Biography of William B. Crabtree

The subject of this sketch was born in Alabama, in 1817, the son of a Mr. Crabtree who emigrated from Ireland in his youth. William B., in 1837, went to Miller County, Arkansas, settling on McKinney Bayou, near Red River, where he commenced farming and continued it until the close of the war, when he lost 250 bales of cotton by fire, at a time when that staple was worth fifty cents per pound. Parting with nearly one hundred slaves, Mr. Crabtree moved to the Creek Nation, where he had many strange and varied adventures. It should have been stated before that this gentleman served in the war between Texas and Mexico, and there acquitted himself honorably. In his sojourn in Texas he had opportunities of gratifying his love for hunting, as game was at that time plentiful, and Mr. Crabtree was a celebrated hunter, one of the great bear-hunters of that day; a day which was remarkable for men of the Davy Crockett stamp, of which the subject of our sketch might well be numbered. Returning from Mexico, Mr. Crabtree became an extensive slave-trader, purchasing large numbers in the Creek Nation and elsewhere and carrying them South, where they brought a much higher price. Mr. Crabtree married a Miss Priscilla McGirth, whose father was a man of considerable prominence among the Creeks in the old country. After this he moved from the Alabama Reservation, at his own personal expense, a considerable band of Indians. By this marriage Mr. Crabtree had nine children, three of whom are still living, Susan (now Mrs. Simpson), born in 1841; William F., born in 1846, and James H., born in 1849. For some time before his death Mr. Crabtree showed symptoms of failing health, and, with the hope of relief, went to Eureka Springs, where he died of kidney disease in the fall of 1882. His body was sent for burial to Eufaula, where he had lived for many years, beloved and respected by all who knew him. He was a self-educated man, of qualities such as are certain accompaniments to success in business. He died worth about $10,000 in cattle and other property. Mr. Crabtree was generous and charitable, of unquestionable integrity, and greatly beloved by all who knew him. He was a fine-looking man, six feet high and weighed 220 pounds.


Indian Territory,

O'Beirne, Harry F. and Edward S. The Indian Territory: Its Chiefs, Legislators, and Leading Men. St. Louis. 1898.

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