James Crowley

James Crowley Born: August 25, 1829, Clinton, Missouri, then called Clintonville

Died: February 18, 1903, Odessa, Washington

From July 1845 through 1846, James Crowley rode the Pony Express for a man named Cummins, who had the contract to carry the mail from Clintonville to Fort Scott, Kansas. James made a round trip twice each week, a distance of 120 miles each way. There were rivers to cross and no bridges. The horses had to swim with the rider and the mail when the rivers were high, but James missed only one trip from high water or any other cause. He was half through his 17th year when he started to ride for the Pony Express, and weighed only 122 pounds. When he was eighteen, he weighed 165 and was overweight for the job.

James had his outfit ready to come West with a party in 1849, but he contracted pneumonia and his journey to California was delayed to another date. He took a trip east during the interval, however, helping to drive a herd of cattle to Virginia. He was aware of having relatives in Virginia, but he did not get in touch with them.

When James finally came West in 1852, his outfit started from St. Joseph, Missouri. The captain of the train was Colonel Hagen. One man in the train was named Lije Smith. Another was Rankin Crow, Rachel Crow Gibbins' brother and also the father of James' stepmother. In addition, there were other members of the Crow family, including John Logan Crow and his bride, who joined the train three days after their wedding. Also, a younger son, James Rankin Crow, then 14, was with his father. The Crows brought their horses and cattle with them, traveling by ox teams and schooner wagons.

James married Martha Melvina Gibbins and they moved to Placerville. He later owned some land in Petaluma which he lost - part of an old Spanish grant that was confiscated by the government. He then went back to the mines in Placerville at Miner's Ravine where a couple of his children were born.

The family moved to Mendocino County on Rancheree Creek where they mined, and later to Sonoma County, California, and finally to the north of Lookout on Taylor Creek where they farmed and raised John Logan, Mary Frances, Robert Lee, Rachel Elvira, and Thomas Jefferson, Nettie Ann, Ermina Emmanancee and James Walter Crowley.

Martha died in Odessa, Washington, while they were on a visit, Tuesday, February 17, 1903. James died of a broken heart the next day. They are both buried at Harrington cemetery in Lincoln County, Washington.

Information provided by Jean Creswick, February 1998.