Abstract Of The Life of Mathias Crouse
The earliest references to Mathias
Crouse can be
found in Botetourt County, Virginia (formed 1770) in the 1780's.
Botetourt County, in what is now the western portion of Virginia, laid
along an important early migration route, the Old Carolina Wagon Road.
This was the road from Pennsylvania to the Yadkin Valley, over which the
early settlers passed heading south. Mathias Crouse undoubtedly
came from Pennsylvania since his eldest son Mathias was born there
around 1778. It has not been determined if Mathias Crouse was born
in Pennsylvania or was an immigrant born in Germany. He was living
in Virginia by 1780 however since his two younger sons, Frederich and
Henry, were both born in Virginia.
Tax lists for Botetourt County show Mathias Crouse Sr.
to have been living there possibly as early as 1784. An undated
tax list, which was found attached to another list that was dated 1784,
can be found in the Botetourt County Circuit Clerk's office in
Fincastle. This list contains the name "Mathias Crous."
This list was apparently missed by the county historian when tax lists
were transcribed for publication and it was not sent to Richmond to be
included in the records there. It can be found only by looking at
the original records in Fincastle, Virginia. He is also found on the
1787 tax list, from which a census of the county was later constructed.
His name on this list was spelled "Mathias Crowse". He
is then on the 1788, 1790, 1796 tax lists spelled "Crouse".
The 1797 and 1798 lists both "Mathias Crouce Sr." and his son,
"Mathias Crouce". The 1800 and 1801 lists have only a single
"Mathias Crouse" and it is not clear if this refers to the
father or the son. It is suspected however that it is the later
since it is known that the younger Mathias was still living in Botetourt
County in 1801 when he married. There is no further mention of
Mathias Crouse in the tax records of Botetourt County after 1801.
Sr. migrated south from Botetourt
County, Virginia to Grainger County, Tennessee between 1800 to 1804. He
purchased 40 acres of land in Grainger County from Jesse Christian
March 19, 1803. Jesse Christian had only obtained the 50 acres of
land from which this 40 acres was taken the month before. He had
purchased it from his father, Allen Christian. The land was located
north of the Holston River on the "Spring Branch" next to
Christian Rhodes's 5000 acre tract. The Spout Spring Branch of
Richland Creek is located just to the East of Blaine and south of
present day Hwy. 11. Mathias never purchased any other land in
Grainger County and lived there the rest of his life.
can be found on the tax records for
Grainger County, Tennessee in 1805, 1810, 1814, and 1815. All of
these records show him as having been taxed on 40 acres of land.
The 1805 list has him grouped along with Jesse Christian from whom he
had bought his land. His youngest son Henry was also on this tax
list but he was grouped along with Nathan Greer, Henry's brother-in-law.
The 1810 Grainger County, Tennessee census lists
Mathias "Crous" as living next to William James, who was his
son-in-law and later executor of his will. This census shows him to have
had three persons in his household besides his wife. One was a male
between 10 and 15 years old and the other two were females, the oldest
being between 16 and 25 and the younger being between 10 and 15.
Who these people were is not clear since none of them were mentioned in
Mathias' will that was drawn up in 1815. Perhaps they were
children who were still in the care of their mother or perhaps they were
relatives, orphans, or borders. There are some Grainger County
marriages of Crouse that can not be tied to any parents. Although
most of these would have been too young to have been a child of Mathias
Crouse, there is a marriage of Anna "Crows" in 1812 that could
have been a Crouse.
Mathias Crouse made his will in July 1815. He
named his wife Barbara and son-in-law, William James, as executors.
He left his 40 acre farm to his wife and gave a dollar to each of his
sons; Mathias, Frederich (both living in Virginia) and Henry (living in
Rutherford County, Tennessee). Giving a dollar out of the estate to
children as a remembrance was a common practice at the time. He did not
mention any daughters although it is known that he had at least one.
His daughter Mary married William James in 1805. No other sons were
mentioned or implied. He signed his will with an "X"
indicating that he could not write. He died in 1820 as suggested
by his will being probated in August of that year.
"The above abstract was written by Dr. Roger Crouse".