Hood County Texas Genealogical Society
by Christopher C. Evans
CRESSON FULL OF CROOKS SINCE AT LEAST 1887 Ė OF CROOKS, CHURCHES, PROBATIONERS & SAGGING ARCHES
This was going to be a light and fluffy little column about how the community of Cresson acquired its interesting if odd assortment of street names. The topic occurred to me several months after I moved here 15 months ago from Where the West Begins, when I realized in mid-thought one day that I donít merely live in Cresson. I live, ahem, at the corner of Broadway and Altoona in Cresson!
I felt better about my station in life already. Then it occurred to me that some folk in Cresson live on East Lancaster, others on Crook Street, still others on Juniata, Mifflin and Braddock.
I must, sadly, report two things right off regarding said research and Cresson street names: We got our street names in 1887 from a Yankee railroad man who didnít even stick around. Further, Cresson has been teeming with Crooks since at least 1887 -- and once had a doctor who was a Crook.
According to Shirley R. Smithís book Cresson: Community Crossroads, the "best-liked story" is that T.W. Jackson, a Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad land agent, named Cresson for his hometown of Cresson, Pa.
It would stand to reason, then, that Jackson also named the streets -- all but a couple, at least -- for Pennsylvania places with which he was familiar.
Lancaster, Altoona, Braddock and Pittsburgh are Pennsylvania cities -- and thus the Cresson street signs that say "Pittsburg" rather than Pittsburgh are likely in error.
Mifflin is a Pennsylvania county, Mifflinville is a town. Juniata -- not "Juanita" as street signs now read -- is the name of the county Altoona is in and Juniata Gap is a suburb of Altoona, Juniata College a Pennsylvania institution.
That would leave only Broadway, which we assume land agent Jackson took from the New Yawk thoroughfare of the same name, and Crook, the only other non-highway street running north and south in Cresson.
As for Crook, it appears there might have been so many people of that surname here, even in 1887, that Davis perhaps didnít have any choice but to name the thriving thoroughfare on which sit all three of Cressonís churches today.
According to Smithís book, Dr. Lee M. Crook practiced medicine here in 1887, when the streets were named. Other Crooks in the area in the late 1880s or earlier included farmer James S. and Lizzie Anderson Crook, several of whose descendants still live in the area. Further, Wiley M. Crook, who served two stints as Cresson postmaster beginning in 1888, was co-proprietor of the Crook & Vickers General Store in the same period.
Interestingly, there are no Crooks in the Cresson phone directory today.
Hereís hoping there are no crooks, either.
2001 HOOD COUNTY TEXAS GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY