James N. Craig biography

Representative is a citizen of Jack county and prosperous and independent as a farm and stockman in the vicinity of Newport is James N. Craig, named as the subject of this review. A resident of the county during the period of its greatest development and most substantial and enduring prosperity, his time and talents have been devoted to the cause of agriculture and grazing with results that have been gratifying and encouraging in the extreme.

Mr. Craig is a representative of that family whose history appears under the caption “Samuel Marion Craig” in this work, and he was born in Montgomery county, Illinois, March 1, 1836. In both Montgomery and Macoupin counties, that state, he grew up and the district schools of the county gave him his limited knowledge of books. His parents were Thomas and Sarah (Merrill) Craig, and he was the third in a large family of children. His grandfather, Thomas Craig, married a Miss Brown whose progeny numbered eight, as follows, Millie, who married John Boor; Larkin, whose longevity reached one hundred years and who passed away in Illinois; Samuel died at eighteen years; Thomas, who is buried in George Gulch, Colorado; Jesse died in St. Louis county, Missouri; Sarah, wife of John Brown, died in Montgomery county, Illinois; and Betsey, who married Hiram Brown and died in Illinois.

At twenty-one years of age our subject began life with a pair of mules, saddle and harness, and threw his energy into the work of the farm. After following this for a time he was induced to take the road as a lightning man, at fifty dollars a month and expenses and this he followed for ten years, covering thirty counties of his native state and the same number over in Missouri. Out of his wages he laid up money for future use and when he came to Texas in after years he embarked in the stock business and laid the foundation for success of his later years. The fist of January, 1875, found James N. Craig in Texas. He stopped the first two years near Pilot Point, where he farmed, and in 1877 he located on the head of Hall creek, at Berton Springs, and engaged in the cow business, covering a part of the open range. He finally transferred his herd to Greer county, Oklahoma, and later on to the Deep Creek country of Collingsworth county, Texas, but in 1884 sold his cattle and returned to the settlements, locating on White’s prairie in the edge of Jack county. He moved up near Newport in 1883, and improved the farm now owned by Mr. Ireland, and upon selling this he located on Ten Mile, the place of his present abode. Eleven hundred and thirty-two acres represents the results of his landed accumulations in the county and show in a substantial way what the net results of his nearly a half century of industrial effort has been. His brand, “A bar X,” on the left side, and his chain diamond brand used first, now using a circle on the neck, grazed the country from Grayson to the Brazos and over the Red river country of the Panhandle were familiar to the ranch men of that time, and Keech Halsell became its owner when his last stock brand passed from him. Of late years farming has occupied him largely and his bunch of one hundred and fifty head constitute his present interest in the cattle business.

February 1, 1883, Mr. Craig married, in Jack county, Miss Fannie C. Elliott, a daughter of Thomas and Delincy Elms Elliott. The mother died in Mississippi in 1863, and the father died in there in 1865. Mrs. Craig was born in Neshoba county, Mississippi, in 1839 and she and her husband are without issue.

In politics Mr. Craig has ever owned fealty to Democracy and in the earlier and more vigorous years of his life aided in winning victories for his party in Jack county. He is a deacon in the Missionary Baptist church and is a Master Mason of Post Oak.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 426-427.