CROWDER, REV. THOMAS JEFFERSON (deceased), for many years prominent in the Methodist Church, and an active supporter of Prohibition, was one of the honored residents of Springfield. He was born May 28, 1835, in the west end of Springfield, a son of John C. Crowder, born in Green County, Ky., in 1802, who there married Mary Laswell. With his wife and two children, he came to Sangamon County, in 1824, entering land in what is now the west end of Springfield, and becoming one of the most successful farmers of his locality, raising fine stock. He died in his farm during an epidemic of cholera, in 1863, and is buried on the home farm.
Thomas J. Crowder was educated in the country schools and even in childhood was a great reader of the Bible, and espoused the cause of temperance at a very tender age. He signed the pledge when twelve years old, and Abraham Lincoln guided his hand as he wrote his name. This occurrence took place in a school house, after the to-be-distinguished man had addressed an enthusiastic audience on the subject of temperance. Having always been of a religious turn of mind, Thomas J. Crowder began preaching when not more than eighteen years of age. He held charges in both Kansas and Nebraska during the stirring days in the history of those two States, and, needless to say, advocated the Free Soil principles, suffering for his ideas.
On January 14, 1874, Mr. Crowder was married in Jacksonville, Ill., to Martha Tomlin, who was born on her father's farm at Pleasant Plains, September 11, 1839, but later lived in Jacksonville. She is a member of the State Historical Society and the W.C.T.U., having been connected with the latter for thirty years. In the Second Presbyterian Church she is a strong and influential member, and gives much attention to its Missionary Society. All her life she has been a teacher in Sunday School, and she shared in her husband's advanced temperance ideas. Mr. and Mrs. had children as follows: J. William, at home; Elizabeth, Mrs. John E. George, of Springfield; Martha Louise, at home; and Edward, of Springfield.
Mr. Crowder passed away February 22, 1911, being seventy-five years and nine months old. During his long and active life he gave liberally of his time and mental attributes to the various causes he so deeply loved. He enlisted for service in the Civil War and although refused on account of physical defects, served in the Home Guard. He held many responsible offices, belonging to the Republican party after its formation, until the Prohibition party became national, and he always acted as his conscience dictated. In 1895 he located in Springfield, at No. 926 Governor Street, where his death occurred. His work as a member of the State Historical Society cannot be over-estimated, and he wrote a number of treatises to defend his position and advance his cause. Charitable and loving, following out in his daily life the principles of the religion he taught, Mr. Crowder rounded out a useful life, and when he died the whole community sorrowed as over the loss of a personal friend. He had lived in stirring times; the earlier part of his life was spent in struggling to help free the black man from the curse of slavery, and the latter part was equally strenuous in behalf of the slaves of alcohol. Such a man will never be forgotten; the good he accomplished will live on into eternity, and men will grow better, civic conditions will improve, and the cause of Prohibition and religion advance, because of the never-ending efforts of those whose sole purpose in life is to uplift their fellows.