Person:John Watts Crunk (1)

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Name John Watts Crunk
Gender Male
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Southwest Virginia Project
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Source Materials

Notebook:John Watts Crunk
Disambiguation:John Crunk

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Overview

See: Timeline:John Watts Crunk for a detailed timeline.

Early Life

John Watts Crunk was the fifth child of Richard Crunk (<1724-1765) and Mary Watson (-1766). He was born about August of 1757, possibly in Virginia, or possibly in North Carolina. Both parents had died by 1766 when he was identified as an orphan. In 1768 he was apprenticed to George Fry "To learn the Art and Mystery of Blacksmith" in Rowan County NC. [1]
From this we presume that his parents were living somewhere within the boundaries of Rowan County. In 1766 that could have been anywhere within the entire northwest corner of modern North Carolina. However, John Watts makes a statement in his pension application that He continued in service a... until the month of March 1778 when he resigned his commission and...and set out to return to his connexions in Guilford Co. This suggests that his remaining family were then living in Guilford County. Depending on how close the "connexion" was this may indicate that his parents were living in the portion of Rowan County that eventually became Guilford County.
Rowan County in 1768, 1778, and today. Cross hatched area indicates portion of Rowan County that became part of Guilford County.
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Rowan County in 1768, 1778, and today. Cross hatched area indicates portion of Rowan County that became part of Guilford County.

The Revolution broke out in shortly before his apprenticeship expired; nonetheless John joined the North Carolina Continental line in 1776 under Captain Davidson, later serving as a first lieutenant in Colonel Fairs Dragoon's. He joined the South Carolina militia in 1778 under Captain Basset during the Cherokee Campaign and was discharged at the end of three months. In 1779 he enlisted in a Virginia militia unit, in an attack on Tory's on the New River.[2]

Southwest Virginia

It is presumably about the time that John enlisted in the Virginia militia unit for the attack on the Tory's, that he settled in southwest Virginia. Our earliest confirmed date for him as a settler is in 1783 when he appears as a juror in a Washington County court case. [3]

Washington County Land records indicate that "John Watts Crunk, purchased 60 acres of land both sides Clinch River, 13 Feb 1786, which places him somewhere along the Clinch River. About 1787 it was "Ordered that John Watts Crunk be overseer of the road from John Blackmore's Old Fort to the Flat Lick", which more clearly places him in the general vicinity of Fort Blackmore, and is significant since his wife Milly is said to be the daughter of John Blackmore[4] owner of Blackmore's Fort. We do not have direct evidence for this marriage. However, there is circumstantial evidence that supports it. In particular, there are a number of court records dealing with various lawsuits that seem to be related to the disposition of the estate of John Blackmore---leastwise, they all involve son's in laws of John Blackmore; John Watts Crump is one of those identified in these suits. Based on the commonly cited DOB for the eldest child of this couple (John Blackmore Crunk, 1786) it seems likely that the marriage took place about 1785.

Later Moves

John Watts moved a number of times over the course of the next 50 years or so. We do not have a good trace on the exact dates of the moves, his presence in various locations being attested to only by the occassional court record, census records, and his pension statements. The following shows where he was living at various times, as best can be told.

YearPlaceBasis
1799
Lee County, VA
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Lee County, VA
Pension statement
1805-1810
Sumner County, TN
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Sumner County, TN
Series of Lawsuits in Sumner county courts.
1819
Madison County, AL
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Madison County, AL
Pension Application
1820-1826
Lincoln County, TN
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Lincoln County, TN
Census Record, Court cases
1827
Davidson County, TN
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Davidson County, TN
Re-issuance of Pension Statement
1831-1842
Wilson County, TN
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Wilson County, TN
Pension Roll, land purchase and subsequent sale; Statement by Nancy Crunk

See Timeline:John_Watts_Crunk for corresponding documentation

The 1820 census record shows John Watt living in Lincoln Co, TN. He is the only man in the household, though there are three white females under to, an done white female between 16 and 26. The females are presumably his daughters. The absence of an older woman would seem to indicate that Milly has died by this date. John would live on another 22 years, dying intestate in December of 1842 at age 85, in Wilson County TN, where he had lived for the past 13 years. Court records for his estate are interpreted by some to indicate that in later years he had remarried, as a "Nancy Crunk" is listed as a wife. This may be a misinterpretation of the original records. John refers to a "compact" in his pension record, reached with his children to care for him in his old age. The wife of one of his sons living in the area, was "Nancy Crunk", and she may have been caring for him in his old age, in accordance to this compact.

Personal Data

Personal Data
NameDatumSource/Basis/Comment
DOB:c August 17571) Abstacts of Court Pleas & Quarter Sessions, Rowan Co., N.C., 1753/62, p.75: "14 Jan 1768; ...John Watts Crunk, Orphant of Richard Crunk, ...being at this time age 10 1/2" Identifies him as being 10 1/2 on 14 January 1768, implying a DOB of about August 1757; 2) "TN Pension Roll of 1835, John W Crunk, Lincoln Co., Tennessee, ... Age 79" is consistent with a DOB of 1757
POB:Orange County VAData on the POB is conflicting. His brother is said to have been born in Virginia, implying that's where his family was living; his mother is said to have been born in NC, which makes it difficult to see how she would have had a son in Orange Co VA. The presumption is that John's father moved to NC from VA, but when he married Mary, and began having children is not clear. Possibly John was born in VA, or possibly in NC. Alterntively, POB of his brother may have been "Orange County, NC" not "Orange County, VA"
DOD:6 DEC 18425th June 1843, Wilson Co., State of Tenn., Josiah S. McClain, Clerk of the Court of monthly _____ at the Court House in the Town of Lebanon (?) in and for said county certified that satisfactory evidence had been exhibited that John W. Crunk was Pensioner, was a resident of the county of Wilson and State of Tennessee and died in the County of Wilson and State of Tennessee in the year 1842 on the 6th day of December. That he left a widow whose name was Nancy Crunk. 2) Pension Record gives DOD as 6 December 1842
POD:Wilson Co, TN
Father:Richard Crunk (<1724-1766)" Abstacts of Court Pleas & Quarter Sessions, Rowan Co., N.C., 1753/62, p.75: 14 Jan 1768; "order'd. that John Watts Crunk, Orphant of Richard Crunk, be bound to George Fry to larn the Art & Mystry of Blacksmith, to sarve his master from this day for 10 1/2 yrs, being at this time 10 1/2, & Fry to give him L.10 worth of tools for his trade & comply with Law in such cases." Identifies his father as RIchard Crunk.
Mother:Mary Watson (Watts) (-1765)The mother of John Watts Crunk is sometimes identified as "Mary Watson", and sometimes as "Mary Watts". Given a middle name of "Watts", some assume that this was his mothers name, but he could have been so named "Watts" after some other member of the family, or after someone to whom he was not even related. Data supporting the identity of his mother, and her maiden name in particular, is needed.
Spouse:Millie "Polly" Blakemore
DOM:c1785Based on DOB of 1786 for oldest child
POM:Russell County, VirginiaBased on assumption that marriage occurred near wife's family, who were centered at Blackmore's Fort, in Russell County.
Children
ChildDOB-DODDispersion Summary/Notes/Sources
John Blackmore Crunk 5 MAR 1786
William CrunkOct. 11, 1787
Felix Crunkc1794
George Crunk 1794
Spouse:Nancy5th June 1843, Wilson Co., State of Tenn., Josiah S. McClain, Clerk of the Court of monthly _____ at the Court House in the Town of Lebanon (?) in and for said county certified that satisfactory evidence had been exhibited that John W. Crunk was Pensioner, was a resident of the county of Wilson and State of Tennessee and died in the County of Wilson and State of Tennessee in the year 1842 on the 6th day of December. That he left a widow whose name was Nancy Crunk. [This needs to be checked. Nancy Crunk may not have been John Watts wife, but a daughterinlaw. WMW 22 April 2008]
DOM:After 1840Based on fact that 1840 census shows him as HOH, but no one else living with him.
POM:Wilson County, TN
Children
ChildDOB-DODDispersion Summary/Notes/Sources
NonePresumptive, based on age, and the fact that this marriage occurred within the last two years of his life. This is probably a marriage of convenience, intended to provide for his care in his final days.

Disambiguation

See: Disambiguation:John Crunk for articles for this name on WeRelate.

There are a number of individuals in the records of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee with similar names, and whose records are confused with each other from time to time. For example, there is a "John Crank" living on the Middle Fork of the Holston in Southwest Virginia by 1774, who has been confused with John Watts Crunk. The later, however, would have been only 12 years of age in 1774; while the two individuals may be related in some way, they are clearly not the same person.

Other individuals whose records have been confused include "John H. Crunk", "William John Crunk" and "John WIlliam Crunk"...... Some record transcriptions for "John W. Crunk" have been rendered by some transcibers with the name spelled "John M. Crunk".

The pension statement quoted extensively for "John W. Crunk" has been identified by some researchers as belonging to "John Watts Crunk" and "John Walter Crunk" See Southern Campaigns for an atribution to John Walter. See Also Rootsweb Alabama Archives. In both cases the name given in the quoted text is "John W. Crunk", with the name "John Walter Crunk" added in the header. It is not clear whether the original makes reference simply to John W. Crunk or to John Walter Crunk. However, the pension application itself clearly describes "John W. Crunk" as living in Lee County, Virginia in 1799. The 1799 tax records for Lee County include a "John Watts Crunk", and not a "John W. Crunk", or "John Walter Crunk" This seems to be consistent with the interpretation that the pension records are indeed for "John Watts Crunk". The microfilm of those records needs to be retrieved to confirm this interpretation.



Footnotes

  1. Abstracts of Court Pleas & Quarter Sessions, Rowan Co., N.C., 1753/62, p.75: "14 Jan 1768; ...John Watts Crunk, Orphant of Richard Crunk, ...being at this time age 10 1/2" Identifies him as being 10 1/2 on 14 January 1768, implying a DOB of about August 1757; 2) "TN Pension Roll of 1835, John W Crunk, Lincoln Co., Tennessee, ... Age 79" is consistent with a DOB of 1757
  2. Pension Record for John Watts Crunk
  3. Annals of Southwest Virginia, Vol. II, Washington Co., p1145. Here he is identified as "John W. Crunk", which seems to exlude "John Crank" who also lived in the area at this time.
  4. The Blackmore surname is highly variable in the surviving records. The name is frequently spelled "Blackamore", "Blackeymore", etc; modern descendants tend to use the spelling variant "Blakemore"