Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Crippen Family. New Clues in the Search for Ancestors.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Our Great Great Great Grandmother Sarah Martha Crippen, who married Levi Dennis is the last of the Crippens on our family line. She was born in 1814 in Knox, County Tennessee. After her the Crippen line comes to an abrupt end.

Today I spent several hours working on this line hoping to make a breakthrough. The result of that work (which isn't much, but in tracing family lines anything to show for a day's work must be considered a victory or you can really become discouraged) is given below.

First, a few explanations.
  1. There are no records of Sarah's parents. Period.
  2. Without records, one broadens the search for the family name. I found a few Crippens living in Knox County Tennessee in 1814. They are all in the same Crippen line. I'm taking into account that the population of Knox County was relatively small in 1814. Tennessee was considered, the Far West. It was Indian country and not always safe. Here are the population facts from the Census of 1810. Knox County. Population: 10,171. Land area: 526 square miles. The population of the county seat (Knoxville) was 810. That meant the other 9,300 people were spread out over 500+ square miles meaning about 18 people per square mile.
  3. Knowing that Tennessee was made a state in 1796, and knowing that back then if you had the same last name as someone else living in your "neck of the woods" then you were related to some degree or another.
  4. Therefore, the chances that our Grandmother Sarah Martha Crippen being related to the Crippens showing up on the county records for that time period is likely.
I list other pieces of evidence in the Relationship Chart given below. So, knowing all of this - here is a strongest contender yet for the origin of our Crippen line. Our link to the line comes with with one of not both of the couples colored 'red'.

Proposed Crippen Relationship Chart

John Crippen b. 1720 Conn. married Elizabeth James
John and Elizabeth moved to Knox County, Tennessee. Both died there.
Children were:

John Crippen. .

Margaret Crippen

Elizabeth Crippen

James Osborn Crippen. married. Martha Patsy Hall.
Interesting side notes. Our grandmother’s middle name was Martha (Sara Martha Crippen). We also know that Sara Martha named one of her daughters Nancy Jane. James Osborn Crippen and Martha Patsy Hall had a daughter also named Nancy Jane. If our Sara Martha Crippen was not a member of this family, then this Nancy Jane may have been an cousin.

George Crippen b. 1792.
Possible parent of Sarah Martha. We know he married. Spouse unknown

From this line of Crippens, Living in Knox County Tennessee at the time our Great Grandmother Sarah Martha Crippen was born (1814) I believe we can then trace our line.....

Sarah Martha Crippen b. 1814 Knox, Tennessee. married Levi Dennis b. 1812. Tenn.
John Mayberry Dennis b. 1844 Knox, Tenn. married Isabel McCrilles b. 1851 Vt.
Vesta Althea Dennis b. 1892. Hot Springs SD married Walter Edwin Pierce b. 1885 SD.
Violet Mae Pierce married Walter Albert Mattson
Luella, Linda, John, Marvin

I will continue to search, but until concrete evidence of Sarah's parentage emerges, then this Crippen line, in my opinion, will stand as the strongest possible candidate.



  1. i live in texas and my last name is crippen it comes from my fathers side of the family

  2. I am looking for information on John W Crippen and his Ancestors. I'm at a dead end. Thanks!

    John W Crippen (1820 - 1925) Lived most of his life in Ohio Married to Anna ?

    Augustus C Crippen (1841 - 1914)
    Birth 15 Mar 1841 in Petersburgh, Boon,Kentucky, USA
    Death 3 Aug 1914 in Springfield, Mo Homesteaded in Oklahoma. Civil War Union Soldier 27th Regiment, Ohio Infantry
    Son of John W Crippen

    Jesse Bailey Crippen (1878 - 1954)
    Birth 27 Feb 1878 in Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri, USA
    Death 15 May 1954 in LOS ANGELES, California Son of Augustus C Crippen

    My maiden name was Crippen

  3. eari crippen cherokee county iowa born 1899 who knows of him

  4. I am currently in Huron, SD (retiring in June 2012 and returning to Alabama). I was born in Knoxville and as far as I know, am the only one doing work on the Knoxville Crippen families. I am familiar with Sarah but don't know what information I have (most info is packed), but will share all I have as soon as I get settled.

    Donald Cowan Crippen