Submitted by Descendants: Derald E., Emily Anne, Gabriel John, and Matthew Nicholas EVERHART
John Craig, an Irishman from King County, was one of a handful of original settlers to put down roots in Manatee County.
Born in May 1813, John came to the United States with his parents as a child in 1820, landing in New York City. His parents are said to have died of cholera within a year or so of their arrival and John was raised in a foster home. He eventually went west, ending in New Orleans about 1835, where for a time he captained a flatboat trading on the Mississippi.
John came to Florida about 1840, and was one of 15 white men listed in a group of settlers under the command of Col. Sam Reid living along the Manatee River in 1842. John received 160 acres under the Armed Occupation Act of 1842 and raised cattle and farmed throughout the rest of his life.
In 1849, he married Mary Caroline Goddard, the 15-year-old daughter of his neighbor Asa Johnson Goddard. They eventually raised eight children.
John signed up for three different volunteer militias during the Third Seminole War between 1856 and 1858. His service may have been prompted by an April 1856 Seminole raid, where his house was ransacked and his father-in-law’s house burned down.
John died August 31, 1893 at the age of 80. Mary Caroline followed him into death nearly three years later on April 17, 1896, the day her grandson Paul Vaney Craig was born.
John Craig was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2003