I am very late to this discussion however I would like to add my family tradition to the mix so please bear with me. My Great Grand Father was William Thomas Crabtree. The story goes that he had been away from home for some time. He returned home to be told that a group of Federalists were on their way to arrest him. He slipped away to avoid them. The Federalists came and searched for him. When they could not find him they ransacked the house, took what they wanted, and set the house on fire. When his wife, Louisa, rescued some bedding and a mattress out of the house the men threw it back on the fire. She was left with a large family and nothing except the clothes on their back.
Later, when he was killed his wife and sister in law borrowed a wagon and went to get the bodies. They found two men, dead. William had worn a pair of new boots which were gone. There was an extreme amount of blood. The sister-in-law(last name Parks) rolled up some leaves and such to try to staunch the blood. The date and place of his death is recorded by the family as Pea Ridge Arkansas. An ancestry record has him living in Arkansas near the time of his death and his occupation is listed as "soldier" but I can't find a source for that.
The important point is that this story matches up pretty well with a record I found on the internet (that I can't find again but it was on a yellow or orange background) which told about the wedding suit only it said the owner of the wedding suit swore to kill Crabtree and make him suffer. The gun misfired and he killed (butchered him) with a knife. That would account for the "lot of blood." He also stuck a corn stalk in a wound on his back. It said they (Crabtree and the other man) had a wagon full of clothes. That made me think that if his family was living in a cave with nothing (fairly close by) it would be logical his large family (13 kids) would need clothes. And because their house was burned they may well have been living in a cave. Maybe my imagination is running away with me but it sounded plausible. My family never referred to him as an outlaw but he did have a son born 2 Sept. 1865. I suspect there may have been more than one outlaw Crabtree
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I do have a letter from an Aunt (about the women retrieving the bodies) who knew Louisa (the widow) personally. Good Hunting. It's a great adventure! Sandra Gibson
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