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Joseph Craig
By James B. Taylor

Though not distinguished for those peculiarities which elevated to a high place, in the affections of Virginia Baptists, the two brothers Lewis and Elijah Craig, it will not be proper altogether to pass over the name of Joseph, another of the Craig family. He does not appear to have risen high as an expounder of the Scriptures, or even as a preacher. Much itinerant labor, however, was performed by him, and not without success. After preaching for some years in Virginia, he settled with his brothers in Kentucky, and continued there to exercise his ministerial functions. He is said to have been at times very eccentric. On one occasion, at Guinea's Bridge, while preaching, he was apprehended, and an attempt made to carry him before a magistrate. Mr. Semple says,
"Thinking it no dishonor to cheat the devil, as he termed it, he slipped off the horse, and took to the bushes. They hunted him with dogs, but, Asahel like, being light of foot, he made good his retreat."
Another case is mentioned by John Taylor. He is represented to have been pursued by his persecutors, and climbing into a tree, he was shaken down, his hands tied, and an attempt made to carry him to court. He said, "If you put Joseph Craig in prison, I will have no hand in it." He would neither walk or ride, and they were compelled to liberate him. Walking along the streets of Lexington, some young men resolved to indulge in sport at his expense, by asking curious questions. His only reply was, "Get thee behind me, Satan;" thus turning the ridicule of all beholders on them.

Crossing a ferry, one day, when he offered to pay, the ferryman declined receiving it, saying, "Mr. Craig, you may pray for me." Reaching the opposite side of the stream, Mr. Craig called the man to him, that he might pray for him. He said, "Not now, Mr. Craig." But the preacher said, "I will not go away in your debt." The ferryman disliked it much, but was compelled to submit, and Mr. Craig prayed most earnestly for his deliverance from the captivity of sin.

Says John Taylor,
"By vigorous industry and care of his property, Mr. Craig made a good estate. He reared many children, sons and daughters, and taught them all habits of industry. Find his children where you may, they are surrounded with affluence, and of respectable standing among men. Nearly all of them also have a place in the church of Christ. Mr. Craig was small of stature, stooping shoulders, of a hardy complexion, active in business, persevering as a traveling preacher, or rather exhorter, for in that lay his greatest gift. He died of a lingering complaint, after laboring in the ministry, say fifty-nine years. His age was nearly eighty."

[From James B. Taylor, Virginia Baptist Ministers, 1859, pp. 91-92. jrd]

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