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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.

Mathias Crouse 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 on 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.

Mathias Crouse 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".


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