|Charles (Michael) Christopher Crawford
|Charles C. Crawford was born near Benton, McMinn/Polk County in southeastern Tennessee about 1855.
Charles was the next to last child of twelve born to his parents Thomas and Amanda. Though both Thomas and
Amanda had been born in Tennessee and had lots of family there, they left and moved westward.
They settled in Arkansas but Charles, being the youngest son, continued to follow the exodus towards the western
frontier. Charles's father Thomas died in Arkansas in 1859.
While in Boone County, Arkansas, Charles married his first wife, Mary Evanna Maples. She was quite young (age 15)
when they married on 2/23/1882. She was born on 1/27/1867 in Lead Hill, Marion Cty, Arkansas. They had two
children: Jerome and James Reno. They must have divorced or separated after only a few years of marriage. Charles
moved on but Mary Maples Crawford lived for many years and only died on 12/31/1938 in Madison Cty, Arkansas.
After leaving Arkansas, Charles met another Crawford family in Kansas. They shared the same surname but had no
known family relationship. Charles married their daughter Fannie Anne in 1887.
Charles and Fannie kept moving westward. Once they saw the lovely area around Pagosa Springs they settled down in
Chromo along the Navajo River. In those early days, Pagosa Springs was only accessible by horse, wagon or on foot.
The nearest railroad station was at Amargo/Lumberton, 28 miles southeast of Pagosa Springs. A stage coach run by
Byrne and Kern serviced the run between Pagosa Springs and the railroad and delivered passengers and mail.
Charles C. Crawford became an active member of the community, regularly traveling from his homestead in Chromo
to the county capital in Pagosa Springs. The route between Pagosa Springs and Chromo was just a dirt track in 1890
and Charles petitioned the County to improve it and make it a county road. Charles became known as â€œC.C.â€�
and was often mentioned in the local social column â€œHere And Thereâ€� in The Pagosa Springs News. Like most
early settlers, he was hard working and found various ways to support his family. He farmed his land successfully and
in July 1890, the newspaper notes that he is growing â€œthe boss potatoes on the riverâ€�. Many of the local Chromo
farmers grew hay for cutting, grain crops, and vegetable gardens. They also ran cattle, sheep and horses. My
grandmother, Rosie Leora Crawford related to her children that in those days, they ate little meat in the summer as it
would spoil quickly. Basic fare was potatoes and beans with garden vegetables as they came in season. In the winter,
they ate more meat since the outside temperatures would make a cache possible. They would build an ice cave next
to the house and store their perishables (meat, milk, cream, and butter) there.
|C.C. and Fannie Crawford had 10 children born to them on their little ranch in Chromo. One baby girl, Myrtle
Crawford, died at age seven months. Another young child William Crawford died at age 4 after he was bitten by a
rattlesnake. Timber rattlers were common and in 1892 the newspaper reported that a rattler was killed that was 3
Â½ feet long! All of the other children survived and flourished and attended the original clapboard Chromo
School. The Crawford children were: Rosie Leora, Walter Lawrence, Nettie Evanna, Frederick Emmett, Emma
Constance, Ida, Mary Laura and Edith.
The Pagosa Springs News of March 29, 1900 notes that â€œChas. Crawford is logging for William Underwood at
Chromoâ€� and that â€œthe Modern Woodman (organization) recently organized at Edith with a large
membership. Many Chromo citizens joined among them â€¦Chas. Crawfordâ€�. The July 27, 1900 edition of the
same newspaper also mentions that â€œthe three-year old child of C. C. Crawford of Chromo who was bitten by a
rattlesnake recently, died last weekâ€�.
C.C. Crawford continued to be an active citizen of Chromo, at various times standing as legal witness to the â
€œproving upâ€� of his neighborsâ€™ homestead patents. He engaged in logging in and around Chromo and
was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and an officer of the Edith Camp #7783. Later in his life he had
an insurance business. During his years as a Chromo citizen he also served as Road Overseer and as a deputy
Constable. The Sheriff resided at Pagosa Springs, many miles distant from where the trouble might be occurring
in Archuleta County. Travel was slow by horseback which gave thieves and scoundrels a distinct advantage
against the few lawmen. C.C. Crawford had a few adventures as a deputy in the frontier environment of the time.
Newspaper articles mention: â€œJackson Glenn of Piedra passed through town yesterday from Monero, where
he recovered a valuable mare which Walter Adams had stolen and traded...The mare was greatly misused and may
be of little value hereafter. Walter Adams [the thief] came through town one day last week with the stolen animal
and lingered a short time. After trading the animal he made his way back to Chromo and remained there a day or
two, and was informed by someone that officers were on his trail. C.C. Crawford attempted to capture him and in
the melee about nine shots were exchanged, none taking any effect, and Adams escaped into the brush. It was
reported that Adams stole two horses after this and vamoosedâ€¦ It is not probable that Adams will be
apprehended as it is believed he is out of the county.â€�
Also, â€œSheriff Sanderson went to Chromo last Sunday at the request of Tom Confar who reported that Lawrence
Nolan fired four shots from a Winchester at J.K. Elmer the evening before. Mr. Nolan was placed under arrest and
put in charge of deputy Crawford. On Wednesday of this week he had a trial before Justice Price when he pleaded
guilty and was fined $40. We have not learned to what [charge] the accused plead guilty.â€�
C.C. took an active interest in local politics and espoused the viewpoint of the Populist Party, as did many of his
neighbors.The voters in the town of Chromo had tried for some time to elect a Chromo resident to the local
Democratic ticket so that their views would be represented. They always were defeated by superior numbers from
other towns, so in 1895 as a group they switched to the Populist Party ticket hoping to succeed as a third party.
This infuriated the local Democrats who felt the switch was disloyal. Emotions ran high between the two
competing parties and a confrontation occurred that resulted in violence. On the night of October 17, 1895,
immediately after the voting at the Democratic primary in Pagosa Springs, an elderly and respected Democrat, C.H.
Loucks, was assaulted by a young Populist Joe R. Lane. Loucks was struck in the head, fell off the boardwalk,
injured his face and dislocated his shoulder. Though Loucks recovered, the incident roused feelings against the
ardent Populists. C. C. Crawford was nominated by the Populists as a local Chromo candidate for Assessor.
Apparently C. C. had ruffled Democrat feathers, including those of D.L. Eggers, the publisher of the Pagosa
Springs News. Eggers was an avowed and ardent Democrat and was himself nominated on the Democratic ticket
in that same election. In his newspaper, he reported with relish that â€œ(the Populists of Chromo) had succeeded
in getting Crawford nominated, but in 18 hours he was forced from the ticket. How do you like it, Mr. Chromoite?â
Odd as it may seem to us today, the local politics of that time allowed the same man to be nominated for an office
by more than one party. So a respected resident could run on all three tickets, and did. For example, in the local
election of November 1895, C.H. Freeman was nominated for County Clerk by all three parties and ran unopposed.
The Democrats of Archuleta County carried the majority of the elected offices in 1895 and eventually the Populist
Party was absorbed back into the Democrat party.
C.C. Crawford lived in Chromo until his death on September 25, 1925 at age 70.
He was buried at the old Chromo Cemetery that is now part of the Ed Bramwell Ranch (privately held).
It is believed that his headstone still exists there (as of 1999).
Local historical records show that the Crawford baby (either William or Myrtle) is also buried there.
Fannie Crawford survived C.C. by 26 years. After C.C. passed away, she lived for a time with her son Walterâ€™s
family in Ignacio, La Plata County. Eventually she went to live with her daughter Mary in Lassen County, California,
a booming logging area. Fannie passed away in 1951 at the age of 86.
|Looking down on Chromo from Navajo Peak
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