Dear Editor:

I have long thought that James Craig deserved a better memorial than a cheap "temporary" government housing project named for him, but that is his sole current recognition ("Those Were The Days," Sept. 23 Savanna Times-Journal).

(“80 Years Ago—1941: John Carmody, federal works administrator, approved the name “Craig Manor” for the 200 unit housing project being completed in Hanover for Army men and Savanna Ordnance Depot workers. The project was named in memory of Capt. James Craig, pioneer, circuit rider, surveyor and Indian fighter.”)

Born in Virginia in 1785, he was one of the early settlers of Galena in 1825. He did the first survey of Galena in 1826-27, laying out the streets essentially as they exist today. The only government that existed in 1827 was that of the U.S. administered by the Superintendent of Lead Mines and the only deeds were "permits" issued by him.

Jo Daviess County was organized that year, and the loose system of deeds led to a crisis in 1836 when the county became embroiled in controversy attempting to acquire land for the courthouse and jail. A new survey in 1836 by James Craig and Israel Mitchell and subsequent legal actions were required to resolve the various deed disputes. His prominence is also attested by his service in the General Assembly representing the county in 1827. He was nominated to do so again in 1836.

During the Blackhawk War of 1832, James Craig served on a committee to plan the defense of Galena and was in charge of 46 men defending the Apple River fort near Elizabeth while his younger brother Jonathan was dispatched to New Diggings.

He noted the Apple River Falls as a likely site for a mill, but the land was reserved for mining. He went to Washington in 1827 to secure permission for a mill, and built the first dam and mill in 1828.

On Oct. 25, 1836, the village of Wapello was laid out and platted on land owned by Mr. Craig. The name was changed to Hanover in 1849. In 1840, he tore down the original mill, erecting a new one in 1842 which burned down six weeks later and ruined him financially. James W. White acquired the land in 1845 and built a new mill.

Of further note is that his wife Delinda Boone was the granddaughter of Daniel Boone. Thus, several hundreds of the offspring of his numerous children currently living in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties are direct descendants of Daniel Boone, including this writer.

One can only speculate on what James Craig would have thought about the honor of having Craig Manor named for him.

David Hanson

Savanna