William Craig

1807 - 1869

Craig, William, frontiersman (1807-1869). Born in Greenbriar County, present West Virginia, he said he left home because of a self-defense killing and reached the old Oregon country July 25, 1829, probably with the William Sublette fur brigade; he may have gone up the Missouri with fur men four years earlier. Craig was well educated for the time. In 1829 he trapped with Jedediah Smith in the Blackfoot country, remaining in the upper mountains until he joined Joe Walker's California expedition of 1833-1834. In 1836 he settled in Brown's Hole, Colorado, joining others in establishing a trading post known as Fort Davy Crockett. He was at the 1840 rendezvous, then guided a missionary party to Fort Hall, on to the Whitman mission near the later Walla Walla, and to Lapwai, Idaho, where he established a farm near the Spalding mission. He later moved 10 miles south to Clearwater Creek. He appears to have been a man of beneficial influence among the Nez Perces, his wife being of that people. Craig became agent to the Cayuses in 1856, occasionally scouted for the army. He died of a stroke.

According to Thomas J. Beall, who knew William Craig personally, Craig was born in 1799 or 1800 and died in the latter part of September, 1868. See Recollections of William Craig by Thomas J. Beall.


Clifford M. Drury, Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the Opening of Old Oregon, 2 vols. Glendale, Calif. Arthur H. Clark Co., 1973.