Leon Russell Crawford

Leon Russell Crawford was born in Newton Kansas on the 6th of Feb 1894.

According to Leon’s wife, Winnie Crawford, the family lived in Oklahoma when Leon and his sister Bernice were young. Winnie stated:

Judson Crawford worked on a ranch in Oklahoma because Josie’s sister and husband were there. The family all almost died. Judson was extremely ill. The children, Bernice (over 2) and Leon (1) almost died because of poor diet.

Documentation for this story has not been found. However, Josie’s sister and husband did live in Oklahoma.


The family was living in Dodge City by his 6th birthday. As a child, Leon attended the Third Ward School that was located on Boot Hill.


wwiLeon and his brother, Marion, served in the U.S. Army during World War I. Leon served as a 2nd class gunner in the 25th AA Battery of the first AA. In April and May 1918, his unit was at St. Misner during the 2nd Battle of the Marne. The unit then served as part of the outer defense of Paris. (Pictured: Homer Short & Leon Crawford on back row, Russel Horton (brother-in-law) and Marion Crawford (brother) on front row.)

On March 15, 1919, Leon sent a telegram to his parents stating that he had arrived in Camp Stuart, Virginia and that all was well.


Leon was honorably discharged from the military on 28 March 1919.

redrosesLeon married Winnie Currey on Christmas Eve 1919 at her sister’s house. After their marriage, the couple lived at 504 Avenue G. Ever the romantic, Leon purchased a red rose for Winnie for their 1st anniversary. Each year he added a rose until he was purchasing a dozen roses. Each subsequent year, Winnie would receive a dozen red roses from her husband on Christmas Eve.

1960-Crawford-Leon-Switchman-retires-web2After serving during WWI, Leon returned to work with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad working as a switchman in the railroad yard. Leon did not appear on the payroll for the AT&SF Railroad during Oct. 1923. According to his wife, Winnie Crawford, there was also a time during the depression when he was also laid off. She said that the railroad would call Leon in to work when needed. Thus, the family had to maintain a telephone so they could receive those phone calls. By 1953, Leon had been promoted to foreman for the AT&SF. Leon retired from the railroad in May of 1960. During his employment with the railroad, Leon was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and received his 50 year pin in Feb of 1967.

By 1953, Leon and Winnie were living in the Crawford family home at 911 Second. This home was the nucleus of Winnie and Leon’s family. The home boasted a large room for the kitchen that housed a long pine table. Family gatherings took place around this table, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Often times Winnie’s friend, Mary Hoffman, or a lone college student who couldn’t go home would join the table. These celebrations always involved a lot of food – most of it cooked in that kitchen. One of the rules for the children at the table is that we had to try everything. At some point, that rule was relaxed to ‘you have to try everything but the oysters’. The scalloped oysters were a favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas dish of the adults but disliked by the children at the table. By not requiring the children to try the oysters, the adults discovered that it left more for them.

Even though I never witnessed Leon cooking, he was at home in the kitchen. He would often set the table while his wife was preparing the food. One of his favorite sayings in the kitchen was in regards to clean-up when he would say ‘I’ll do the plates’ – referring to the paper plates that had been used for the meal. Ironically, Leon often helped with the dishes – even when paper plates weren’t used.

If one listened closely at that table, Leon would sometime talk about his family. Unfortunately, as a child, I wasn’t always paying attention. I do remember two of his stories.

The first family story involved the land south of the river (Arkansas River) in what was known as South Dodge. Leon would talk about helping his ‘Uncle Jimmy’ farm that land. At the time, I had no idea who ‘Uncle Jimmy’ was. It was only after working on the family history that I realized that the ‘Uncle Jimmy’ from Leon’s youth was his great-uncle, James H. Crawford. James H. Crawford did own a lot of land south of the Arkansas River.

The second family story was told at a Sunday dinner. It was girl scout Sunday and I had attended church with my girl scout club instead of going with the family. That Sunday, we attended the First Presbyterian church in Dodge City. During dinner, we were talking about my experience and I remember Leon saying that his family was Presbyterians. This little tidbit has not been verified – but many of the Crawford families in early Kentucky were Presbyterian.

crawford-leon-b1894-1969-winnie2Leon and Winnie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1969. For their anniversary, Winnie gave Leon a wedding ring. Leon wore this ring until his death in October 1976.

Citing Sources Generates EE Questions- Do-Over Week 5

As I’ve been starting my go-over (as part of Genealogy Do-Over Cycle 3), I’ve been digging thru my copy of Evidence Explained. Most of my data is documented, just not according to the current standards of Evidence Explained.

This week, I wrote a #52Ancestors post, Counting Horses, on the agriculture census data for one of my ancestors. I tried to document my references according to EE standards. Most of these sources are census records from Ancestry but are state and non-population census records. As I looked at the source data provided by Ancestry and compared it to the format for “Digital Images Online Commercial Site” in EE, I noticed that the Ancestry information did not provide the actual NARA publication number and roll number. For the Kansas census, Ancestry provided a roll number. When I checked the Kansas State Historical Society site, the roll number provided by Ancestry is different than the roll number assigned by Kansas.

Thus, my questions:

  • Should I be looking up the NARA microfilm numbers for my citations from Ancestry?
  • Should I change the citation for the Ancestry images of the 1875 Kansas census to reflect the correct roll number?
  • I have the 2nd edition of Evidence Explained. Should I be updating this?

Even though I won’t be able to participate in the live sessions, I’m looking forward to Dear Myrtle’s upcoming study group, What Does She Say? Hopefully, I can learn more about properly citing genealogical sources and how to handle quandries like those I encountered today.

Although my progress on my do-over is slow, I am learning a lot and really appreciate the chance to improve my genealogical research skills.

Below are the citations I used:

  • 1875 Kansas state census, Coffey County, populations schedule, Neosho township, p. 13, dwelling 97, family 97, for Alexander Briles; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 August 2015); citing 1875 Kansas State Census. Microfilm ks1875_4.
  • 1875 Kansas state census, Coffey County, agriculture schedule, Neosho township, p. 3, line 24, for Alexander Briles; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 August 2015); citing 1875 Kansas State Census. Microfilm ks1875_4.
  • 1870 U.S. census, Coffey County, Kansas, agriculture schedule, p. 2, line 18, Alexander Briles; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 August 2015); citing 1870; Census Place: Neosho, Coffey, Kansas from Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880.
  • Corbin, Joyce, “Agriculture in KansasKansapedia : Kansas Historical Society, November 2012, https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/agriculture-in-kansas/14188 : accessed 8 August 2015).

Lifetime of Challenges

WINNLEON240As a wife and mother, my grandmother, Winnie Crawford, had more than her share of challenges. She married my grandfather, Leon Crawford, at age 16. About a month before her 18th birthday, she watched her first born child, Betty Jean, die within a day of birth. My dad was born just a couple of years before the start of the great depression. Winnie and Leon managed to struggle thru the dust bowl and depression of the 30’s even with my grandfather being laid off of work for about a year. Before the age of 60, Winnie would bury her third child, L.R., who died suddenly while in college.

Winnie’s life of challenges actually began at the age of 10 when her mother died. Below are her words.



The poem, God Hath Not Promised, was on her funeral card and sums up her attitude toward life:

God hath not promised
skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
all our lives through;
God hath not promised
sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
peace without pain.

But God hath promised
strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
help from above,
Unfailing sympathy
undying love.