The Vagabond – Charles K. Crossfield


By Danny Crownover

The Vagabond remembers getting ice cream at Crossfield’s during his youth.  At that time, the ice cream was known all over town and continued to be known for many years. Here is the story of the Crossfields in Gadsden:

One of the most useful citizens Gadsden ever had was Charles K. Crossfield, who arrived in the area in 1916 from Kentucky. He established an ice business and later added an ice cream factory that grew into considerable magnitude before his death in 1934. The business grew rapidly under the management of his son Louis and his daughter Miss Goldie. It became one of the largest concerns in the city and serves a large area around Gadsden.

Charles K. Crossfield was a member of the Civitan Club, and from the very start he gave liberally of his time and money to aid every worthwhile undertaking. He always was in the forefront of any campaign and he was a religious leader whose influence was widespread.

Crossfield was born near Lawrenceburg, Kent., on June 9, 1863. He was the son of R.H. and Elizabeth Jackson Crossfield. One of three children, Charles K. Crossfield married Miss Ada Hackley, of Anderson County, Kent., on Sept. 4, 1887. The couple had seven children, including Mrs. Mary Mcdiarmid of Black Mountain, N.C., Mrs. Ma-die Belle Redwine, San Diego, Calif.; and Miss Goldie Crossfield, Mrs. Julia Harp and Louis Crossfield, all of Gadsden.

Charles became a Christian in Kentucky in early youth and became an elder of the Christian Church in 1888 and served as such the remainder of his life. He began his business career in Kentucky. Charles resided in Lexington for a number of years, where he was a success.

Few men served Gadsden with more zeal and more effectiveness than this good man, yet he was modest and unassuming. His whole life was a model one in every respect. In business, social and religious contacts, Charles added the force of example to that of precept. In other words, he practiced what he preached.

After Charles passed away, a note to his children was found among his papers. It was characteristic of the man and read: “I was made elder of the……church in Kentucky in January 1888. I have contributed to the church every year since then. I do not claim to be a perfect man, but there are some things that I have not done that have let me live closer to God. I never took a drink of whiskey in my life; I never swore an oath in my life; I never committed adultery in my life; I never committed murder in my life; I never gambled, and God being my helper, I never will.” Charles was universally respected and honored.

Charles’s death occurred on Jan. 8, 1934, while he was on the way to Florida to spend the winter. He and his daughter Ritchie were killed in an automobile accident. The double funeral in the first Christian Church was impressive and one of the saddest events in the history of Gadsden. Charles K. Crossfield was a devoted family man and a successful businessman who was primarily known for his moral and Christian character. He was a strong advocate of temperance and a loyal Mason. Gadsden has had a few such characters, and his memory is cherished as an outstanding set to the community.

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