Leonard Travis Cranford and  Josephine Phillips Cranford

Leonard Travis Cranford and  Josephine Phillips Cranford

Leonard Travis Cranford (143) and Josephine Phillips Cranford (144) were the parents of Maud Cranford Martin. L. T. (known as "Trav") was born in Alabama February 2, 1840 and died March 14, 1923 at his home in Wolf Bayou, Arkansas. He served four years in the Civil War and was wounded twice.

Josephine was born November 17, 1853 in (Birmingham?) Alabama, died at Heber Springs, Arkansas October 24, 1946. She was thirteen years younger than her husband and experienced the Civil War as a child. She told me stories about the Union soldiers coming through her father’s farm and taking whatever they could get from them in the way of food and supplies.

I don’t know anything else about Josephine’s childhood except that it was short. They were married December 16, 1869, about a month after her sixteenth birthday! They raised nine children, Thomas, Ella (Pritchard), Mollie (Beasley), Dora (Sharp), Maud, Leonard, Oscar, Ada and Myrl (Inman).

Theirs was a farm family which meant that the whole family had to work hard. I have a brass bell that they used to call in the people working in the field for the noon meal. My mother, their grandchild, remembers getting to ring that bell when she would be visiting them as a young child with her mother.

Lorene Martin Stuart, one of their grandchildren, remembers riding a horse there when she had to stand on a stepping block to get in the saddle. She remembers the wagon shed and the apple orchard. She said there were some homemade bookshelves behind a door in the house where they must have kept a box of apples in season, as she remembers it smelled like apples.

She says their house might have been built in two stages with the two parts joined by a porch like a breezeway. There was a fireplace in each section. Where they joined, the porch had a step up and was a lot of fun for the grandchildren to run and jump on.

Lorene remembers that her favorite part of the house was Aunt Ada’s room. It was pretty, smelled of talcum powder and had her organ in it. Once when they arrived, Aunt Ada told them there were two white eyelet dresses in her room for her and Myrtle, Lorene’s sister, and the first one back there could pick the one they wanted. I wonder if their feet touched the floor on the way!!

L. T. ("Trav") Cranford died March 14, 1923 of prostate cancer. His obituary says that he was confined to his room for thirteen months and that his many friends, family and neighbors were constantly with him and did all they could for him. Lorene remembers being at the spring when he died and hearing them mourn, "Oh, what will I do?, What shall I do?" At the funeral she remembers they sang "Oh they tell me of an unclouded day" as the storm clouds rolled overhead at the cemetery.

"Grandpa" Cranford was gone before I was born, but I remember going to their house as a child to see "Grandma Cranford" (Josephine) and seeing the big grandfather clock and a spinning wheel. By that time spinning wheels were not commonly used. A few older people had them but I don’t recall seeing anyone actually use one, so I don’t know if theirs was still functional or not.

I remember going there to a "quilting", the only one I remember attending. The quilt’s pieces for the top had already been sewn together, placed over a layer of cotton (raised on their farm) and a lining, then attached to a quilting frame which hung from the ceiling. Friends and neighbors sat by each side of the quilt and hand sewed through two layers of fabric and the cotton on a design that had been marked on the quilt. I was probably about ten years old, but as I recall, I quilted for a little while. However, the main "contribution" of the children was to play with the other children and eat plenty of the good food prepared by the women when they would take a break from quilting.

Ada was the only one of their children who did not marry. She was a teacher for many years and taught just about everybody in the community at one time or another. When she began her career she probably had the kind of certificate people could get in those days by finishing a one-room school, going to a Normal School, and taking a test. However, she continued to add to her education in the summer and whenever she could until I believe she graduated from what was then called Arkansas State Teachers College at Conway, Arkansas.

Ada continued to live at home with her mother for many years while she taught at the Concord school, driving her little Model A coupe to school every day.

For some reason, in the early 1940’s they left the home place at Wolf Bayou and went to Heber Springs to live. I don’t know if this was because Ada could get a better job teaching at Heber Springs or if she needed more help to care for her mother. Mollie, another of Josephine’s children had been widowed many years before, and lived at Heber Springs, supporting herself by sewing. Ada and her mother moved in with Mollie, and Josephine lived there the rest of her life.

Josephine was active as long as she could be but as she gradually became more feeble physically she couldn’t walk much, so she pieced quilts. I believe she always wore long black dresses, so they would have a lot of black scraps, and I remember they would always work them into the quilt pattern. When her eyesight became poor, her stitches were not as perfect as they had been, but she continued as long as she was able.

I went to see her during her last months when she was too weak to get out of bed. Her mind was still clear and I, for some reason, asked her to tell me again about her memories of Civil War times. She was well and sweetly cared for by her two daughters until she died when she was almost 93 years old October 24, 1946.


The family of Leonard Travis and Josephine Phillips Cranford, about 1904.
Front, left to right; Ada, Mollie, Leonard Travis, Josephine and Merle.
Back, Dorah, Thomas, Ella, Leonard L., Maud, Oscar.

Trav and Jo, as they were called, married in Alabama. Her father had already made plans to head out for Arkansas, so the newlyweds made the trip with the rest of the family. Records show Trav's land patent in Section 10, Healing Springs Township in 1871 joining land of his father-in-law, Reuben Phillips who patented earlier that same year. All of Trav's children were born in Healing Springs with Wolf Bayou listed as their address. When the oldest son, Thomas, was barely eighteen he homesteaded land nearby as did the Phillips boys who were Jo Cranford's brothers.

Sometime in the early 1900's this family moved to Section 25 near Wolf Bayou along the southeast side of the old Cherokee Boundary Line. I think this is land that once belonged to some of the Dill and Chastain families. Trav and Jo spent the rest of their lives of this land as did their younger sons, Oscar and Leonard.

Leonard Travis Cranford (1840-1923) and Josephine Phillips Cranford (1853-1946) are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery at Wolf Bayou.

Sons of Trav and Josephine Phillips Cranford
Left to right, Thomas, Leonard and Oscar Cranford.


L.T. and Josephine Phillips Cranford came from Alabama with her father's family around 1870. After living a few years in the Macedonia community (Five Mile) they moved to the Wolf Bayou area. This house was on land they purchased from the Dill and Chastain families. It was just a short way south of the Longview School where some of the daughters taught at different times. It was about a mile east of Wolf Bayou and divided by the old Cherokee Boundary Line.

Trav and Jo spent the remainder of their lives here. He died Mar. 14, 1923 and she died Oct 24, 1946. They are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.

Their children were Thomas, Dora, Mollie, Maud, Leonard, Oscar, Ada and Murrel.

Left to right: Oscar Cranford with sons Tola and Thurman hauling wood to his mother's house, about 1928.

Standing in back is Wilson Mannon, seated left to right; Josephine Phillips Cranford, Fanny Phillips Mannon (wife of Wilson) and Jeanette Phillips Ward, about 1938.

Copywright 1997, 1998, 1999, Tom Martin, All rights reserved


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