A worthy representative of the agricultural and dairying interests of Lima township is found in the person of William F. Craig, who owns a well cultivated farm of eighty acres on section 6, which he has been successfully operating since 1904. He was born in the township where he now resides on January 1, 1869, and is descended from one of Sheboygan county's early pioneer families, the members of which have resided in this immediate vicinity for sixty-six years.
The paternal grandparents, Freeman and Sylvia Craig, were born, reared and married in the state of Maine, the birth of the former having occurred in Bangor on the 22nd of March, 1794. In 1846, he came to Sheboygan county and homesteaded a quarter of section 17 of Lima township, which at that time was practically a wilderness and was considered to be the border of westward civilization. Two years later Mr. Craig brought his wife and family west. The grandparents passed the remainder of their lives on their homestead, the grandmother's death occurring there in 1869, at the age of about seventy-three years, while the grandfather died in April, 1876. Their seven children, all of whom are now deceased. were born in Maine. In order of birth they were as follows: Freeman, Jr., who for many years was engaged in farming on section 17 of this township; Louisa, the wife of Benjamin Warner, of section 8, Lima township; Mary, who married George Caspar, of Lima; Ezekiel L. and George, who engaged in farming on section 18 of this township; Elsie, who became the wife of Daniel Hammond, who was killed in service during the Civil war, and J. B., the father of our subject, who was born in Bangor, Maine, on the 10th of August, 1833.
He was a youth of fifteen years when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Wisconsin and subsequently spent two or three summers on the lake as a sailor. In common with the other members of his family, however, he early decided to adopt agriculture for his life vocation, and later purchased the old homestead, which he operated for many years and there passed away on the 22nd of March, 1889, at the age of fifty-six years. He married Nancy Campbell, a native of the state of New York, whose death occurred on the home farm in 1871, while she was still in her early womanhood.
Descended from a long line of colonial ancestors, the Craig family have always been distinguished for their patriotism and loyalty to their country, and when the Civil war broke out those of its members who were able responded to the call for troops, the four sons of Freeman Craig and two sons of his eldest daughter, Mrs. Louisa Craig Warner, giving their services to the Union. Freeman, Jr., George and J. B. enlisted in Company H, Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, the second named being killed in the charge at Vicksburg, where Freeman, Jr., was wounded. Ezekiel was a member of Company F, Fourth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and Benjamin Warner joined Company I, of the Twenty-seventh Infantry, while Harry Warner belonged to the Eighth Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry.
Mrs. J. B. Craig, the mother of our subject, had two half-brothers who served in the Twenty-eighth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. One was killed in service but the other; George, is still living and now resides in Clark county, Wisconsin.
Reared at home, William F. Craig began his education in the district schools of Lima township, and completed it by a two-year course in the Sheboygan Business College. The succeeding two years were spent in farm work, after which he was a sailor on the Great Lakes for a simiiar period. At the expiration of that time he accepted a position as night engineer in the Sheboygan pumping station, where he was employed for three years. Later agricultural pursuits again engaged his energies and in 1904 he purchased his present homestead on section 6 of Lima township. The place was not in a very good condition when Mr. Craig took possession of it. Although the house was newly built, as it had been destroyed by fire the year previous, the other buildings were in need of repairs. During the eight years of his ownership, however, he made various improvements consistent with the spirit of progress he at all times manifests in his undertakings. In 1910, he built a large, substantial barn, constructed on the King system, with a large silo, and the barn accommodates thirty-five head of stock. It will be provided with a water system and next year he expects to install a milking machine. Mr. Craig makes a specialty of dairying, and owns a fineherd of high-grade Holstein cattle. He also raises and feeds hogs for the market and annually makes large shipments, the returns from which substantially augment his income.
Mr. Craig is a very practical man and uses good judgment and intelligence in the direction of his business. He gives his personal supervision to every detail connected with the operation of his farm, the appearance and condition of which evidence the exercise of systematic methods and competent direction.
Mr. Craig was married on the 18th of November, 1896, to Miss Eva Hassan, a daughter of George and Mary Hassan, well known pioneer farming people of this section of the county, and to them have been born two children: Robert, who is a youth of fourteen years; and Blossom, who is eleven years of age.
Politically Mr. Craig is a republican, giving his allegiance to the progressive faction of that party, but he has never been identified with the public life of the township. He is one of the prosperous men of his community and is a stockholder in the State Bank of Sheboygan Falls. Diligent and enterprising in his business affairs; public-spirited and progressive in matters of citizenship; and honorable and upright in all of the relations of life, William F. Craig is one of the highly esteemed citizens of his community.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL