This name was spelled many ways: Criddelle, Criddle, Criddell, Creedle, Creddle, Creddille, and similar variations on the same phonetic theme. I have chosen “Credille” for no particular reason except that his descendants in both Georgia and Texas universally adopted that spelling when signing their own names. That particular spelling is, however, rare prior to the early 1800s. In the early records of Georgia, and in North Carolina and Virginia, the name is almost always spelled Criddle/Criddell or Creddle/Creddell, from which might draw conclusions about its pronunciation. (In particular, we might suppose that the name was pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable.) The use of Credille with the emphasis on the second syllable seems to be an affectation adopted by later descendants.
Whether the name is English or French is open to debate. Although Credille, the modern variation, seems to the casual observer to be a modern French name, Criddle and its variants are clearly English. There are many mentions of this name in English records covering several centuries.
William Credille Sr. was evidently born in the 1740s. Our only clues to his age are that he was listed as over 45 in the 1820 census and 80-90 in the 1830 census of Greene County, Georgia. He apparently died between 1834 and 1840, as he was not enumerated in the 1840 census. A secondary source lists him among the Revolutionary War soldiers who died and were buried in Greene County.1 Indeed, he drew land in the Fifth (1927) Lottery as a Revolutionary veteran.2
An 1886 letter written by the husband of a granddaughter of old William Credille contains valuable family information.3 The author, Jared L. Turner, had married a daughter of Henry Credille and had been a legatee of the Henry Credille estate in 1834.
Dear nephew,I have your letter inquiring about the Credille Family. C. S. Credille of Texas states that your uncle C. S. Credille’s and his father’s father were brothers. There were six of those brothers – Gray, Henry, William, James, Moses, and Thomas, of whose families I know nothing except Gray’s, Henry’s, William’s, and Moses’. Gray’s son Henry died in this neighborhood and his family moved to South Georgia. Moses died young and left a family of several children. William is dead and most of his family are here. Jas. and Thomas moved to Ala. before my recollection and I know nothing of them. The father of all these was named William, who died in this neighborhood since I was married to his grand-daughter. The old man (William) I have always understood came from North Carolina. So the Jim(?) who got mad with his family in Virginia and came to Georgia, might have been a different branch of the family from Wm. the grandfather of your uncle C. S. Credille, one having come from Virginia the other from N. C. As to whether they were of French or English descent, I do not know, but always thought from the name they were of French descent. The foregoing is about all I know of the history of the family. I shall never be able to visit Atlanta. I am a feeble old man and infirmity is fast increasing on me, but I am thankful that now in my 78 year, I am as well preserved as I am – have had much sickness in my family this year. George I think is declining; no better at any rate. I was expecting a visit from you this summer till I got your letter, now I don’t know. I shall be disappointed if you do not come. Please come – think it would do you good to get out in the country and recreate a little. You will overwork yourself if you don’t mind.Love to all,
Jared L. Turner
Temporary residence in Johnston County, North Carolina?
Despite this letter’s assertion that William Credille came from North Carolina, it appears that his original home was in Virginia. The only sons who appear in the 1850 census are both enumerated as born in Virginia, one about 1777 and the other about 1788. If he lived in North Carolina before Georgia, it must have been a very brief residence. There was a William “Credle” in the 1790 census of Johnston County, North Carolina with seven males under 16, one male over 16, and two females. This seems to nicely fit the profile of our William Credille, but I could find no other evidence to link him to the William Credille who appears in Georgia four years later. Nevertheless the census record is intriguing because no one named anything like Criddle appeared on the extant 1784 tax list for Johnston County, nor are there any deeds to or from anyone name Criddle — suggesting that his stay in Johnston County was a temporary one.
In Virginia there were at least four Revolutionary War veterans named William Credille.
- A William Criddle, is listed among persons who gave aid, in the form of supplies, to the American Revolution at a court held 25 February 1782 in Brunswick County, Virginia.4
- A different William Criddle, born about 1757, lived in Cumberland County during the period 1781 through 1789 when his disability pension was being administered.5 He was wounded at Norfolk in January 1776 while serving as a private in the 2nd Virginia Regiment.6 As “Wm. Creedle” he signed a petition in Cumberland County dated 5 March 1781.7 In his pension file is a Cumberland County court document dated 29 November 1785 listing him among the local pensioners: “William Creedle by the loss of his right arm while a soldier in the service of the United States is rendered incapable of providing a livelyhood [sic] by his own labour.”8 He was included a month earlier among a list of state pensioners provided to the Virginia Assembly by Patrick Henry.9 A former private in the 2nd Virginia regiment, he was still in Cumberland County on 23 March 1789 when the court recommended that the pension to “William Criddle”, which had inadvertently been terminated, be reinstated.10 The Governor’s certification, dated two weeks later on 6 April 1789, calls him “William Criddle aged about 32 years.” He may have been the same William “Creedle” who was listed in a 1776 account book as a wounded soldier.11Interestingly, the 1784 census for Cumberland County has only Ann Criddle with six white souls. She was the widow of Allen Criddle, who left a will in Cumberland County in 1777 (only Ann and his eldest son John were identified) and the members of the household apparently included John, Edward, Allen, and William Criddle.12 (Some of these men were neighbors of the Davenports in Cumberland County by the late 1790s.) William Criddle evidently left the county or died by 1791, for he does not appear among the taxables in Cumberland County in 1791.
- “Wm. Cradle” and Joseph “Cradle”, presumably sons of Briant Criddle, appear on a 1779 muster roll of Mecklenburg County militia of Captain Reuben Vaughn’s company.
- Virginia Revolutionary War records mention a fourth soldier named William Creedle of York County, whose pay for 1778 and 1779 was apparently made to his father.13 Still another William Creedle, a Sergeant of artillery, appears on a list of soldiers who did not receive a bounty land warrant.14
In Georgia by 1794
Our William Credille appeared on the 1794 tax list of Hancock County, Georgia and on the tax list of Greene County, Georgia in 1797 and 1798. He was listed without property in both cases. At some point he bought or claimed land in Greene County, as the 1799 property tax roll listed him with 155¼ acres on Shoulderbone Creek. He and his son Gray Credille lost a court case for $283 in early 1802.15 The Augusta Chronicle of 2 October 1802 listed his 155¼ acres among a list of properties to be sold to satisfy the 1801 tax bill. It appears that a sale of 50 acres was sufficient, as William Credille shows up in later tax lists with what appears to be only 105 acres. Perhaps the 50 acres was sold to Henry Credille, who paid tax on the land in 1806. From 1807 through 1815, he appears on the Greene County tax lists with 125 acres on Shoulderbone Creek. He appears in these lists with apparent sons William Jr., Moses, Henry, and Thomas. The name is listed almost invariably as “Criddle” in these references.
He appeared in the 1820 census of Greene County with an apparent wife and one male 18-26 and one female 18-26. He drew two 202½ acres lots in the 1821 Georgia land lottery; one in Houston County and one in Monroe County. The 1821 tax list showed him with all three properties. By 1824, the tax list no longer listed the Monroe County property. In the 1827 land lottery, he drew another 202½ acre lot in Muscogee County. His eligibility for this lottery was as a Revolutionary War veteran.16 In the 1828 and 1829 tax lists, his property was shown as the lot in Houston County and 164 acres on Shoulderbone Creek.
He was listed in the 1830 census of Greene County as age 80-90, with a female 60-70 and another female 50-60. In the 1832 land lottery, as a militia soldier, he drew a lot in Cherokee County. He was in the 1834 tax list of Cullen Credille’s district of Greene County, but not in the 1840 census and appears to have died sometime between those years. His wife’s name is unknown. I have found no estate or probate records.
Mr. Turner’s letter lists six sons of William Credille, but there may have been a seventh son. The letter mentions no daughters but Greene County marriage records suggest at least one possibility. Three of the sons married sisters — the will of Reuben Smith, dated 27 July 1833 and recorded 19 May 1836 in Greene County contains the instruction “the residue to be equally divided between my eight children: Polly Credille, Sally Credille, John Smith, William Smith, Rhoda Bell, Senia Credille, Nancy L. Doss, and Susannah Snow”. John and William Smith, and Gray Credille were named executors.17
- Moses Credille (c1775 –1818) (See separate page.)
- Gray Credille (c1777 – 1 June 1849) The 1850 Mortality Census gives his age at death as 72, and his birthplace as Virginia. (He died of “liver affliction”.) He first appeared with William Credille on the 1798 tax list of Greene County, thus was at least 21 in that year. He appears on tax lists in 1799 and 1801 near William Credille as well. He married Mary (Polly) Smith, daughter of Reuben Smith and Elizabeth Mapp, by license granted 27 September 1804 in Greene County. He appears as a head of household in the 1820 census of Greene County with four males under ten, one female under ten, one female aged 10-16, and one female 26-45. By the 1830 census he appears to have added two daughters and lost a son. In 1840 only one son and two daughters remained at home. He died on 1 June 1849, according to a newspaper notice.18 He and his wife, appearing as “Mary”, are both buried in the Credille cemetery near Liberty in Greene County.19 His will, dated 11 December 1846 and recorded 3 July 1849, mentions his wife Polly and children named Betsy Ann, Sally, William S. Credille, Henry Credille, Winney Credille, and Rhoda Wiley (and her son James Wiley).20 William S. Credille and John D. Copeland were named executors. The inventory of his estate, taken on 25 August 1849, included 8 beds, 29 slaves, 21 cattle, 20 sheep, 26 hogs, and 7 horses and mules, and amounted to more than $15,000. 21 His widow Polly, age 67, was enumerated in the household of Henry and Rhoda Callahan in 1850, along with a four-year old named James Credille. Next door was William S. Credille, age 35, and his family. Rhoda A. Credille (aged 26 in 1850) had married Henry Callahan just a few months earlier on 6 December 1849, so the son James was surely James Wiley. (She apparently was not married to Wiley, for her son was known as James Credille in later years.) Not far away was Henry R. Credille, age 33. “Sally” was Sarah R. Credille, who married Obediah Copeland on 16 December 1830 and was a legatee of the estate, and who is enumerated in 1850 as age 36. “Betsy Ann” was apparently the Betsy Ann Credille who married John D. (P.?) Copeland on 27 March 1828 and who is enumerated in 1850 as age 42. Winney Credille married on 20 December 1838 to Thomas Hightower and was a legatee of the estate; she was age 29 in 1850. Arena Credille married Alfred Culver 22 December 1842 (and was perhaps the “Emeline” Culver, age 22, married to Alfred Culver of Putnam County in 1850.)
- Henry Credille (c1780 – 1830) His birth is uncertain, but as he first appears in the tax list in 1805 we assume that he was a few years younger than Moses or Gray. His 1820 census household included a male aged 26-45 and a male over 45, but it isn’t clear which one was Henry. He married Sarah Smith, another daughter of Reuben Smith and Elizabeth Mapp, by license dated 27 October 1804 in Greene County. He died in mid-1830, as his estate was probated on 5 July 1830 in Greene County and his widow Sarah Credille appears as head of household in the 1830 census. Estate and court records identify his children as Cullen Smith Credille, Nancy B. Credille, William Gray Credille, Amelia Permelia Credille (whose estate was administered by her brother Cullen ain 1835), Sarah H. Credille, Mary R. Credille, Lourainy (or Lurena) Credille, and Francinia Credille (whose name appears in several different spellings) the last six of whom were still minors as late as 1834.
- Thomas Credille (c1785? – ?) He appeared on the tax list of 1807 with William Credille Sr. He seems to be a different person than the older Thomas Credille, since he was listed as a poll without property. As Jared Turner wrote in 1886 “Jas. and Thomas moved to Ala. before my recollection and I know nothing of them.” Thomas does not appear as a head of household in the 1820 census of Greene County, though he may have been the older man in Henry Credille’s household. It appears that James and Thomas both moved to Pickens County, Alabama He may have been the same person as the Thomas Criddle who appears in the 1850 census of Pickens County, Alabama. That person, who was age 65, was born in North Carolina and is listed next door to an apparent son born in Tennessee.
- James L. Criddle (c1787 – ?) He appears on the Greene County tax list as a single poll in 1809, thus born by 1788. As Jared Turner wrote in 1886 “Jas. and Thomas moved to Ala. before my recollection and I know nothing of them.” James does not appear in the 1820 Georgia census, but a James Criddle was granted two parcels of land partly in Greene County but mostly in Pickens County, Alabama on 1 June 1826. As James Cridille he claimed another parcel nearby in 1834, and as James Credille he claimed two more parcels in the same township and range in 1839.22 All the parcels were near the small community of Benevola, and were less than a mile from the Greene County line.
- William H. Credille (c1789 – 22 October 1851) He married Sina (Senia) Smith, yet another daughter of Reuben Smith and Elizabeth Mapp, by license dated 22 December 1814. He appears in the 1820 census with a female under 10 and a male aged 10-16 (sic), he and his wife both age 26-45. His 1830 census household shows an apparent son under 5 and three daughters under 10. In 1840, when his age was given as 60-70 (sic), he had four apparent daughters and three apparent sons. His 1850 household included himself, Sina, Reuben Credille (c1825), Mary Ann Credille (c1831), and William Credille (c1836). He died 22 October 1851 and is buried in the Minnish-Credille cemetery in Greene County where he and his wife share a stone.23
- Jesse Criddle ? (c1797 – 1850s) He was not mentioned as a member of this family in Jared Turner’s letter, possibly because he left the area before Turner married into the family. As Jesse “Criddlle”, was listed consecutively with William “Criddelle” Sr. in the 1820 Greene County census. He had married Sarah Shockley in Greene County by license dated 15 April 1819 and the 1820 census household shows both as age 18-26 with a female child under the age of 10. He was not in the 1830 Georgia census and was likely the same person as the Jesse Criddle who appears in the 1830 census of Greene County, Alabama. (He may have migrated to Alabama with James and Thomas Credille, as they settled in the adjoining county of Pickens.) He and his wife were both aged 30-40 with three males under 5, and females aged 5-10, 10-15, and 15-20. The eldest daughter was presumably the Mary Criddle who married Bennett Butler on 10 March 1838 in Greene County, Alabama and who is enumerated in Chickasaw County, Mississippi in 1850 as age 30 and born in Georgia. Another daughter was the Elizabeth Criddle who married Abram L Spence on 8 October 1839 in Greene County, Alabama and who is enumerated in Chickasaw County, Mississippi in 1850, age 27 and born in Alabama. Jesse Criddle was still in Greene County, Alabama in 1840 but was enumerated in Chickasaw County, Mississippi in 1850. His age was given as 52 and birthplace as Georgia. His wife was Sarah, age 47, and the children were enumerated as James Criddle (age 18), Milla Criddle (age 16), Margaret Criddle (age 13), Francis Criddle (age 10) and Francine Criddle (age 10, a twin). In 1860 his widow Sarah, age 58, and the younger children were in the household of the son James Criddle. Two or three additional sons are suggested by the 1830 and 1840 censuses. One was probably Friend O. B. Cridelle, age 21 in the 1850 census of Chickasaw County. Another was probably the Jonathan Shockley Criddle, age 30 in the 1860 census of Chickasaw County (enumerated only as “J. S.” in that particular census. Both remained in the area.I note that the sons James Criddle and Jonathan Criddle both indicated for the 1880 census that their father was born in Georgia. That matches the 1850 census record for Jesse Criddle.
A Dolly Credille married James Blythe in Greene County on 15 September 1806. Whether she was a daughter of William Credille is unknown.
- Thaddeus Brockett Rice, History of Greene County Georgia 1786-1886, Carolyn White Williams, editor; (1961; reprint Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company, 1979), p. 396 [↩]
- Authentic List of All Land Lottery Grants Made to Veterans of the Revolutionary War by the State of Georgia, Alex M. Hitz (1966), p21. [↩]
- Letter from Jared L. Turner of Greene County, Georgia to Dr. J. D. Turner dated 19 June 1886 from typewritten transcript owned by G. F. Spearman of Atlanta and provided to Jefferson Milner of Crawfordville, Georgia in 1975. [↩]
- “Persons who gave aid to the American Revolution”, Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 6 (1924): pp106-7. [↩]
- Pension file is online at the Library of Virginia, digitized. [↩]
- Virginia State Archives, an account book listing payments to soldiers in 1776, shows a payment to Wm. Criddle 15 May 1776. [↩]
- Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Volume 37, No 2, p94. [↩]
- Court record included in his pension file. [↩]
- “List of State Pensioners,” William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Vol. 20 (1911-12): pp 11-12. [↩]
- Court record included in his pension file. [↩]
- Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, John Gwathmey (1973), p190. [↩]
- Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Volume 38, No 2, p159. [↩]
- Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, John Gwathmey (1973), p190. [↩]
- Ibid, p190. Also listed in Revolutionary War Records, Volume 1 – Virginia (1936), Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, p156. [↩]
- Greene County Inferior Court Records, 12 January 1802. [↩]
- History of Greene County, Georgia, p393. [↩]
- Greene County Will Book F, p209. [↩]
- Christian Advocate issue of 22 June 1849. [↩]
- Cemeteries of Greene County, Georgia, E. H. Armor (1987), p292. [↩]
- Greene County Will Book F, page 209. [↩]
- Loose estate records of Greene County. Also recorded in Book L, page 321. [↩]
- BLO database. [↩]
- Cemeteries of Greene County, Georgia, E. H. Armor (1987), p298. [↩]