D.I. Craig Papers, 1876-1929

Creator: Craig, D. I. (David Irvin), 1849-1925.
Collection number: 5399
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Abstract: David Irvin Craig was born in Orange County, N.C., in 1849. He received his early education at the old Hughes Academy at Cedar Grove, N.C.; was a student at Davidson College, 1874-1875; and, in 1878, graduated from the Theological Seminary in Columbia, S.C. He was licensed to preach in May 1878 in Greensboro, N.C., and served as pastor at the Reidsville Presbyterian Church in Reidsville, N.C., until 1925. In 1881, Craig married Isabel Gertrude Newman of Columbia, S.C., with whom he had four children. Craig was elected as a representative of Orange Presbytery in the General Assembly, served as Moderator of Synod and the Presbytery, was one of ten original regents of Barium Springs Orphanage, held the Stated Clerk position for both the Orange Presbytery and the Synod, and was a trustee of Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary. He wrote historical works on Presbyterianism. Craig died in 1925. The collection includes one account book, one day book, 14 diaries, and some loose papers. The account book, 1878-1924, includes information about marriages, baptisms, and burials performed by D.I. Craig. It also contains insurance information and lists new members of Reidsville Presbyterian Church, 1878-1897, with some gaps. The day book, 1912-1923, contains salary, expenditure, and debt information for D.I. Craig and his family. The diaries, 1884-1925, include stories of his experiences on the Craig family “plantation,” which was established in Orange County, N.C., during the 1750s. Craig also recorded a short history of the Craig and Strayhorn families in the 1884 diary and discussed family history in other diaries. Entries discuss President Grover Cleveland’s appearance at the Great Centennial Celebration of the Presbyterian General Assembly in May 1888, local and national elections, his experiences with African Americans at the polls on election days, thoughts on Prohibition, meetings with the Synod and Presbytery, his perspective on racial issues, farm life, family members, and the local gossip. Also included are entries describing the Wilmington race riots of 1898 and race riots across the country that followed first black Heavyweight Champion of the World (1908-1915) Jack Johnson’s defeat of Jim Jeffries, a white boxer and former world heavyweight champion who came out of retirement to fight Johnson on 4 July 1910. Loose papers, 1878-1925, include clippings mentioning D.I. Craig’s life and work, a program for Reidsville Presbyterian Church, and photographs of New Hope Cemetery in the 1920s. The cash book, 1914-1929, contains information on sermons preached and prayer meetings held at Reidsville Presbyterian Church as well as a list of baptisms, marriages, and funerals performed by D.I. Craig. There are also loose papers throughout the book primarily addressed to D.I. Craig’s son, Carl B. Craig. The notebooks, 1876-1878, consist of a collection of writings, sermons, and lectures given by educators at the Theological Seminary in Columbia, S.C., and they also include some written thoughts and reflections of D.I. Craig. The Addition of August 2010 consists of a single volume providing genealogical information about the Craig family written by D.I. Craig in 1899. Other information in the volume is written in another hand and includes a transcription of an obituary of a relative who died in the Civil War during the Battle of Bean’s Station (14 December 1863) and a transcription of a letter purported to have been found by a servant at a federal army camp near Camden, S.C. Dated 26 February 1865, the letter from Thomas J. Myers to his wife in Boston, Mass., recounts the looting and pillaging that occurred, likely in Camden, S.C., as General William T. Sherman’s army travelled north through the state.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection highlights: Some of the material in this collection has been digitized. Click here to access the finding aid to link to the digital material.

The diaries (1884-1925) contain entries describing Craig’s interactions with African Americans at the polls during election day, as well as his views on race relations.

The Diary from August 1897-1900 (Oversize Volume SV-5399/4) contains an entry describing the Wilmington Race Riots of 1898.

The Diary from 1908-1910 (Oversize Volume SV-5399/7) includes an entry about the 4 July 1910 fight between Jack Johnson, an African-American man, who defeated Jim Jeffries, a white man. The event provoked race riots across the country.