BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

OF

COLONEL JOHN CRAIG.

 

Pages 642 & 643

 

 

In the latter part of the seventeenth century there emigrated from Ireland the ancestors of Col. Thomas Craig, the great-great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, who in the year 1728, together with his sister, Jane, who married John Boyd, left Philadelphia for the Forks of the Delaware, locating in what was afterward known as Craig’s, or the Irish Settlement, then in Bucks County, since Northampton.  This tact of land was owned by William Penn, after whose death it came into possession of his son, Thomas.  We find Col. Thomas Craig’s name upon the roll of the Synod of Philadelphia for the first time in 1731, as Elder Thomas Craig; as this was the year in which the Presbyterian Church was organized in that settlement, we have reason to believe that he was the original elder, proving an earnest and conscientious worker in that church during his lifetime.  His son, Thomas, was but a lad when his father came to this place.  He employed his time until his maturity in assisting him in clearing the land and tilling the soil, after which he engaged in farming for himself.  In 1740 was born his son, Thomas Craig, who at the break out of the Pennamite war, in 1771 – 1772, was made a lieutenant in the Pennsylvania militia, making an honorable record.  When the Revolutionary war broke out he took an active part for the Rebellion, attached to Col. St. Clair’s Pennsylvania Battalion.  He participated in the Canadian campaign, and after several engagements was promoted to the rank of major in the following September.  In the summer of 1777, he was appointed colonel of the Third Pennsylvania Regiment; was in New Jersey in Gen. Poor’s brigade, under command of Gen. Washington, and was subsequently in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown.  Mrs. Lydia Darrach, of Philadelphia, at whose house Gen. Howe made his headquarters, secretly learning of the general’s intended attack on Washington’s army, which was camped at White Marsh, fourteen miles from the city, conveyed the information through Col. Craig, so that our army was saved from a surprise ad slaughtering attack.  He remained with the army at Valley Forge, where on April 12, 1778, he addressed a letter, strongly appealing for clothing, showing the destitute condition of the soldiers in this respect.

 

In the battle at Monmouth his regiment greatly distinguished itself, being in the thickest part of the engagement.  After serving throughout the war, on his return he was appointed, in July 1783, lieutenant of Northampton County.  In 1784, Montgomery County was formed from Philadelphia, and he was appointed associate judge, clerk of the courts, and recorder, all of which offices he held until 1789.  He then returned to his native county, bought land, and settled in the vicinity of Stemlersville, in Towamensing township (then Northampton, now Carbon).  Subsequent to the termination of the conflict between England and the American colonies he was elected major-general of the Seventh Division Pennsylvania Militia, which station he held for several years.  In his character were combined the qualities of a soldier and a gentleman.  In the hour of danger he was brave, quick to conceive, and prompt to execute.  He possessed an active, intelligent mind, which faithfully served him until the last.  He survived until 1832, when he passed away at the advanced age of ninety-two years.

 

Thomas Craig, his second oldest child, the father of Col. John Craig, was born at Stemlersville in the year 1796.  After spending his younger days in securing as much of an education as could be obtained in those times, at the age of maturity he engaged in business for himself, -- farming, lumbering, staging, and mercantile business, in which he was very successful for many years.  In 1828 he was captain of the home militia light-horse or cavalry.  He was married to Catherine, daughter of John Hagenbuch, well known as the proprietor of a popular hotel at Lehighton at that time.  Their married life was a fruitful one, the result being six children, in whom they took great delight and interest in giving them all of the advantages that could be obtained in those days, which opportunities the children appreciated, so that to-day they rank as on of the prominent families of the State.

 

Thomas (now deceased) was called by his constituents to represent them four years in the House of Representatives and three years in the senate.  Allan, after graduating from Lafayette College with honors, began the practice of law in Mauch Chunk, and is now leading his profession in Carbon County, having served the county as district attorney three consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, and a three-year term as State senator.  William is a prosperous merchant in Blue Springs, Neb.; Robert, after graduating at West Point, is now a lieutenant in the regular army; Eliza as the wife of Gen. Heckman, of Phillipsburg, N. J., who is distinguished as having served through the Mexican and late civil wars, since which he has been engaged in mechanical engineering. 

 

John, the second oldest, and the subject of this sketch, was born Oct. 23, 1830, at the old homestead; as a lad he proved himself of valuable service to his father in his business, giving a large portion of his time in attending the winter and summer terms of school until 1850, when he went to Easton, Pa., where he completed his education at Rev. John Vanderveer’s private school.  On his return home he engaged in business for his father until the latter’s death, which was in 1858.  He then gave some time to settling his father’s estate, after which, in April of 1861, he enlisted for a term of three months in the late civil war as a captain in the Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, under Col. Nagle, of Pottsville; his term expiring, he re-enlisted as a captain in the Twenty-eighth Regiment, under Co. John W. Geary, who afterwards filled the Pennsylvania gubernatorial chair.  This regiment was divided, and the Third battalion, with new companies, was made the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Pennsylvania Regiment, after which Capt. John Craig was brevetted a major, then lieutenant–colonel, soon to colonel.  At the close of the war this regiment was connected with the Army of the Potomac, during which time it participated in many battle; among some of the most important being Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg in the East.  In October of 1863 they were ordered West, here also taking an active part in all of the principal battles.  This is what an historian says of this regiment, which at the battle of Lookout Mountain, in Tennessee, was in Gen. Hooker’s division, which did the principal active work at that time.  “It was a scene of dauntless heroism as has rarely been portrayed in the records of battle.  The charging columns, struggling against the obstacles of nature and facing the murderous fire of Confederate guns, could not be checked.  The Union flag was carried to the top; and before two o’clock in the afternoon Lookout Mountain, with its cloud-capped summit overlooking the town and river, was swarming with Federal soldiers.”  (Ridpath’s History of the United States.)

 

At this time Gen. William T. Sherman commanded the army at Chattanooga, numbering one hundred thousand men.  On May 7, 1864, he started on that world–wide known and renowned march to the sea, from which sprung the popular and historic song, “Marching through Georgia.”  The Confederate army, under Gen. Johnston, resisted his advance step by step so determinedly that his loss on reaching Atlanta (which city he entered September 2d) was fully thirty thousand men.  Determining to push forward he burned the city, and on December 22d he entered Savannah, having lost less than six hundred men in that march of two hundred and fifty miles.  From here they went north through the heart of the Carolinas, and so on to Washington, --after Gen. Lee’s surrender to Gen. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Va., April 9th, and Gen. Johnston’s at Raleigh, a few days later.  Thus, after four years of bloodshed, devastation and sorrow, the civil war of the United States was at an end.  After participating in the grand review at Washington, and receiving an honorable discharge, Col. Craig returned to Lehigh Gap, entering into his present business, lumbering and general mercantile business, which has proved abundantly successful under his honest and discreet management.  In addition to his regular business, in 1866-67 he contracted for and built four and a half miles of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, which was in course of construction at that time.  He has been and is still director of the National Bank of Slatington, since its organization (1875).  He has taken an active interest in the advancement of public schools during the five years in which he as served as director; had been president of the Carbon Metallic Paint Company since 1880.

 

In the fall of 1866 he married Miss Emma, daughter of Philip and Henrietta Insley, who followed the occupation of farming at the Irish Settlement, near Bath, Northampton Co.  The issue of their union is seven children, -- five boys and two girls, --namely Thomas B., Charles S., P. Insley, H. Tindale, Henrietta, Mary A., Allan D.

 

END

 

 

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CARBON COUNTY IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION

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From

The History of the Counties of Lehigh & Carbon, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,

By

Alfred Mathews & Austin N. Hungerford

Published in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1884

 

Transcribed from the original in November 2003

by

Jack Sterling

 

 

Web page by

Jack Sterling

November 2003