Select Crowe Miscellany

Here are some Crowe (and Crow) stories and accounts over the years:

The Life and Times of Sackville Crowe

Sackville was the son of William and Anne Crowe of the Brasted Crowes of Kent.  He married Mary Manners, one of the daughters of the Earl of Rutland, acquired lands near Llanherne in Carmarthen in Wales, and was made a baronet in 1627.

The other parts of his life were less successful.   His schemes to sell leases on the Crown's ironworks in the Forest of Dean ended up in litigation.  Later he served as the English ambassodor to the Ottoman Empire. Here he was accused of meddling in the affairs of the Levant Company and was brought back as a prisoner to London.  He spent a lengthy time in the Tower of London before he was bailed out and the charges eventually dropped.  He died in Fleet Prison in 1683.   

Sackville's forebears went back via Brasted in Kent to Crowe's Hall in Suffolk.  This family later settled in Ireland and married into the Evans and Eyre families there (Eyrecourt in Galway no longer exists but the stairway of the house is now in the Detroit Museum of Art). 

Reader Feedback - Kent and Northumberland Crowes

I wonder if you have any information on the links between Crowe of Kent and Crowe of Northumberland.  The coat of arms of Sir Sackville Crowe is also that used on the memorial shield for Patrick Crowe of Ashington in St Nicholas's Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne.  A family researcher, sadly passed away, stated that there was correspondence between Christopher Crowe of Kiplin and the Kent/Norfolk families.  It was also inferred that the Northumberland Crowes helped fund the Welsh estate of Sir Sackville.  There has to be a palpable link. 

David Evans (

Robert Crowe of Swaffham in Norfolk

His great granddaughter Elizabeth Jones recalled the following about him in her diary:

"My great gandfather Robert Crowe, whose portrait hangs in the dining room together with that of his wife Alice Alpe of Hardingham Hall in Norfolk, was a solicitor at Swaffham and, although he died in 1786, his second son Philip continued to reside there for many years." 

Inside the church in Swaffham there are a number of gravestones of the Crowe family, some with the spelling Crow and some Crowe.  They are all together in a group and so are presumably the same family.  

Crows and Crowes in Ireland

Griffith's Valuation was a survey of land and property owners in Ireland undertaken for county Clare in 1855. The surname Crow was recorded 16 times and the surname Crowe a total of 148 times.  Crowe appeared most often in the parishes of Drumcliff, Killaloe, Kilmurry, Killofin, and Ruan.

Crow and Crowe

There were more Crows than Crowes in the 19th century.  But the situation seems to have turned round during the 20th century.  The table below shows the current incidence of Crow and Crowe surnames in the English-speaking world. 

Numbers (000's)

New Zealand


In America, you would have probably found Crowes fighting on the Union side in the Civil War and Crows on the Confederate side.

Early Crows in America

John Crow
1683 (in Maryland)
died in 1743
Walter Crow
1717 (in Cecil co, Maryland)
lived most of his life in Virginia (Rockingham co)
George Philip Crow
1719 (in Germany)
died in 1780 in West Virginia
William Crow
1726 (in Botecourt co, Virginia)
died in 1795
Thomas Crow
1749 (in Berkeley co, Virginia)
son of John Crow
Thomas Crow
1760 (in South Carolina)
died in 1826 in Alabama
Rev. Abraham Crow 
1763 (in Prince George co, Virginia)
died in Georgia

Jim Crow in the South

The origin of the phrase "Jim Crow" has often been attributed to Jump Jim Crow, a song-and-dance charicature of African Americans performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface.  It first surfaced in 1832 and was used at the time to attack Andrew Jackson's populist policies.  The number was supposedly inspired by the song and dance of a crippled African in Cincinnati called Jim Crow.  Jump Jim Crow was in fact an initial step in a tradition of popular music which would mock African Americans.

In 1877 a national compromise to gain southern support in the Presidential election resulted in the last of the Federal troops being withdrawn from the South.  White Democrats had taken back power in every Southern state by that time.  The white Democratic Party government that followed the troop withdrawals legislated "Jim Crow" laws which in effect segregated black people from the state's white population. 

The phrase "Jim Crow Law" first appeared in 1904 according to the Dictionary of American English, although there was some evidence of earlier usage. 

The Crow Emigrant Train of 1865

In the autumn of 1937 Francis Marion Watkins sat down at the kitchen table and related his memories of his journey across America over seventy years ago in 1865.   Local historian Ralph L. Milliken took down the story and his book, Story of the Crow Emigrant Train of 1865, was subsequently published in the Livingstone Chronicle in California.  Later it was reprinted as a booklet.

Reader Feedback - Crowes in Nova Scotia

I am a Crowe in Canada that can trace my ancestors back to the Hopewell.  The Crowe that went to Canada on the Hopewell was in fact an Ulster Scot.  His Crowe family was originally a Lowland Scot one that had settled in Ireland during the plantation period.  Their offspring James Crowe went to Canada to settle in Nova Scotia on land that the English had taken from New France and the Acadians.

Chris Crowe (

Where The Crowe Flies

Russell Crowe is a legendary hellraiser with a reputation for womanizing, hard drinking and aggressive outbursts that almost eclipses his talent as an Oscar-winning actor. 

But he does not appear to be a patch on his Welsh grandfather, a man so fearsome that he makes the combustible Gladiator star look positively easy-going.  Relatives described Jack Crowe as a volatile wheeler-dealer, the black sheep of his family who was never able to settle in one place.  Jack's niece Paddianne Neely said:

"He had the most furious temper you could ever believe.   I loved him.  But I once threatened  when he came to visit that if he ever hurt me or the kids, I would kick him out."

Researchers for the BBC Wales show Coming Home traced Russell's roots from his great grandparents Fred and Kezia Crowe who ran a greengrocer's shop in Wrexham.  Deeply religious, they had fourteen children, including Jack born in 1907.  However, when the family emigrated to Canada in 1925, Jack stayed behind to look after the family business. 

Jack subsequently fell out with his elder brother Frank and, in a huff, took off for New Zealand.  There he married Lois and they had four sons (including Russell's father Alex).  Their youngest son Charles was killed in a diving accident when he was seventeen, a tragedy which deeply affected Jack and left him with a simmering anger.  


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