From page 52, June 1995, Vol. 18, Number 105.



This discussion is based on an article written by Mrs. Mary Ann Piper, 2469 Wayfarer Court, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.  She is descended from Capt. Thomas Graves of VA via Thomas5 m. Ann Davenport, Thomas6, Bartlett O.7, Henry Bartlett8, William Henry9, William Lane10, Frances Laura11 Graves m. Martin Stapleton Bodine, Mary Ann12 Bodine m. R. Lawrence Piper.

The Croshaw family is of special interest because it may be a key to the ancestry of Capt. Thomas Graves.  See the previous article on p. 81, 1994 GFNL.


Capt. Raleigh Croshaw, Gentleman, arrived in Oct. 1608 in Jamestown, VA, with Thomas Graves, Gentleman, and others, as part of the second supply.  In his Narratives of Early Virginia, Capt. John Smith alluded on numerous occasions to the helpful role Capt. Croshaw played during the struggles against Indians of the Powhatan Confederation.

Capt. Raleigh Croshaw died in 1624.  His sons are believed to be Major Joseph Croshaw, Capt. Richard Croshaw, and Noah Croshaw.  The first two lived in York Co., VA, and had both died by 1667.  Noah apparently died before they did, and Joseph seems to have had a part in settling his estate.

York Co., VA land grants include:

1649, Joseph Croshaw granted 1350 acres.

1649, Richard Croshaw granted 750 acres

1651, Joseph Croshaw granted 750 acres

1652, Joseph Croshaw granted 1750 acres

1653, Joseph Croshaw granted 700 acres

Joseph Croshaw was a barrister, believed to have been trained in England.  Apparently his father, Capt. Raleigh Croshaw, also had been a barrister there before he emigrated.

Evidence that the Crenshaw name evolved from Croshaw

There have been variant spellings of the name of Croshaw, but the descendants of immigrant Raleigh Croshaw of York Co. are easy to trace, even though the name was at times spelled Granshaw, Cranshaw and Crenshaw.

In early York Co. deeds the name was spelled “Crotia”, which no doubt was the phonetic spelling, for it is, and has been, the custom of the British to accent first syllables and “swallow” second syllables, as with the word “Yorkshire”.

Register of the Virginia Land Office, Patent Book 6, p. 82, has the earliest spelling of the name as Crenshaw in 1667 when a patent was issued Oct. 9 of that year to William Wickman for land in Accomac Co. and the assignment of Thomas Crenshaw and Ed Crenshaw as headrights.

The Crenshaws in Hanover, Goochland and adjacent counties used the same given names as the Croshaws of York Co.  Benjamin, Richard, Joseph, Thomas, Isaac, John, Nathaniel and William were to be found frequently as descendants spread over many Virginia counties before 1800: Albemarle, Amelia, Campbell, Hanover, King William, Louisa, Isle of Wight, Lunenburg, and New Kent.

To show their descent from Capt. Raleigh Croshaw, it is necessary to list his children, grandchildren, and some of his great-grand-children.

Raleigh Croshaw’s son, Joseph2, married 5 times.  His children were Mary, Unity, Rachel, Ursula, Benjamin, and Joseph Jr.

Mary3 Croshaw m(1) Henry White, m(2) Thomas Tailor.  The White children were Henry, Mary, Margaret, Ann, Unity, Rebecca, Joseph and William.  Unity4 White married her first cousin, Ralph Graves.

Unity3 Croshaw married Col. John West, son of Governor John West, who was a brother of Thomas West, Lord De La Warr.

Rachel3 Croshaw married Ralph Graves, a grandson of Capt. Thomas Graves, in 1652.

Ursula3 Croshaw married Col. Nathaniel West, son of Col. John West Jr.

Raleigh Croshaw’s son, Richard2, was born in 1622 and died in 1667.  He married Elizabeth whose last name may have been Rice.  Their children were Benjamin, Elizabeth, Rachel and Margaret.  His will, dated 1667, was recorded in York Co.

Elizabeth3 Croshaw married Rice Jones of York Co., and her sister Rachel3 married John Walker of King William Co.  In a York Co. Court Order, 24 Sept. 1697, the two sisters were ordered to divide their land because of a petition of Edmund Jennings stating that he had purchased one moyety (half part) of 200 acres in the parish of Maston alias Bruton, joining on the Indian field and “now in the occupation of Robert West, formerly belonging to Mr. Richard Crotia and now the right in fee thereof belonging to Elizabeth, widow of Rice Jones, late of this county, and Rachell, wife of John Walker of the parish of St. Stevens in the county of King and Queen, Gent., sisters and coheiress of Benjamin Crotia, son of Richard Crotia etc.”

After the death of Capt. Richard Croshaw, his widow married Capt. Martin Palmer.  He is a vital link in proof that the Croshaw name became Crenshaw.

Deed Book, York Co., 6, p. 66, abstracted in the Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers: Capt. Martin Palmer was appointed administrator of the estate of Benjamin Croshaw, decd., son of Capt. Richard Croshaw, decd., in the right of said Martin Palmer’s wife.  June 25, 1677.

Dec. 24, 1675.  “It is ordered that Capt. Martin Palmer remove no estate of this county till such time as he shall have given security etc. for the orphans of Benjamin Croshaw.”  This indicates that Benjamin Croshaw had married and had children, since his two sisters could scarcely have been called his orphans.  Were two of them Thomas Crenshaw and Ed Crenshaw, headrights of Accomac Co.?

Edward Pleasants says in vol. 4 of his Valentine Papers: “The Crenshaw family had its Virginia origin in New Kent and King William counties.”  He never realized that when the Crenshaws appeared, the Croshaws disappeared from records.  The conclusion is inescapable; there was just a little difference in the spelling of their names.  The pronunciation of the two forms probably differed but slightly.

Croshaw/Crotia/Carnshaw/Grandshaw/ Cranshaw/Crenshaw, however the name was spelled, it was closely associated with the York Croshaws or their connections by marriage: Thomas West, Martin Palmer, John Walker, and Elizabeth Croshaw Palmer.  It is evident that they lent their support to various individuals having some form of the name.

There are other indications of a relationship between the Croshaws and Crenshaws.  They all moved first to New Kent Co. and then to St. John’s Parish in King William Co.  Their cousins, the Blackwells, settled nearby.

Mrs. Piper cites numerous other documents to show the Croshaw descendants and establish that the Crenshaws were of the same family.



From page 2, Feb. 1998, Vol. 21, No. 121



Mrs. Philippa Schrader of Rome, NY (, wrote:“I have Crashaws in England. They changed their name to Crawshay later and were extremely wealthy. Richard Crawshay died in 1810 leaving one and a half million pounds.

According to two books I have on the family, the earliest known ancestor was Miles Crashaw, a yeoman farmer, who lived in Yorkshire during the time of James I. "He was a relative of the lyric poet, Richard Crashaw, who was born about 1615, was converted to the Roman Catholic faith, and who died a canon of Loretto in 1650."  The exact relationship to William Crashaw of Woodhouse is not given.  William Crashaw of Woodhouse (next to Normanton) married Susannah Wardsworth of Normanton, Yorkshire in 1706. Their son was also William. He married Elizabeth Nicholson also of Normanton. Their son, the above Richard, was born in 1739. He left home, aged 15 after a quarrel with his father, and traveled to London. He had to sell his horse to survive but managed to find a job sweeping offices and doing odd jobs in a warehouse. I have lots more on his meteoric rise. He made his money in the iron industry in South Wales and profitted from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. They produced cannons and munitions.  A subsequent descendant, a Moser, went to Africa and wrote a book on the source of the Blue Nile and another exhibited watercolours at the Royal Academy in London. One Crawshay built a castle at Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales.

I would be interested in learning more about your early Crashaws in England.”


The Croshaw (and variant spellings) family is certainly one of those very closely associated with Capt. Thomas Graves of VA.  The surname of Thomas’s wife, Katherine, has long been rumored to be Croshaw, and later generations of Croshaws and Graves intermarried in VA.  On p. 81, 1994 GFNL, Mrs. Kay Lee W. Gunn, 4327 Westside Dr., Dallas, TX 75209, descended from Capt. THOMAS GRAVES of VA, wrote: “My guess is that Rev. Wm. Crashaw, B.D. (Yorkshire) could be the key in examining the Crashaw/Croshaws of Yorkshire & Lancashire (together), also the Derbyshire line related to Rev. Wm. Crashaw.”  The will of William Crashawe, PCC 97 Hale, 1 Nov. 1621, proved 6 Oct. 1626, as published in Virginia Settlers and English Adventurers, by Currer-Briggs, indicated a possibility that William Crashaw was a brother of Katherine Croshaw, the wife of Capt. Thomas Graves, so it is very important to learn more about the Croshaw/ Crashaw family in England.