SAMUEL MARION CRAIG. The beautiful grass-covered landscape of “Ten Mile,” on the northern limit of Jack county, is dotted with substantial farm houses and covered with pretentious farms, conspicuous and prominent among which is that of Samuel M. Craig whose name introduces this brief sketch. To the community of Jack county he added his presence in 1884 and to the neighborhood of Ten Mile Prairie he has devoted his efforts in agriculture and grazing since 1887. His career here was marked for its lack of pretense and with modesty becoming the man of moderate means and the success which his efforts have attained places him among the independent and most substantial farmers of the county.
Inquiry of the origin of this family leads to the discovery of Adair county, Kentucky, as its home at the close of the century which brought us American independence, for there Thomas Craig, our subject’s father, was born, was reared on his father’s, Thomas Craig’s, farm and married Sarah Merrill. In the early thirties he migrated to Illinois and established himself in Montgomery county, where as a farmer he built up a home and reared his family. In 1860 he joined his son Samuel for a journey to the Rocky mountains, starting from Johnson county, Kansas, and re-enforcing an overland train at Lawrence with their slow-plodding, double-ox team and threading their weary way over the Smoky Hill route to Denver without untoward incident or exciting event. They crossed the snowy range and dropped down into Georgia Gulch, where he died and was buried before the close of the year. His wife having passed away before he left Illinois, his surviving heirs where his children, viz: John, who crossed the plains to California in 1850 and is now a resident of Nevada; Susan, of Burnett county, Texas, wife of James B. Lemons; James N. and Samuel M., of Jack county; Thomas, who was killed in California; and Josiah, who died near Little Rock, Arkansas, in the Confederate army; Jesse, of Hale county, Texas, and Alfred, who was killed as a Federal soldier during the Civil war.
Samuel M. Craig was born in Montgomery county, Illinois, June 10, 1839, and received a primitive log-schoolhouse and “Hoosier Schoolmaster” education while coming to manhood on his father’s farm. His independent career began when he drifted in Kansas in 1860 and finally found himself in the gold- bearing region of the Colorado mountains at the end of the trip across the “great American Desert.” He engaged in mining for two years and not finding this as profitable as labor on a ranch he came back to near Denver and hired by the month for the same time. He then bought oxen and took up freighting and hauled goods from Julesburg, Nebraska, to Denver for three years. He went next into the stock business and handled cattle on the prairies tributary to the Denver market until he returned to his Illinois home in 1874.
While he remained in his native state he pursued his old vocation of a farmer and when he left there again it was to become a citizen of Texas. He spent a few years in East Texas, engaged in the cattle business in a small way and gradually came westward toward the open range, reaching Jack county in 1884. He and his brother James N. drove in a bunch of cattle and stopped on White’s prairie on the line of Jack and Wise counties and remained there as a renter or leaser of land until 1887, when he sought out Ten Mile and bought five hundred acres just west of Newport, where he still resides.
His residence on Ten Mile and the constant and unremitting pursuit of his dual occupation of stock-farming marks an era of the greatest progress toward material independence in his business career. His estate embraces thirteen hundred and twenty-five acres, much of its under plow and the remainder stocked to suit conditions on the farm. His farm house stands conspicuously on an eminence commanding the whole valley and his environment is such as a long life of industry and activity could wish in which to pass its relaxing and closing years.
In 1883 Mr. Craig married Amanda J. Elliott. Della Ota, an adopted daughter, is their only child. The family are Baptists and Mr. Craig is without political history, save as a voter at every general election.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 552-553.