Matthew Crawford
of Tureagh, parish of Raloo, co. Antrim, Ireland, d. 1814.

Date of birth: ca. 1860.
Place of birth: Unknown.
Calculated from his age at death.

Date of death: 24 May 1814, aged 54.
Place of burial: Raloo graveyard, co. Antrim, Ireland.
["Erected to the memory of Matthew Crawford late of Raloo who departed this life the 24th of May 1814 aged 54 years. Also his wife Janney Crawford who died on the 9th of December 1845 aged 83 years." Raloo Gravestones, 70; also (Matthew only, but with picture of arms) Ulster Journal of Archæology 6 (1900), 169]

Father: John Crawford, of Tureagh or Raloo, d. 1792 after 18 February.
Mother: Jane Lyle.
On 18 February 1792, John Crawford conveyed 3/4 his half of the farm at Tureagh to his son Matthew Crawford [Dublin Reg. Deeds 444/313/288769, FHL film #534,700].

Spouse: Janet Crawford, b. ca. 1862, d 9 December 1845, bur. Raloo graveyard.

Three of the sons (John, Thomas, Matthew) and all three of the daughters are mentioned in a letter written in 1926 by Eliza (Thoburn) Mills, a granddaughter of Matthew and Jennett Crawford. Another son, James, appears in a 1927 letter of Joseph B. Thoburn, a great-grandson of Matthew and Jennett Crawford. All eight of the children are mentioned in an item of uncertain origin entitled The History of Nancy Boyd, excerpted below.

John Crawford, b. Ireland, 5 December 1791, d. Van Buren co., IA, 11 September 1860, bur. Winchester cem.;
m. (1)
_____ Robinson? (or Jane Hunter?);
m. (2) Rebecca Stull, b. 25 February 1803, d. 28 February 1854, bur. Winchester cem., Van Buren co., IA.

Thomas Crawford, b. Ireland, ca. 1793, prob. d. Clarke co., GA, February 1880;
m. Thursday _____, b. SC, ca. 1803, living 1860, Walton co., GA.
Thomas Crawford was living in Walton co., GA in the 1850 and 1860 censuses [Thomas Crauford 57 farmer b. Ireland, Thirza 57 b. SC, 8 children, 1850 cen., 88 division, Walton co., GA, 5r; Thos. Crawford 67 farmer b. Ulster prov., Ire., Thursday 57 b. SC, 3 children, 1860 cen., Northern div., Walton co., GA, 1065r]. Thomas Crawford has not been found in the 1870 census, but there is a Thomas Crawford in the 1880 mortality schedule of Clarke co., GA (not far from Walton co.) who seems to fit well [Crawford, Thomas 87 b. Ire., parents both b. Ire., tanner, d. February, rheumatism, 1880 mortality schedule, Clarke co., GA, 1].

Nancy Crawford, b. ca. 1796, d. 29 November 1861, bur. Raloo graveyard, co. Antrim, Ireland;
m. 1818 William McRoberts, b. ca. 1789, d. 18 May 1854, bur. Raloo graveyard.
["To the memory of William McRoberts who died 18th May 1854 aged 65 years. His wife Ann, who died 29th Novr. 1861 aged 65 years. Their son William died 3rd March 1862 aged 29 years." Raloo Gravestones, 83] The will of William McRoberts of Ballygowan, dated 16 May 1854, and proved 7 July 1854, mentioned his three sons Mathew, William, and James, son John, son Thomas, wife Nancy, sister Elizabeth, daughters Elizabeth, Nancy, and Mary, and daughter Jannet Gilmore, with Samuel McWilliams and sons John and Mathew McRoberts as executors [Connor Will Book 1853-8, #8316, FHL film #100,903, also confirming the death date of 18 May 1854].

James Crawford, b. 15 October 1798, d. 8 December 1890, bur. Raloo graveyard, co. Antrim, Ireland;
m. Mary B. Stuart, b. 1817×8, d. 1 February 1879, bur. Raloo graveyard.
["Erected to the memory of James Crawford, late of Raloo, who departed this life 8th Dec. 1890 aged 92 years. Also his wife Mary B. Stuart who departed this life 1st Feb. 1879 aged 61 years. Also their son Matthew Crawford who departed this life 20th Jan. 1920 aged 82 years." Raloo Gravestones, 70] The Thoburn genealogy, which erroneously gives Mary the dates of her son Matthew, infers that there was an earlier wife [Thoburn Ancestry, 133]. This cannot be ruled out, but the account of James Crawford's family in this source does not inspire confidence.

Jane Lyle Crawford, b. Ireland, 14 November 1799, d. Bellaire, OH, 14 September 1870;
m. 31 January 1822, Matthew Thoburn, b. co. Antrim, Ireland, 30 September 1798, d. Belmont co., OH, 26 April 1850.
[Thoburn Ancestry, 133, 140] Although this Thoburn genealogy contains enough mistakes that it is difficult to trust, the genealogy was centered around this couple, and we can probably accept these dates as reliable.

Elizabeth Crawford, b. co. Antrim, 8 October 1801, d. 19 April 1872, bur. Raloo graveyard;
m. Samuel McWilliam, b. April 1800, d. 18 December 1882, bur Raloo graveyard.
["Elizabeth, wife of Samuel McWilliam rests here; born 8th Oct. 1801, died 19th April 1872. Also the above Samuel McWilliam died 18th Decr. 1882 aged 82 years. Also their son Matthew, died 9th March 1883 aged 42 years." Raloo Gravestones, 85]

Robert Crawford, bp. Raloo, co. Antrim, 10 August 1803;
m. Janet McWilliams.
[Baptism from list of Crawford baptisms at Raloo, compiled by Jenny Brennan of Larne, original source not explicitly stated]

Matthew Crawford, b. Ireland, ca. 1808, living 1870, Lowndes co., GA;
m. Luraney Williams, b. GA, ca. 1816, living 1870, Lowndes co., GA.
Matthew Crawford was living in Gwinnett co., GA in 1850 [Matthew Crawford 42 saddler b. Ire., Leurana(?) 34 b. GA, 7 children, 1850 cen., town dist., Gwinnett co., GA, 233v] and in Berrien co., GA in 1860 [Mathew Crawford 52 farmer b. Ire., Lurana 44 b. GA, 10 children, 1860 cen., Berrien co., GA, 397r]. In September 1865, when he wrote a letter to his sister Jane Thoburn, he was a refugee in Savannah after the end of the Civil War [Letter of Joseph B. Thoburn, 10 January 1927, see below]. He and his wife were both still alive in 1870, when they were living in Lowndes co., GA [Crawford, Matthew 62 farming b. Ire., Loraney 54 keeping house b. GA, 6 children, 1870 cen., Lowndes co., GA, 390r]. They have not been located in the 1880 census. [For Williams as the maiden name of Luraney Crawford, see Gwinnett County Families 1818-1968, 546, which calls her Luzaney, and states that she was a daughter of Isham and Gwynay (Nation) Williams.]


Unfortunately, some of the information on this family comes from sources of uncertain reliability. In some cases, it is not clear whether data comes from early family records or was just somebody's guess many years later. Some old letters survive as typescript copies which seem to be faithful copies of the originals, allowing for the usual possibility of copying errors. Fortunately, enough of the descendants of Matthew Crawford were in contact with each other in the early 1900's that his list of children can be determined with high confidence.

Letter of Eliza Thoburn Mills to Adron T. Moore, 31 December 1926 (excerpts).

Eliza Thoburn Mills was a daughter of Matthew and Jane Lyle (Crawford) Thoburn, and a granddaughter of Matthew Crawford. She wrote a letter to her relative Adron Moore in 1926 which mentions most of her aunts and uncles. The most important parts are abstracted here. There are two different typescript transcripts of this letter, with only minor differences except that one transcript misreads the "Mc" of Mc Roberts and Mc Williams as a middle initial M. "Rahe" is evidently a misreading of "Ralu" (a spelling of "Raloo" that sometimes appears).

"1304 S. Union Ave., Alliance, Ohio, Dec. 31, 1926
Dear Mr. Moore:
I presume in the order of relatives, you are a distant cousin of mine, ... . My father was from Bel and my mother from Rahe in County Antrem. Her father was Mathew Crawford and his wife was Jeannett Crawford though not related to my grandfather before marriage. John Crawford was the oldest brother who came to America the first of the family and settled in Guernsey Co. O. Later Thomas and Mathew, younger brothers came to America and went to Georgia. Then in 1826 my parents followed and lived in St. Clairsville, Ohio, ever afterwards and both are buried there, with two of my brothers. My uncle John moved to Iowa, and after his death we failed to hear from the family except one daughter Elizabeth whom they left with an aunt and who died in Cambridge about ten years ago. ... Mrs. Martin of Cincinnati was I think one of Uncle John's family connections, and you another. I have letters from a cousin in Munroe, Ga. granddaughter of Uncle Thomas, and there is another branch in Florida; ... . Mathew Mc Roberts was the son of my mother's sister Nancy and once visited America and we all liked him very much. ...
Very Cordially
Eliza Thoburn Mills
I see I made a mistake. Crawford Mc Williams and his cousin Mathew Mc Roberts came to America together and I thought it was he who had the letters. Crawford Mc Williams was the sone of mother's other sister Elizabeth for whom I was named. ..."

Letter of Joseph B. Thoburn to unidentified cousin (probably Adron T. Moore), 10 January 1927 (excerpts).

"Oklahoma Historical Seociety [sic], Oklahoma City, January 10, 1927
My dear Sir and Cousin:
... My grandmother had three brothers who came to this country - - John, Matthew and Thomas. John lived in Ohio for a time and then moved west. Matthew settled in Georgia, as did his younger brother, Thomas. ... My grandmother was born in 1799. Whether your great grandfather was older or younger than she was, I never knew. I have always understood that her father had a brother who had moved to America and settled, before the war for independence from the mother country and that he was killed while serving in the army of the revolting colonies during that struggle, somewhere in North or South Carolina. ... Our people seemed to have lost trace of grandmother's brother Thomas after he settled in the South. I have in my possession a letter written to her by her brother Matthew, in September 1865. He was then living as a refugee, at Savannah. In this letter, he told of having sent forth four sons to battle for the South, during the great which had ended but a few months before, and that two of these had yielded up their lives in the struggle. ...
Cordially yours
Joseph B. Thoburn"

Letter of Joseph B. Thoburn to Adron T. Moore of Downing, MO, 24 January 1927 (excerpts).

"Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, January 24, 1927
My dear Cousin:
... Your great grandfather, John Crawford, had a brother James, who took the old family place at Raloo, where he always lived. Uncle James (afterward the Bishop) and his two sisters, Mrs. Janette Wilson and Isabella Thoburn, visited their Uncle James Crawford, at Raloo, in the spring of 1880. He lived on for nearly twenty years after that, living to be well beyond ninety years of age. ... This brings me to the story of the complicity of some members of the Crawford family, including your own great-great-grandfather, Matthew Crawford. Arms had been found concealed in his barn, presumably for insurrectionary purposes. He was arrested in the morning and was take [sic] away from his home under military guard. His wife did not expect to see him alive againfor [sic] in those days a man was tried during the day he was arrested by a drum-head miliatary court and if found guilty (it was seldom otherwise), he was summarily executed before dark the [sic] in the evening of the same day. His wife, therefore, was loath to believe her own ears when she heard his footsteps approaching their cottage home late that evening. One of his Masonic brethren had testified that Matthew Crawford had not concealed the weapons in the barn and that he had no knowledge of their presence there, the same having been placed there by his own brother (whose first name I do not now recall). Now the latter had sailed for America that very morning from Belfast, So, a swift sloop of war was send [sic] out to pursue and overtake the vessel on which this brother had set sail for American [sic], but providentially, a storm came up and the sloop of war failed to find or overtake the vessel bound for an American port, so he escaped. ...
Sincerely yours,
Joseph B. Thoburn"

Letter of Joseph B. Thoburn to unidentified cousin (probably Adron T. Moore), 11 March 1928 (excerpts).

"Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, March 11, 1928
My dear Cousin:
... The same day that Cousin Mabel died, I answered a call on the telephone when a lady called up and asked to see Mr. Thoburn. She said her name was Mrs. Anderson and that she had lived in Oklahoma City since 1910. She also stated that she had a sister visiting her from Dallas, Texas and that the latter insisted that I was a kinsman of theirs. ... They are granddaughters of Matthew Crawford, who was a younger brother of your Great-grandfather, John Crawford and of my father's mother, Mrs. Jane Lyle Crawford Thoburn. As I understand it, their grandfather came to America with my father's parents when he was a lad of eighteen or nineteen. After a year or two, he left them and drifted south, finally settling in Georgia where he married and reared a large family. Four of his sons were in the Confederate Army; two giving their lives for the Lost Cause. These two cousins were daughters of William Crawford, one of the two brothers who survived the war. He died only five or six years ago. ...
Sincerely your cousin
Joseph B. Thoburn"

The History of Nancy Boyd (excerpt).

The following quote comes from an often-shared photocopy of a typescript item entitled The History of Nancy Boyd, whose ultimate origin is uncertain, but almost certainly Irish. It is discussed in more detail on the page of Nancy Boyd, where a more complete excerpt is given. It appears to represent the tradition as known by the MacWilliam family in Ireland, as the information on that branch is more complete.

"... While attending a great meeting of the fraternity at Ballymena he [Robert Crawford] made the acquaintance of a young man named Matthew Crawford from Raloo. It began to snow as darkness set in and Robert Crawford invited young Matthew to spend the night with him at Bogtown. His destiny was there for when he saw Janet the young daughter of Nancy Boyd he determined to make her his wife. In a short time he brought her to Raloo. She had a family of five sons and three daughters. John Crawford, the eldest son married Jane Hunter of Ballyfore; they emigrated to South Carolina; Thomas and Matthew went to Georgia, both married there; Robert married Janet MacWilliam of Mounthill, they were the parents of Janet and Jane Crawford who became the wives of John and Matthew McRobert; James Crawford married Mary Blair Stewart (Stuart) of Carneal, they were the parents of Mrs. Gilmore of Larne and the rest of the family. Nancy Crawford married William McRobert of Ballygowan. Jane Lyle Crawford married Matthew Thoburn of Hydepark near Belfast; they emigrated to Ohio. Their eldest son Major Joseph Thoburn was killed at Fort Sumter during the American civil war; another son was Bishop Thoburn, missionary to India and Isabella Thoburn who went with her brother, taught the Hindostan language to the present Lady Dufferin of Co. Down, when Lord Dufferin was Viceroy of India. Then Elizabeth the youngest daughter of Matthew and Janet Crawford married Samuel MacWilliam of Mounthill. They had six sons and one daughter. ..." The children of Samuel and Elizabeth MacWilliam are then listed but only five sons are named.

Letter from Mary Semple to Mrs. Crawford of Thornhill, 28 November 1921.

Mary Semple lived at Mounthill, near Larne, and was evidently not closely related to the Crawfords. A genealogist, she was credited for contributing most of the pre-American history of the Lyles and Blairs for the book Lyle Family, by Oscar K. Lyle [Lyle Family, 9], which includes miscellaneous information on the Crawford family, not always reliable. In 1921, she wrote a letter to Mrs. Crawford of Thornhill, a great-granddaughter of Matthew Crawford in two different ways, outlining some miscellaneous Crawford information (generally unsourced) which she had picked up. Some of her information came directly from Elizabeth (Crawford) McWilliam, youngest daughter of Matthew Crawford. It would be nice to know the source of her statement that Patrick Crawford and Nancy Blair were great-great-grandparents of Matthew Crawford of Raloo.

"Mounthill, Larne, Nov. 28th, 1921.
Dear Mrs. Crawford,
The three brothers who came from Ayrshire were John Crawford who got an allotment of land in Raloo. Thomas got a grant in the Braid and William in Co. Tyrone. According to old writings these three brothers were the first that settled in Ireland. Your grandmother often told me of them, and much more history. Old James Crawford of Raloo was in a Ballyclare fair when a young man; he went up to a man in the fair and caught him by the nose and said "You have a Crawford nose." "Yes", said the man, "I am William Crawford from Tyrone." He had the same story about three brothers. There was also a sister came to John Crawford in Raloo, she married a man called Robert Brown of Brown's Bay, Islandmagee. The stone that you saw erected to Nancy Blare (Blair) the wife of Patrick Crawford who died the 21st February, 1691 were the great, great, grandparents of Matthew of Raloo who married Jenny Crawford from the Braid. It was this Nancy Blair was in Raloo at the time of the burning. The next oldest stone is erected to Robert Crawford who died in 1701 aged 72 years. He lived at Loughmorne about two miles from Raloo. His brother Thomas was a merchant in Belfast in the year 1701 and his son Robert Crawford was Ruling Elder in Carrickfergus in 1704, 1710 and 1712. Archibald Crawford of Raloo was Ruling Elder in Ballycarry from 1703 till 1710. The Crawfords were always in front of Church affairs. Matthew Crawford and his wife Janet were not more than sixth cousins but were of the same race. I heard your grandmother, Mrs. McWilliam say that she rode to the Braid to see her uncle Robert before he went to America. She was in the Braid many times, she used to ride on a pillion, something like a saddle. Many a thing I heard her relate, she was only 14 years old when her father died, but her being the youngest he talked greatly to her; he told her that the three brothers Crawford were of the Jordanhill family and that their father had got into trouble through assisting Mary, Queen of Scots. I am looking that up now. Your McRobert branch was as follows: Andrew McRobert was Ruling Elder in Kilmore, Co. Down in 1717. His son Michael was a linen weaver and came to weave with people called Agnew, who lived for ages where your Uncle Matthew lived. Well Michael McRobert married Rose Agnew. Their son, Bryce, married Mary McGarell of Ballyrickard and their son, John, married Jane Taylor, a young Scottish girl who with her mother came to visit the Agnews, to whom they were related. Then their son William in 1818 married your grandmother, Nancy Crawford of Raloo, although her name is Ann on the tombstone, she was always called Nancy for her grandmother Nannie Boyd. Mrs. McRobert, your grandmother, was a tall dark woman while her sister, your other grandmother was very fair.
Very gratefully yours,
Mary Semple."

Some known errors

The following two serious errors have appeared in the past with regard to the family of Matthew Crawford.

Falsely attributed father: Matthew Crawford.
Falsely attributed mother: Jenny Blair, daughter of Daniel Blair.
This error appears in the Lyle genealogy [Lyle Family, 328, 331]. The genealogy given here has very little in the way of details, and no documentation at all. It shows Jenny Blair marrying Matthew Crawford of Raloo (no dates given), with a son Matthew (no details), who in turn had son James and daughter Jane m. Matthew Thoburn. There is no good reason to give this information the slightest credence.

Falsely attributed wife: Jenny Blair, daughter of Daniel Blair.
This is an variant of the previous version, this time with Jenny Blair as the wife of the Matthew Crawford who heads this page rather than as the wife of an older Matthew Crawford. Jenny Blair is called the daughter of Daniel McCullough and the wife of Matthew Crawford in an alternate tradition presented by the Thoburn genealogy [Thoburn Ancestry, 129], which also presents the alternative that Matthew's wife was Jenet Crawford, daughter of Thomas Crawford and Nancy Boyd [ibid., 130]. No source is given for Matthew Crawford's marriage to Jenny Blair, but the author states that "[t]he Blair tree appears to have come from more secondary sources than the Boyd tradition, so the latter is to be preferred." [ibid., 131] At another place, the author states that "[o]ne of Jane Lyle Crawford's uncles was Samuel Blair of Ballyvallough." [ibid., 38, where one can clearly see that the typescript manuscript originally had a footnote which has been erased and is now illegible (at least on the photocopy which I have)] The author also notes that "[a]ccording to Joseph Thoburn of Oklahoma, the parents of Jane Lyle Crawford were married in 1798, which makes it appear that Mathew Crawford was married twice." [ibid., 38 n. 54] This is made even more explicit in "Corrections and Additions - 1962" to the Thoburn genealogy, which gives Matthew Crawford two marriages, first to Janet Crawford who "perhaps" died in 1797 and was the mother of five children, John, Thomas, Nancy, Matthew, and Robert, and second in 1798 to Janet or Jenny Blair, who was "perhaps" the mother of three children, James, Jane Lyle, and Elizabeth. However, this is all pure guesswork, as C. Stanley Thoburn was wrong about the orders of birth of Robert and Matthew, and a great-grandson is not necessarily a good source for the exact year in which his great-grandparents were married. The date could very well have been obtained by subtracting one from his grandmother's year of birth. It is much more likely that a granddaughter would correctly remember the maiden name of her grandmother ["... and his wife was Jeannett Crawford though not related to my grandfather before marriage." see the letter of Eliza Thoburn Mills above; the last words of the sentence clearly indicate that Crawford was the maiden name]. Thus, given the absence of evidence in favor of the surname Blair, there is no good reason to accept it.

Reference abbreviations

Dublin Reg. Deeds = Registry of Deeds, Dublin.

Lyle Family = Oscar K. Lyle, Lyle Family (New York, 1912).

Raloo Gravestones = George Rutherford, Gravestone Inscriptions. County Antrim. Volume 2: Parishes of Glynn, Kilroot, Raloo and Templecorran (Ulster Historical Foundation).

Thoburn Ancestry = C. Stanley Thoburn, The Ancestry of the Irish-American Thoburns (Cleveland, 1955).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 31 May 2011.