Croco, John

Name: Croco, John
Burial Date: 1902, 02/19
Age at Death: 81
Plot Location: 419 C/D
Notes: husband of Barbara(Bair) Croco


A conductor on the Underground Railroad, captured by slavery sympathizers who crushed his skull. Miraculously recovered when four surgeons put a gold plate over his skull. John sent a substitute to fight in the Civil War for him as he could not go physically. Croco Rd., Topeka, KS named for his family.”
War: Civil War

PETER CALVIN CROCO. With the exception of several years spent in Missouri, Peter Calvin Croco has been a resident of Kansas since 1876, and as he has carried on operations in almost every part of the state few men are better informed as to agricultural conditions here. At the present time, he is the owner of a good property in Tecumseh Township, Shawnee County, which he is cultivating along modern lines, and on which he has up-to-date improvements that make the farm of 155 acres a model which many agriculturists might copy.

Mr. Croco was born in Holmes County, Ohio, May 17, 1853, and belongs to a family which has a most interesting history. His great-grandfather, Peter Croco, was born about 1750, in Poland, and in his young manhood joined the Polish army, where he received a strict and through military training. Later, he joined the army of Frederick the Great, king of Prussia and after a few years of service enlisted in the English army, with which he came to America to fight against the colonists. It was not long, however, before the principles for which the forces of Washington were fighting became known to him and he transferred his allegiance to the patriot army, with which he served bravely during the rest of the struggle. He joined the army of the American commander-in-chief just prior to the battle of Brandywine, in which he was wounded. After the close of the war, he located a government claim just south of Pittsburgh, on which he resided for some years and which is still in the family name and possession. He was there engaged in farming during the remainder of his life and there died. Among his children was Peter Croco, the grandfather of Peter Calvin, of whom little is known save that he was a farmer for some years in Holmes County.

John Croco, the father of Peter Calvin Croco, was born in 1820, in Holmes County, Ohio, and was reared as a farmer, a vocation which he followed throughout his life. Previous to the Civil war he was an ardent anti-slavery man and an active conductor in the service of the Underground Railroad, and his son still remembers having seen many strange black men and boys hiding in the neighborhood on their way to Canada and freedom. The slavery sympathizers, learning of his activities in this direction, threatened him with death, and finally, after he had evaded several mobs, he was finally captured, overpowered and his skull crushed. Four surgeons proved his wound a fatal one, but he was a very powerful man, with a wonderful constitution and physique, and, after a gold plate had been placed over his brain, he fully recovered. He sent a substitute to the Union army during the Civil war.

Mr. Croco waa not a college-bred man, but was well educated and versed upon all matters of importance. He had a most wonderful memory, and his son contends that he had more geographical knowledge than any other man he has known, having never failed once in his life to correctly answer questions asked him. In his personal conduct he was almost puritanical, and never failed to have family worship whatever the conditions might be. He was a man highly esteemed by his neighbors, and, although very firm, was possessed of a sweet temper. During a life of industry and good management he accumulated considerable means, of which he gave generously to charitable movements, and contributed $500 to his local church and $500 to Wooster College. In 1880 he left Ohio for Kansas and here passed the rest of his life, his death occurring in 1902 at the home of his daughter at Sterling, Rice County. In 1842, in Holmes County, Ohio, Mr. Croco was married to Miss Barbara Bair, of that county, and they became the parents of eight daughters and three sons, namely: Martha, Anna, Mary, Rebecca, Barbara, Melancthon, Peter, Sarah, Susan, Emma and John.

Peter Calvin Croco was reared in Holmes County, Ohio, where he received a public school education, but as a young man moved to Franklin County, in the same state. Next, he returned to Holmes County for one year, and in 1876 came to the West, locating in Cowley County, Kansas. During his career, Mr. Croco has made twenty-nine moves. From Cowley County, where he lived four miles southwest of Winfield, he moved to the county seat itself, and spent four years there, his next move being to Rice County where he spent one year. He then lived for a time in Clinton County, Missouri, and in Jackson County, that State, for two years, when he returned to Kansas and lived at Olathe for two years and northeast of that place on a farm for eight years. From that property, he went to Thomas County, Kansas, then to Oakland, Shawnee County, and later to a farm in Tecumseh Township, on the East Sixth Street road Later Mr. Croco went to Topeka for two years, but eventually returned to the farm in Tecumseh Township, where he now makes his home.

Mr. Croco is one of his community’s public-spirited citizens as well as good farmers. He faithfully supports movements for the welfare and advancement of his township and county and through integrity and honorable dealing has won the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens. In politics, he is a Republican. He has been a member of the Presbyterian Church Since he was 17 years old.

A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.