THOMAS CRUTCHER 1818 - Aft. 1884
(Clerk of the County Court, Paris). In the "History of Monroe County" there is no one more justly entitled to respect and esteem, or who stands higher as a man and citizen in the estimation of all who know him, than the subject of this sketch. Mr. Crutcher has been a resident of this county for over half a century - from early youth - and from the first his life has been one without a stain or the suspicion of a wrong act, and devoted throughout with intelligence, earnestness and unfaltering fidelity to the best interests of those among whom he has lived. Nor has his personal worth and value passed unrecognized by those around him. Time and time again he has been called into the public service, and in no single instance when he was a candidate before the people have they withheld their confidence and support. Mr. Crutcher is a native of Kentucky, born in Lincoln county, July 16, 1818. His father was Charles Crutcher, a native of Virginia, and lived there until nearly 40 years of age and then removed to Kentucky, where he lived until 1831, when he came to Monroe county. His mother’s maiden name was Elizabeth Jones. She was a native of Virginia. Thomas Crutcher, the eleventh of twelve children, was 13 years of age when the family removed to this State. They settled in Monroe county, where the parents lived until their deaths. The father died June 1, 1864, the mother some time previous. They were highly esteemed residents of the county and their memory is cherished by their surviving children and by all who knew them as that of those whose lives were useful and just, and kind and true in every relation, whether in the family or in the community. Charles Crutcher opened a farm here and became comfortably situated. He introduced the raising of wheat in the county and sowed the first wheat ever grown within its borders. Thomas Crutcher, the subject of this sketch, remained on the farm only a short time after the family came to Monroe county. His health being quite delicate, it was thought best for him to engage in some in-door pursuit. He, therefore, came to Paris in 1834, and entered a store here to learn merchandising. His opportunities for an education had been quite limited, but he had picked up a sufficient knowledge of books to understand reading and writing and the elementary rules of arithmetic. This sufficed him to begin with, and practical experience in the store, together with study when not otherwise occupied, soon made him a young man of superior business qualifications. Later along he engaged in merchandising on his own account, and continued it with steadily increasing success for a number of years. Mr. Crutcher possesses to a marked degree many of the qualities that make men popular with those around them. Of a kindly, humane disposition, transparently honest, and manifestly concerned for the good and the feelings of others, accommodating to the last degree, generous in impulses, and agreeable and pleasant in manners, he became one of the most popular business men in Paris and throughout the county. In 1840, although but 22 years of age, he was elected sheriff of Monroe county by an overwhelming majority, and is said to have been one of the youngest sheriffs who ever occupied that office in the State. In 1842 he was re-elected, filling the offices of sheriff and collector for four years without opposition. After the expiration of his last term he resumed merchandising at Paris, and continued it until the outbreak of the war. Though sympathizing strongly with his friends in the South, Mr. Crutcher was devotedly attached to the Union, but did not feel justified in engaging on either side in the suicidal and unhappy conflict between the two sections. In order, therefore, to avoid becoming mixed up in the troubles of the times in this section of the State, he removed with his family to Quincy, Ill., and remained there until the restoration of peace. Returning to Paris after the war, he resumed merchandising and followed it without interruption until 1873, when he was appointed county clerk to fill out the unexpired term of William N. Penn, deceased. At the expiration of this term he was elected to that office and has since been re-elected, continuing to hold it up to the present time. On the 12th. day of April, 1838, Mr. Crutcher was married to Miss Esther J. Glenn, a daughter of Hugh Glenn, Esq., deceased, formerly of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Crutcher had nine children, four of whom are living, namely: Sarah E., wife of E. W. Crutcher of the State of Nevada; Ana B., wife of R. H. West of this place; William L., his only son, now residing in Nevada, on account of failing health, and Essie J., wife of James A. Curtright, now deputy county clerk under Mr. Crutcher. Of the 12 children in the family of Mr. Crutcher’s parents, six sons and as many daughters, only three of the family, including himself, are living, namely: his youngest brother, Milton, now on the old family homestead in this county, and Ambrose, four miles south of Paris. Mr. Crutcher’s father lived to the advanced age of 89 years, and his father’s only brother, Samuel, lived to be 88 years of age. Their father also lived to be 88. Mr. Crutcher, himself, is now 66 years of age. Though not a man of the most robust physique, he is yet well preserved, and possessed of great natural recuperative power. He is brighter in mind and conversation than many, a decade or more his juniors, and indeed, he seems to be in the meridian of life mentally. Having lived in the county for so many years, he is possessed of an apparently inexhaustible fund of reminiscences and incidents which throw a clear light upon the condition of society and the country in the times to which they refer. When Mr. Crutcher came to Monroe county, there was not a schoolhouse or church building in the county, and the nearest settlement to the present site of Paris was 16 miles away. The first church was built in 1832, a primitive log structure, erected by the Old School Baptists, and afterwards the Methodists came in and built a church, who were soon followed by the Christian denomination. He contributed to the first Christian Church erected in the county, and he and wife have been members of that denomination for over 40 years. But he has lived to see a mighty change in the country. And in this wonderful transformation he, himself, has borne a most worthy part. As a citizen, no one has taken a more public-spirited and intelligent interest in the general progress of the country. He has been active in its public and business affairs, and in the advancement of the cause of education, of church interests, and of every movement designed for the general good. He has always been a warm friend to popular education, and has had the satisfaction to see his life-long views approved by the general sentiment of the country. Where formerly there was not a schoolhouse in the county, there are now more than a hundred, where instruction is given to the young. To the churches his liberality has been limited only by his means, for no one ever showed greater generosity according to his ability to give. He also took an active interest in the construction of the railroad running in the county; and in everything that would contribute to the material, social or general welfare of the people, he has taken a worthy part. He assisted to effect the first town organization of Paris, and was a member of the first town council. Mr. Crutcher’s life has been one of unceasing activity, directed by a generous ambition to make himself useful to those around him, and to do as much good and as little harm in the world as possible, according to the talents given him. And looking back over his long and useful life, it must be admitted that his has been a career to which as little blame attaches, and in which there is as much to challenge the esteem and good opinions of his fellow-men, as seldom falls to the lot of one to make. A man of the most generous and unselfish impulses, in whose nature warm and noble humanity prevails over, perhaps, any other characteristic, as upright in thought and deed as the purest and best, his whole life has been an unbroken chain of duty faithfully and well performed, and of kind and generous acts untiringly done. All over the county he is known and esteemed as one of the best of men, and wherever his name is spoken it is uttered with that consideration and respect which evinces the high regard in which he is held. Elected time and again to public office, no one can hope to be a successful candidate for any position which he will consent to fill, so long as he is able to discharge its duties and will accept the place. Through this whole section of country his name stands as a synonym for honesty and integrity, for noble and generous humanity, and for all the purer and better qualities of head and heart. In very looks he is a man to be trusted and reverenced, for his heart seems to be open to all who approach him, and to know Uncle Thomas Crutcher, as he is called far and wide, is to know, as all believe, the noblest work of God, a good and true and noble and downright honest man.

From the Book: History of Monroe and Shelby Counties, Missouri
Published by: National Historical Company, 1884.
Author: Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry

* Index to biographies from Monroe County

* As a means of funding its publication, the 1884 History of Monroe County contained numerous biographies paid for by local residents and business owners who wished their lives to be captured in print. The information contained within is both informative and entertaining but, as with any telling of history, may or may not be entirely accurate.


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