Nathaniel G. Cruzen was born in Jefferson county, Virginia, October 14, 1826, and is the son of Richard R., and Aurelia W. (North) Cruzen. His father was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, and for thirty years filled the position of inspector of the National Armory at Harper’s Ferry. His mother was born in Fairfax county, Virginia.
Our subject was educated at Harper’s Ferry and worked under his father’s instructions in the armory until he was twenty years of age, and then immigrated to Missouri and settled upon a farm in Saline county, where he remained until 1849. Then becoming imbued with the “gold fever,” young Cruzen went to California and engaged in mining there during four years with fair success. Returning to Saline county he purchased a farm near his father’s, upon which he lived until the outbreaking of the Civil War, when he enlisted at Miami, in December 1861, in Company A, commanded by F. S. Robertson, and followed the fortunes of the cause of the “Sunny South” through four long years of civil strife. The first engagement in which Company A participated was at Kirkpatrick’s Mill, near Knob Noster, December 19, where the whole command was captured by Col. Jeff. C. Davis. Mr. Cruzen was taken to St. Louis and thrown with others into Gratiot Street Prison. After remaining in confinement there during three months, he was transferred to Alton, Illinois, and at the end of six months was exchanged at Vicksburg. He was mustered into Musser’s battalion at Horsehead Station, Arkansas, and the battalion was subsequently consolidated with Col. Jno. B. Clark’s Ninth Missouri Infantry. Mr. Cruzen participated in the battles of Panther Forest, Pleasant Hill, and the engagement at the crossing of Saline River, between Camden and Little Rock (in which 12,000 Union soldiers fell into the hands of the Confederates) besides numerous minor engagements.
When the principles he loved so well and fought so long and valiantly to support, were lost and the hopes of the South forever buried at Appomattox, our subject surrendered at Shreveport, Louisiana, and returned to his home in Missouri. After the war he farmed for one year and then engaged in merchandising at Mt. Rope, in Lafayette county, till March, 1869, when he came to this county where be has resided ever since.
Mr. Cruzen was married to Miss Nancy E., daughter of Abram Jordin in Saline county, Missouri, on the 13th day of September, 1855. She was a native of Greenbrier county, Virginia. The issue of this marriage was one child, Webster W. Mrs. Cruzen died July 23, 1856. Mr. Cruzen married, in December, 1860, Mrs. Mary Faulkner, daughter of James Gillilan, a native of Pocahontas county, Virginia, and one of the earliest settlers of Daviess county, and also the founder of the town of Jamesport, in whose honor it was named. The result of the last marriage has been seven children, of whom five are living: Bettie, Aurelia B., Nathaniel G., Harry Lee, and Earl McAnally.
In politics Mr. Cruzen is a Democrat, and has several times received offices of trust and responsibility at the hands of his fellow-citizens, and is one of the best and most highly respected citizens of the county.