Brigadier General James Craig, USV
(1817 PA-1888 MO)
Original Member of the Missouri Commandery of MOLLUS

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James Craig was born February 28, 1817 in Washington Co., PA the son of James and Martha (Slater) Craig. James moved with the family to Mansfield, OH in 1821 and attended the public schools. In early manhood he chose the law as his profession, was admitted to the bar in New Philadelphia, OH in 1839, and emigrating to St. Joseph, MO in 1844, he commenced the practice of law with success.

When the Mexican War broke out, in May 1947, James raised a company of volunteers in Holt County which was mustered into service at Fort Leavenworth on July 4 as Co.C, Powell's Battalion, Missouri Mounted Volunteers with James as Captain, but they were too late to join Alexander W. Doniphan and Stephen Watts Kearny on thier march to New Mexico. In August, 1847, They were ordered to Fort Kearny, then on the Missouri River at Nebraska City, to protect wagon trains moving west on the Overland Trail. James served with distinction and headed several expedetions against the hostile Indians, the Sioux, Pawnee, and Cheyennes until November 1848.

After the Mexican War he served as the Missouri State Attorney for the 12th judicial circuit 1852-1856, was a member of the Missouri State House of Representatives in 1856 and 1857, was elected a U.S. Representative (Democrat) from Missouri's 4th District to the Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth Congresses (March 4, 1857-March 3, 1861), but was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1860 and resumed the practice of law.

When the War of the Rebellion broke upon this country, patriotism dominating all the influences of his party affiliations and social surroundings, he boldly declared his purpose to uphold the National authority, and on March 21, 1862, President Lincoln commissioned him a Brigadier General of Volunteers, and he was placed in command of the troops guarding the overland mail and telegraph lines from the Missouri River to and including Utah, and afterwards the district of Nebraska. On May 5, 1863, he resigned, and returning home at St. Joseph he rendered efficient service in assisting the civil and military authorities of Missouri in the conduct of public affairs, until in 1864 the raids of rebel armies and the barbarous warfare of the bands of rebel "Bushwackers" caused him, at the earnest appeal of the MO Governor Hall to take command of a district as Brigadier General of State troops (MSM), in which position he did excellent service until January, 1865, when he again resigned. During Price's Raid in 1864 Craig's troops succedded in ambushing and killing Bloody "Bill" Anderson and other desperadoes.

He returned to practice his profession and the management of large interests and enterprises for his clients, in which he displayed an ability and integrity of character worthy of commendation. In 1866 James was appointed by President Johnson as collector of internal revenue for the St. Joseph district which he filled until the beginning of General Grant's administration when he resigned. In 1880 he was a candidate for Congress against the Honorable Nicholas Ford and was defeated by a single vote. He was also the first president of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad and the first comptroller of the city of St. Joseph.

James was married in 1843 in New Philadelphis, OH to Helen Marr Pfouts and had six children: Benjamin H. (graduated from the USN Academy at Annapolis, served as a Naval officer, and died in the South of France); Willard (died in childhood); James Jr. (an attorney in St. Joseph, MO); Louis Aleck (graduated from Westpoint, active in the western frontier, and was a Colonel in the Phillippines in 1899); Clara C. (m.Major Samuel A. Garth, USA, Mayor of St. Joseph, MO); and Ida (m.Major Wilcox, USA). James died October 21, 1888 in St. Joseph, MO and is buried at Mt. Mora Cemetery, St. Joseph, MO.

BGen James Craig, USV was elected a Companion of the Commandery of MO on April 3, 1886, Insignia #4578. His son, Major Louis Aleck Craig, USA MO#4687 elected April 20, 1886, and grandson, Louis Aleck Craig II, DC#16946 were hereditary members of the MO and DC Commanderies respectively.

Louis Aleck Craig Sr. (b.?; d.22Mar1904) married Georgia Malin, and had sons Malin Craig (General USA, Chief of Staff USA) and Louis Aleck Craig II (General USA; b.July 29, 1891; d.January 3, 1984; bur.Arlington National Cemetery). Louis Aleck Craig Jr. had son Louis Aleck Craig, III (Captain USA; b.May 26, 1918; d.December 20, 1976; bur.Arlington National Cemetery).

James was a man in whom there was blended that high degree in both moral and physical courage rarely found among men, and gifted with exceptional wit, humor, and elequence. He was exceptionally able at the bar, in the political arena, and in the National councils, as well as in the field, and in the conduct of business affairs of great importance. Genial, cordial, and sociable among men, charitable to the poor, and a defender of the defenseless, hospitable, entertaining, and generous at home, affectionate, and kind around his hearthstone, he made the lives of his loved ones a sunshiny day.

The town of Craig in Holt Co., MO is named in Brigadier General James Craig's honor.

Sources:
1) MO Commandery of MOLLUS, Circular No.43, 05Dec1888
2) Membership Records of the MO Commandery of MOLLUS
3) Webpage on US Generals.
4) The Political Graveyard.
5) Biographical Directory of the United States Congress for James Craig.
6) AZTEC CLUB OF 1847 - Military Society of the Mexican War Database.
7) Arlington National Cemetery Gen. Louis Aleck Craig II, USA Capt. Louis Aleck Craig II, USA
8) "Old St. Joe, Gateway to the West 1799-1932", by Logan c1979, p.223-226.
9) "Encyclopedia of the History of MIssouri", c1901, p.177-178.

Copyright (c) 2000 Douglas Niermeyer, MO Commandery of the MOLLUS