Friday, October 26, 2012

Elisha Cragun Story

This highly used photo is probably not Elisha Cragun son of Patrick Cragun.It is
more likely his nephew, son of James Cragun who settled in St. George, Utah.
The information below is derived from multiple sources. These sources can be viewed in FamilySearch Family Tree under Elisha Cragun (File # LHVN-6TH)  These are a summary of the sources to date:
Some of the information is found in the book Patrick Cragun, descendants in America, 1744-1969: and ancestors and descendants of Edmund Ellis, 1718-1969; documented ... by Eva L. Cragun Heiner
Hopefully this is a dynamic process where I build more to this story.
Elisha Cragun is my grandfather Simeon Cragun’s Grandfather. That would make him my 3rd Great Grandfather.  Elisha is believed to have been born at either Russell County, VA or Sullivan County, TN on February 22, 1786, the second child of Patrick and Rose Alley Cragun. While Elisha's birthplace may have been in doubt, his Virginia connection was certain through his wife. In 1811 he married Mary (Polly) Osborn, daughter of James and Mary (Whitaker) Osborn of Castle's Wood, then in Washington County, Virginia (now Castlewood in Russell County, Virginia). The Osborn's are recorded as being wealthy slave and land owners of the area.

Mary (Polly) Osborne was born December 17th 1790, in Russell Co., Virginia and died December 14th 1844, at Pleasant View, Eagle Twp., Boone Co., Indiana. She was the youngest daughter of James and Mary Osborne, of the Castlewood Settlement. She was married, in 1811, to Elisha Cragun.  Polly's father, James Osborn(e), was a member of the second group of settlers to reach the Castlewood area of Russell County Virginia shortly after 1769. It was a part of the Clinch River settlements in extreme southwest Virginia. His father, Caleb, was owner of a plantation of over 579 acres in the area of Cedar and Dutchman's Creek at the Forks of the Yadkin, Rowan County, North Carolina. James' wife, Mary Whittaker, was (probably) the daughter of one of the Whittakers whose land adjoined that of the Osborn's. Mary, married at age 21, when Elisha was 25. They moved the fifty miles or so to join Patrick and the family in Sullivan County, Tennessee, where Rebecca was born in 1812 after Elisha had departed for army service. Elisha enlisted and Mary was pregnant with Rebecca. Elisha served as a Private on the Union side in the civil war. As was common he received payment of land for his service, some 600 acres in Indiana. He is said to have served with the troops of Gen. Andrew Jackson, at the Battle of New Orleans. Elisha and Mary Cragun removed to Indiana, and settled near Mary's brother, Jonathan Osborne; and near Samuel, John, Cyrus, and Peter Alley. On September 16th 1814, Elisha Cragun entered four surveys on Pipe Creek, at the junction of Metaraora and Butler Twps, in Franklin Co. The land adjoined that of Peter Alley. On March 2nd 1819, Elisha Cragun's younger brother, Caleb, entered a survey in the same area.


Mary’s father, James Osborn was listed as a soldier at Moore's Fort in 1777. It was located at Cassell's Woods and until 1775 had been under the command of Daniel Boone who at that time departed the area to make his second entry into Kentucky. The story of Moore's Fort and the names of its' soldiers on June 30, 1777 can be found in the Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, Pub#4, 1986, of the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia. James died on Dec 14, 1821 leaving to his widow the dwelling house, 1/3 of that tract of land and two Negroes. The remainder of his farm and eight Negroes were left to his son, Solomon. His other children, including Polly Cragun, Elisha's wife, were each bequeathed a certain undisclosed sum of money.

In 1814, Elisha and Polly left Sullivan County, TN with their daughter, Rebecca, and on September 16th. entered four surveys of land near Jonathan's property and adjoining property of Peter Alley along Pipe Creek, at the junction of Metamora and Butler Townships in Franklin County, IN. Apparently, Elisha's entry into Indiana was delayed by service in the war of 1812 in which his brothers Isaac and John also served. Both John and Elisha are said to have served with the troops of General Andrew Jackson.

Later, on March 2, 1819, Elisha's younger brother, Caleb, twin of Joshua, entered a survey in the same area in Franklin County as Elisha and married the widowed Sarah (Alley) Jones with two children. By 1828, Joshua Cragun also settled in Franklin County; however, sometime between 1825 and 1827, Elisha and Polly moved on to Noble Township near Richland in Rush County after that land was opened for settlement following the St. Mary's Treaty with the Indians. One can only be impressed with the way Elisha and his family kept following the frontier. As new lands were opened for settlement, they moved into them and developed farms bringing civilization along with them. They settled land and cultivated it in contrast to speculators of the time who claimed and simply held land against the hope of increased prices thus retarding both settlement and development of the frontier as it moved west. With the exception of Rebecca, who had married and established her own home with Aaron Beeman in Rush County, in 1835 Elisha, Mary, and their nine other children claimed land in Boone County, cleared it of growth including the black walnut trees which grew in abundance and began to farm near what became known as the Pleasant View Community in Eagle Township between Zionsville and Whitestown 

Between 1825and 1827, Elisha Cragun and family moved to Richland, Rush Co., Ind. About 1835, they went on to Boone County Indiana. There, the land was thickly timbered, and the great black walnut trees were felled and burned. It was at Pleasant View, Boone Co., Indiana, that Mary (Osborne) Cragun died. Note that when Elisha’s son’s family, Simeon immigrated to Utah, they were the first to settle in the area they named Pleasant View.

Mary died three days after, her daughter, Abigail, died and was buried by her side. One of the great trees was left to mark the graves of mother and daughter. The land is lush and green, and a stream flows through the Pleasant View churchyard. Mary’s death was on December 14, 1844, less than two years after joining the Mormon Church. This is now the location of Hutton Memorial Cemetery East of Whitestown where several family members have been buried.

Elisha had encountered two Mormon missionaries - Nathan T. Porter, and Wilber Earl. Their doctrine appealed to Elisha and his wife, Mary. A very good friend, Henry Mower, a Methodist minister, had been converted to the Latter-day Church of Jesus Christ and he also influenced their faith and baptized Elisha 15 March 1843 at Jackson's Run."

Elisha is believed to have departed with a party from Nauvoo headed for Utah and got as far as Council Bluffs, Iowa or Winter Quarters, Nebraska where he died during the winter of 1846-47 at age 61. No record of his grave has been found, but he may be buried in one of the nearly 800 unmarked graves at the cemetery near the encampment at Florence, Nebraska on Rt.#75, north of Omaha, a victim of a cholera epidemic that winter.

Elisha had followed in the path of Mary’s fat her being a big  land and slave owner. It seems he gave that all up to move to being near the center of the church and then joining the Trek West, in who itch he died

Note that his youngest daughter, Sara jane died in  1847 at age 14.

Elisha’s father Patrick died in Boone County, Indiana, probably moving there to be near his family.  Patrick Cragun was of record in Sullivan Co., Tennessee, in 1795. But, he was in Russell Co., Virginia, in 1806, when he was exempt from county levies, on 2 3 account of age and bodily infirmity. He was back in Sullivan Co. in 1812.

Elisha and  Mary Osborne Cragun (1790 - 1844)  had 10 children:  Simeon is our ancestor.

He lived: 1820 was in Brookville, Indiana (See Census on Tree) In 1 830 Census he is in Rush Indiana. Not much is known about the family during this period.

Heiner also reports that Elisha sold all or part of his holding to Washington St. Clair on September 8, 1845. This perhaps marks the breakup of the homestead done in preparation for the next shift to the west, which is explained by Heiner as follows: "During their moves from one county to another, After the death of his wife and daughter and sale of his property, Elisha made his way to Nauvoo, Illinois, to be near the head of the church there receiving a Patriarchal Blessing on November 10, 1845. Heiner also reports that Elisha was accompanied by several members of his family. With him at Nauvoo were his sister, Elizabeth, and brother, Syren. The record also shows that all of his surviving children except Hiram departed for the west. Two sons, James and Simeon and three daughters: Mary, Tyresha, and Tabitha ultimately completed the treck and settled in Utah. Rebecca Cragun Beeman and her family were reported by her son, Elisha, living in 1909 near Elizaville, Indiana, to have gone as far as Council Bluffs, Iowa, and then turned back for unknown reasons. Elisha Cragun's fifth child, Enoch, and his wife, Molly (Peters), got as far west as Missouri then went north to Minnesota establishing a branch of the family which still lives in the area of Brainard, Minnesota. Sara Jane, Elisha's youngest child, is reported to have died in 1847 or 1848. Nothing further is known of her.

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