Crumpton Triplets

Submitted by: Gene Nabors
Possibly from the Birmingham News about 1940

Monroe, Arzroe, & Ezroe Crumpton

Aunt Sis’ Triplets Are Now 62 – And Full of Fun

Haleyville, March 11 – Back in 1877 and ’78, "Aunt Sis" Crumpton had eight children in two years and two days, a record even for hardy Winston County folk.

First triplets, then more triplets, then twins. Only the second set of triplets lived, but Mrs. Crumpton had five more singles to round out a good-sized family…

The triplets are 62 years old horny-handed tillers of the red earth and anyone will tell you there aren’t three more respected boys in hailing distance of Haleyville. Staunch Republicans, too.

Their brother Docia, the one that died, named the first-born triplet Monroe. Their mother was against changing it so she named the other two to fit and now they sound like three stout sons of an Old Testament patriarch – Monroe, Arzroe, and Ezroe.

‘Just Midwife’

There was no incubator to keep these triplets alive that Groundhog Day in 1878 when they were born – not even a doctor to deliver them or a nurse.

"Just a midwife," says Monroe airly, "and her we paid off in home-grown tobacco. Ma only had clothes for one of us and Pa had to walk five miles to a neighbors to borrow some more."

Having lost one set of triplets, Aunt Sis Crumpton was taking no chances with the second.

"Ma set up for 18 months in a rocking chair beside our bed," continued Monroe who is usually spokesman. "She slept in that chair, too, till the old man up the road a piece built a crib for all four of us – big as a wagon bed it was."

Ready to Joke

Right from the start the three Crumpton boys were great ones for a joke or a scrap. When Aunt Sis had to go out back to take care of the washing, she used to pin their shirt-tails to the floor with three of the bed legs so they wouldn’t be tearing each other apart while she was outside.

She used to tie ribbons around the babies’ arms so she could tell which she had nursed and which she hadn’t, thus solving one of their first mistaken-identity difficulties.

They had a narrow escape one time. They let Arzroe tell about this one. They think he’s the best story-teller:

"One night," he began, "when Ma was sleeping in the rocking chair beside us she dreamt she saw a catamount. You know, those animals some folks call wildcats."

"Fixin’ to Let Fly"

"Pa heard her yelling and when he woke up she had one of us boys drawed back over her shoulder, fixin’ to let fly at the catamount. Thought the baby was a rock, I guess."

"Never did find out which one of us it was," he added.

As they grew older they were always mistaken for each other, a situation aggravated by their scrappiness. Like the time Arzroe and Marvin Blanton, Judge Blanton’s brother, fought all over Haleyville. Next day Blanton charged up to Monroe and started in on him.

He apologized after a while. "I thought you were Arzroe," he said. "But mad as I was one Crumpton was good as another."

"Arzroe’d been going with a girl from Morgan County six months," Monroe spoke up with a friendly leer at his brother who started looking uncomfortable. After 60 years or so you know what’s coming.

"He’d been going with her and I met up with her one night at a tabernacle meeting. Took her home in my buggy, too, and she didn’t know who it was till we got there. I said, ‘Well, I reckon you think this is Arzroe but it’s Monroe.’"

Wasn’t Surprised

"She wasn’t so surprised, though. Said ‘I didn’t think Arzroe used tobacco. But one Crumpton’s good’s another, I guess.’"

Monroe didn’t marry till he was 42 but he’s had seven children – all still living at home. Arzroe’s seven are all married and gone. One of Ezroe’s three still live with him.

Each triplet has his own farm around Haleyville. They make enough to live on but little more. Monroe is justice of the peace in Winston County.

Thereby hangs one of the many tales the boys have had to tell so often that they resemble three vaudevillians plunging into a rehearsed routine.

A young buck drove his buggy up alongside Arzroe in Haleyville some years ago.

"You going to be home tomorrow?" he asked.

"Sure, why?" countered Arzroe.

I want you to marry me and my girl." Arzroe knew he was looking for Monroe.

" I could have married them all right," grinned Arzroe. "I knew all the words Monroe says over ‘em."

Put in Monroe, "He’d spied a bottle of whiskey the fellow had in his buggy and he had his mind set on that."

‘He’s the J.P.’

So Arzroe promised to do the marrying if the whiskey came as a pre-wedding gift. When it was all gone he grinningly informed the anxious bridegroom-to-be, "you want my brother Monroe. He’s the J.P."

Since the Short quadruplets gave multiple births in Winston County so much publicity some Haleyville man got to figuring the Crumpton boys had been neglected.

Now they have not one promoter but one apiece. Said Probate Judge Frank M. Johnson, "If you want to sign the boys up for anything see me or J.A. Posey, the county attorney, or I.B. Burdick, the county superintendent of education. The boys are under contract to us."