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Fan Club Find

While trying to verify a death date, I cam across a wonderful article on the VAWTER family that actually provides clues about the Crawford family. These clues are surnames of a potential FAN club for my Crawford research.

Newspapers.com
The Star Press (Muncie, Indiana)
14 Nov 1909, Sun
page 14

“About Our Ancestors” by Eleanor Lexington

The Vawter Family

That this name started out Val-
letort or Valetort is the ac-
cepted theory. It also appears
as Valletourt, Vautier, Vautie
and, finally, the more easily
spelled Vaulter, or Vawter.
Just what the derivation may be must
be left to the imagination. Valletort was
perhaps, the name of a town.
The barony of Harberton, granted to
the family of de Valletort, in time of
King Henry I, became extinct at the be-
ginning of the fourteenth century. Since
that time Vawter has been the commonly
accepted spelling.
The genealogist of the family gives the
line of descent as follows: Reginald de
Valletort; Roger de Valetort, 1108; Ralphe
de Valletort, 1168; Joel de Valletort, who
married Emma, daughter of Sir William
Botreaux: Sir Philip de Valletort, 1230;
Sir John Valletort, 1250. Lord, or baron,
Harberton is the first of whom records of
any importance are preserved.
In “The Plymouth Spanish Armada”
mention is made of the Manor of Valletort,
or Vawter, which was purchased about
1544 by Sir Hugh Pollard for one thousand
marks. The story is that it took two jour-
neys and required a man and two horses,
to carry away the Valletort records from
the Manor. This certainly sounds im-
portant and interesting, and we ask,
“Where are the records now?” and ex-
claim, “Would that we had them at
hand!”
Plymouth, England, apparently was a
Vawter stronghold, and the three broth-
ers, colonists, who cam to Virginia about
1685 were probably born there. “Prob-
ably,” “perhaps,” “if” and a few like
words play too important, or shall we say
tantalizing, a part in family recors. As,
however, we can not eliminate them from
the story we must make the best of them.
John, Angus and Bartholomew were
the three bothers. John had a son, John,
whose son David married Mary Rucker
and had six children, of whom Jesse and
Philemon were soldiers of the Revolution.
John of the second generation “prob-

column 2
ably” married a Beverly of the well-
known Virginia family.
It was Robert Beverly of Essex County,
Virginia, who at the beginning of the
eighteenth century wrote “The History of
Virginia,” a book which is now reckined
as among the rare volumes of Americana.
Beverly as a Christian name is often
found in Vawter records.
Philemon married Anne Vawter, a
cousin, and they had five sons and five
daughters. Philemon lived in Kentucky,
finally removing to Indiana. Jesse Vaw-
ter married Elizabeth Watts, and their
family consisted of nine sons and daugh-
ters.
It was John, son of Jesse and Elizabeth,
and born in Orange, now Madison Coun-
ty, Virginia. In 1782, who founded Morgan-
town, Ind. In 1811 he was a “frontier
ranger” and colonel of militia.
Jesse and John Vawter made a stop in
Kentucky upon starting out from their old
Virginia home. They then moved on to
Indiana, and helped to build up the town
of Vernon, where John held the office of
sheriff. He was a Baptist preacher. He
was later a member of the Legislature
and of the state Senate.
John, or Col. John, to give him his title,
was the husband of four. First, he mar-
ried Polly Smith; second, his deceased
wife’s sister, Jane; then he consoled him-
self with a third wife in the person of
Ruth Minton, whose successor in the
married state was Mrs. Martha Pearce.
There is a story about fair Ruth Min-
ton – a family tradition which adds much
to the interest of Col. Vawter’s third
matrimonial venture. His son, Smith
Vawter, was courting Ruth, but ere he
realized the situation or was aware of the

Column 3
unfriendly turn of which one’s own father
may be capable, when it is an affair of
the heart, the colonel had led the blushing
Ruth to the altar. The rest of the story is
that young Smith, from the branches of a
tree, where he had taken refuge while
the bridal procession passed along, sang
out:
“Oh, what have I done?
“I’ve married the father, instead of the
son.”
Smith Vawter was the hero of another
adventure. When the family were living
at Vernon, and subject to visitations from
the Indians, one appeared at the Vawter
house and flourished his tomahawk over
the head of young Smith, giving, at the
time, a “blood-curdling cry.” the young
boy looked the red men calmly and fear-
lessly in the eye. The weapon of destruc-
tion, poised over his head, did not fall,
however, for the savage retired, with a
laudatory grunt of “He brave boy and
would make a heap good Indian!”

The Vawters intermarried with the
Crawfords of Virginia, who were revolu-
tionary soldiers and Kentucky pioneers.
Others connected withe the Vawters by
marriage were the Pritchards, Ross,
Paynes, Rices, Glovers, Sims, Shanklins
Striblings, Ritchies, Riggs and Ruther-
fords. The Hendersons of Virginia mar-
ried into the Vawter family. Margert
daughter of John and Anna Givens Hen-
derson of Greenbrier County, Virginia
married William, son of William and
Anne Ballard Vawter. “The Vawters
were large landowners in Greenbrier
County and came from one of the oldest
families in Essex County. ‘Vawter
Church’ built in 1731, was still in use in
1857. The Vawters were not the wealth-
iest, but in point of honor the first in the
county.” One Vawter homestead, in Mon-
roe County, Virginia, remained in the
family for four generations.
Among the Christian names which en-
joyed a large popularity in Vawter house-
holds in ye olden times were the classic
ones, Achilles, Septimus, Drucilla and
Aramantha. Of a more or less romantic
flavor were Lucilla, Melinda, Lucinda,
Hazel and Claude. Absolom, Alexander,
Prospey, Olive, Sherley and Murial are
others.
“Not shrinking from a citizen’s re-
sponsiblity of sturdy courage and hap[?]
living,” is the tribute paid to one of the
Vawter name and lineage.
The coat of arms shown is blazoned
Barry of six, argent and gules, within a
borduer sable, bezantee.
Instead of “barry of six,” one branch
of the family has “bendy of six.”
Still another variation of the [?]
armor is: Gules, three bends argent, [?]
a border sable, ten plates or.
(Copyright, 1909, by Frank Alla[?]
Genealogical Company.)