• Craig family at monument to William Craig
As we travel (from place to place or from birth to death) it is wise to look back over our shoulders periodically. Seeing where we’ve been helps us figure out where we’re going. The Craig story is a glance back at what came before us on the Columbia Plateau of the Interior Northwest. Looking over our shoulders, we see some of the people and events that shaped, in a brief time, the human dimension in this part of America. Perhaps it is fortuitous that professional historians had not gotten around to the comprehensive William Craig, for that left his story to be dug up by one of his descendants—a most meaningful act. Like the spirit of Craig’s Mountain, the Craig story may have been waiting for certain people to come, seeking information, finding answers, and in the process achieving wisdom that can only come from better understanding.
 

Bio

From Lin Tull Cannell, in The Intermediary:

I was born and bred in the interior Northwest, but it was not until I had spent almost 30 years working elsewhere and retired back to north central Idaho that I questioned that which I had always accepted. Returning to my childhood home with the “new eyes” of experience, I especially noticed—and puzzled over—the predominance of non-Indian residents (even towns occupied mostly by white people) on the Nez Perce reservation. Curiosity up, I read old treaties between the United States and the Nez Perce Indian tribe: those, and Francis Paul Prucha’s The Great Father, answered many of my questions about how non-Indians could now be living on Indian reservations.

As I meandered through the hills and canyons around Orofino, I noticed the name “Craig” here and there on the Clearwater River watershed: the village of Craigmont on the Camas Prairie, Craig’s Ferry on a sign along the Clearwater River, and, in the Lapwai Valley, a Highway 195 marker declaring that William Craig, a former fur trapper and a “bluff, jolly good fellow,” had once lived there.

But local libraries yielded little information about Craig. There was no Craig biography other than a magazine article by a local historian, and the usually verbose literature of the fur trade offered but scant paragraphs about him.

In time my curiosity about William Craig led me to do a little research. A person began emerging, one who had participated in important national events and had lived not far from Lewiston, Idaho, where I had attended grammar school. As there was little written about the history of the entire region, I became motivated to learn more about both Craig and the region in which he settled. It soon became evident that telling the story of William Craig and his family would fill a void in the history of the interior Pacific Northwest in general and my little corner of it in particular.

When I was well into the research phase—and discouraged by Craig’s trail going cold—assistance came in the form of a slim woman with a serious nature and a strong desire to learn more about her heritage. Gloria Manning is a great-great-great-granddaughter of William and Isabel (Pahtissah) Craig, and she offered to help me with the research. We began an informal partnership. During our years of collaboration, a special friendship developed based upon our common interests and mutual respect.

My lifelong ties to the land and its people, along with perennial curiosity, started this book, but Gloria Manning, one of William and Isabel Craig’s descendants, is responsible for the breadth of its content.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *