Judson Foster Crawford was born in April 1866 in Warren County, Indiana. He was the second child born to Washington Marion and Mary (Foster) Crawford. Judson’s father had only been home from the war for a year when Judson was born.
At the age of 14, Judson was living with his parents in Warren County, Indiana. Family tradition says that as a young adult, Judson
- was a cook’s helper on a cattle drive
- worked on a ranch
- worked in a grocery store
Even though these stories are hard to prove, they could all be true. Judson’s uncle, James H. Crawford migrated from Indiana to the Dodge City area where he owned both a ranch and a grocery store. Thus, Judson could have worked for his uncle on the ranch or in town at the store. The 1885 Kansas census indicates that Judson did work in a store since his occupation is listed as clerk.
At the age of 23, Judson went to work for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad in Dodge City.
A little over a year later, he married Josie Winifred Hammond on Christmas Eve in 1890 in Dodge City. Josie was born in Knox County, Illinois in 1874, the daughter of Richmond Fisk and Sarah (Ralston) Hammond. By 1880, the Hammond family was living in Hardin County, Iowa. By 1887, Richmond purchased land in Ford county and moved his family to the Dodge City area.
Judson and Josie welcomed their first child, Bernice Crawford, in 1892. Having been transferred to Newton, Kansas, their first son, Leon Russel Crawford, was born in 1894. The following year, they were living back in Dodge City when Marion Richmond Crawford was born.
Family stories indicate that the family moved to Oklahoma to live near Josie’s sister. These stories indicate that life was not easy in Oklahoma and that the children almost died. Other than records involving Josie’s sister, Stella Root, the 1900 census is the only source that might support this family tale. The 1900 census indicates that Judson was working as a carpenter — and NOT for the railroad. By 1905, Judson is again working for the railroad.
The family was living in Dodge City in 1900 when a daughter, Helen Marjorie Crawford, joined the family. The youngest son, Hugh Judson Crawford, joined the family in 1902. The youngest daughters, Esther Stella and Lois Elida Crawford were born in 1905 and 1909 in Dodge City.
By 1915, Judson was identified as the night yard master for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. In 1919, he was a member of the AT&SF Joint General Committee. Judson continued working as a switchman for the Santa Fe railroad and retired in 1936.
Judson was active in the community. As a young man, Judson was a member of the fire department and served as the assistant secretary in 1891. At the age of 54, Judson was a school board member for the Dodge City Schools.
Judson passed away at the age of 82 in Dodge City. He was buried in the family plot in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Dodge City.