Generation 1. Gerald Vuhr Craig
My father, Gerald Vuhr Craig, was born 26 Feb 1915 in Freedom, Bourbon County Kansas. He was the second child of Claude Leolis Craig and Goldie Opal VanBuskirk. He had one older sister, Claudine Cleo, born 11 Jul 1912, and one younger sister, Gwendolyn born 24 Jul 1919.
His childhood was not a very stable one. The parents were not settled enough to provide a very happy home for their children. At the age of about thirteen his parents separated and the next few years my father was "on his own". He attended school and lived in Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa in the early 1930's. This is where he met and married my mother, Dorothy Cary, on 24 November 1934 in Kirkville, Adair County Missouri. I don't know all of the circumstances, but I know his years as a young boy left a mark on his personality that remained with him all of his life. It seemed to instill a very strong desire to be a success and to be "as good as" other people. A troubled childhood and the time of the Great Depression combined to create a unique person.
As a young girl, my father was my hero figure. He was a very strict disciplinarian with me and my brother, David Vinson Craig. His approval was important to me, but almost impossible to attain.
It was during World War II that he found a way to excel. When I was about six years old, he went to work for Peter Kiewit Construction Company of Omaha, Nebraska. With the war came the many construction projects that were necessary to insure this country's superiority and safety. This provided my father a chance for success. He began as a welder, and ended up being project superintendent of many complex projects for the company.
These projects ranged from air bases in Oregon, hospitals in Omaha, radar detecting stations in Greenland, missile silos in Ohio, locks on the St.Lawrence Seaway and other various projects that carried him from the 40's to the 80's with the Kiewit Company.
These years were not calm or easy years for my father. In the late 1940's he and my mother, Dorothy Cary Craig were divorced. He left the three of us in western Nebraska and went on about his life. We continued on a different path. In reflecting on this now, as a mature woman, I see that it was the best thing for all concerned. After my parents divorced, we still had contact occasionally with our father. My mother never instilled any negative feelings about him, in me or my brother.
My father married Betty Stockert on 24 January 1953 in Yuma, Yuma County, Arizona. Dad and Betty had three daughters, all younger than my own daughter, Cindy. They are Jerri Lynne Craig, born in Portsmouth, Ohio; Jacqueline Craig, born in Ogdensburg, New York; and Roberta Craig, born in Omaha, Nebraska. These places are just a few of the places my father was assigned to during the years with Peter Kiewit Company.
My father has many good characteristics. One of the things I admire most about him is the way he could adapt to whatever his circumstances have dictated. He makes ANY place he is at, his home. He has a special talent for taking advantage of whatever the current "place" has to offer. It is this adventuresome spirit that has been most remarkable to me.
When we were moving around the country during World War II, we seldom lived in an ordinary place. He parked our little trailer, the Prairie Schooner, in some sort of "odd" places. It is as if this gave my dad an opportunity to use his imagination. As he matured and had his second family, he seemed to be more conventional in that respect. However, after he and Betty were alone again, he reverted back to this characteristic. I have seen him living in some unusual places in my lifetime, but they are always imprinted with his own style and personality. He was at home any where in the World.
My father's last years were lived in Superior, Mineral County, Montana. He was content in his beautiful home on the Clark's Fork of the Columbia River. He died there on 06 December 1999. The 20th century has seen five generations of Craigs pass away. David Craig in 1902, William M. Craig in 1919, Claude Leolis Craig in 1961, Gerald Vuhr Craig in 1999, and David Vinson Craig in 1980.
As for me, I am grateful that I have the parents that I do. It is from my father that I have been blessed with my "Craig" eyes, as well as, many other characteristics. I am proud to be his daughter.
Generation 2. Claude Leolis Craig
My grandfather, Claude Leolis Craig was born 2 Nov 1886 in Sheridan Twp Linn County Kansas.
His parents were William Martin Craig and Faithy Ellen Meech Craig. He was their first and only child. His mother died when he was one year and three weeks old.
I do not need much imagination to see the heartbreak that accompanied his mother's death. A young father left with a year old infant, a family left with only memories of their oldest daughter. The Meech family raised Claude. This was only natural since families were close then, and it was expected. The Meeches youngest child was only three years older than Claude, so Margaret Meech was young enough to raise another child.
Now psychologists would say that Claude may have had an identity crisis. They would probably recommend counseling. In those days people were simply too busy surviving to dwell on such matters. I am sure the circumstances had an effect on everyone concerned, but life went on.
At any rate, I nearly missed Claude's marriage record to my grandmother due to the fact that he married using the name Meech! He married Goldie Opal VanBuskirk on 11 Nov 1911 in Fort Scott, Bourbon, Kansas. He was twenty five years old and she was fifteen years old.
The marriage broke up long before I was born, but not before they had three children. Claudine Cleo Craig, born 11 Jul 1912; Gerald Vuhr Craig, born 26 Feb 1915 and Gwendolyn Craig, born 24 Jul 1919. The family was not a happy one, and it had an effect on the children.
I remember Claude Craig as a quiet man. I never saw him wearing anything but "bib overalls". I have a picture of him on his honeymoon trip with his second wife, Hazel Greenwood. I can tell it is an important picture because Claude has on brand NEW bib overalls. I have a picture of him the very last time I saw him alive, and yes he is wearing bib overalls!
During the depression, Claude joined the ranks of many other men of the time. He "rode the rails". I don't know the whole story, but I would guess he was trying to find his place in the world.
In 1941, Claude married Hazel Greenwood and they settled around Pittsburg, Kansas. During World War II they went to the West Coast to take advantage of the many jobs available for the war effort. After the war they returned to Pittsburg, Kansas.
As a young girl, about eight or nine years old, I remember Claude and Hazel stopping to visit on their way to the West Coast. Claude had made a farm truck into living quarters for them since housing during that time was in great shortage. It made quite an impression on my mind. It was very ingenious, and just the sort of thing that would stick in a child's mind.
The last time I saw Claude and Hazel was in 1959. I was married by that time and had my daughter Cindy with me. I have a picture of Cindy standing with Claude and Hazel at that time.
I am sorry that I didn't take the time to know Claude Craig a little bit better. There is nothing I can do about that now, but I can be grateful that I was able to know him at all.
Generation 3. William Martin Craig & Faithy Ellen Meech
William Martin Craig was, perhaps, my biggest challenge. I had not heard of him before I sent for the death certificate of my grandfather, Claude Leolis Craig. The only parent listed was, William Craig, mother was listed as "unknown". This simply means that the mother was unknown to the informant, but to a genealogist it means that this is going to be a long and interesting journey.
For some peculiar reason, finding Claude's mother, Faithy Ellen Meech, was easier than finding his father, William Martin Craig. It was mainly because Claude was raised by Ellen's parents and I found a clue on the 1900 Linn County Kansas Census. From that point it was simply doing some basic genealogy, AND I was blessed with the genealogist's greatest gift --- an unusual name.
Faithy Ellen Meech and William Craig married in Linn County Kansas on 28 Aug 1884. Their first and only child, Claude Leolis Craig, was born 2 Nov 1886 in Linn County Kansas. Ellen Craig died 23 Nov 1887, one year and twenty one days after her son was born. She and William had recently moved to Foster, Bates County Missouri when she died. She was brought home to Linn County Kansas and is buried in the Meech family plot in the Prescott, Kansas Cemetery.
William Craig, was another matter. I didn't realize I was going to meet so many William Craigs in the 1850 to 1900 time period. I earned my "higher degree" in genealogy by finding my William Craig. But, find him I did!
He was the son of David and Abigail Campbell Craig. He was born in Morgan County Missouri. He was the twelfth child of the family of fourteen! The tenth child was Thomas A. Craig, and he and William seemed to go through life in close proximity to each other.
He and Thomas appear on the tax rolls of Linn County Kansas in 1884. Apparently they were farming together. Thomas was the informant on the death certificate of William Craig. These brothers were close and lived all of their lives in the same area. They are both buried in GAR Cemetery in Miami, Ottawa Co Oklahoma.
William married a second time to Mary Ann Esther Bingham. They were the parents of eight children.
I received a family picture of William and Esther Bingham Craig. It shows the family of seven children, one child had died as a baby. I received this picture from another descendant, Patsy Bowen of Miami, Oklahoma. Her mother, Grace, was William's daughter, and Claude's half-sister.
What a miracle to be able to look into the eyes of my great grandfather! The picture was taken shortly before his death, and the weariness shows in his face. I studied the picture closely. I see a man that has hardworking hands, has struggled to raise a large family, has straightforward and proud eyes, they are definitely CRAIG eyes!
On the 1900 Ottawa County Oklahoma Census, I find William and his family listed. His occupation is a "jigman at a lead mine". I would think working in a lead mine must have shortened his life by many years. As John and I left Miami, Oklahoma in 1993, we passed the site of the lead mine outside of town. Not knowing at the time that this would be significant later. It has been turned back to nature and is a wildlife sanctuary today. Too bad there wasn't the same concern for the men that worked there in the early years of this century.
I do not recall any reference to William Craig. Apparently, my father, Gerald Vuhr Craig had not heard of him either(or had long forgotten him). I believe there was contact between William and Claude Craig. How else would Claude's widow, Hazel, know to list William as Claude's father? I will never know if they were close, if their contact was in a loving and caring manner or just an occasional contact. The Craig's were not close geographically, so there was simply not much chance for casual conversation about family history. I do not judge anyone about that, I am simply grateful that I could find William Martin Craig. In that endeavor, I have found another "living cousin" in Patsy Bowen. Finding fellow descendants is one of the great benefits of this business.
Generation 4. David Craig & Abigail Campbell
David Craig and Abigail Campbell are the parents of William Martin Craig. They are my paternal great-great-grandparents. It is only since 1996, that I learned enough about this couple to feel that I could write an ancestral sketch about them. Up until then I only knew facts, like birth dates, death dates, and children's names. These are the basic things I always look for, but I like to find out "just a little bit more". I guess it is my "private detective" nature. During 1996 I researched the entire State of Kentucky to find where they came from. I knew they were both born in Kentucky --- but it is a pretty big State!
At any rate, I finally did locate their home county in Kentucky, and it was Clinton County, which was part of Cumberland County prior to 1837. David never did appear on a Kentucky Census as the Head of Household because he lived in his father's household until he and Abigail left for Missouri in 1840. It was through the Clinton County Tax Lists that the story became clear about these two people. David appeared on the 1840 Tax List, but not on the 1841 Tax List. Sometime between June 1840 and June 1841 David and Abigail left Kentucky and migrated to Morgan County Missouri. The same was true for Abigail's parents, Benjamin and Cloe Campbell. They apparently moved west as a family group at the same time.
David Craig was the son of James Craig, and the Craigs in Kentucky never owned land. They must have farmed for others and earned their living by their share of the crops. When David went to Missouri, he became a landowner on 15 Jan 1858. He was able to buy 297 acres of rich Missouri farm land. This was something his father had not been able to accomplish in Kentucky. It illustrates again, the allure of moving west.
His obituary follows:
"David Craig, one of the oldest citizens of Morgan County died March 27, 1902 at his home six miles southwest of Versailles aged 88 years, 11 months, and 3 days old. Deceased was born in Kentucky April 24, 1813. Came to Missouri about sixty years ago, settling in this county where he has since resided. His wife died about twenty years ago, since which time he has made his home with his children. In 1868 he joined the Ritchie Baptist Church. In 1874 he was one of the constituent members of Oak Grove of which he remained a faithful member to the day of his death. He raised a large family six of his children surviving him. Funeral service were conducted Saturday by Rev. I. Barber after which his remains were interred Oak Grove cemetery in the presence of a large number of friends and relatives. Uncle David, as he was called, was an honest upright man and a good citizen. He came to this country in early days and contributed his mite in making the county what it is. After a life filled with toil and labor he is called up to reap the rewards of a higher life. Peace be to his ashes." Taken from the Versailles Leader, Versailles, Morgan County Missouri Friday April 4, 1902 Page 1 Column 4.
Abigail Campbell is the daughter of Benjamin and Cloe Ferris Campbell. She married David Craig about 1829 when she was age 14 and he was age 16. They started their life together at a very young age and they continued along life's path together until 22 September 1874 when Abigail died and was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Morgan County Missouri.
When I visited this cemetery in 1995, I found the tombstone for Abigail Craig among the stones of many of her Campbell relatives. There was no stone for David, but thanks to his obituary, I knew he was buried there, probably next to his wife. The old Oak Grove Church has been cleared away, but the place where it was is still evident. As we sat there and looked around at the lush Missouri forest that surrounds the cemetery, we could imagine how it must have been in David and Abigail's time. We could almost see and hear the teams of horses pulling the wagons, as the families came to church on Sunday morning.
David and Abigail had fourteen children. Their first six were born in Kentucky and the last eight were born in Missouri. They persevered through life with all of its turmoil and trouble and left a great many descendants. This couple is very special to me. Perhaps, it is because I have learned to know so much about them and it was quite a challenge finding them in the first place. I am proud to be one of their many descendants.
Generation 5. James Craig and Jane Brown
The following is my conclusion concerning my CRAIG family in Kentucky. I have documented evidence of my lineage to David CRAIG and Abigail CAMPBELL. Because David CRAIG is not listed as a head of household in 1840 I estimated that he was either living with a CRAIG family or a CAMPBELL family, somewhere in Kentucky. It is searching for David & Abigail's parents that has necessitated me reading the entire 1840 Kentucky Census, county by county, page by page, line by line looking for any family of CRAIGs or CAMPBELLs that had the right number of individuals to include David and Abigail's family in 1840. It is searching for THEIR parents that has been instrumental in learning the great value of the Kentucky Tax Lists. It is searching for THEIR parents that I have been concentrating on for the year 1996. Fortunately, David CRAIG's children are still at home in 1850 in Morgan County Missouri. From this data I know six children were born in Kentucky, and approximately what year they were born.
1. I believe James and Jane CRAIG are the parents of David CRAIG born in 1813 in Kentucky per his obituary.
2 James CRAIG is on the Clinton Co., KY Tax Lists from 1837-1846. Clinton County was formed in 1836 from Cumberland and Wayne counties.
Jane CRAIG is on the Clinton Co., KY Tax List in 1847.
James CRAIG died between June 1846 and summer 1847.
3.James Craig was born about 1790 per census data:
he was 16-26 in 1810 (born 1784-1794) Prob age 20
he was 26-45 in 1820 (born 1784-1794) Prob age 30
he was 26-45 in 1830 (born 1780-1790) Prob age 40
he was 40-50 in 1840 (born 1790-1800) Prob age 50
Jane CRAIG was age 65 in 1850 (born 1785)
she was age 65 in 1860 (born 1795) --- obvious error here
she died after 1860 when she is on the Clinton Co., KY census living with Lemuel Stockton and Rosannah CRAIG Stockton.
4. I believe David and Abigail CRAIG are counted in the household of James and Jane CRAIG in 1830 and in 1840. David and Abigail left Clinton Co., KY between June 1840 and June 1841. David is on the 1840 Tax List for Clinton Co., but not on the 1841 Tax List. Their son, James F. CRAIG is born in MO in 1842.
5. I believe Benjamin and Cloe CAMPBELL returned from Missouri to Clinton Co., KY about 1851. Benjamin appears on the Clinton Co., Tax Lists 1851,1852,1855,1858 and Cloa A. CAMPBELL appears there in 1861!
6. This recap explains my conclusion about the parents of David CRAIG.
Generation 6. John Craig and Jane Brown
When I decided to send my supplemental application to DAR for John Craig, I knew this would be my biggest challenge since the one for Asa North in 1991. I had found convincing evidence for my lineage to John Craig, but it wasn't the conventional type of evidence. It had taken many years and quite an investment of money to build a convincing case, and sending it to DAR would be a big gamble.
I was prompted to do it because no one had ever sent in the records to establish John Craig as a patriot in the DAR files. I felt an obligation to him to see that he was properly recognized for his three years of service in the Virginia Continental Line. Besides that reason, I was happy to find my ancestor by the name of CRAIG served in the Revolution, this being my maiden name made it special to me. Also this would be the second Revolutionary Ancestor found in my father's lineage.
John Craig was born 14 February 1758 in Virginia. Probably in Bedford County, Virginia, but that is not for certain. He lived as a young adult in Bedford County and this is where he married Jane Brown on 17 September 1782. His parents were Joseph Craig and Martha Linn, both of the Pennsylvania Colony.
John served three years in the 14th Virginia Regimental Line. After his discharge, he volunteered two more times as a Bedford County Militia foot soldier. His wife, Jane Brown Craig described her memories of her husband's service when she applied for a widow's pension on 20 September 1838. He talked of being at the storming of Stoney Point and skirmishes at White Plains, in New Jersey and crossing the Susquehanna River into Pennsylvania and Maryland. He endured having smallpox while in the Army. John Craig died 08 June 1830 in Wayne County Kentucky. He died of cancer of the mouth, from which he had suffered for many years. He received a land bounty for his military service and claimed his land in Wayne County Kentucky. He first appeared on the Wayne County tax list in 1804, so I presume this is when he settled there. A witness on his wife's pension application says John Craig came to Madison County Kentucky as early as 1794, and had four children by that time. I have not investigated this aspect of John Craig's activity, as you know there is never any lack of something to do in genealogy. Perhaps in the future I can find out more about that chapter in his life.
Jane Brown Craig was born 02 August 1760 in Bedford County Virginia. She was the daughter of James and Jennet Brown. Jennet's maiden name is not known at this time. Jane tells in her pension application that she knew her husband from childhood. She says that when John returned home in the spring of 1780, he went to her father's house BEFORE returning to his own father's house. I imagine he had marriage plans in his mind and wanted to see the "feisty" daughter of James Brown.
I call her "fiesty" because I found a record in Cumberland County Kentucky of her filing a lawsuit against a Mr. Wade, accusing him of forging a will in the matter of her brother, John Brown's estate. The legal battle went on from 1835 to 1837. Both sides brought in many witnesses that gave testimony that was favorable to that particular side. Jane said she and her brother very close and it was unthinkable that he would not have left her something in his will. Mr Wade had a witness that heard John Brown say he would write a will so his sister Jane Craig would not receive any of his property, or any of her children either. It must have been the talk of the County at that time. Finally in 1837 Mr. Wade paid Jane Brown Craig the sum of $35.00 and she dropped all charges against him.
Jane was awarded $80.00 per year as a pension for her husband's Revolutionary War service. She died after 1844. The records of Kentucky are rather sparse for this time period, and I feel lucky to have found out as much as I have about my Kentucky ancestors. Jane and John Craig had twelve children. They were of that tough generation that not only faced a revolution, they faced going to a new wilderness called Kentucky, they faced the rigors of that primitive life and they faced the dangers from the Indians
By the way, DAR did challenge my documentation for my lineage to John Craig. Through my census and tax list analysis, I convinced them that I had it correct. I was happy to have their stamp of approval on this case.
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