Updated 4 December 2013
Thomas Worley Epperson was born on 1 May 1859 in Wytheville, Wythe, Virginia, one of 11 children of William D. Epperson and Frances Ann Brown. William was a day laborer, and I am sure it was quite a feat to feed all those young ones. Thomas was one of the middle children and only a toddler when his father served the Confederacy during the War for Southern Independence. A family story persists that William was a circuit rider during the Civil War. I don't know if he was or not (I would love to know more), but I do know he was a private in the 51st Regiment, Virginia Infantry, Company C. In 1870, William owned no real estate and his personal estate was worth $350. 350 dollars in 1870 had the same buying power as 6244.76 current dollars. As a young man, Thomas became a carpenter and traveled to Iowa to build a barn in 1880. He chose to stay and was 23 years old in 1882 when he married Susannah Crozier, a newly arrived 22 year old from Pennsylvania.
Susannah was the daughter of Armstrong and Mary Jane Updegraff. She was born on 17 Feb 1860 in Landisburg, Perry County, Pennsylvania and was the youngest of three children. Her older siblings were Alfred James Crozier and Sarah Elizabeth "Lizzie" Crozier.
Her father, Armstrong, was a constable in Spring City, Perry, Pennsylvania when the census was taken in 1860; her maternal grandmother and aunt, Sarah and Henrietta Updegraff, also lived with the family.
Mary Jane, age 27, died when Susannah was two years old, and Armstrong married his sister-in-law Henrietta. So, Susannah's aunt became her stepmother. Armstrong served in the U.S. Army for a year and six months in 1864 and 1865 as a sergeant in Company K of the 210th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry. This very likely meant he was stationed at Appomattox Court House during the surrender of Lee and his army and participated in the victory parades in Washington, D.C. before returning home to his wife and children. Armstrong survived the war but died three years later on 28 March 1868. His daughter Susannah was only eight years old.
As a result of Armstrong's untimely death at age 36, the family was broken up. The Crozier name proved difficult to find in 1870 (it was misspelled "Kossier") but I did eventually find Susannah, or "Susan" (as she was called in her youth) still living with her aunt/stepmother Henrietta and maternal grandmother Sarah Updegraff in Spring township, Perry county, Pennsylvania. Her 13 year old year sister Sarah was with the David and Eliza White family in Pine, Mercer, Pennsylvania. I have been unable to locate Alfred. It is possible that Alfred died young, but we have no idea what truly happened to him.
Susannah became a follower of Christ early in life. She was converted, baptized, and united in fellowship with the Church of God at Oak Park, Pennsylvania where she remained a member until she transferred her membership to her Iowa church several years after her move there.
Susannah's grandmother, Sarah Updegraff, died 5 Aug 1875 and was buried in the Saint Peters United Church of Christ Cemetery in Bridgeport, Perry, Pennsylvania. By 1880, Susan was now 20 years old and a servant in the Charles and Catherine Kutz family in Middlesex, Cumberland, Pennsylvania. Her stepmother/aunt lived just next door.
Two years later, in the spring of 1882, Susannah Crozier moved to Iowa. I would love to find out how she decided to come to the midwest. Did she come alone? Did she come with family or as a servant?
Susannah Crozier married Thomas Worley Epperson on 14 Dec 1882 in Sac City, Sac, Iowa. Their first of 11 children, Etta, was born nine months later in September of 1883.
This is just some of the beginning of the story of Thomas Worley Epperson and his wife Susannah Crozier. It is a work in progress for sure, but writing some of the details found in records and indexes makes my family's history come alive for me. It is my hope to include little stories told by the grandchildren who loved Grandma and Grandpa Epperson so much. More to come!