William Crutchfield


       
      Hon. William Crutchfield, farmer and extensive fruit grower in the Chattanooga Valley, two miles south of the Tennessee line, was born November 16, 1826, in Greenville, Greene Co., Tenn., where he resided until 1840. In August, 1844, he moved to Jacksonville, Benton Co., Ala., where he became an extensive grain grower, introducing improved methods and astonishing every one by his successful farm management. He was soon elected captain of the militia, by acclamation, in a district strongly Democratic, while he openly worked for and voted the Whig ticket. He moved to Chattanooga in 1850, and was soon looked upon by all as an uncompromising, strong advocate of the Union cause. On the night of January 22, 1861, while on the way to his home in Mississippi after resigning his seat in the United States Senate, Hon. Jefferson Davis made a speech in the Crutchfield house denouncing the Federal Government in most bitter terms, and called upon the people of Tennessee to join the balance of the South in their attempts for secession. In answer to this speech Mr. Crutchfield denounced him as a traitor to his country and a perjured villain, and in most sarcastic, measured tones painted Mr. Davis out to the people as their future military despot.    Great excitement followed Mr. Crutchfield's speech, but bloodshed was prevented. Reports of both speeches were printed the following morning in the Chattanooga Gazette. Mr. Crutchfield was guide and captain under Gen. Wilder through the Chickamauga campaign, with Gen. Thomas through the siege of Chattanooga, went as guide to Gens. Grant, Thomas and Hooker the day after Brown's Ferry was carried, and on many occasions furnished the generals of the Union Army of the Cumberland very valuable information and assistance. Fifteen of his blood relatives fought against him during the Chickamauga battle, besides his father-in-law and brother-in-law. The generals of the Union Army appreciated his services fully, but the Government has not shown him justice. When once Mr. Crutchfield forms an opinion and adopts a resolution he is unyielding and exceedingly firm in maintaining and carrying them to completion. He represented this congressional district in the XLIII Congress, and acquitted himself in a highly creditable manner while a member of that body. He was elected to the office by 1,500 majority, and was the first Union man sent to Congress from this district since the enfranchisement. He refused the urgent entreaties of his friends to accept another nomination. Through his shrewd and able manipulations $600,000 was appropriated to the improvement of the Tennessee River and $10,000 and $15,000 to the Little Tennessee and Hiawassi Rivers, something that all previous representatives had failed to do. The last two appropriations were never used and were returned to the Government. Mr. Crutchfield accumulated a vast amount of wealth before the war, but that event and treachery of pretended friends despoiled him of the most of it. He moved to his present place of residence in 1876, where he owns 500 acres of splendid farming and fruit producing land. He is passionately fond of fruit culture and has some very fine fruit orchards. His f arm is nicely improved, and Mr. Crutchfield, while not a Rothschild in wealth, is certainly well prepared to enjoy life. He is a firm believer in the doctrine of Henry Clay, is a stanch Union man and votes the Republican ticket.  He is the second of four children born to Thomas and Sarah (Cleage) Crutchfield. The first known of the Crutchfield family in America were Oscar and Stapleton Crutchfield, prominent Protestant refugees from England.   They settled in Richmond, Va., and were among the first settlers. Thomas    Crutchfield, father of our subject, was born in Rockbridge County, Va., in 1808 and immigrated to Greenville, Tenn., at a very early period. He died in Chattanooga March 5, 1850. He was the contractor and superintendent of the building of many of the most prominent public buildings in Tennessee and other adjacent States. Mr. William Crutchfield married Nancy Jane Williams, August 15, 1859. She was born October 22, 1833, at Chelikee, Ga., and is a daughter of Thomas R. and Sarah (Sparks) Williams. Jeremiah Williams, father of Thomas, was captain of a company and took an active part in the Revolutionary war. Mrs. Crutchfield is a descendent of a very prominent French family that left France and came to Carolina to escape religious persecution during the time the Huguenots were so bitterly persecuted by the Catholic Church. To Mr. and Mrs. Crutchfield were born eight children: Sarah (deceased), Thomas Williams, Frances A., Mary Jane (Mrs. A. W. Poe), Medora (Mrs. J. C. Henderson), Courtney and two deceased.
Goodspeed's "History of East Tennessee" 1887