William H. Crofford

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1811 - 1897

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Group of Ministers from Madison Presbytery

Front row, left to right: Isaac Donnell Steele, Robert Austin Alexander Moorman, William Menefee Norment, Francis Marion Cude, Robert W. Black, William H. Crofford
Back row, left to right: Charles Larkin Cochran, John J. Williams, Andrew Newton Stockard, Laurence Eugene Foster


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 Dr. 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]

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Updated July 16, 2012