William J. McCroskey


In his comfortable home in Valley View, [1]William J. McCroskey is enjoying a well earned retirement, and can look back upon forty-three years of residence in North Texas, most of it at that time having been spent in the toil and practical management of farming and stock raising, out of which in spite of many adverse conditions, he achieved a prosperity sufficient for his declining years.


Mr. McCroskey, who is an ex-Confederate soldier, was born in Sullivan County, Tennessee, March 1, 1837.  His grand-father, James McCroskey was of Irish ancestry and spent his last years on a farm in what is now West Virginia.  James McCroskey married a Miss Duff, and several of their decendants subsequently bore the Christian Name of Duff.


Mathew McCroskey, father of the Valley View citizen, was born in Virginia, was a farmer and also a Methodist minister.  He married Elizabeth Hickey, lived for many years in Tennessee, and in 1843 moved to [2]Green County Missouri, and spent the rest of his life in the southwestern part of that state.  His children were ten in number:  Rachel, who married Benjamin Patterson; Jane wife of Joe Merritt; Margaret, second wife of Joe Merritt; Martha who married John McCroskey; William J. of Valley View; Mrs. Mary Barnes; Amanda who died unmarried; Mrs. Ellen Glenn; Charlotte, who married Hamilton Doran; and [3]Duff who lives on the old farm in Missouria. 


William J. McCroskey was six years of age when his parents moved to the vicinity of Springfield Missouria.  He grew up on a farm in that rugged district and farming was the vocation which he took up when he became of age.  The McCroskey home was within four miles of the battlefield of Wilson Creek, and those at home could clearly hear the sounds of that battle.  Soon afterwards William McCroskey entered the [4]Confederate army.


He was wounded in the fight at Corinth and taken prisoner, later paroled and sent to the hospital for wounded Confederates at Iuka, and after recovering he rejoined his command at Vicksburg.  He was in service until the end of the war, and following that worked several months for wages as a farm hand in Illinois.  Returning to Missouria he located in Saline County and was a farmer in that rich and prosperous section of central Missouria until he came to Texas.


When he left Saline County in 1877 he had a family of wife and four children.  They traveled with two wagons and teams and made the thousand mile journey without incident in about four weeks.  Two other children were born after they came to Texas.  Mr. McCroskey located five miles southeast of Valley View.  His land comprised 280 acres, practically virgin soil and it was the task of many years to develop it into a productive general farm.


His first home contained only two rooms, and out of necessity this had to be sufficient until he had the money to build a better one.  Mr. McCroskey was not a [5]capitalist when he came to Texas and he had to realize something from his labors every season in order to maintain his family.  For three years he gave his time exclusively to the raising of grain.  In later years he planted a limited crop of cotton. 


For his land he paid only five dollars an acre and added to his holdings until he had more than half a [6]section.  Forty years ago Cooke County was more of a stock region than strictly farming country.  Few of the farms were fenced and there was an almost unlimited range for livestock.  Mr. McCroskey utilized some of this pasture for his modest ventures as a stock man and he was never in the business on an extensive scale, selling his surplus to local buyers.  He and his neighbors took no pride in pure bred cattle, handling only the stock usually found in Texas at the time, inferior grades and scrubs.  Mr. McCroskey diligently cultivated and occupied his farm for thirty years.  He went through the ups and downs of markets, much of his wheat selling for less than a dollar a bushel, some of his cotton bringing four cents a pound, though at one time cotton was only three cents a pound.


While he has never been in politics or public affairs it is safe to say there is no more highly esteemed and substantial citizen of Cooke County than Mr. McCroskey.  He was for several years a trustee of his county school district and he and Mrs. McCroskey took an active part in the organizing and maintenance of the [7]Methodist Church in their community and he served as a steward of the congregation.


It was in 1867, only a year or so after he left the army that Mr. McCroskey [8]married Benanna Elliott.  She was [9]born and reared in Saline County Missouria, daughter of Benjamin and Angeline Elliot.  The oldest of their children is Duff D. now a resident of Vernon Texas; Lena, wife of C. L. Miller of Cooke County; Charles, who lives at El Paso; Miss Vannie V. lives at Valley View; Walter is in Tom Green County, and Ethel the youngest is the wife of Charles Steadman of Valley View.



[The original was written in an address book.  Written on the last page is a note written in Alexander Judd Doran’s handwriting.  It states “I don’t know who wrote this history / must have been Vannie / Her or Lillian F. Doran.”  My mother and I are assuming Vannie (Mc Croskey) wrote it rather than Lillian Francis Stroud because she was more likely to know the McCroskey family history.]



Transcribed by Stacy A. (Rosa) Chadwick from a journal in the possession of Charla (Doran) Rosa.

“Although the sea covers 70 percent of the earth, less than 5 percent of the ocean floors has been accurately mapped.” (glued inside front cover)


[10]It is believed this biography was written about 1920.  William J. McCroskey died August 16, 1922.  Benanna McCroskey died September 30, 1933.  They are both buried in the Valley View Cemetery.


Footnotes added by Norman L. Newton. 


[1] William James McCroskey

[2] Greene County

[3] Married a Miss Barnett

[4] 1st  Battalion, Arkansas Cavalry (Stirman’s) Company H, Private

[5] A person of wealth

[6] A section is 640 acres

[7] The Valley View United Methodist Church was organized in 1877 and Mr. & Mrs. McCroskey along with their children Lena and Duff are listed as organizing members at that time.  The members at that time met in the Union Church building where three denominations each took turns meeting there.  The Union Church was located where the Senior Center is located today at the southwest corner of the town square.   In 1883 while the first Methodist Church building was being built at the present day location it was found there was not sufficient funds to continue, but through the aid of several members which included W. J. McCroskey, who each donated $100.00 to the cause, the new church building was finished.   There is a memorial window in the present day Valley View United Methodist Church which says, “In Memory of Mr. & Mrs. W. J. McCroskey”.

[8] Married 6/30/1867, Saline county, Missouri

[9] Born April 17, 1846

[10] Contributed by Norman L. Newton