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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM J. CRAIG. Among the successful agriculturists and stock-raisers who have contributed materially to the cultivation and development of township 7, range 6, Randolph County, we may well mention the name of William J. Craig, for no one is better known for industry and devotion to duty, as well as for the intelligent management of affairs, than he.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, our subject was born July 9, 1838, his parents being John and Sarah Craig. The father was also a native of Scotland, and lived there until 1840, when he emigrated to America with his family and settled on a farm in Randolph County, the same on which our subject yet resides. The country at that time was one vast wilderness, and the family endured the hardships and privations of pioneer life. The father died of cholera in 1849, just after his return from a visit to his mother in Scotland. The mother of our subject bore her husband twelve children, of whom William J. is the youngest, and all are deceased with the exception of himself, his sister Sarah, who married Arthur McKenny, and lives in Chester; Eliza, who is the wife of Andrew Douglas and makes her home in this county; Jane, the wife of William McAdam, of Chester; and Mary, who married John Fleming, of this county.

Our subject attended the common district schools in his youth and aided his father in his farm work, gaining a good insight into the duties of agriculture. When he was three years old his mother died, and his father died eight years later, throwing him on the care of his brothers and sisters, but when fifteen years old he hired out as a farm hand. At this he continued until reaching his majority, when he took charge of the old homestead and conducted agriculture prosperously until 1864. At this date he was enlisted in Company I, Tenth Illinois Infantry, in defense of the Union cause, and was mustered in at Quincy, Ill., under Colonel Morgan. His first engagement was at Kenesaw Mountain, and he afterward participated in many of the important struggles of the war. He was in active service with the exception of two months, when he lay in the hospital at New Albany, Ind., until July, 1865, the date of his honorable discharge at Chicago, Ill.

On his return from the war, Mr. Craig again took up farming as his life work, and since that time has given his entire attention to his chosen occupation. On this estate is to be found some fine blooded stock. Neat and substantial buildings have been erected, and his residence is one of convenience and comfort. The farm, taken as a whole, is one of the finest and most attractive in southern Illinois. From time to time Mr. Craig has added land to the original acreage until three hundred and seventy-five acres are comprised in this splendid estate.

August 22, 1866, Mr. Craig and Miss Louisa, daughter of John and Louisa (Cale) Snyder, were united in marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Snyder emigrated from Germantown, Pa., to St. Louis in 1849, and there the mother died. Mrs. Craig is the youngest of ten children, and all her brothers and sisters are deceased except Kate, the wife of O. L. Burdick, who lives in Florida; Rebecca, the wife of John Foye, of Boston, Mass.; and William, a resident of Pittsburg, Pa.

To our subject and his estimable wife thirteen children were born, six of whom died in infancy. Those living are, Albert E., William C., Cora May, Maggie Belle, Sarah Louisa, Nellie McKenzie, and Gilmer John, all of whom are yet with their parents. The parents of this large family are devoted members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Craig always casts his vote with the Republican party, but has never been desirous of public office, being content to do his duty as a loyal citizen at the polls. In 1871 Mr. Craig visited his birth place in Scotland.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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