You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
In memory of John S. Craighead
James A. King
Historic MomentsAugust 22, 2012 | 1,810 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
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 26, 2015)
Cody Johnson to rock Nixon Feather Fest (August 26, 2015)
Dance in Geronimo (August 26, 2015)
Enjoy Fall Feast in Garfield (August 26, 2015)
Franklin Mint (August 26, 2015)
Got prayer? ‘War Room’ does (August 26, 2015)
He’s lived a sweet, gentle life (August 26, 2015)
Kerrville Fall Music Fest Sept. 4-6 (August 26, 2015)
LV prepares for Hammerfest (August 26, 2015)
Memories soar during Honor Flight (August 26, 2015)
St. Hedwig Legion plans Warrior Cry fund-raiser (August 26, 2015)
Whit’s Initiative donates to children’s home (August 26, 2015)
A window to their world (August 19, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 19, 2015)
Gillespie County Fair, horse racing meet (August 19, 2015)
LBJ autograph (August 19, 2015)
Lutheran youth plan donation fund-raiser (August 19, 2015)
Purchase tickets for veteran fund-raiser (August 19, 2015)
Receive blessing, sundaes (August 19, 2015)
Remembering Coach Henry Tomerlin (August 19, 2015)
The importance of vaccinating your pets (August 19, 2015)
Tickets on sale for Wild Game Dinner (August 19, 2015)
AgapeFest is Aug. 22 (August 12, 2015)
Age Well, Live Well event (August 12, 2015)
Back-to-school carnival (August 12, 2015)
Barbecue benefit for Logan Saenz Aug. 16 (August 12, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 12, 2015)
Bible study in Verdi (August 12, 2015)
Falls City alumni celebrate Beaver Roundup (August 12, 2015)
Free family recycling event (August 12, 2015)
H-E-B invites Texans to shed pounds, gain dollars (August 12, 2015)
Hear country tunes in New Braunfels (August 12, 2015)
Labor Day campout (August 12, 2015)
Play bunco in La Vernia (August 12, 2015)
Prescription-free healing pleasures of summer (August 12, 2015)
Remembering the Farmer’s Daughter Dance Hall (August 12, 2015)
Sunday Country Dance set for Aug. 16 (August 12, 2015)
Tabletop radio (August 12, 2015)
Three Oaks Ice Cream Social (August 12, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (August 5, 2015)
Classic cookbook (August 5, 2015)
Farmers Market in Loire (August 5, 2015)
Floresville Leo Club Back to School event (August 5, 2015)
Get set to get wet at Splash-O-Lympics (August 5, 2015)
Hear Chris Rybak at Czech Gala (August 5, 2015)
Pilgrim Opry is Aug. 8 (August 5, 2015)
Prom date grows into enduring love — 15 years later (August 5, 2015)
Rey Feo group to award scholarships (August 5, 2015)
Savor: Lemon Pesto Mason Jar Pasta Salad (August 5, 2015)
St. Gerard Rummage Sale Aug. 8 (August 5, 2015)
Stockdale Leo Club fund-raisers (August 5, 2015)
The Floresville, Wilson County story from days gone by (August 5, 2015)
‘The’ rock wall: Searching for answers (August 5, 2015)