Saturday, April 7, 2018

Oldest Monroe Resident Described Changes in Town, 1918

“Many Changes Has Oldest Monroe Resident Witnessed,” from the Monroe Journal, April 5, 1918. To see the photo printed with the story, go to
Mr. Crowell Lived Here When the Union County Seat Was Only a Cross-Roads Village
Many and varied are the scenes and changes which the eyes that gaze at you from this picture have looked upon. They have seen the time when every one rode on horseback; the time when instead of on horseback people road in buggies; the time when buggies were forsaken for automobiles; the time when man made himself master of the air and rushes through space like a bird. They have seen the pineknot and the coal-oil lamp dispensed with as a means of illumination for the more modern electricity. They have seen the years come and go which ushered in and closed three wars of our country. They have seen more than three years go by while the greatest war in the history of the world rages in Europe. May they yet remain to see the day when democracy shall rule supreme and the different nations and races of mankind shall live as brothers.
Alexander Monroe Crowell, the only son of the late A.H. Crowell, was born in Mecklenburg County February 20, 1841, in that portion of the county which was formed into Union County in 1842. His childhood days were spent among the romantic hills of Goose Creek, where so many illustrious citizens are raised. If you should have passed the Simpson School during recess period in 1847 you would have seen him playing with the other children. His education was completed in North Carolina College in 1859.
When the War Between the States broke out Mr. Crowell at the age of 21 volunteered. He was a member of the 48th North Carolina regiment, one of those in A.P. Hill’s famous corps. He served with honor and distinction until his capture by the enemy in the battle of Hath’s Run, near Petersburg, Va., March 9, 1864. He was sent to the prison camp at Point Lookout where he was confined until the close of the war. On February 25, 1864, while still in the army, he was married to Miss Beatrice Lee, daughter of the late Dr. J.F. Lee, whose home was near Mineral Springs. To this union were born seven children, three of whom survive. They are Messrs. T.L. and W.C. Crowell and Mrs. J.C. Sikes. Mrs. Crowell still survives with her husband and is a cheerful, lovable lady.
When released from the prison camp, Mr. Crowell returned to the old home place of his grandfather, Michael Crowell, and began his part in rebuilding the desolate South by farming. In 1874 he moved to Monroe where he became associated in business with the firm of Trott, Flow & Crowell. In 1875 the firm was changed to A.H. Crowell & Son and so continued for 20 years. In 1894 the business was sold to Messrs. J.D. McRae and T.C. Collins. Since that time he has engaged in the real estate business. When Mr. Crowell moved to Monroe rabbits were plentiful in that section of the town from the McCauley house back. Crowell Street, named for him, had not been laid out and there were very few houses on Franklin Street. The store houses were all wood and three saloons did a flourishing business. The railroad through Monroe was not completed until a year after he moved here. The passenger depot was located where the freight depot is now and only two trains ran each day. The streets of Monroe were worse then than the roads of the county are now. Mr. Crowell says that he has often seen wagons in front of Armfield’s stabled mired up to the axle.
In his younger days he also took an active part in city and county politics. He has served, by the will of the people, both as county commissioner and city alderman. He has been a lifelong member of the Lutheran church.

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