| It was thewinter of 2008 and as the months droned down to a slow crawl, my
boredom gave way to curiosity as I stumbled upon a website that lead me
down a circuitous path- ancestry.com.
The story begins like this: In a far off place, in the year 1695, a son was born and christened Hans Jacob Krieder.
His birthplace was Ittlingen, Germany. He grew up in this small
village and, as a young man; he fathered a son with a young maiden
named Mary B. Christen. They named him John Michael. Hans Kreider
moved his family to the United States and settled in Philadelphia PA.
There, John Michael grew up and married Catherine Truyson. From this
union was born Daniel Kreider in 1744. When Daniel was of age, he
married Catharine Berger, a native of Baden Germany, who had also
migrated to Philadelphia. At some point, young Daniel changed his name
to “Crider” and moved his family from Philadelphia to the rural farming
community of Pittsylvania County Virginia. In 1790, a son William was
born to the Criders. Why do I care? Just wait- Stay with me.
Daniel died at the age of 95? in Toshes, VA in 1836. Catharine
died in 1839. William grew up in Pittsylvania County VA and at the age
of 24, married Celia Young, age 19, on January 6, 1814. They had at
least seven children and their youngest, Sarah, was born in 1837. She
had several siblings: Susan, Peyton, Melissa, Camelia and Celia
At this point, the family tree appears to be of European extract
with no indication of any race mixing or interracial marrying. Sarah is
therefore a white woman of German extract and, although little is known
of early life or her relationships, there is record of her having
several children. There is no record of her husband or children’s
father. One of her daughters was Hopie Ann, born in 1860 in the Pigg
River District of Pittsylvania County, VA.
Hopie Ann grew up with several siblings: Homer, John, Louise, Mary
and Sarah E. The record shows that Hopie Ann, at age 16, married
Benjamin F. Edwards, 17, on February 12, 1876. This appears to be where
we believe the “mullato”element entered the family lineage.
Who then was Ben Edwards? Research on the Edwards side of the
family begins with Wesley Edwards (born: 1830) and his marriage to
Patience (born: 1829). Little is known about their predecedents. From
that marriage were born Joseph, Ben, Josiah, Mary, Dollie S., and Otha
Their first son Joe (born: 1856) married Sarah E. Crider (believed
to be the daughter of Sarah Crider?) They had four sons: John Wesley,
Sampson, Reuben, and Zachariah. The second son Ben married Hopie Ann
Crider on February 12, 1876 and proceeded to have ten children. From
that union was born Victoria (1878), Aver, Henry, Betty, Pagie, Rose,
Tom, Lucy, Beatrice and Otha. They all grew up in the Pigg River
District which we knew as Ajax, VA. We have come to know and love these
descendants as our ancestors- uncles, aunts, parents and grandparents.
At an early age, Victoria, Hopie’s oldest daughter met and married
John L. James (aka Willard). They settled in Sandy Level just above the
old homeplace where Grandma Hopie and Grandpa Ben resided. Grandma
Hopie was predeceased by her husband Ben. She lived to a ripe old age
and shared the lives of Victoria and Willard’s growing family.
Victoria and Willard had thirteen children- Morris, Annie, Bruce,
Lucy, Edmonia, John, Doc, Dollie, Benjamin, Evelyn, Betty, Willie, and
Raleigh. We are the children and grandchildren of these descendents and
they are our beloved ancestors. We look proudly back to Hans Jacob and
Mary Krieder and Wesley and Patience Edwards as we honor their
bloodline that flows through our veins today.