William and Mary were born around 1715 probably in Pennsylvania. Names of their parents and their home country are unknown, they may have been born in America. They married on November 18, 1736 in Philadelphia at the First Presbyterian Church. They had 8 children and the family lived on a farm. Mary Weir has only her marriage record, nothing else. William’s records include a list of founders of Springfield Township in 1743, Bucks County, PA “Immigrants came rapidly into the township during the first years of its settlement, for we have the names of over thirty, probably all heads of families, who were living there, 1743, German and English: James Green, Stephen Twining, William Crooks, …”
William has several ‘Pennsylvania Land Warrants’ showing acres of Pennsylvania land purchased at 15 pounds per acre in the mid 1700s. 15 ponds in 2020 is about $4000.
William wrote his will in December of 1776 at age 61. He died soon after. His will mentions wife Mary, sons Henry, Thomas and Robert, daughters Rosanne, Jeannette, Mary and Margaret, grandsons William Crooks and James Dagle. Widow Mary and son Henry are overseers of the will. William had called Mr. William Hopkins to come and help write the will. Hopkins got to William’s home and found William ‘sitting up in a chair and smoking his pipe’ and of sound mind and memory. William died in 1776 or 77, Mary died about 4 years later.
Henry, overseer of the will, had a son Andrew whose daughter Elizabeth Crooks married William Stewart. Elizabeth and William travelled west to Shell Rock, Iowa where their youngest Elizabeth Margaret Stewart married Manford Speedy: dad of Harve, grandpa of Elizabeth Speedy.
Marriage, U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970 at Ancestry
Pennsylvania, Land Warrants and Applications, 1733-1952 at Ancestry
William’s will, Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999 at Ancestry
Henry Crooks was born in 1743, probably in Maryland to William and Mary Weir Crooks. In 1768 or so Henry married Jane Howlett. Henry and Jane had 7 kids. By 1786 Henry, his brothers, his wife’s family and other families from Harford County, MD were in Washington County Pennsylvania, a 200 mile journey. They all farmed on land they owned and paid taxes on properties and possessions. The 1798 taxes for Henry show his home, 1 dwelling valued at $20, and 200 acres of land valued at $1620.
Henry was a widow in 1816, he was 73 and lived 25 more years, he died in 1831 at age 88. Henry’s will is at Ancestry . com, a typed up record. He named his children in the will with his son Henry and friend James McAdams as executors.
“In the name of God Amen, I Henry Crooks Senior of Robinson Township in the county of Washington, being in an afflicted state of body, but having a sound mind and understanding (thanks be to the Almighty God for the same) being mindful of my mortality, do make and constitute this my last will and Testament. First and principally, I recommend my immortal Spirit to God who gave it, in hopes of a joyful resurrection, and my body to the earth (when it shall please God to separate my soul and body) to be buried decently at the discretion of my executors. And as to my worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me with I give and depose thereof as follows, after my lawful debts and funeral expenses being paid. I do leave and bequeath to my son William Crooks two dollars, to my son Andrew Crooks two dollars, to my son Henry Crooks two dollars to my son John Crooks two dollars to my daughter Jane now wife of John Burns two dollars also to my daughter Mary McKillip two dollars, likewise and all the residue to my daughter Margeret Crooks to be paid to her at the discretion of my executors as to time and manner. I do nominate and appoint my friends James McAdams and Henry Crooks my son to be my executors of this my last will and testament. I publish and declare this and none other to be my last will and testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty five.
Henry Crooks Sr (Seal)
Signed and sealed in the presnece of John R McEwen, John Crooks,
Washington County ss: Be it remembered, that on the 21st day of March A D 1831 Before William Hoge Deputy Register”
Andrew was born in Maryland in 1773 and grew up in Harford County, about 50 miles northeast of Baltimore. A 1776 colonial census shows Andrew 3 years old, with his dad Henry, mom Jane Howlett, older brother William, younger sister Margaret and Elizabeth Kerby who could have been a relative, nanny or servant. In Harford County, Broadcreek Hundred in the population of 342 there was one Crooks family and a couple Howlett families.
Around 1795 Andrew married Elizabeth Jeffrey from Pennsylvania. Andrew and she had 7 kids. Elizabeth died in 1818 at age 39. Andrew then married Margaret Allen, they had 4 kids. Andrew was a farmer, his sons helped him farm.
Andrew wrote his will on January 8, 1849 and died on January 8, 1849. In the will Andrew provides for his widow and all children with lands or money. Each daughter received $100 including Elizabeth who was living in French Creek, PA and married to William Stewart. By 1860 Elizabeth and William were in Wisconsin, the in 1870 lived in Shell Rock, Iowa where their youngest daughter Elizabeth married Manford Speedy in 1873. Daughter Elizabeth Crooks Stewart was the only child of Andrew to make it to Iowa. Youngest son Andrew went to Missouri, all other kids stayed in Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth was born in Pennsylvania on May 3 1810, the daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth Jeffrey Crooks. Elizabeth’s mom died when she was 7 and her dad remarried. In 1830, Elizabeth married William Stewart, also of Pennsylvania. They lived in French Creek, PA 30 miles east of Lake Erie, on the western edge of Pennsylvania. Elizabeth’s dad died in 1849 and in his will he named each of his children, Elizabeth and her sisters each inherited $100.
On the 1850 census Elizabeth was still in French Creek, Pennsylvania on a farm, she and William Stewart had 6 kids, ages 2 to 17 years old. On the 1860 census Elizabeth and family have moved 500 miles west to Jefferson, Green County Wisconsin. On the 1870 US census Elizabeth had moved 200 miles further west to Shell Rock, Butler County, Iowa. Elizabeth was 60, her husband William 65. Their 2 younger children James 24 and Elizabeth 18 were in the home, James and William farmed. Elizabeth was a widow in 1874 and on the 1880 census was living with daughter Elizabeth who had married Manford Speedy and their family. They all lived near Allison, Iowa.
Elizabeth Crooks died September 26, 1887 and had an obituary in the local newspaper, “Shell Rock, Mrs. Elizabeth Stewart, mother of J.W. and William Stewart of this place, died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. M.B. Speedy at Allison, Monday evening, September 26th, at the ripe old age of 77 years, 4 months, and 23 days. She was buried in the cemetery at this place on the following Wednesday”. She is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Shell Rock, Iowa.