The life history of him whose name heads this biographical review is closely identified with the history of Fayette county, which has been practically his life-long home. He began his remarkable career in this localitv in the pioneer epoch and throughout the subsequent years he has been closely allied with its interests and upbuilding. His life has been one of untiring activity and has been crowned with a degree of success fullv commensurate with his efforts. He is of the highest type of progressive citizen, and none more than he deserves a fitting recognition among those whose enterprise and ability have achieved definite and commendable results. The cause of humanity never had a truer friend than Mr. Craig. In all the relations of life—family, church, state and society—he has displayed that consistent Christian spirit, that natural worth, that has endeared him alike to all classes. His integrity and fidelity have been manifested in every relation of life, for he early learned that true happiness consisted in ministering to others. The example of such a life is always an inspiration to others, and his influence has long been felt in Fayette county, whose interests he has always had at heart and which he has done so much to promote during his active life here.

Eli Craig is the scion of a long line of honorable ancestrv. his forbears having been identified with the settlement and development of the Buckeye state. It is a family tradition, and probably correct, that his paternal greatgrandfather was a soldier in the War of the Revolution. The latter's son, John Craig, the subject's grandfather, was a natixe of New Jersey, as was his wife, Sarah Ann Cooley. After their marriage they came to Ohio, settling in the edge of Ross county, where he became a pioneer farmer, but died in young manhood. His widow passed awav in middle life. They were the parents of the following children: David S., John, William, Thomas J., Thompson (who is still iving, at the age of eightv-seven years) and one who died in infancy.

David S. Craig, the subject's father, was but four years of age when brought to Ohio by his parents, the family settling near Greenfield, where he grew to manhood. When five years old he began attending school and gained a good practical education. After completing his studies he learned the shoemaker's trade, which vocation he followed for many years. Eventually he bought a small store in Greenfield and. in connection with his regular employment, engaged in general merchandising. He was a man of versatile abilities and also learned the difficult trade of oil-cloth printing, at which he worked to some extent. Afterward he moved to Staunton, of which he was one of the first settlers, and there he carried on a successful business for some years. His death occurred there in 1869, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. From 1851 to January. 1854. he had lived in Indiana, where he ran a shoe shop and general store, but on his return to Ohio he bought out his brothers at Staunton, remaining in the business there during the remainder of his life. Later he associated with him his sons, Eli and William, under the firm name of D. S. Craig & Sons, After his death the sons continued the business under the same name until 1871, when it became Craig Brothers, with the addition of a younger brother. David H. David S. Craig married Sarah West, a native of Adams county, Ohio, and the daughter of Eli and Sarah (Guffin) West, natives, respectively, of Delaware and Kentucky. Eli West came to Fayette county, Ohio, in 1820. To him and his wife were born seven children, Elizabeth. Wesley, Amos, Sarah, Eli H., Elsie and Spencer. To David S. and Sarah (West) Craig were born ten children, namely: Eli, the immetliate subject of this review: Williams; John W., deceased; Sarah Ann, who married William H. Rowe; David H., of Duncan. Oklahoma; Elizabeth J., wife of Thomas N. Craig, of Washington C. H., and four who died in infancy. The mother of these children lived twenty-five years after the death of her husband, dying at the age of eighty-one years.

Religiously. David S. Craig and his wife were originally members of the Methodist Episcopal church, but later he and others broke away from the mother society and identified themselves with what was then known as the Radical Methodist church, now the Metliodist Protestant church, in which he was licensed to preach in 1840. However, after going to Indiana he reunited with the Methodist Episcopal church, to which faith he remained loyal during tlie remainder of his life.

Eli Craig was born near Good Hope. Fayette county, on January 10, 1833. and he was reared under the parental roof, his education being secured in the district schools of the neighborhood. At the age of thirteen years he began clerking in his father's store and remained with him for many years, finally, as stated above. being admitted into partnership in the business. While living at Staunton he served as township treasurer and as a member of the school board, and also served as postmaster for seventeen years. Mr. Craig came to Washington C. H. in the fall of 1872 and on the day of his arrival he was appointed county treasurer to till a vacancy. He discharged the duties of that office with eminent satisfaction for two years, and at the end of his official term he again engaged in the dry goods business, as a continuation of the partnership with his brothers. Williams and David H. However, so satisfactory had been his public service, that in 1878 he was, by the suffrages of his fellow citizens, again chosen to the office of county treasurer, and was re-elected in 1880. Mr. Craig has continued in the dry goods business to the present time, a period of over forty years, his sons, Thomas H. and David S., having been associated with him since 1883. During the past two years his two grandsons, Walter D, and Clarence E., also have been adinitted to the firm, which is still known as Craig Brothers. This business, which is one of the oldest in Fayette county, is widely and favorably known in all parts of the county, many of the patrons of the store coming from distant parts of the county. About forty persons are on the company's pay-roll, which is unmistakable evidence of the extent of the business.

Eli Craig is a man of marked public spirit and every movement that has promised to be for the advancement of the public welfare has had his unreserved support. When the Children's Home was established he was one of its first trustees and took an active and prominent part in the completion of that splendid institution. After about ten years' service he resigned from the board, though his interest in the home never ceased. Politically, Eli Craig was originally a whig, but later became a Republican, which party he has ever since given his support. Fraternally. he is a member of Temple Lodge No. 227, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, to which fraternity he has nelonged for fifty-seven years. Religiously, he has long been a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and as a trustee for over forty years.

On the 17th day of June, 1858. Eli Craig married Mary A. Burnett and they beecame the parents of two sons, Thomas W. and David S. Thomas H. married Eliza O. Pine and they have six children, Walter D.. Clarence E.. Mary W.. Winchell, Harold and Robert. Daviid S. married Nina Maynard and they have three sons living, Maynard, Paul S. and David S. The subject also has a great-grandson. Thomas T. Mrs. Mary Craig, who is a native of Fayette county, is the daughter of Thomas and Rachel (Bush) Burnett, who were natives of Virginia and early settlers in Fayette county. They were the parents of twelve children, and after the death of his first wife the father married again, having one child by the second union.

Eli Craig has reached the advanced age of more than eight decades, heaven having lengthened out his life beyound the Psalmist's allotted three score and ten until he has been permitted to witness the vicissitudes of the most remarkable epoch in the world's business and inventive history, in all of which he has been an interested spectator, and, indeed, has played no inconspicuous part in pushing forward the wheels of progress in his own locality. There is no doubt but that his long life has been due mainly to his sterling character, conservative habits and pure thinking. Even-tempered, patient, scrupulously honest in all the relations of life, hospitable and charitable, he has deservedly won a high place in the esteem and a warm place in the affections of the people with whom he has lived and mingled for so many years.

 

From History of Fayette County Ohio - Her People, Industries and Institutions by Frank M. Allen (1914, R. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.)

 


 

Eli Craig, county treasurer, Washington, was born in Wajnie Township, Ofiio, January 10, 1833. He is a son of David and Sarah Craig, the former a native of New Jersey, and coming to Ohio about the year 1815, and the latter a native of this state. They were blessed with ten children, six of whom are living.

Eli, our subject, was married June 17, 1858, to Miss May Ann Burnett, daughter of Thomas Burnett, of this county. They have two children, Thomas II. and David S., both grown to manhood.

Mr. Craig is a member of Temple Lodge No. 227, I. O. O. F., and also of the Methodist Church. He received a common school education, and may be classed among the self-made men of our county. He commenced in the mercantile business when but a boy, remaining with his father (who was a cripple) until 1869, since which time, in connection with his brother, he has carried on business very extensively in the I. 0. O. F. building, on Court Street. He was appointed treasurer in 1872, to fill the unexpired term of John Sayers, and in 1877 was elected to the same office, and re-elected in 1879. His youth, with the exception of some five years, was spent in this county.

 

From R. S. Dills' History of Fayette County