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Tag Archives: Calvin Harrison Croy

Treat #9 for a New Year: Personalities of Calvin and Sarah Croy Come to Life

“A quarrel arose in the Croy family, especially with Grandpa Croy, when Dad and his brother were allowed to attend the new high school nearby and did not go to work in the coal mine after finishing grammer school. It was Grandma Croy who insisted and finally got her way, ‘to send the first Croy’s to a higher school,’ as she said. Grandpa had no use for ‘educated brats.’ It seems that Grandma Croy always looked after the interests of Charles Henry’s boys.

Since Dad and his brother did not work in the coal mine like their cousins, Muriel and Calvin, they had to do house chores and were ‘left out’ on many things…In the spring of 1921, after a dispute with Grandpa over the new electric lamps (Grandpa made everyone screw the lamp bulbs out when not in use,) Dad had to leave the house. He had just finished high school and it was time to get out. Grandma packed his things, gave him 10 dollars, secured the money with a safety pin in his front pocket and warned him of the big city people. He also got to take his shot gun. Dad left the Henryetta train station bound for Kansas City.”

From the written memories of William Croy, son of William David Croy who was the son of Charles Henry Croy and grandchild of Calvin and Sarah Croy, my great grandparents.

This period of time was a tipping point in family history. After this both my father and aunt graduated from high school and even “higher school” was possible for the generations that followed.

Our ancestors’ personalities, like our own, are more nuanced than any romanticized stereotypes. Only reminiscences, the memories of others that are written down, provide us with those insights. The grandchild who came to live with Sarah and Calvin Croy in 1910 when his mother died passed on a memory through his son that reveals the struggles of two older people as they address changing times.  Once again I encourage writing letters, diaries (blogs,) and memories…even when some memories might best be disclosed after the effected parties have left this world.

Treat #7: The Buck Mine Explosion

article on 1903 mining accident J CroyNewspaper articles often bare witness to family members caught up significant moments in history. The Buck Coal Mine disaster fueled a growing concern for the safety of workers in a newly industrialized country. Calvin Harrison Croy and all of his sons worked in the coalmines that proliferated at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Regulation was a word unknown during those early days and three of his sons died in work related accidents, one in a railroad accident and two in coal mining incidents. His son Justus Croy, my grandfather, was to die of Black Lung, a common coal related illness of the time, but, as this article shows, he and these early workers regularly came close to disaster.  Ironically, my father remembered Justus, as a mine foreman, warding off unionizers at gunpoint and then later challenging a bank official with gun in hand to get payroll for his workers. Obviously, the union efforts of the time were a matter of life and death. One of my dad’s favorite songs was Tennessee Ernie Ford singing, “Saint Peter don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store.”

Treat #1 for the New Year: Calvin Harrison Croy

Pictures bring family to life. So do letters and written memories. Recently I went back through some treasures given to me by my cousin’s wife. I also spent time rifling through some family boxes. Lesson learned! If you are interested in family genealogy, leave no box unopened nor anything written unread. I am posting a potpourri of family treasures, one for each of the first ten days of 2014.

Young Calvin Croy about 1863This tintype of Calvin Harrison Croy was probably taken when 18-23 years old between 1865 and 1870.  He served in with the Union Army during the later half of 1865. This is the oldest known picture of any family member.