William Craig (1807 - 1869)

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Nicknames: "mountain man", "Indian Agent"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Greenbrier, WV, USA
Death: Died in Lapwai, Nez Perce, Idaho
Managed by: Lizzie Keitel
Last Updated:
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About William Craig

Colonel William Craig.—Idaho's first permanent white settler was Colonel William Craig. Born in Greenbriar County, Virginia, in 1807, he cast his lot with the Rocky Mountain trappers in the summer of 1829. During the romantic fur-trading third decade of the last century, he, with his intimate associates, Robert Newell and Joseph Meek, led the wild, free life of the fur-hunter. Shortly after the arrival of Reverend H. H. Spalding at Lapwai (1836), Colonel Craig selected a home near the mission on Lapwai Creek. The records show that he established a permanent residence in Idaho in the fall of 1846. In harmony with the provisions of the Oregon Donation Act of 1850, he and his Nez Perce wife, Isabel, claimed and patented 640 acres of land at Lapwai. During the winter of 1855-1856 he rendered distinguished aid to Governor I. I. Stevens while the latter was negotiating a series of Indian treaties. So conspicuous was his leadership among the Nez Perces that he was given a place on Governor Stevens's staff with the title of lieutenant-colonel. During the winter of 1859-1860 he was postmaster at Walla Walla, where he resided temporarily. He was the first Indian agent at Lapwai, and was influential politically during the early years of the Territory. He died and was buried at Lapwai in 1869. "But for his liberality he would have been rich, but he has given away enough to make several fortunes."

Source: "History of the State of Idaho" By Cornelius James Brosnan

William Craig operated the first ferry at this site in 1861. He sold his boat to Theodore Schenk in 1864. Schenk soon after sold the business to John Silcott, D. M. White, and E. C. Pearcy. Silcott left the partnership in the 1880's, but White and Pearcy continued as partners until they sold the operation to William Emerson in 1909. The ferry remained in business until the tolls were removed from the Lewiston-Clarkston bridge in 1913. At that time, the ferry was sold to John E. Boyer, who moved the operation to Truax.

Source: http://history.idaho.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/reference-series/0054.pdf

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Col. William Craig's Timeline

1807
1807
Greenbrier, WV, USA
1838
1838
Age 31
Popo Agie,Green River,WY, then MO Territory
1869
1869
Age 62
Lapwai, Nez Perce, Idaho