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My CREEL family background

I am the youngest of 3 children of Harold Preston CREEL and Nelle Ernest ALEXANDER. I was born in 1943 in Joliet IL. My brother Harold Preston CREEL Jr. was born in Tulsa OK in 1930. My sister Carolyn Nelle CREEL was born in Albany GA in 1927.

Although the name CREEL appears to be common in the soututhern US, I cannot find any Creels who are directly related to us.

Harold Preston Creel, b 30 Mar 1904, d 5 Sep 1989. He had 2 sisters, Leone CREEL (b 1899) and Natalie Crawford CREEL (b 1901) and two brothers, Ralph Laurence CREEL (b. 1905) and James Crawford CREEL (b 1907).

My father's parents were James Preston CREELb Oct 1872 in Clopton AL and Elma CRAWFORD,b 25 Dec 1875 in Bainbridge GA. James was a failure as a dentist as he drank. He and Elma married in Dothan AL. When Natalie was about 1 year old, they moved to Cameron TX where he opened a dental practice and where all the boys were born. He drank too much and could not keep up his practice. He had 2 sisters in Texas, but the family needed help. In Feb 1911, Elma's father James Reade CRAWFORD purchased a farm in Coffee Springs, AL (Geneva County) and sent for the family (altho the 1910 census in April lists them already in Coffee Springs, AL).

Papa Creel operated the farm on a share-cropper basis and was employed as a salesman at the General Mercantile Store owned by his father-in-law J. R. CRAWFORD. He made $40 a month. Elma's father gave her a nice house on the outskirts of the village with some acreage on which James always had an exceptionally fine vegetable garden. He bought a cow and through a number of years built up a small herd. Elma set eggs and hatched biddies. She always had a lovely flower garden and shared her flowers with others. Elma saw to the childrens' needs, taught piano, canned food, and was active in the communities and church.

When he cleared off the 80 acres he and Elma bought behind the Phillips' home on down to the creek, the 3 boys gathered 4 sacks of Indian arrows.

In 1913 he became postmaster in Coffee Springs. He left home at 5:30, walked down, added what drop hail since he'd made up the night before, met the train, and walked half mile back home for breakfast at 7:15. Sometime in Coffee Springs he suffered a heart attack. He helped build the high wooden wall around the pool that had several large bubbling springs in it for which the town was named.

He bought a Buick with curtains fastened along each side. The boys were never allowed to drive when the girls were in the car, as Elma was afraid they'd speed, show off, and have a wreck.

Papa and the boys raised pigs as well as cows. After he bought the extra acreage, he grew lots of peanuts and sweet potatoes. He shipped car loads of sweet potatoes to Chicago. He also tried raising cotton. In hunting season, he would take the shotgun out back of the house and walk into the pine woods and creek area and in 2 hours come in with 30-40 quail or doves for supper. He continued to drink.

Elma had $5000 of bank stock from her family that she had put aside. In Aug 1923 she decided to move to Auburn so that the 3 boys could attend Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University). She chartered a whole freight car on the Central of Georgia and moved all their worldly goods, including "Hobo" the wolf Leone had brought from Texas, a cow, 24 chickens, cats, kids, and all her many flowers that had traveled to Texas and back. They moved into a rental home on Gay Street. She needed more room and purchased lots 10-13 Block on West Glenn at Austin. The property was from Meadows home on West Glenn Ave down to the creek - $12,500. She had an antebellum hom built. James never felt comfortable in it and in 1925 he and Elma divorced.