden General Store, and the store was listed again in 1912. In the history of the Tupelo Methodist Church published in the Stream of History by the Jackson County Historical Society, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Crittenden are named as large contributors to the building fund for the church which was erected in 1900.
Mr. Campbell died July 29, 1910. He had served for many years on the board of the Arkansas Bank and Trust Company of Newport, and at his death the secretary of the board wrote a letter of condolence to his family. It is quoted, in part:
"...The Board of Directors has lost one of its most loyal stockholders and patrons and one of its most enthusiastic, conservative, and popular members, one whose counsel was sought and whose advise was ever acted upon..."
On December 29, 1904, Adolphus had married Nettie Baugh of Dallas, Texas. She had been a teacher in the Searcy schools for a number of years, and had been educated at Galloway College in Searcy. Her brother was an editor of the Searcy Citizen. In former years she and her family had lived in Des Arc for a short time. To this union was born two children, Leah Kathryn and A.L. III.
In 1912, Adolphus closed the plantation store and later converted part of it into a school for his children, and two neighbor children, Mary Lucille Collier and William Norton Jones. A Miss Potts was the teacher. He opened a new store in Tupelo in a frame building which was demolished in a windstorm sometimes around 1920. He and Harry Snapp became partners and in 1914 organized a general store housed in a brick building. This building is still standing in Tupelo and is owned by Owen Burton.
In May of 1919 the Bank of Tupelo was organized, and A.L. II is listed as one of the shareholders and a member of the board of directors. He was a vice-president of the bank in the years 1923-1930. The gin on the plantation had been closed sometimes before World War I, and a new gin was build in Tupelo in 1915 where it had easy access to the railroad for shipping the bales of cotton. Felix Simmons and Bragg Tripp were the main ginners.
The Crittenden-Snapp Store became the hub of business activity in the surrounding area. A.L. III worked on Saturdays in the store, and remembers that it was filled with groceries, dry goods, linens, shirts, pants, overalls, rubber boots, Edicott Johnson and Brown shoes, watches, and ready-made dresses. In the warehouse behind the store were the buggies, buggy whips, wagons, hay, seed, and feed. In 1923, Elder E. Wilson was the store manager; Homer Williams and Sack Simmons were the clerks. The bookkeeper was W.T. Dunbar, and uncle of Nina Dunbar Tucker of Cotton Plant. In 1913, Herbert D. Griffin had been the bookkeeper for the A.L. Crittenden Company.
Part 2 of this story will continue next week regarding the devastating financial loss of the 1929 depression.
All too soon this era of prosperity came to an end. In 1929, when the depression struck, farm prices declined, debtors could not pay their loans and store accounts, and A.L., II became one of the victims of the "Hard Times Thirties," losing all of his 2,200 acres of farm land, the store, gin, and his Newport home. Sick and depressed, his hair became white within a week. In 1933, A.L., III borrowed $500 from his uncle, Charles Heckart of August, and with his father and mother rented land from Mr. Oscar Bell at Marie, Arkansas. Two years later he rented a farm from Lee Wilson and Company of Wilson, Arkansas. Through wise planning, frugality, and undaunted determination, they became successful farmers.
In January, 1944, they came to Cotton Plant and purchased the old Maberry Plantation, five mile west of town. This land, once an Indian fort, had been purchased by George Maberry from the Indians in 1833, so only two families have owned this land. Tombstones on the farm marked the graves of some of the early settlers, including Richard Jones who died in 1851.
Leah Kathryn Crittenden was born February 13, 1907. She first married Lawrence Hillhouse of Newport. Their daughter, Laura, married Robert Brooke Cadwallader of Dallas, Texas, on April 6, 1953. Both were art majors at Southern Methodist University, where they met. They are the parents of four children: Robert Brooke II, born November 1, 1954; Lawrence Hayden, born May 1, 1957; David Scott, born February 22, 1963, and died February 13, 1970; and Leah, born November 30, 1964. They reside in Greenwich, Connecticut, where the family owns and operates the Cadsana International Furniture Co. Lawrence Hayden married Audrey Coe on June 6, 1981. They live in Norwalk, Connecticut, with their two-year old daughter, Lauren Cary, who was born Augusta 28, 1985.
Lawrence Hillhouse died in January of 1955. Leah Kathryn married Augustus Wright of Dallas, Texas. She died on November 13, 1977, and was buried beside her first husband in the Newport Cemetery.
Judith Leah Crittenden Campbell was buried on May 10, 1923, beside her second husband who died July 19, 1910 in the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery, Augusta, Woodruff County, Arkansas. For some years after his death, Judith Leah lived with her daughter, Leah Heckart, in Augusta. Her grandson, A.L., III, remembers her as a energetic person who took an active part in civic affairs in Augusta. Among her friends were Miss Laura Shell and Birdie Eskew, and she shared with them in their work on numerous committees and their interest in improvement of the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery.
Charles Heckart died in 1937, and Leah Heckard died in 1948. Both are buried in the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery.
A.L. Crittenden, II, and his wife lived in Cotton Plant for several years, and then moved to Augusta where they lived in the Heckart home after the death of his sister. A.L., II died July 10, 1951, while vacationing in Hot Springs, and Mrs. Crittenden died January 20, 1968. Both are buried in the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery.
A.L., III was born November 21, 1910. He received his education at Hendrix College in Conway and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He married Sarah Pearl Boland of Arcola, Mississippi, August 20, 1942. She is a descendant of early settlers in Calhoun and Washington Counties in Mississippi and South Carolina. She is a graduate of Blue Mountain College, Blue Mountain, Mississippi, as was her mother, Jessie Pearl Tindle Boland, and where her father, Walter Smith Boland, had served many years at trustee. She taught in the Cotton Plant and Brinkley schools, and has been pianist and organist at the Cotton Plant Baptist Church for thirty-five years. They are the parents of two children, Sarah Lynne, born July 12, 1948, and Leon Crittenden IV, born November 28, 1944.
Sarah Lynne is married to William Steed Huggins, II. All three are graduates of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Sarah Lynne and Steed are the parents of two children, Lee Boland, born June 6, 1979 and Ann Elizabeth born June 11, 1985. They reside in Naperville, Illinois where Steed is presently employed as a postal inspector for the United States Postal Department. Sarah Lynn and children spend the summers in Cotton Plant.
Leon, IV assists his father with the management of the farming operations. For many years Leon had registered purebred Hereford cattle which he showed at county and state fairs, winning many ribbons. In his senior year of college, he received the American Farmer Award, presented by the Future Farmers of America at the National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
A.L. III, a civic-minded citizen, has served his city and county in many capacities. This is his forty-second year as a member of the Board of the Woodruff County Farm Bureau, and he never misses a meeting unless providentially hindered. He served 15 years on the Cache River Production Credit Association Board, now known as Farm Credit Services. He has been a member of the Democratic Central Committee, the Welfare Board, and the Cotton Plant School Board. Currently he is serving on the board of the United Methodist Church, the board of the Farmers Gin Cooperative of Cotton Plant, and the Advisory Board of the Blue Cross-Blue Shield Insurance Company for Eastern Arkansas. A quiet unassuming man, he is conservative in his views and sound of judgement.
On March 21, 1988, he and his wife purchased the Albert Stribling Farm, which joins the original purchase. It is the land formerly owned by the late George Powell. Diversified farming is the practice on all of the acreage with cotton, rice, corn, soybeans, and wheat as the main crops. Of the more than 35 tenant farmers who had lived on the original farm, one remains, Ethuel "Monk" McKinzy, the son of Louis and Bertha McKinzy. Louis, affectionately called "Big Louis" because of his size, was born on the place when A.F. Maberry owned it and he died in 1986, having lived there his entire life except for two years.
It is the hope of the Crittenden family that the sixth generation will continue to live and farm in Woodruff County.
A summary to identify specifically the six generation is as follows:
James Golightly, Judith Leah Golightly Crittenden Campbell, and Dr. Adolphus Leon Crittenden I; Adolphus Leon Crittenden II; A.L. Crittenden III; A. Leon Crittenden IV and his sister, Sarah Lynne Crittenden Huggins whose children are the sixth generation, Lee Boland Crittenden and Ann Elizabeth Huggins.
NOTE: In researching the Crittenden family history, A.L., III and Sarah Pearl had a interesting experience, at the Marshall County Courthouse in Holly Springs, Mississippi. They inquired about information concerning a Crittenden family. To their surprise, a clerk told them that since 1873 a box containing Crittenden papers had been stored there on a top shelf. In the box they found William H. Crittenden's will, which served to prove that he was the father of the doctor who had gone to Arkansas. The box had not been disturbed during the years since his death. No other records had been kept in those early years of the doctor's life in Holly Springs. Through the information in the box, they were able to find the unmarked grave of William Crittenden. A lucky find, which is encouraging to genealogists!
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