Possibly no man alive today in Marion county has seen greater changes in the community than Thompson Craig, who
for sixty years has lived here, an interested witness and an active participant in the work of transformation that
has brought the county out from a pioneer environment and secured for it all of the advantages and opportunities
of modern civilization. He was born in Fayette county, Ohio, December 24, 1826, and has therefore passed the eighty
eighth milestone on life's journey. His parents were John and Sarah Ann Craig, who reared a family of five children,
all of whom are now deceased save the subject of this review. The parents lived and died in Ohio, leaving their
son Thompson an orphan when he was but six years of age.
He was early thrown upon his own resources and worked as a farm hand in Highland county, Ohio, until he reached
the age of fifteen, when he sought the opportunities of the new and growing west, finally arriving in Marion county,
Iowa, in 1854. A brother had come to the county a short time before and had entered from the government all of
section 6, Indiana township, for five men. Of this Thompson Craig received one hundred and twenty acres and upon
the farm has resided continuously since, devoting his life to general farming and stock raising. As the years passed
on he converted the wild prairie land into rich and productive fields. He had to perform the arduous task of breaking
the sod and many other difficult labors incident to the development of a new farm. When he arrived here the county
was largely unimproved, some of the now thriving towns and villages had not yet sprung into existence and the county
seat was but little more than a hamlet. One could ride for miles over the territory without coming to a fence or
habitation to impede his progress, but the value of the country was becoming recognized and soon notable changes
occurred, for settlers came to claim the wild land, which soon passed from the hands of the government into the
possession of individuals and was converted into rich farms. Mr. Craig used practical methods in carrying on the
farm work and in the course of time gathered abundant harvests as a reward for his labors.
On the 25th of October, 1849, occurred the marriage of Mr. Craig and Miss Judith Painter, a daughter of John and
Phoebe (De Poy) Painter, who lived and died in Ohio. They had a family of nine children, all of whom have passed
away with the exception of Mrs. Craig, who by her marriage became the mother of eleven children, namely: Eli A.
and Henry S., both of whom are deceased; John O.; Samuel A.; Emma R., the wife of Joseph Geisinger; William S.;
Della, the widow of Joseph Jenkins; Benjamin Franklin; Thomas Arman, who died at the age of two years; May, the
wife of J. Jenkins; and Noka Valentine.
In his political views Mr. Craig has always been a republican since the organization of the party but has never
sought nor desired office and has never served in a public position save that of school director. His time and
energies have been concentrated upon his farming interests and his home place today bears no resemblance to the
claim upon which he settled more than six decades ago. He and his wife made the journey westward by wagon, ofttimes
having to ford the streams. Many of the homes in this locality were log cabins and the work of progress and development
seemed scarcely begun. There was a spirit of helpfulness, however, that bound the early settlers closely together.
They had many mutual interests and they were always willing to assist one another, while the spirit of hospitality
reigned supreme. In the years which have come and gone Mr. and Mrs. Craig have enjoyed the friendship of all with
whom they have come in contact and they are today numbered among the most highly esteemed and venerable couples
of the county, sixty five years having passed since they started out on life's journey together as man and wife.
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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