You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
In memory of John S. Craighead
James A. King
Historic MomentsAugust 22, 2012 | 1,835 views | Post a comment
This was written in October 1935 and published in the Floresville Chronicle-Journal.
There was no better people ever lived on earth than those early pioneer families who settled on the Cibolo, near La Vernia and Sutherland Springs, before the War Between the States. Wilson County was then on the frontier; they were the advance guard of civilization. Without calling them all, there were among them the families of Payton Warren, J.D. Murray, Dr. E.C. Stevenson, Joe Brooks, Dr. J.M. Weston, C.N. Vezey, the Baylors, the Polleys, Tillie Mac Wyatt, Sanford Brown, the Sutherlands and Mary Johnson, the Sheehy and Job Clifton families, Tom Morris, Wayman, Gambier and Charley Scull, Dr. David Houston, Curtis Warren, R.W. Murray, the Wisemans, McClungs, the Dorsetts, and others.
Among these people, young John S. Craighead grew to manhood, he rode with them on the cattle round-ups, slept under the stars with his saddle for his pillow, and these brave, strong men of the frontier instilled in him the spirit of truth, honor, and independence that characterized him throughout life; he did his own thinking under his own hat; he never jumped at conclusions but heard the facts and calmly formed his decisions, and he was never at any time afraid to express them.
The old Craighead Ranch near Sutherland Springs, where he and his family lived, was always the seat of Southern hospitality. It was the gathering place of the people of that section and many a happy hour has been spent by the “old timers” under that hospitable roof.
After the war he, (John Craighead) returned to his home in Sutherland Springs and on Dec. 22, 1871, he was happily married to Miss Mary McAlister of La Vernia. Miss McAlister belonged to a pioneer family in that section and was a most gracious and kindly wife and mother and friend to all who came under her Christian influence. Mrs. Craighead died on March 4, 1910. To this union there was born seven children, four of whom preceded him in death. Of those surviving are: William C. Craighead of McCoy, Texas; C.A. of Hebbronville; and a daughter, Mary (Mrs. B.M. Myers) of Floresville, and nine grandchildren.
In 1894, Mr. Craighead was elected sheriff of Wilson County and served two terms and during this time the most remarkable race that was ever run in Texas took place. Mr. Craighead had an opponent who contested with him for the election of sheriff of the county; these two men went together all over Wilson County, riding in the same buggy, sleeping and eating together and “electioneering” together. The best of friends then and the best of friends until death separated them. I recall this incident to show the character of the man I am writing about. It took big-hearted and high-souled men to conduct that kind of a campaign. Would to God we could have some of it in this present age.
Mr. Craighead was converted in early manhood and joined the Methodist Church at Sutherland Springs but in 1924 he united with the Presbyterian Church at Floresville and lived and died firm in the Christian faith. Gov. Roberts said, “That civilization began and ended with the plow.” How true it is that those who till the soil, undergird and uphold the world. Mr. Craighead was a farmer and stock raiser the greater part of his life, which is, in some respects, the hardest and yet the noblest of all vocations.
Some years ago he came to that great institution, the Confederate Home in Austin, and here his last days were spent. Some weeks ago, it was seen that the end was near and his beloved daughter came and later one of his sons to minister to him; to wait and watch through the long, lonely hours for some opportunity to serve him; his beautiful character shown at the best, so kind, so patient through it all. He had every service of that great William P. Hobby Memorial Hospital, one of the best in Texas but silently, gently in the early hours of that Sunday morning, he slipped away into eternity.
He was a good man, a faithful officer, a kind and indulgent husband and father. In every condition he was true to his principles and his conviction.
“He never, never failed a friend, And he never feared a foe.”
He loved his friends. He never quit a friend because he found a flaw in his friend’s makeup. He stuck closer to him. No one can have a friend when he is with him one day and against him the next.
I had known Mr. Craighead and his family many, many years. I thought so much of him and my good wife and I went often to the Home to see him. He often asked about the people of Wilson County; they were his people, his friends, and he carried their interests in his heart. He was always so glad to see us. He was not fearful of what the future held for him. We believe that he has found the following lines written by Albert Pike to be in all things true and realizes and enjoys the glory they foretell:
“But the truer life draws nigher,
And the morning star climbs higher
Earth’s hold on us grows slighter,
And the heavy burden lighter
And the dawn immortal brighter
Article found in Floresville Chronicle-Journal, Oct. 4, 1935; submitted by Shirley Grammer for Historic Moments in Wilson County. August 2012.
Find out more about the Wilson County Historical Society at www.wilsoncountyhistory.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Attend St. Ann’s Fall Festival (September 30, 2015)
Baptist church to celebrate 160 years (September 30, 2015)
Barbie dolls, fishing lures (September 30, 2015)
Be a-maized at DairHeart Farm (September 30, 2015)
Blue Bonnet Club hears review (September 30, 2015)
Craft Fair to benefit Young Marines (September 30, 2015)
Enjoy Fall Fest in Loire (September 30, 2015)
Enjoy Pilgrim Opry Oct. 10 (September 30, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Almost, Maine’ at UIW (September 30, 2015)
Hermann Sons – one big fraternal family (September 30, 2015)
Jewelry, toys, more at OKMH (September 30, 2015)
Kicaster VFD Pancake Breakfast (September 30, 2015)
Methodist church invites community to tea (September 30, 2015)
Shop ‘Trinkets and Treasures’ (September 30, 2015)
Sign up for Neon Sizzle 5K (September 30, 2015)
Stockdale Museum Rummage Sale (September 30, 2015)
Talent show seeks acts (September 30, 2015)
Thad Reese: From the files of Olga Blakeney (September 30, 2015)
The Walmart and other rattlesnake tales (September 30, 2015)
Whitney Mitchell Memorial Bull Riding Oct. 3 (September 30, 2015)
Almost time for coronation tickets (September 23, 2015)
Baptist church presents Summer Musical (September 23, 2015)
Cat, kitten adoption and bake sale (September 23, 2015)
Celebrating a century — and then some Maria De La Peña Guerrero turns 103 (September 23, 2015)
Driving in the slow lane (September 23, 2015)
Hear Marine Corps band Sept. 28 (September 23, 2015)
Krawietz family plans reunion (September 23, 2015)
May I present — Mrs. Sam Houston (September 23, 2015)
Mills descendants celebrate family history (September 23, 2015)
Pacheco family reunion (September 23, 2015)
Poth VFD to hold barbecue fund-raiser (September 23, 2015)
Rare book published in the 1700s (September 23, 2015)
SA Rodeo barbecue cook-off, festival (September 23, 2015)
Salem Sayers plans Founder’s Day event (September 23, 2015)
Síclovía returns to SA Sept. 27 (September 23, 2015)
Tour Art al Fresco in Boerne (September 23, 2015)
‘For the Cause’ fashion show (September 23, 2015)
Be a critic at Manhattan Short Film Fest (September 16, 2015)
Belt buckle, Hallmark ornaments (September 16, 2015)
Down in the 'Valley' (September 16, 2015)
Feast at Lutheran Church fund-raiser (September 16, 2015)
First Lutheran Sausage Dinner is Sept. 20 (September 16, 2015)
Lonesome Dove Fest is Sept. 18-19 (September 16, 2015)
Lose weight with TOPS (September 16, 2015)
Playing dress-up with Mamá (September 16, 2015)
Prepare your peanut brittle! (September 16, 2015)
See the Magicians Agency in San Antonio (September 16, 2015)
Set your sights on pistol shoot, picnic Sept. 19 (September 16, 2015)
Texas Heritage Music Day (September 16, 2015)
Turkey dinner Sept. 27 (September 16, 2015)
Walk to End Alzheimer’s Sept. 19 (September 16, 2015)
Wilson County’s Got Talent auditions (September 16, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (September 9, 2015)
Bluebonnet residents celebrate with ‘Elvis’ (September 9, 2015)
Bookworms find a haven in downtown Floresville (September 9, 2015)
Brushstock Music Fest is Sept. 19 (September 9, 2015)
Celebrate with Rutlands Sept. 12 (September 9, 2015)
Comal Music Show is Sept. 15 (September 9, 2015)
Costume jewelry (September 9, 2015)
Deadline Sept. 30 for Chihuahua Trail Art Show entries (September 9, 2015)
Enjoy the oldest county fair in Texas (September 9, 2015)
Fish Fry fund-raiser (September 9, 2015)
Listening to the mockingbird (September 9, 2015)
Methodist church barbecue fund-raiser (September 9, 2015)
Mid-Texas Symphony announces 2015-16 season (September 9, 2015)
Register for Lonesome Dove Camo 5k (September 9, 2015)
Retirees enjoy a personal ‘Antiques Roadshow’ (September 9, 2015)
Sacred Heart School to honor grandparents, first responders (September 9, 2015)
Senior news: divorce, medicare (September 9, 2015)
Teen nutrition for fall sports (September 9, 2015)
Behind the Lens: Cover photo (September 2, 2015)
Comedy Night to benefit abused children (September 2, 2015)
Deadline is Sept. 12 to enter Seguin photo show (September 2, 2015)
Depression Glass (September 2, 2015)
Fire up the grill with flavor (September 2, 2015)
Head out to New Berlin Sausage Fest Sept. 6 (September 2, 2015)
Learn about Catholic sisters at UIW (September 2, 2015)
Learn to edit in SA (September 2, 2015)
Lone Oak VFD picnic is Sept. 13 (September 2, 2015)
New worship community in Floresville (September 2, 2015)
Pollinator advocates to gather in Kerrville (September 2, 2015)
SARA plans Labor Day campout in Wilson County (September 2, 2015)
Tickets on sale for Marty Stuart show in Kerrville (September 2, 2015)
To smoke or not to smoke (September 2, 2015)
UIW plans Pastoral Music Workshop (September 2, 2015)
‘Playin’ to Win’ brings joy to Regency Manor (September 2, 2015)