University Archives Finding Aids

Document Type

Finding Aid

Publication Date


Size of Collection

3 Boxes and 2 Architecture Drawers

Manuscript Number



Survey Documents from the files of J.C. Crawford, C.E. Monroe, Louisiana.

Dates of Collection



James Carroll Crawford

James Carroll Crawford was born in Arcadia, Louisiana on September 4, 1912, the second son of Marvin David Crawford and Nancy Caroline Pearce Crawford. His Father owned a small sawmill near their home. His maternal grandparents were James Wylie Pearce and Margaret Ann Lee Pearce. Mrs. Pearce, a woman of strong character, was reputed to be a descendant of the Robert E. Lee family. James Carroll was called “Carroll” by his parents and relatives. Later he became known as “J.C.” Crawford.

J.C’s elementary schooling was done at Black Lake School, a quarter of a mile from his Arcadia home. It was only one room about 20’ by 50’ with a folding door in the middle. One teacher, Mrs. Weston, taught the small number of students at all grade levels. J.C. was allowed to skip the 5th grade. The school was the center of their social lives, being used also for church services on Sunday until J.C. was about ten years old.

When J.C. was a teenage boy, his father died. His mother’s struggle to support him and his brother Everidge filled him with a deep concern for widows. It became his policy throughout his professional life to lower his charge for services to widows as well as churches; he consistently did this in many years of private surveying.

After his father’s death he moved with his mother, brother and Grandmother Pearce to Ruston. After graduating from Ruston High School in 1927, J.C. spent the next four years working in a Ruston drug store. His mother influenced him to enter Louisiana Tech in 1931. After only one year in the School of Engineering he was completely in love with Tech and the idea of becoming a civil engineer.

In a letter dated October 30, 1975 to Mr. Ben Bogard, then Dean of Tech’s School of Engineering, J.C. wrote of Dean Bogard’s father, Frank, the former dean: “Your father meant a great deal to me when I was in school. In addition to some fine counsel and examples in other areas, he made a great contribution to whatever success I have achieved in the engineering world.

“I will always remember the night I presided over the Annual Engineering Day Banquet as president of the Engineering Student Body. He sat on my right hand and steered me through one step and one speaker at a time. I never knew what was going to happen next until he and I whispered a bit. We had some graduates from high places in far-away cities present, and I had a constant case of palpitation of the heart all through the evening in anxiety, but thanks to him it came out alright.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Dean Bogard was the driving force that brought the School of Engineering from obscurity to its prominent place even back in the Depression, and the present Engineering Building is named properly.”

In 1994 on the occasion of Louisiana Tech University’s 100th anniversary celebration, J.C. wrote: “Louisiana Tech was only 37 years old when I enrolled in the fall of 1931, in the years of the great Depression of the early 30s.

“Mr. Frank Bogard was Dean of the School of Engineering, Mr. W.L. Mitchell was Dean of Men and Engineering Professor, and Mr. Reginald McFarland was Professor of Civil Engineering. These men,

along with some others, made a tremendous impression on me and helped change and enrich my life forever.

“Under the tutelage of Coach Ed Shirley, I earned three letters on the track team. We were undefeated in my sophomore year.

“As a sophomore in 1932-1933, I helped organize the Annual Engineers’ Day and, as president of the engineering student body in 1935, presided over the activities of the Third Engineers’ Day. I also served as historian of the senior class in 1935.

“After graduating in Civil Engineering with the Class of 1936, I pursued a career with Standard Oil, the State of Louisiana, and as a professional engineer and land surveyor.

“Remembrances of my college days still stir my emotions and feelings of loyalty for the wonderful experience I had at Louisiana Tech.”

Following his graduation, J.C. served for ten years with the Standard Oil Company as field engineer in surveying. He was sent to Wyoming where he did extensive surveying with his manual transit. Returning to his native state, he was employed by the State of Louisiana in the Oil and Gas Severance Tax Division for 28 years. He was registered with the Louisiana State Board of Registration as Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering and as Land Surveyor, and was engaged in private practice in Ouachita Parish. He was a member of the Louisiana Engineering Society and the Louisiana Society of Professional Surveyors.

Throughout his active land-surveying career, J.C. continued to use the K&E Transit, P5136, Serial #132332 for which he had paid $650 in 1953.

In 1937, J.C. married Frances Marion McCoy of Dermott, Arkansas, Three children were James William, Carol Ann and Daniel McCoy. Marion Crawford died in 1968.

The greatest tragedy of J.C.’s life was when his five-year-old Danny was killed in an accident in the First Baptist Church of Monroe.

In 1969 J.C. married Persis Johns Barber, daughter of the late Dr. and Mrs. H.L. Johns of Monroe.

Throughout his lifetime J.C. actively served in numerous civic and religious capacities, including Boy Scouts of America leadership positions. In the First Baptist Church of Monroe he was made a Deacon in 1948 and a Life Deacon in 1981. His church activities included longtime service as choir member, stewardship chairman and Sunday school teacher. He served four terms as a president of the Northeast Louisiana Camellia Club and was a member of the Fine Arts Club of Monroe. His hobbies included an avid interest in fishing, bird watching and raising camellias.

J.C. died of a sudden heart attack at his Monroe home on May 11, 1998. Funeral services were held at Parkview Baptist Church on May 13, and he was buried in Mulhearn Memorial Park Cementery, Monroe. He is survived by his widow, Persis Johns Crawford and his son, James William Crawford, both of Monroe; his daughter, Carol Ann Crawford Guilbert of Dallas; three-step daughters, Joy Barber Bernard and Gail Barber Rugg of Dallas and Linda Barber Auld of New Orleans; eight grandsons, three granddaughters and six great-grandchildren.