This article was compiled by Jim Dawson from information of Martha Smalley,great-great granddaughter of Doc Crumley
One of the first and most memorable physicians in the Cedar Park area was Benjamin Thomas “Doc” Crumley. Doc was born to Reverend William Crumley and Elizabeth Monroe (reported to be a Cherokee) in South Carolina in 1822.
Doc Crumley with his third wife, Lula Thomas Riffe Crumley
Some reports have Crumley attending college at William and Mary and acquiring at least some of his medical training in France. He also lived with the Cherokee Indians (probably with his grandparents) for seven years and learned to make his own medicines under the guidance of the tribal medicine man.
Along with the herbs, another one of Crumley’s unusual treatments was the use of a “mad stone,’ which was found in the stomach of an albino deer. It had sucking or drawing properties and was used primarily in the treatment of rabies and snakebites. The stone would be prepared by heating it in warm milk. When it was placed on the wound, it would be held by its sucking action. When the mad stone was filled with the poison it would lose suction and fall off the skin. This treatment would be repeated until the mad stone would no longer attach itself to the wound.
Crumley served as first assistant surgeon for the Confederacy. He enlisted as a sergeant and was promoted to second lieutenant by the end of the war. He fought in the Battle of Mansfield and the Battle of Pleasant Hill in Louisiana.
The first of Crumley’s three wives was an Indian woman named Votaw, and they had one son.
His second marriage was to Martha Crosby in about 1850. They had five children, one of which, Sanford was an early postmaster in Cedar Park.
After Martha’s death in 1873, Crumley moved the family to the Cedar Park area he named Buttercup, where the Twin Creek earth dam is now located, and built his home office. In 1879, he married Lula Thomas Riffe. She was 17 and he was 57 years old and they had three children.
Crumley lived an interesting and colorful life. He wore a white linen suit and rode a white horse. It must have been quite a sight to see him galloping down the road with his shoulder length hair flowing in the breeze.