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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - Charles W. Craw

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


CHARLES W. CRAW. This honored citizen of Colfax Township was one of the pioneer settlers who came to this county in the spring of 1865. He took possession of 350 acres on section 2, and for a period of twenty years thereafter industriously pursued his chosen calling as a farmer. He is a native of Franklin County, Vt., born March 4, 1828, and the son of Allen and Lucy (GRISWOLD) CRAW, also natives of Vermont. When he was a lad of ten years old his parents emigrated to the Prairie State, locating in White hall, Greene County, where our subject grew to manhood, receiving excellent home training and a common-school education. He assisted his father in tilling the soil and remained an inmate of the parental home until several years after attaining his majority. In 1856 Mr. Craw took unto himself a wife and helpmate in the person of Miss Lucy, daughter of James and Elizabeth RIVES, who were natives of Kentucky, whence they removed to Illinois and located in Greene County in the pioneer days. Mrs. Craw was born in Greene County, Ill., Dec. 21, 1838, and remained with her parents until her marriage. Our subject at that time was the owner of 200 acres of land which he had brought to a good state of cultivation, and in addition to this also leased a tract and carried on farming until 1860. He then decided to change his occupation, and purchasing a stock of merchandise, took possession of a store building at Greenfield, in the same county. He was engaged in mercantile pursuits at that point until about 1863, when he disposed of his stock of goods and other property; he came into this county in 1865, locating upon the land which he now occupies. Since that time he has given his principal attention to agriculture, with the exception of five years, during which he carried on a general store at Sadorus. Mr. Craw has been greatly prospered in his farming and mercantile pursuits, and is now the owner of 550 acres of land in Colfax Township, all of which, with the exception of 100 acres, is included in the home farm. He owns over 1,300 acres in Kansas-991 in Barber county, and 324 in Harper County. His land is largely devoted to stock-raising, and he exhibits some of the finest horses, cattle and hogs to be found in the country. In addition to his farm property Mr. C. is the owner of houses and lots in both Sadorus and Tolono. Our subject, politically, has endorsed the principles of the Republican party since its organization. He has steadily declined to become an officer-holder having enough private business to occupy his time and attention. He has been an active member of the Methodist Church for many years, and has contributed liberally and cheerfully for its advancement and maintenance. He was trained from a child in the doctrines of this church, and takes great satisfaction in thus doing honor to his excellent parents, who were also firm believers in and followers of the Methodist faith. Mr. and Mrs. Craw have eight children living, namely: Fannie, the wife of D. W. SMITH, of Greene County, Ill.; Nellie, Sylvester, James W., Elmer, Lidia J., William G. and John W. Ada died when ten months old. Our subject commenced life without a dollar in capital, and received very little assistance afterward. He had been trained to habits of industry and economy, and was naturally wide-awake, ambitious, and always willing to work. He has the satisfaction of knowing that he has always given his creditors abundant time and made allowance for misfortune and sickness. He is naturally of a very kind and generous disposition, willing to "live and let live." The Craw family in Vermont were widely and favorably known and represented by a large following. Allen CRAW, the father of our subject, was born Feb. 21, 1798, and departed this life at Sadorus, Ill., on the 23d of March 1887. When twenty-one years of age, he married in his native State Miss Lucy GRISWOLD, who was also born in Vermont in 1800. She is still living, and a resident of Sadorus. The fathers of both parents served in the Revolutionary War, and were captured by the British. Allen Craw and his wife, Lucy, lived together harmoniously for a period of sixty-eight years and nineteen days. Their union was blest by the birth of six children, of whom the eldest daughter, Polly, died in 1835, and is buried in Vermont; the second one, George B., is a resident of Sadorus, this county; Lucinda married John H. WALLER; she is deceased and is buried in Greene County; Jane resides on the old homestead; the youngest son, Edmond, died at the home of his father in this county, and his remains were laid to rest in Craw Cemetery, near Sadorus, he being the first one buried there. Samuel lives near Sadorus. A brother of Allen Craw lived to be ninety-six years old and another ninety-three. The father of our subject was a man greatly respected wherever known, and his funeral was attended by a large concourse of people who had gathered from different parts of the township to show respect to his memory. He became a resident of White Hall in 1837, and resided there until 1865, cultivating a farm of 300 acres. He was converted when twenty-two years of age at a camp-meeting in Vermont, which meetings he was very fond of attending and never lost an opportunity of being present when possible. His home was a stopping-place for the itinerant preachers, and for several years after settling in Greene County, Ill., divine services were held in his pioneer cabin. His name is held in affectionate remembrance by his wife and children, as well as his friends outside the family circle. He accumulated a goodly amount of this world's goods, and in his declining years lived at ease and in contentment, as the just reward of his labors.

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