Facts and Events
William Crockett enlisted in Oct 1777 as a private 4th class in Capt. Philip Mathias's company, 4th Battalion, Cumberland County (Pennsylvania) militia. After the Revolution, he served in at least two Indian wars, first as a sergeant in a company of volunteers under Capt. David Kennedy, and then in Sep 1794 in Capt. Arnold's company, Price's Battalion, Mounted Kentucky Volunteers. Some of his descendants think he may also have served in the War of 1812, but no documentary evidence of this has been found. (He is also reputed to have been a cousin of David Crockett, of Alamo fame, but this is unlikely and has all the trappings of family myth.)
He apparently traveled to the Iowa Territory in 1844 in company with David H. Rowles and his son-in-law, John N. Massey.
Lucas County, Iowa, 1850 census:S1
Whether the younger William was his son or another relative, I have not been able to determine.
Crockett must have died very soon after the 1850 census -- but apparently not in Lucas County, because he was buried in a small cemetery on the Rowles farm, two miles south of Albia. As the years passed, knowledge of the exact location of the grave's location became lost. Finally, through the efforts of Judge D. M. Anderson and the local D.A.R. chapter, the gravesite was identified. With the consent of relatives (identity not known to me), the grave was opened and the remains placed in a copper box, which was transferred to Oak View Cemetery in Albia, where they now rest. Crockett's story -- what's known of it -- was engraved on a copper plate attached to a large boulder which was placed at the grave by the Betty Zane Chapter, D.A.R. in 1926.
The question, of course, is what relationship (if any) was William Crockett to either David Rowles or John Massey? Remember that Crockett was from Virginia, while Rowles was from Maryland/New York and Massey's family was from Delaware. Since Crockett apparently lived in Indiana immediately before moving on to Iowa, they may all have been acquainted in Fountain County. But why was he buried on the Rowles farm in Monroe County, when he had been living with relatives in Lucas County just a short time before?
It has been suggested to me by another Iowa researcher, Warren Rouse of Albia, that David Rowles may only have taken responsibility for Crockett in return for being assigned his government pension -- apparently a not uncommon practice in those pre-VA days. The problem is complicated by the fact that William Crockett has not been located in the NARA microfilm summary of Revolutionary War pension records.
It may be that William Crockett is no relation to the Rowleses whatever . . . but maybe he is. Anyone with additional information or insight into this little problem is invited to contact me! ---Michael K. Smith