Saturday, June 13, 2015

Swamp Fox


So here I am on a Saturday morning, doing what I need to do to get my Crump Field Baseball project finished. Much of my research is complete and I'm in the fact checking mode today, not a pleasant task for a researcher like me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE researching. I LOVE finding all kinds of interesting facts, which is where the unpleasantness fits in. I find interesting facts NOT related to what I need, but hey, I think, maybe some day. So I spend time dabbling. Fun, but not productive.

Which is why, in writing a rough draft for a 1950's era baseball field out in the foothills of North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, I end up spending over an hour (or three) working on something that will end up being one sentence long, maybe just one phrase long.

The original Crump (ancestor to the Crump field Crumps) arrived in America as Johann Krumm, a Hessian soldier in the service of the British Army, a paid mercenary. His early military record is easy to trace. 

Remember this famous picture by Emanuel Leutz, Washington Crossing the Delaware? Well, Johann Krumm was waiting on the other side, maybe not aware that he was waiting since this was a surprise attack, but still, being there counts as waiting.

He was captured and according to ancestry records, held prisoner until he was used as a pawn in a prisoner exchange and sent to Georgia, where he left the British side and fled to Charlotte, North Carolina. Mecklenburg. German. Of course he went there. That's where he found a German settlement. He joined the American Army, fought for them. I know because I found his military record. He was captured again, this time by the British he once fought alongside. He was released. Again. And according to the family records, joined up with a guerrilla style warfare group under the leadership of Francis Marion. The Swamp Fox. Only thing is, that fact I can't find.

That picture might show what life was like with this historical figure, but here's the Swamp Fox I remember from growing up in the fifties and sixties:
From Walt Disney Productions
It was a TV show starring Leslie Nielsen, and as my brother and I watched faithfully, my mother would again (and again and again) tell the story of how she got her name. Frances. Her brother, Marion. Her ancestor fought with Francis Marion in the swamps of South Carolina, she said. I never doubted. I never questioned the fact that we were from Pennsylvania and he was a leader local to South Carolina. I never asked which ancestor.

Big mistake.

Searching and researching for this Crump ancestor to verify his story, I ran across a list of Marion's Brigade, compiled by South Carolina historian Victoria Proctor. No Crump, no Crumm nor Krumm, nor any spelling variation I've run across. A little air went out of my balloon. Okay, so there is a statement that "formal muster rolls were virtually non-existent." This list relied on secondary sources. Would family lore qualify?

It would be more like a history professor told me out of the corner of his mouth, every family in the south claims some unspecified ancestor fought with Francis Marion. And then, much to my chagrin, he went on to remark, every family in the south has a baby named Francis. Or Marion. Now I understand his derision. But wait. Was he talking about MY family?

So today I looked for family last names that could be even remotely connected to me. There it was. Fleming. Eight of them listed. Someday I'll check the connection. Not today because today I'm working on researching other things. But maybe some day...

Catch of the day,


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