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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - James W. Craw

SOURCE: "The Biographical Record of Champaign County, Illinois," The S. J. Clarke Publishing company, Chicago, 1900


JAMES W. CRAW, one of the most prominent and successful farmers and stock buyers of Colfax township, residing on section 26, was born in Greene county, Illinois, November 23, 1864, and is a son of ?Charles W and Lucy (RIEVES) CRAW, the former a native of Franklin county, Vermont, the latter of Greene county, Illinois. His paternal grandparents were Allen and Lucy (GRISWOLD) CRAW, also natives of the Green Mountain State, born in 1798 and 1800, respectively. After farming in Vermont for several years, the grandfather, in 1837, removed with his farmily to Greene county, Illinois, where he began a successful career as an agriculturist, acquiring four hundred acres of land which he fully improved. After a residence there of twenty-eight years, he sold his property and, in 1865, came to Champaign county, where he again invested in prairie land, and after overcoming many obstacles he made of the place a fine farm. As a farmer and stock raiser he met with most excellent success, and gave to each of his three sons a farm. His last years were spent in retirement from active labor in Sadorus, where he purchased a home and lived quietly until called to his final rest in 1887, at the age of eighty-nine years. His wife died in 1889, at the same age. This worthy couple were honored pioneers of Illinois, and with characteristic Yankee pluck and courage, they overcame all the obstacles in that path to success, and were able to give their children a good start in life. Only two of their family are now living, Samuel, of Colfax township, and Jane, a resident of Sadorus. In order of birth the children were George B., who was twice married, and by the first wife had one daughter, Mrs. LOCHRIE, of Missouri, and by the second two daughters, Mrs. William ODELL, of Colfax township, and Edith, of Sardorus; Lucinda, who died leaving one daughter, now a resident of Independence, Missouri; Polly, who died at the age of eleven years; Charles W., father of our subject; Jane and Samuel, previously mentioned; and Edmund, who was born in this state, and was the first buried in the family cemetery in Colfax township. Reared on the home farm, Charles W. Craw acquired in his youth the knowledge which in later years made him one of the successful farmers of Greene and Champaign counties. He owned a valuable and highly improved farm of three hundred and fifty acres in Colfax township, which he operated for many years, at the same time giving special attention to stock raising. He also owned and conducted a general store in Sardorus, and continued to actively engage in business until a short time before his death. After a successful career as a merchant and farmer, he passed away in 1889, honored and respected by all who knew him. His estimable wife still survives him, and makes her home in Sadorus. To them were born nine children, of whom the eldest died when young, in Greene county, Illinois; Fanny is the wife of D. W. SMITH, of Sadorus; Nellie is the wife of Fred GEISER, a soldier in the regular army, now stationed at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; Sylvester, a hardware merchant of Cerro Gordo, Illinois, is married and has two children, Lloyd and Mary F.; James W., our subject, is next in order of birth; Elmer a farmer of Colfax township, is married and has one son, Charles; Lida is living with her mother in Sadorus; William, also at home, conducts a restaurant in that town; and John W. is married, and is a barber of Sadorus, a member of the firm of Sparks & Craw. James W. Craw, whose name introduces this sketch, attended the common schools of Colfax township until seventeen years of age, and then entered the high school at Champaign, where he pursued a two-years course. Returning home at the end of that time, he took charge of the farm for his father, and successfully carried it on until the latter's death. In 1890 he was united in marriage with Miss Nettie COOK, who was born near Litchfield, Illinois, in 1866, a daughter of William COOK, whose sketch will be found on another page of this volume. One daughter blesses this union, Hazel G., born April 8, 1892. Mr. Craw has continued to reside on the old homestead, and in its operation has met with marked success. During the winter months, for the past seven years, he has engaged in buying stock of all kinds for shipment to the Chicago market, and in this undertaking has also prospered. In politics he is an ardent Republican; has been a member of the township central committee ten years; and is now a member of the county central committee. He has been a delegate to nearly all the local conventions of his party, and one year was a delegate to the state convention. In 1892 and 1893 he was supervisor of his township, being at that time the youngest member of the board. He also served as assessor two year; has been school director six years, and has been elected for a third term. He has been clerk of the school board, and is now pathmaster of his district. He is quite a prominent and active worker for his party's interests, and though living in a Democratic township, he has been honored by his fellow citizens with several official positions, the duties of which he has most faithfully and satisfactorily discharged. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and his is a liberal supporter of the same.

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