CROFFORD.--Rev. Wm. H. Crofford was born in Maury County, Tennessee,
Dec. 6, 1811. He was of Scotch-Irish descent. He says in his diary
that he had a pious mother. Where is the preacher who has not
had a good mother? He was brought up to the toil of the farm and
pioneer life with very few of the advantages of schools and churches.
Very early in life, he had religious convictions, but was 21 years
of age before he publicly confessed Christ. This was at Smith's
Chapel and in a grand revival where 179 others found the Savior.
He joined presbytery at Harpeth Lick in the fall of 1833 with
thirteen others. He was licensed to preach in the spring of 1835
and for quite a while "rode the circuit in the big bend of
Tennessee River." He was ordained to the full work of the
gospel ministry in the fall of 1840 by the Shiloh
Presbytery in Yalobusha County, Mississippi. The presbytery
has since been merged into the Oxford
and Yazoo Presbyteries.
He removed to Middle Tennessee, remaining there until 1843 when
he came to West Tennessee, and settled near the present site of
Saulsbury. Here he married Miss Hannah E. Williams, who has long
since preceded him to the spirit world. The union was blessed
with several children. "Uncle Billie," as he was affectionately
called, was a representative type of the pioneer preacher. Educated
by careful and prayerful study of God's word and daily communion
with the God of nature while riding the circuit or at work in
the field--he was none the less educated. For a long time he had
been unable to preach, but in his younger days he was esteemed
and valued as a preacher--a close logical reasoner and a man of
spiritual power. As a Christian and a man there is no stain upon
his escutcheon. As his long-time friend and co-laborer, our beloved
R. A. Moorman, expresses it in his characteristic way,
"Brother Crofford was a pure man all the way through."
He was a liberal man, yet very quiet in his benefactions. I have
a letter written to Rev. I. D. Steele, then of Jackson, Tenn.,
from Rev. A. G. Bergen on the part of the Board of Education,
thanking an unknown donor of $100 to the cause of education. That
donor was "Uncle Billie." He did many things like that
which have not been made known. He died January 16, 1897, eighty-five
years of age. He was buried with Masonic honors. Eternity alone
can reveal the good done in a long consecrated life. One by one
they have fallen and just a few years more and none of our beloved
old men will be left--the ones who have made our church what it
is; who have labored in the heart and in the cold, sowing the
seed with no recompense save the blessing of God's love in their
hearts, and their own approving consciences. Let us honor their
memory, let us emulate their example, let us seek the same spirit
of consecration, and endeavor to serve our day and generation
as faithfully and as well.
W. C. BABER.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, May 27, 1897, page 1535]