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Col William Craig

Col William Craig

Birth
Virginia, USA
Death 16 Oct 1869 (aged 61–62)
Lapwai, Nez Perce County, Idaho, USA
Burial Jacques, Nez Perce County, Idaho, USA
Memorial ID 5659 · View Source
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Folk Figure. He fled Virginia and headed west at the age of seventeen after he killed a neighbor in an argument. He was recognized as an American West explorer as early as 1829. In partnership with other men he established Fort Davy Crockett on the Green River in Brown's Hole, a favorite wintering place for Indians in northwest Colorado. They closed the fort in 1840 when they learned that supply trains would no longer be passing by and Craig moved further west. On November 20, 1840 he arrived in the Lapwai Valley and became the first non-missionary settler in Idaho. He married the daughter of a Nez Perce Chief, Big Thunder. Working with missionary Henry Spalding a Nez Perce dictionary was developed and the Nez Perce were taught to read and write. From 1848 to 1858 he was the first Indian Agent for the Nez Perce people. Craig served as a volunteer in the Yakima Indian War, eventually attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Over time, he became frustrated with some of the consequences of the treaties. The Nez Perce thought so highly of Craig that they asked to have a provision in their treaty allowing the former mountain man to keep his homestead in a reservation otherwise off-limits to whites. His homestead was often used for councils of the Nez Perce, occasionally drawing crowds of up to two thousand people. In the winter of 1858-1859 he left Lapwai and briefly became the postmaster of Walla Walla, Washington. He returned to his farm from which he ran a hotel and stage stop and remained until he died at age of 62 from a paralytic stroke.

Bio by: Tom Todd


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 10 Jun 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5659
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Col William Craig (1807–16 Oct 1869), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5659, citing Jacques Spur Cemetery, Jacques, Nez Perce County, Idaho, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .