Daniel V. Crites biography

DANIEL V. CRITES is the owner of a valuable farming property of nine hundred and twenty-five acres in Montague county, of which four hundred acres is under a high state of cultivation. He, however, has retired from the active work of the farm and is living in Nocona, where he likewise has extensive and valuable property interests. He is entitled to mention as one of the men whose force of character and indefatigable enterprise have served as the foundation upon which they have builded the superstructure of success, for Mr. Crites started out his life empty-handed and has worked his way steadily upward to prosperity. He was born in Cape Girardeau county, Missouri, November 16, 1840. His parents were Conrad and Polly A. (Wills) Crites, the former a native of Missouri and the latter of North Carolina. Mrs. Crites, however, spent her girlhood days in Missouri, where they were married, after which they began their domestic life upon a farm, residing thereon until 1859, when they came to Texas, locating in Denton county, where the father purchased a tract of land on which but few improvements had been made. He, however, began the further development of the property and in due course of time a well improved farm resulted. He became one of the leading agriculturists of his community and remained upon the old homestead up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1874. In all of his business life he was practical and enterprising and his labors were therefor crowned with a gratifying measure of success. In his political views he was an unfaltering Democrat, but the honors and emoluments of office had no attraction for him. A worthy Christian gentleman, he held membership in the Baptist church and throughout the community was known as a man of charitable and benevolent spirit in whom the poor and needy found a friend, while his neighbors could always count upon his reliability and trustworthiness. He came of German ancestry. His wife was a daughter of Daniel and Polly (Walker) Wills of North Carolina, who removed to Missouri and later to Texas, where both Mr. and Mrs. Wills passed away. To Mr. and Mrs. Crites were born ten children: Peter; William H.; Harvey; Marion; Francis; Louisa, the wife of L. A. Hill; Polly A., the wife of J. W. Evans; Amanda, the wife of B. C. Carter; and Sarah J., the wife of Lee Cone.

Daniel V. Crites acquired a common school education and when nineteen years of age accompanied his parents on their removal to Texas. At the age of twenty-one years he volunteered in December, 1861, for service in the Fourteenth Texas Cavalry and was assigned to Company H. The regiment was ordered to Arkansas and at Little Rock was dismounted. The troops went into Kentucky under Kirby Smith and were attached to Bragg’s command. Mr. Crites participated in the Tennessee and Georgia campaigns in General Johnson’s army and saw much skirmishing and considerable hard fighting. The first battle in which Mr. Crites participated was at Richmond, Kentucky, and later he was in the engagements at Murfreesboro and Chickamauga. When Johnston was falling back through Georgia many skirmishes occurred. They made their next stand at Altoona, Georgia, where Mr. Crites was wounded by a minie ball, which was taken out from under the skin on the opposite side of the body from which it had entered. He there fell into the hands of the federalists and remained in the hospital there for six weeks, being well cared for by the surgeon of his own command. He was later sent to Selma, Alabama, and paroled and soon afterward he started home, walking from Jackson, Mississippi, to Texas. He was never exchanged, and remaining at home resumed work as soon as his wound had sufficiently healed. He was a faithful defender of the cause which he espoused and was a loyal and brave soldier, undergoing all the deprivations and hardships of war.

At the close of hostilities he found that he had nothing remaining save his honor and his determination, but he resolved to make the most of his opportunities and at once set to work. In 1866 he returned to his own home in Missouri on a visit, remaining in that locality for nine months, after which he again came to Texas.

Mr. Crites at this time rented a small tract of raw land and began the improvement of a farm, building a house and placing some of the tract under cultivation. Needing a companion and helpmate for life’s journey, he was married on the 7th of January, 1872, and then began the struggle for a competence in earnest. As the years passed he placed his farm under a good state of cultivation and prospering in his undertakings he added to his land until he owned five hundred and thirty-five acres, which he successfully improved. He raised twenty-five crops on that farm and then in 1893 he sold out and removed to Montague county, where he purchased six hundred and seventy-five acres, of which one hundred acres was already under cultivation. On this he made modern improvements and erected a good frame residence, which is attractively located in the midst of a fine grove. The land was originally purchased from the Broadus & Jordan Company and he has further continued the work of improvement and development until he now has a splendid farm property containing nine hundred and twenty-five acres, of which four hundred acres is under a high state of cultivation. He carried on general farming and raised and handled stock, and in both branches of his business he prospered. He continued upon the home farm until 1902, when he gave his farming interests to the charge of his son, who is now carrying forward the work inaugurated by his father. Mr. Crites has since made his home in Nocona, where he purchased the residence that he now occupies, and in addition he has four other houses he rents. He also bought a large block of twelve lots on Main street near the business center of the town and this is occupied by a livery stable, wagon yard and blacksmith shop. The ground is valuable and Mr. Crites’ realty possessions in Nocona as well as his farm are a visible evidence of his life of unremitting thrift and diligence. He indeed deserves much credit for what he has achieved and he has come off victor in the struggle for prosperity and for the advancement in business life.

On the 7th of January, 1872, Mr. Crites was married to Miss Nancy E. Priddy, who was born in the Cherokee district of Tennessee and has been a devoted wife and helpmate to him. She is a daughter of Burk and Minerva (Walker) Priddy, the latter a daughter of Robert Walker of McMinn county, Tennessee. Her parents were married March 11, 1834. Her father, Burk Priddy, is a son of John and Nancy (Whitlock) Priddy, the former a native of Halifax county, Virginia, and the latter of North Carolina. John Priddy lived successfully in his native state, Stokes county, North Carolina, Cooke county, Tennessee, and Polk county, Missouri, where he died March 8, 1861, at the age of eighty-three years. His wife, Nancy Whitlock, was a daughter of Charles Whitlock, a native of Ireland. She was born in Albemarle county, North Carolina, and died in Polk county, Missouri, in 1857, at the age of eighty-five years. The children in that family were: Polly, who became Mrs. Alford Taylor and died in 1888 in her eighty-fifty year; and two sons, Davis and Burk. The last named was born in Stokes county, North Carolina, where he remained until thirteen years of age, when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Cooke county, Tennessee, where his youth and early manhood were spent. In 1834 he married Minerva Walker, a daughter of Robert Walker of McMinn county, Tennessee, and a descendant of a leading and honored pioneer family of that state. In company with his father and their respective families Burk Priddy removed to Missouri, settling in Polk County, where he remained until 1870, when he removed to Grayson county, Texas, and purchased a fine farm, which he conducted successfully for many years. He was reared to agricultural pursuits and his taste and inclination have caused him always to be identified with farming and stock-raising interests. He owned a fine farm of rich black soil of one hundred and seventy-five acres which he kept in good condition and in his agricultural pursuits was quite successful. He also had farm property in Cooke county and won a handsome competence for old age. In his business affairs he was reliable and at all times was worthy the esteem and confidence so uniformly accorded to him. In his old age he sold the Grayson county property and came to Montague county in order to spend the evening of life among his children, and both he and his wife died at the home of their daughter, Mrs. Coe, in Nocona, Mrs. Priddy passing away December 2, 1900, at the age of eighty-six years, while Mr. Priddy died April 20, 1904, at the age of ninety-four years. His wife was a consistent Methodist. During the war of the rebellion both armies foraged on his farm and finally the soldiers destroyed his house by fire and he had to seek safety elsewhere. In his family were nine children: Nancy E., now Mrs. Crites; Rachel A., the wife of A. Pulliam; Felix G., Catherine, the wife of E. T. Coe of Nocona; Davis; Wilton J.; Margaret A., the wife of Joseph Hodges; Willis; and William B.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Crites has been blessed with two children. Clark W., born in November, 1874, married Miss Eva Davis, a daughter of W. D. Davis, formerly of Montague county, but now of Indian Territory. He is a farmer widely and favorably known in his community and is quite successful in his stock-raising ventures. He occupies the old homestead and is thus carrying forward the work done by his father. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist church and to them have been born four children: Bonnie C., born March 9, 1899; Daniel Virgil, in October, 1901; Roy D., in October, 1903; Adda B., born August 11, 1905. Adda Crites, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Crites, was born in August, 1875, and became the wife of B. T. Davis, a merchant of Nocona. They had two children, Paul C. and Teeola, but the young mother was called from her home in death, April 25, 1901. She was an earnest Christian woman, belonging to the Methodist church. Her children now find a good home with their grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Crites, who are also worthy Christian people, the former holding membership in the Baptist church and the latter in the Methodist church. As the years have passed Mr. Crites has won the high esteem of those with whom he has been associated, for his life has been honorable, his actions manly and sincere. His business career, too, illustrates what may be accomplished through determined and persistent purpose when guided by sound judgment and honorable methods.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 192-193.