CRAWFORD (FAMOUS), WILLIAM AYERS - Saline County, Arkansas | WILLIAM AYERS CRAWFORD (FAMOUS) - Arkansas Gravestone Photos


Lee Cemetery
Saline County,

Soldier – Sheriff – State Representative

24 June 1825 - 22 June 1874

William Ayers Crawford was born in Washington County, Tennessee, the youngest of eleven children of William Ayers and Martha Blakely Crawford. He was orphaned at the age of 15 when his mother died. His father, a farmer and breeder of fine horses, had died in 1834. William and his siblings left Tennessee with the intent to settle in Texas; however, after passing through Little Rock, Pulaski County, they changed their plans and made Saline County their permanent home, farming for a living. In June 1846, William enlisted for service in the Mexican War, participating in the Battle of Buena Vista as a private in Captain William K. Inglish’s Company “I,” Arkansas Regiment Mounted Volunteers. He returned home in 1848 and married Sarah Helen Henslee on October 5, 1848. They had eight children. From 1852 to 1858, he served as Sheriff for Saline County, then as State Representative during the legislative session of 1858 – 1859. In addition to his farming and political endeavors William ran a licensed ferry service across the Saline River used by the El Paso stage line and in 1857, he was the contractor for the Saline County Courthouse. He volunteered for service in the Confederate States Army in 1861, advancing through the ranks from lieutenant to colonel. He served in northern Virginia and southern Arkansas, with brief periods in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Missouri. At the Battle of Shiloh, he was severely wounded when a shell exploded at his feet. In 1873, William was commissioned as brigadier general by Governor Elisha Baxter, and organized the Arkansas State Militia. He was soon caught up in the Brooks-Baxter War, a political skirmish over who held claim to the governorship of Arkansas. On May 9, 1874, He was severely wounded during a skirmish in Little Rock that required him to return to his home to recuperate. One week later, President Ulysses S. Grant proclaimed Mr. Baxter to be the governor. Then, on June 3, 1874, Major General Robert C. Newton telegraphed William, proposing that he run for election as a delegate to the Arkansas Constitutional Convention, but he died a short time later. William died of phthisis (known today as tuberculosis).

References Consulted:
Sybil F. Crawford’s 2007 article, “William Ayers Crawford (1825-1874)” [online at October 6, 2008)]

Contributed on 10/2/08 by pvhwdh
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Record #: 70478

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Submitted: 10/2/08 • Approved: 10/6/08 • Last Updated: 7/27/12 • R70478-G0-S3

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