Bessie Nina Crawford

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Bessie Nina Crawford (Roberts)

Birthdate: (91)
Birthplace: Eugene, Lane County, Oregon, United States
Death: October 8, 1985 (91)
Mount Vernon, Skagit County, Washington, United States
Place of Burial: Sunnyside, Yakima County, Oregon, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Louis Elwood Roberts and Cora Edna Roberts
Wife of Gilbert Blaine Crawford
Mother of <private> Friedrich (Crawford); <private> Lang (Crawford) and <private> Mason (Crawford)

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Bessie Nina Crawford

From Roberts of Washington by Carol Carter:

Bessie Nina Roberts (b. May 04, 1894, d. October 08, 1985)

Bessie Nina Roberts (daughter of Louis Elwood Roberts and Cora Edna Miller)[262]

  • was born May 04, 1894 in Eugene, Oregon, and
  • died October 08, 1985 in Mt. Vernon, Washington.
  • She married Gilbert Blaine "Johnny" Crawford on January 15, 1913 in Prosser, Washington, son of George Perry Crawford and Sarah June Taylor.

Notes for Bessie Nina Roberts:

Per Dan Roberts: Bessie and her father, Lou, didn't get along very well and she eventually left home, possibly because Lou did not approve of Johnny. (He had argued with May earlier about a boyfriend, and told her he would not mind if she went with one of the Crawford boys, but apparently changed his mind when Bessie did that.)

At the time that she and Johnny were married, she was working for Bert and Monnie Ormiston, in the Glade. When they were first married, they lived in the Glade area of Yakima County, not far from the Guy Roberts ranch, (near the Wandling place?) but later moved to the Yakima Valley near Mabton and later, in the middle 1920s, to Outlook where Johnny's father and brother and sister had farms.

While at Mabton, Johnny and his brother worked on building the road up the Mabton hill. Johnny had good horses, entered them in parades and in the Hay Palace Fair in Mabton. Bessie kept all of the ribbons they won in a family trunk for years.

The farm at Outlook had an orchard, but Johnny pulled the trees after putting in a year of hard work and ending up owing the packing shed $2.49. After that he raised mostly hay and corn and potatoes. Mona remembers going up and down the potato rows with a jar, picking potato bugs off the plants.

They lost that farm during the depression and moved down the road a half mile or so and rented a farm from a Mrs. Burnason, then in 1942 they moved to a farm near the Langs in Sunnyside, but lived there only a short while.

Johnny was having a bad time with asthma in the Yakima Valley so later that same year, they moved West of the mountains to a place near Ferndale, and went to work for the shipyards in Bellingham. When the war was about over, that job ran out and for a while he worked at a factory in Ferndale that made fuel tanks for airplanes, but at the end of the war that job stopped also. He later got on as a guard for a construction company at Coulee Dam, and lived there with his brother and niece (now Ethel Bush) and after that on the Chief Joseph Dam where he was working at the time of his death.

The coast climate helped his health but made Bessie's worse. She had problems with rheumatism, arthritis and a sciatic nerve, and she soon was in a position of walking with a cane and then with crutches. The doctor was treating her with vitamin shots and she soon lost the use of her hands and arms, first the right arm, and she had to learn to write with the left hand. She gradually got over it, and was able to walk without help, but she had at least two more times when she had to resort to crutches for awhile. Each time she was able to keep trying and to get back on her feet.

After Johnny died, she stayed on at the house they had bought west of Ferndale, later moved to a house near Mona and in about 1970, moved into a new Senior Citizen's apartment complex where she lived until 1981. At that time she was not able to live alone any longer, and went into a nursing home, first in Bellingham and then to Mt. Vernon, where she died in 1985.


The following information is extracted from family notes Mona Thomason compiled in 1992: Bessie used to talk about the trip up from Eugene...and laugh about little things that happened along the way. She always thought about how hard it must have been on her mother with the little baby to take care of, as well as the rest of the family.

She remembered playing with cousins in the evening, and that some of the smaller children came down with measles on the trip. At one point, and they decided to rest a day and the children were cautioned not to play together (at avoid passing it on to others). Because they had been good and had minded, the men-fold built a swing for them to play on. Once the swing was up, they realized that it would bring all the kids together, so they had to put up a second swing some distance away to keep them apart.

They crossed the Columbia River by ferry somewhere near The Dalles. When they came through one town, they drew an audience from the townspeople, and one little boy chased after them yelling, "Look at the damned gypsies!"

Mom suffered from diphtheria at the same time as her sister, Edna, but obviously did not get as sick. They did share the same room, and were not allowed any water to drink. Those taking care of them would sponge them off to try and bring down the fever.

She used to herd horses when she was a girl at home. She would take their horses to pasture and stay out with them most of the day. One time she took a book along--probably more than once--and got lost in the story. Before she realized what was happening, the wild horses had come in close to the herd. She had a couple of mules in with the tame horses and they took out after the wild ones and ran them off. She had rounded up the herd to take back home...when they came back on their own, manes flying and tossing their heads and tails, as though they thought they had really done something!!

On the day they married in Prosser, they livened up their trip home (by horse and buggy) by racing with a train between Prosser and Mabton. She talked of sitting with all of the lights out for the first week of their life together, so the neighbors and friends would think that they weren't home. That finally got tiresome, so they decided to get the "chivaree" over with and lit the lamps. Sure enough, here they came bringing refreshments and making as much noise as they could!


More About Bessie Nina Roberts:

  • Burial: October 10, 1985, Sunnyside, Washington.

More About Bessie Nina Roberts and Gilbert Blaine "Johnny" Crawford:

  • Marriage: January 15, 1913, Prosser, Washington.

Children of Bessie Nina Roberts and Gilbert Blaine "Johnny" Crawford are:

  • 1. Leta Ellen Crawford, b. July 16, 1915, Mabton, Washington, d. October 25, 1964, Toppenish, Washington.
  • 2. +Edna "Faye" Crawford, b. May 09, 1918, Mabton, Washington, d. January 11, 1985, Sunnyside, Washington.
  • 3. Neva May Crawford, b. March 14, 1922, Mabton, Washington, d. November 16, 1991, Downey, California.
  • 4. +Mona Marie Crawford.
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Bessie Nina Crawford's Timeline

May 4, 1894
Eugene, Lane County, Oregon, United States
October 8, 1985
Age 91
Mount Vernon, Skagit County, Washington, United States
Sunnyside, Yakima County, Oregon, United States