Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
LOUIS ALLEN DICKEN CRENSHAW. Few men of a past generation in Greene county were held in higher esteem than the late Louis Allen Dicken Crenshaw, who, now that life's fitful fever is over, is sleeping serenely in the "windowless palaces of rest." Although more than a quarter of a century has elapsed since he was an actor in the local arena of material affairs, his memory is still revered by a vast circle of friends who knew him well and admired him, for he was a man in whom all took delight, owing to his sterling honesty, his indomitable industry, his charitable nature and his readiness to help in the furtherance of any movement looking to the general upbuilding of the community. He was one of our sterling pioneer citizens to whom we owe so much, for he came here when little improvement had been made, and, working long and hard, redeemed, with others, the fertile fields and the fine farms which we of today enjoy and which are now so valuable. We can never say too much regarding these splendid, brave and courageous pioneers who literally took their own lives in their hands, and, not counting the cost, cast their lot in a new country, away from the pleasant hearthstones of their ancestors and the advantages of more advanced civilization. Mr. Crenshaw by his own efforts rose to be one of the most substantial men in the community, was one of the county's most extensive land owners and largest farmers and stock men, and influential in public affairs.
Mr. Crenshaw was born in 1821 in Nashville, Tennessee, and was a son of William and Susanna (Ward) Crenshaw. The father was a native of Virginia, a representative of a prominent family, members of which built the capitol building in Richmond, and the Crenshaws owned the mansion which was used by the Confederate president in Richmond. The mother of the subject of this memoir was born in North Carolina; her father, emigrated from that state to Nashville, Tennessee, when it was a little more than a fort. To William and Susanna Crenshaw four sons and one daughter were born.
Louis A. D. Crenshaw spent his early life in Tennessee. When a boy he assisted his father, who was a wholesale grocery merchant in Nashville. In 1839, when just entering young manhood, our subject removed with his father to Greene county, Missouri, and. located on a farm. Later the father purchased another farm, on which he spent the rest of his life.
In, 1849 Mr. Crenshaw went to California, crossing the plains at the head of a large train of wagons drawn by oxen and loaded with provisions and merchandise of all kinds. He took with him twenty-seven men, who gave their services for their expenses on the trip. One of this number was later well known as Governor McClurg, of Missouri, being honored with the highest office in the gift of the people of this state. While in California, Lewis A. D. Crenshaw fitted up a store with the merchandise which he had taken to the coast, and then sold his stock and all his wagons at a big price. This business sagacity was characteristic of him. He seemed always to recognize the full value of an opportunity and by the wise use thereof he gained success. In all of his dealings he was thoroughly reliable and his efforts upon the Pacific coast gave him a good start. After about a year he returned by way of the Panama route and New York to Missouri. Again settling in Springfield, he engaged in dealing in mules and likewise became interested in a wholesale hardware business and other undertakings. He also made extensive investments in land and resided upon a large ranch of about three thousand acres four miles south of Springfield, which, since his death, has been divided into several farms. He planted forty acres in black walnuts, which made a magnificent grove. On this place he built a commodious substantial and at that time, elegant home, in the old Colonial style of architecture, and near by stands a large, expensive barn. Here his widow, who owns the place, still spends the summer months, but lives in Springfield with her daughter in the winter time. Mr. Crenshaw was one of the principal contractors and builders of the Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Memphis railroad, commonly known as the "Gulf" line, which is now a part of the Frisco system, his operations being between Springfield and Ash Grove, this county, and he owned considerable stock in that road.
Mr. Crenshaw was twice married, first, in 1851, to Louise Crenshaw, whose death occurred in September, 1865, having borne her husband six children. On June 20, 1867, Mr. Crenshaw married Fanny Smith, who was born in Nashville, Tennessee, May 28, 1841. She is a daughter of John T. and Elizabeth (Shockwell) Smith, the father and the mother natives of Georgia. To John T. Smith and wife six children were born, only one of whom, Mrs. Fanny Crenshaw, is still living. She grew to womanhood in Nashville, and there received her education, being graduated from a seminary there in 1857.
Eight children were born to our subject's second marriage, seven of whom are still living, namely: Susanah, born May 10, 1869, married Dr. J. W. Love; they live with her mother and they have two children, Louis C. and Bettie Love; Anna W., Mrs. Shepard; Edith is deceased; Dicken W.; Smith S.; Aileen Sandridge; Thomas, and Clara C., who is the wife of Allen Earley.
Politically, Louis A. D. Crenshaw was a Whig, later a Greenbacker, and finally a Democrat. He was a strong supporter of the Union during the Civil war times. When he was but a boy he was a deputy constable. His death occurred on his fine farm near Springfield on December 23, 1884.
Springfield-Greene County Library