Crosby Family


CROSBY. The Crosby family has been creditably represented in Armstrong county, the late Judge Samuel M. Crosby, of the borough of Leechburg, William Crosby, a farmer of Parks township, and Ebenezer B. Crosby, a resident of Manor township, being brothers, sons of Samuel Crosby. James Crosby, the grandfather, was born in Scotland and came from that country to America when a young man, settling in western Pennsylvania, where he died. He was a weaver by trade.

Samuel Crosby, son of James, was born Oct. 13, 1801, near Tyrone, Pa., and followed farming in Parks (then Allegheny) township, Armstrong county. He bought four hundred acres of land, most of which he cleared himself. Selling two farms from this tract, he retained ownership of 160 acres and there spent the rest of his life, dying Jan. 1, 1884. He is buried in the Crosby lot in the Leechburg cemetery. His wife, Jane (Gourley), daughter of George Gourley, was born Dec. 8, 1808, and died June 11, 1867; she is buried in the same lot. They had a large family; James died in Allegheny township Oct. 25, 1838, aged ten years, eleven months, twenty-four days; George C. died in that township Feb. 2, 1853, aged twenty-three years, six months, fifteen days; John R. died in Allegheny township June 10, 1856, aged twenty-five years, six months, twenty-one days (all three are buried in the Crosby lot in the Leechburg cemetery); Samuel M. is mentioned below; William is mentioned below; Levi Graves, always known as Graves S., is mentioned below; Ebenezer B. is living in Manor township; Maria married Abraham Warner; Sarah married Findley Hill and (second) Anderson Gourley; Mary Jane died May 10, 1853 aged four years, seven months, three days, and is buried in the family lot; Martha is the widow of Dr. Joseph Smith and is living at Apollo, Pennsylvania.

SAMUEL M. CROSBY, son of Samuel, was born May 6, 1833, on the family homestead in Allegheny (now Parks) township, and there began his education in the public schools. Later he was a pupil at the Leechburg Academy, after which he engaged in teaching school, which profession he followed for nine terms, in Armstrong county. After the war he made a trip West and South, remaining some time, and later engaged in the mercantile business at North Apollo for a number of years. Having always been ambitious to study law he sold out and began reading with his brother, Graves S. Crosby, who practiced at Parker and Kittanning, and also read law with Wilson Jenks, at Clarion, Pa., being admitted to the bar in Clarion county, in the year 1873. He only practiced there a short time, however, before he was admitted to the Armstrong county bar, and from that time until 1888 he engaged in practice in his native county. He was admitted to the Supreme court of Pennsylvania in 1887. In 1888 he went out to Omaha, Nebr., where he was admitted to the bar and entered upon practice, and he was also admitted to practice in Utah. He continued to follow his profession at Omaha for a period of fifteen years, during which he was very successful. Coming back to his home county upon the death of his wife, he ever afterward remained there, making his home on Grant street, in the borough of Leechburg, where he led a retired life until his death, March 11, 1914. He was probably best know as Judge Crosby, having served six years as municipal judge in Omaha, Nebr. He was a man whose high integrity and honorable character commanded the respect of all who knew him. His life was interesting and eventful, and he was a useful member of the profession of his choice.

In December, 1880, Judge Crosby married Jennie Beggs, of Parker, who was born Dec. 5, 1857, and died April 25, 1903, in Omaha, Nebr. She is buried in the Crosby family lot in the Leechburg cemetery. Until their removal West they lived in Leechburg, where he built a fine residence. Mr. and Mrs. Crosby reared one child, Glennie Bowers Crosby, daughter of Lewis Bowers, who died at Leechburg when his daughter was but three years old.

Fraternally Judge Crosby was a Mason, first holding membership in the Blue Lodge at Parkers Landing and later transferring to Leechburg Lodge, No. 577, F. & M., with which he was connected until his death. In politics he was a Republican. During the Civil war he entered the 78th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Sirwell, was elected lieutenant of Company I, and served with the Army of the Cumberland.

WILLIAM CROSBY, son of Samuel and Jane (Gourley), was born Aug. 26, 1835, in Allegheny (now Parks) township, Armstrong county. He attended the common schools and Leechburg Academy, and during his young manhood taught school for seven winters in his native township. He has since devoted all his time to farming, in 1881 buying a part of the old Jacob Hill farm, in Parks township, from his father-in-law. He has a tract of 104 acres, and he and his wife have worked together to improve this place according to the most approved standards, they having erected all the buildings, planted all the trees, and made all the numerous changes which have transformed it into a valuable property. Mr. Crosby follows general agriculture in his operations. He is progressive in his work and ideas, and has been very prominent in the work of the Grange in his section. He was the second man in the State of Pennsylvania to hand in his name for the National Grange. He organized the Laurel Point Grange and was its master for many years. The hall in which its meetings are held is on his property, Mr. Crosby charging nothing for the site as long as it is used for Grange purposes. With the exception of two years during which he served as master, Mr. W. F. Hill has been secretary of this Grange since its organization, Feb. 8, 1890. Mrs. Crosby, who is well known in the community as "Aunt Eliza," was one of the charter members and has always taken an active part in the work. Mr. James G. McSparran, of Lancaster, Pa., has delivered a number of lectures in this section, some of them in the Laurel Point Grange hall, and he has made his headquarters with Mr. Crosby when here. There are few more respected citizens than Mr. Crosby in this section. He has done much for the general welfare, and has shown by his own success that he is practical and efficient in all he undertakes. He has a good gas well in operation on his farm, providing gas for all domestic purposes in his home. The farm is underlaid with coal which also enhances its value.

On Nov. 24, 1859, Mr. Crosby married Eliza A. Hill, daughter of Jacob and Hannah (Ulam) Hill. They have no children, Mr. and Mrs. Crosby are members of the Presbyterian Church at Leechburg, and he affiliates with Leechburg Lodge, No. 577, F. & A. M. In politics Mr. Crosby is a Republican, and he has been somewhat active in his locality, serving as school director.

GRAVES S. CROSBY, brother of Samuel M. and William Crosby, was born Jan. 29, 1843. He studied law, and became one of the foremost attorneys at the Armstrong county bar. After being admitted to practice he opened an office at Parkers Landing, during the time of the oil excitement there. During his spare time while there he wrote his book, "Platonic Love," published in 1875, which met with considerable success. Later he located at Kittanning, where he continued in practice until his death, which occurred at Leechburg, at the comparatively early age of forty-three, May 6, 1886. He is buried in the Crosby family lot in the Leechburg cemetery. During the Civil war he served in the 139th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment.

Source: Pages 555-556, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 1998 by Connie Mateer for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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