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The ancient surname CRAIG originated independently in numerous locations and is found in many variations, although its earliest beginnings lie with Scotland, and later, North Ireland.  There are many forms and spellings of the name, among them, CRAIGH, CREAG, CRAIGHE, and CREIGH.  In Scottish gaelic, "craig" means "rock";  throughout Scotland, many forts and defensible positions were built on the massive rock outcroppings on both the shoreline and the interior of the county.  The surname CRAIG, by extension, was then applied to the people who occupied these rocky environs and fortifications.


The CRAIG surname is first found in the area of the Picts, in the eastern part of Scotland.  The Picts, considered to be among the earliest settlers of Scotland, were granted settlement of the area on condition that their kings marry Irish princesses.  There is evidence in early documents of the name Craig, or a derivative of, before the Norman Conquest of 1066.  The name CRAIG emerged as a Clan in the original territories of Aberdeen, seated at Craigfintray Castle in Kildrumie in that Shire.  This Northern Clan, frequently associated with the Gordons, first appears in the Ayershire and Lanarckshire areas, circa 1180.  There were two other Clans, one associated with the Huntley's, and who were pledged to King Edward I of England during his conquest of Scotland.  Fealty was sworn to Edward I by Johan de Cragyn of the county of Linlithgow in 1296.  Johan Craig of the same shire and Agneys del Crage of Edinburghshire and Johan del Cragge of Lanarckshire also paid homage in 1296.  By 1300, in Aberdeenshire, Bryce de Craig  was Burgess of Aberdeen.  The land of James del Crag, son of John del Craig, in Ayershire, is mentioned in 1323.  Alexander de Cragy was forfeited in 1334, and then pardoned in 1335.

In 1335, John of the Craig led 1,000 of his warriors at the Battle of Culblean.  John of the Craig led his famous "band of 300" to support Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, in the raiding and siege at Kildrumie Castle at the Battle of Dunblean.  This John Craig was the Steward of Kildrummie Castle;  250 years later, this family was seated at Craigfintray Castle (Craigston).  This clan evolved to the Craigs of Riccarton.  In 1442, the Lawman of Orkney and others granted an attestation in favor of James del Cragy, Lord of Hupe, husband of Margaret Sinclair.  Margaret was the daughter of Henry, Earl of Orkney.  Several families in Orkney, likely descended from this marriage, were seated at Brugh, Banko, Skaill, and Weaton.  John was Lawman in 1497.  In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was common in Edinburge and spread throughout the low country.  The name was then often found in the form of "del Craig". 


William Craig, of Craigfintray Castle, County Aberdeen, was killed at the Battle of Flodden in September 1513.  William was the father of the Reverend John Craig (1512-1600), famous churchman and religious reformer, colleague of John Knox, and founder of the Church of Scotland.  Following William in succession came Alexander Craig of Craigfintray, followed by William Craig, and next, Sir Thomas Craig (1538-1608) who was married to Helen Heriot.  Sir Thomas was a great institutional writer in Scottish feudal law - his work stands today.  In the latter part of his life, Sir Thomas acted as advocate for the Church of Scotland.

After the foundation of the Church of Scotland, political dissent occurred over the power of the King and civil authorities over the rights of the Church.  This led to the beginning of the Presbyterian movement.   Many of these religious dissenters fled to Northern Ireland and its freer religious environment.  Religious and civil war soon reached North Ireland, bringing more Scots to live in the North.  During the 1600's many Scots emigrated to North Ireland, called the "Plantation of Ulster"… our Craig's and Campbell's among them.

Thomas' son, Sir James Craig of Craig Castle and Craigston of Aberdeen became one of the
Scottish undertakers of the Ulster Plantation.   Sir James went to England in 1603, had grants of revision of the clerkship of the Wardrobe and of the Office of Assistant Clerk in the King's Great Wardrobe.  In 1610 he was granted 1000 acres in County Armagh, which he later sold to buy land in County Cavan (baraony of Tullyhunco) and settled many of his kinsman there.  In 1611, he was granted the Ulster manor.  It is assumed that if a person's
CRAIG forefathers came to America from North Ireland, there is a good chance he was a descendent of James, especially if they emigrated between just after the Revolutionary War (U.S) and 1810.  His descendent, James Craig , became the first Prime Minister of Ireland in 1921, having been an organizer of the Ulster Volunteer Force in the struggle against Home Rule.  He was then elevated to the Peerage, taking the title "Viscount Craigavon."


William Craig was born between 1750 and 1760 in Northern Ireland, our understanding near Mullaughfarn, in County Fermanagh.  He was a Presbyterian Ulster Scot, his forebearers coming to Northern Ireland from the Scottish Lowlands.  William's father, William Creague, was a Scottish soldier originally from near Edinburgh.  Our William married about 1788/1789, Mary Gamble, who was born about 1752, also in Northern Ireland.  They had six children, all born in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.  The first to come to the United States was Hugh Craig, who arrived sometime in 1819, first settling in Pittsburgh, PA.  Secondly, came his brother, John Craig and his wife Elizabeth (Liggett) and their eldest two children.  Thirdly, came William and Mary (Gamble) Craig who emigrated in August or September of 1825, through the port of Philadelphia,  settling in Armstrong Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania.  With William and Mary came their son, William, their daughter Margaret Craig, and their daughter, Ann Johnston and her family.  Lastly, arrived Patrick Craig in 1845.  William Craig purchased 322 ¼ acres of land in Armstrong Township from Anthony and Margaret Calwell, the deed recorded in Indiana County on November 12, 1828 and witnessed by William's son Hugh Craig as well as David Johnston.

William CRAIG first appears in Armstrong Township tax records in 1829 as William Creigh [sic], paying $1.38 tax for 232 acres of land and one cow.  Hugh Creigh [sic] is listed as paying 33 cents tax for 100 acres of land.  There is no deed recorded for Hugh, so it is presumed that William gave his son 100 acres of land to farm.  William CRAIG last appears in the tax records in 1836 paying tax on 210 acres of land as well as two horses and two cows.  Hugh Craig is listed in 1836 as paying tax on 50 acres of land.  In 1837, tax records list William Craig as paying on 210 acres of land, two horses and two cows, but the entry is crossed out with a notation to "transfer to Hugh Craig" indicating that William Craig was by then dead.  Pages from William's daughter, Margaret (CRAIG) Campbell's family Bible {now in the possession of Martha (Fouts) Frailey} record William Craig date of death as December 25, 1836.   His will, dated April 25, 1829, was proven in Indiana County on May 12, 1843 naming his wife, Mary, son John, daughter Ann Johnston, daughter Margaret Campbell, and son, Hugh CRAIG.

William Craig fist appears in U.S. Census records in 1830 census as head of household in Armstrong Township, between 70 and 80 years of age.  Living with him is a white female age 70-80, his wife, Mary (unnamed in census).  Also living with him are two white males between the ages of 20 and 30, one is undoubtedly Hugh Craig, who is not listed as head of a separate household, who was just about to turn 31 at the time the census was taken.  The identity of the other white male between 20 and 30 is unclear.

The 1840 US Census lists a woman between the ages of 80-90 living with William's son, Hugh, in Armstrong Township.  This is undoubtedly Mary as the 1850 US Census lists Mary CRAIG, age 98, born in Ireland, living with Hugh Craig, also born in Ireland, and his family.  Mary (Gamble) Craig's will was probated in Indiana County June 7 1856, and according to the West Union United Presbyterian Church records now in possession of the Shelocta Community Presbyterian Church, she died on June 2, 1856.  Mary (Gamble) Craig's will names daughter Margaret Campbell, son Hugh Craig, son Patrick CRAIG and "heirs of son John Craig, deceased".

Information presented here is a compilation of different histories of the Craig name… sources available upon request, however one important source is the Craig Genealogical Society's
excellent web page.