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One Nation Under God

First Settled Pastor in Augusta County (VA) details Costs, Sacrifices and Successes during His Dissenter Ministry
       from Autobiography of John Craig (1709-1774)

A PREACHER preaching to himself from a long text of no less than sixty years: On review of past life. I was born August 17th, 1709, in the parish of Dunager, County, Antrim, Ireland, of pious parents, the child of their old age, tenderly loved, but in prudent government, and by early instructions in the principles of religion as I was capable of receiving them, which had strong effects on my young and tender mind, (being then about five or six years of age,) and engaged me to fly to God with prayers and tears in secret, for pardon, peace, guidance and direction, while in the world, and to fit me for death; and what appears strange to me now, the just thoughts and expressions that were given to me, and the strict care of my conduct, lest in my childish folly, I should sin against God; and the correct desire I had to know more of God and my duty to him, made me diligent, and the task easy, to learn to read the word of God, which then and ever since gave me a great delight and pleasure: and though I endeavoured to conceal my little religious exercises and acts of devotion, my affectionate and tender parents discovered my conduct, and turn of mind, and thirst after knowledge, which raised in them pleasing hopes, and engaged them contrary to their former designs to bestow upon me a liberal education.

. . . observe, thou had no Choice of ye Age or place of ye world where to be born or of what parents but . . . how happy a Choice thy God has made for thee both with Respect to time & place when & where heathen Ignorance & Barbarities are No More, and popish Cruelties . . . & flames for Sake of Conscience and Cause of Christ was at an End. And Episcopal Zeal for Conformity . . . fined for preaching & hearing ye word of God, Prisons, Butes of pine Thumikins . . . gallows & the like acts of Cruelty acted in thy fathers Day & before it; the Blood and Sufferings of many thousands for the Cause of Christ & a Good Conscience had Glutted ye Bloodthirsty appetites; & Cooled & quenched that Devouring fiery Zeal in ye Brittish Dominions before thou was Born

But God gave thee thy Lot in ye morning of Britains Union and Most flourishing State when & where peace, Liberty of Conscience to protestants prevailed over all ye Brittish Dominions. Yea ye very Parish where thou was Born, was at that time Remarkable for the Modest Sober Religious Conduct of the people inhabiting that place, & for a faithfull able & Diligent Pastor ye Rev:d Alexander Brown whose Name is Ever Dear to thee

. . . . . O my God make me truely Sensible of thy Great Goodness in ordering my Lot, without my Choice, in pleasant times & places

But to return to ye historical Review of my life. when I was Sent to School to Learn ye Language a new Scene opened to me which before I was a Stranger too; having Never Seen ye vice folly and wickedness that So much prevail in the world: yea Some of my Schoolfelows not hesitating, as it Suited their tempers & Interest in their little trifling Concerns; to lie Cheat Curse Swear and profane ye Sabbath quarrel fight &c – which made Sin appear to me more odious & hatefull; and God more Mercifull Long-suffering & patient that Spared them

. . . . . About ye fourteenth or fifteen year of my age I went to ye Rev:d Alexander Brown who Baptized me and after Examination Admitted me to ye Lords Table which prov’d a mighty Support against temptations and gave much Delight Comfort & Consolation Many a Sweet Communion Sabbath I Enjoy’d in my Native Country, Sometimes brought to the Banqueting house under ye Banner of Love Ravished with Love. And for all this wanted Not my thorn in the flesh which often brought me very Low.

As to my Conduct & Diligence for the Space of Eight or Nine years at School I never Received one Stroak or So much as a Sharp Rebuke from all the Master I was With; But Still gained ye favour of them all. –I Spent Some years after Reading Algebra, Mathamaticks, Logicks, Metaphysicks, pneumaticks, Ethicks, under ye Care of able masters Geography & history both Ecclesiastick and profane & then went to Scotland to the College at Endenburgh & attain’d ye Degree of Master of Arts Anno Domini 1732 [1733].

As above observed in ye first Eight or Nine years of thy Life God was Graciously pleased to lay ye happy foundation of virtue & piety in thy mind, without much Resistance being then pliable & tender. – But oh Strange to think of it! What obstinate Resistance was made to ye Spirit of God in his Carrying on ye work of Grace, and a Life of holiness in ye next twelve or thirteen years of thy life. – these Enemies appearing in their turns – Pride, Self Conceit accompany’d with Ignorance, passions, Lusts, appetites, a Rebelious Will, yea ye whole Army of Natural Corruptions, Evil Company, Love to Vanity and a vain World, – and to Strengthen all, Satan by his insinuations & temptations, a Constant prompter of every Sinfull wicked Inclination all these under the appearance of friends to thee active to please thy Corrupt mind . . . what powerful Enemies are these, till Christ Subdue & Restrain them Discover their Deceit & Danger, Make the Soul hate & abhor them & fly from them

. . . . . When I left my Native Country & went to Scotland being then among Strangers, I Soon Discover’d the Loss of being Distant from all these Whose Conversation Counsel & Directions had been most pleasant and profitable to me; this made me with More Earnestness fervency & frequency apply to God, who had formerly Supported Guided & Directed me that he would Continue to Do me Good, and Bless me in my Lawfull Designs, & give Success to my Endeavours to fit me for his Service in ye world. and on My part was Carefull in Choosing my Companions, frugal as to my Expense, Diligent in my Studies, was happy in all these Cases took out my Degrees &c. and in my way home, went to See & be acquainted with Some of my Relations in Scotland, among others an old uncle and Aunt, for this uncle I was Named, and he Design’d me his Heir of a Little Laird-Ship worth about Sixty pounds a year as I was told having No Children of their own. – they were Kind to me, and offar if I would Stay with them and See them Decently Buried at their own Expence they would Leave me Heir of their Estate and they were Each of them between 80 & 90 years of age. I Express’d my obligation to them thankfully and told them I had very affectionate & Loving Parents which had Done a Great Duty for me, and that I must Consult with them before I Could Leave them for their approbation, which I believ’d to be my Duty. this Answer pleased them well So I took my farewell & Came home in Aprile 1732 [1733]

I found my Dear Parents & Relations all well to my Great Satisfaction & Stay’d with them about two years in which time I was Sorely Distress in body and mind how to Stear my Course thru the world So as to please God, Do Good to man, and to Secure my own Eternal happiness. – As to the world & my Support in it My prospect was promising Enough, My fathers patrimony having Now portion’d of all his Children but my Self & yet Rich Considered as a farmer, and My Uncle’s Estate.

But all this Could Not Satisfy my Mind, Nor answer the Ends of my Long Labour & Studies which had Steadily been with a view to the ministry (if it pleased God to qualify me for it and Call me to it) But when I was at the College I heard ye flouts, & Saw the affronts Cast at ye Mess Johns (ye phrase there used to Express the Students of Divinity) and being more able to Discover ye weight Charge of that office, these together with the low opinion I had Conceived of my own abilities for Such an important office had now Changed my mind Intirely from that office or any Desire after it.

Now ye mind Rov’d a New plan was Laid & with keenness Entered upon. I Resolved the Next year to attend ye Physicians hall, Setting apart from 9 to 12 oClock Every Night whilest others Deverted themselves or Slept, to Read Kiel’s anatomy & other helps to fitt me for my Next years Design My Chamber meat was pursueing that Study which was a Great help to me in my Design but this I Kept Closs from my Parents and all my Relations which I knew would not approve of it nor Support ye Charge with this view, and So I design’d to Deceived them to procure a Support under ye Design to Study Divinity more fully. this was ye Cause of my affliction & Distress of mind which brought me very Low But Secret to all. but as I kept it Secret God Saw it & punished me openly in Such a manner as I Could See my Sin in the very Correction for it; & now bless God for it

When I came home I brought the itch with me To Cure my Self of this Disorder, I would try my new Skill to blood & take Phisick; I was bleed by a friend knowing & well Experienced in that business; but after Some Days ye orifice fester’d and Swel’d about ye Bulk of an hasel Nut threw me into a fever which Continued ten Days; the orifice in that time got well, but my whole arm and hand Swel’d to a wonderfull Size; various means were used and ye Swelling Declin’e & went away I thought all was well (but all that did not yet humble me) ye whole arm instantly Swel’d again to an higher pitch than before ye pain more Exquisite turn’d Black ye Skin feeless and in a week ye Sweling Siz’d on ye body Back & Breast Swel’d high, and I think within also, which made me whise in breathing to be heard out of Doors – All hope of Life was Now lost by my Self, & all that Saw me, believing it to be a Mortification & Now past Cure having Sized ye Body, and that in a few hours I must be in Eternity. altho my pain was great beyond Expression, I Still Enjoy’d my Reason but what was all these pains to ye agonies of ye mind then Conscience Roar’d like a Devouring Lyon, and in a most Sharp and terrible manner accusing me of my Deceitfull & unsteady Dealing with God Before whom I expected instantly to appear, and to Cheat and grieve the hearts of my Loving & affectionate parents then Standing weeping over me, piting & Lament my Sufferings, tho they knew but little of the Dreadful Agonies I was then Labouring under their tears but increased my Misery as knowing my Secret Designs Rendered me unworthy of their Love then was I fully Convinc’d of ye Evil of my New Design and that God had take me in the trap in the very way of Life I Designed to follow, & to Cut me off in it; Because my Pride Ease and Liberty to Live at Large, had Led me off from the Desire of Serving him in ye way I had Resolved upon, as Laborious Difficult and a Despised office amongst ye fashionable part of the world. Now ye mask was taken off and I was fully Convicted of my fault; – this was a Dreadful Crisis of Life to me! And as a Guilty Humble Penatent brought me to the Throne of Grace for mercy & free Grace, Sincerely Confessing Sin, Earnestly Asking pardon, firmly Resolving & promising amendment if ye mercifull God would Grant Life & Days.

My Requests was offered up thro Christ in Great Earnest but weak faith; I Could Say I Desired Life but Could not Say I had hopes of Life. – but Goodness and Mercy in God to me, was above & beyond my Expection and weak hope; he was my Phisician when Given up by men Removed all ye Danger in a few Days, to my admiration & Joy, and happilly fixed my Mind on My first Design Curing ye De’ase of body & mind at once. Gave me ye use of my hand & arm as before. – I was about Six months under this Correction and I hope it answered the End to me. –

Being Now willing to Serve God in any office Station or Relation he Pleased to fit me for & Call me too; or in any place where he pleased to Send me. Patrimony & Estate had then little weight in my mind being well Convinced that God who Saved my Life from Death, would Support it whilst he had any Service for it. So I Cast my Self upon his Care and Earnestly pray’d for his Direction.

America was then Much in my mind accompany’d with this Argument, that Service would be most pleasing and acceptible, where most Needfull & wanting which rais’d in me a Strong Desire to See that part of ye world.

But I had Resolved Never to be Rash in determining affairs of weight importance any more, and began to think of that affair deliberately. to Leave my Dear and most affectionate Parents Now very old, my Relations acquaintances & Sweet Companions Some of them very Dear to me with all my prospects of a way of Living and thousands of Dangers & Difficulties appearing in ye way which appear’d hard to Get over, but for these things, my mind was Determined believing it to be my Duty to venture thro all opposition I Consulted my parents & friends who Did not much hinder my Design but grieved at my thought of Leaving them but above all I Earnestly Cry’d to God for his Direction that he would Restrain or Encourage me as he Saw would tend to his Glory & my happiness Still my mind was Steady at that time I had a Dream or vision Representing to me; as it were in Minature the whole that has happened to me of any importance these thirty-five years yea the very place I have been Settled in these thirty years, I knew it at first Sight & have Done here what was Represented to me there. – But thought little of it then, too often of it Since. – My mind being fully Settled & Determined; I prepared for my Long Voage. –

Having taken farewell of my friends & Country (no Easie task) we went on board at Learn June: 10: 1734 and in ye kind providence of God Landed all Safe at New Castle on Delaware ye 17th of August following being born in ye old World & landed in the New the very Same Day of ye year & hour of ye Day, which I then observed. in the Passage I was Sore afflicted with Sea Sickness which brought me very Low; but Recovered both health & Strength before I Came a Shore. I Escaped a very Eminent danger of being Lost in a Manner almost miraculous without any mean but ye kind hand of providence being accidentally Cast over board in a Dark & tempestuous Night, Lay as on a bed of Down on my back, on the Raging Wave which tost’d me back on ye Ship’s Side where I found holds & Sprung aboard & none aboard knew of it nor Did I Speak of to any while at Sea. – this Evidence of Divine Care I ought Ever to Remember with a Gratefull & thankfull heart to his praise & Glory who made the proud wave a bed but not a Grave to Swallow me up without Remidy

When I came ashore I mett with an old acquaintance the Rev’d Benjamin Campbell then Minister of New-Castle he had been in the Country Some years, and was very kind & friendly to me in Every Respect; he was a very Judecious Gentleman, Gave Me a just account of the Country, and with Care advised me to Seek aliving in a heathy place of the Country tho poor, gave me an account of the Ministry & of men of parts among them which turn’d out Greatly to my advantage. he was then Agueish, & Died about two months after Greatly to my Grief

The Synod of Philadelphia Mett in September 21 1734 where I attended having Several Letters of Recommedation from Ministers in Ireland to their Correspondent ministers here and then had an opportunity to Deliver them they were of Service to me for the ministers used me as well as a Stranger Could Expect on that account—

It Gave me both Grief & Joy to See that Synod, Grief to See their Small Number & mean appearance, Joy to See their mutal Love, & Good order, & men of Solid Sense among them & Steady to ye Presbyterian Principles & against all innovations which began to appear at this Synod from an overture Read publickly by the Rev:d Gilbert Tennent Concerning the Receiving of Candidates into the Ministry & Communicants to the Lords table &c which he imbibed from one Mr. Freelinghouse a Low Dutch Minister which Notions was then openly Rejected, but afterwards prevail’d So far as to Divid the Synod & put ye Church of God here into ye utmost Confusion not yet Rooled out tho Endeavoured

I now wanted a fixed Residence, finding it unsafe unprofitable & Expensive to wander about. But to find a place healthy where I could gain my Bread and be under ye Care of a minister able to help me was at that time very Difficult. – this I Endeavoured to find at Several places and times for three months, but Still fail’d, which Greatly Distress’d my Mind as if God . . . had No Service for me here, but Such was the Love of God to me a poor Stranger that he would not Suffer me to Settle, but where I had all the things Desired to answer the Good End I had in view; I Saw here that a Steady Dependence on God far Exceeds humane Wisdom he at Last brought me to a healthy place, an home, a maintainance, a faithfull & able friend a Sincere Christian ye Rev:d John Thompson of Chestnutlevel whose praise is Deservedly in ye Church, as being ye instrument in the hand of God of forming her into an organized Body here, & Defending her while he Liv’d

Now I began to foreget my Sorrow having my home with a poor but akind Stranger, and ye Sweet and improving Conversation of So Good & kind a friend here I Liv’d in Love & peace till ye year 1739 and then Remove to augusta County in ye Colony of Virginia

I taught School one year, and Read two years more Being Still affraid to Engage in So weighty a work & office; But being invited by ye Presbytery I entered on trials & was Licensed by ye Presbytery of Dunegal in Pensilvania in ye year 1737, but was Still more affraid to undertake ye Charge of a Congregation tho I had Several Calls Given me, till I was Sent to a new Settlement in Virginia of our own Country people near 300 Miles Distant. – they were Encouraged to Settle there by ye honorable Sr: William Gooch then Governour of Virginia a Good man & a father to the frontiers in the Colony who allow them the Benefit of the act of tolleration. – No Presbyterians being Settled as an organized body in the Colony Since it was first Settled that I heard of. from ye Dream I had before I left Ireland when I came to ye Settlement knew it to be the plot in Christs Vineyard where I was to Labour (I must Say I thought but Little of it which perhaps was my Sin) from them I had a Call & Durst Not Refuse it altho I well Saw that it would Be attended with many & Great Difficulties; but Seing this So Clearly to be ye Call of providence, & if I Should not Despise ye Day of Small things, & that he Could perfect his Strength in my weakness, Granting Every Necessary qualification, Gift & Grace, for Carrying on his work and Support ye agent Called by him to Do ye work, under Every Difficulty & Danger falling in the way while faithfull thus with a Steady Dependence on God for Light and Direction, aid and assistance, prudence & understanding I accepted their Call pass’d ordination trials & was ordain’d as their Pastor & Received by their Commisioners in Dunegal the last of August 1740

Look Back, O my Soul, with wonder & admiration, on the wisdom & Goodness of God, who So happily Connected the various Dispensations of his providence; that mercy Love & tender Care appears in the whole; as also a wise Discipline to train up & inure by Degrees for more trying Dispensations that Might fall in thy Lot; as thy Sore affliction while aboard ye Ship, was a mean Reason to prevent thy going home, when So much Discouraged for want of a Residence Suited to thy Designs. – Gods Care of thee when Lying on the tempestuous wave, was a Strong argument with thee that he would not Leace or foresake thee in an Inhabited Country. – thou hast Seen, he would not give a Residence till he brought thee to ye very place thou Earnestly wish’d and pray’d for. – tho thou Couldst hardly believe that there was Such an opportunity to be had in ye Country having Devoted thy Service to God in ye ministerial office if he Call’d thee to it. thou then Saw ye Labour great ye Support Small, ye Charge heavy ye Esteem And authority Little: this had its affects on thy mind to which add the fair prospect thou hadst of making a fortune in the Merchandizing way in a Sober Religious family & perhaps ye most wealthy in the Province, these were No Small Temptations. Yet God assist thee to overcome all, to Engage in the Service of God and trust him for thy Support which he never fail’d in to this Day but has granted to thee Agur’s prayer [Proverbs 30]

. . . . . This is ye Last Scene of my Life to the End of my 60th year to which all ye preceding part was but as a preparative as to Labour, trials, temptations, Griefs, Dangers, Losses, Crosses &c

When I came to the people of my Charge they Received me in the Most friendly manner, whose friend Ship (Except a very few) Continued Steady these thirty years to our Mutual Comfort. In this I have been Most happy. but Destitute of all Conversation Direction or Advice of Fathers or Brethren for more than ten years being about 200 Miles from ye Nearest Presbyterian Minister the place was a New Settlement, without a place of worship, or any Church order, A wilderness in a proper Sense and a few Christians Settled in it, with Numbers of the Heathen [Indians] traveling among us, but Generally Civil tho Some people were Murdered by them about that time. they March in Small Companies from twenty to fifty Sometimes more or Less. they must be supply’d at any house they Call at with victuals or they become their own Stuarts & Cooks Spairing Nothing they Chuse to Eat or Dring in the house and Carries with them bread and Meat as they please which was troubleSome Expensive & Sometimes dangerous for they Go all Arm’d for war in their way.

A Company passing kill’d Some Cattle & horses, Some neighbours Mett went & Enquired why they Did So? Ye Indians Gave them No Answer, but fir’d upon ym the English Returned ye fire made ye Indians give way; in that Skirmish Eight men of ye English were kill’d, ye Rest fled. ye unExpected News Ran Swiftly Thro ye Settlement which Greatly alarmed all the Inhabitants Next Day amore dreadfull Alarm Came of 500 Indians at ye Lower End of ye Settlement murdering all they Could find about ten miles off the people gathered together & all yt Could Carry arms went to meet them & happily found ye Report false But ye Cries of women & Children Left without any Defence to Depend on was very Shocking to me the times was Distressing, as we were far from Lidon few of our Selves & fewer to Espouse our Cause heartily for these Difficulties I was obliged to bear a part. –

Another thing that gave me Great Concern, was how to Act So as to maintain Presbyterian order & Rules of Government in our Church & So as not to Give offence to ye Establish Church, and Government with whom I had to Do. and in this Case providence ordered Matters So that I obtain’d their approbation & Esteem when we were Erected into a County & parish, and had ministers inducted of which we had two they both in their turns wrote to me Making high Demands, I gave no Answer but Still observed our own Rules where there was No positive Law against them. –

Another Distressing affair to me being alone was the Division of our Church, having Seen ye Conduct of ministers and People when I was in Pensilvania; that Maintain’d these New Doctrines Examined ye Contraversie, had free Conversation with both parties apply’d to God for Light and Direction in yt important Concern, which was Done with time & Deliberation, Not Instantly; I attain’d Clearness of Mind to Join in ye protest against these New and uncharitable opinions & ye Ruin of Church Government

This Gave offence to Some two or three families in my Congregation; who then Look’d upon me as an opposer of ye work of God, as they Call’d it an Enemy to Religion &c. And apply’d with all keeness to their holy & Spiritual teachers, to Come & preach & Convert the people of my Charge & free them from Sin & Satan and from me a Carnal Wretch, upon whom they unhappily Depended for instruction to their Souls utter Destruction. – they flying Speedily Came and thunder’d their New Gospel thro Every Corner of my Congregation & Some of them had ye assurance to Come to my house & Demand a Dismission for Some of my Subscribers who had invited them being tented with these Notions formerly; but Providence So order’d that affair yt they Gain’d None of my people more that I know of, my moral Character Stood Clear & Good Even among them but they freely Loaded me with these and ye Like – poor, blind, Carnal hypocritical Damn’d wretch – this Given to my face by Some of their Ministers and when I administered ye Lord Supper to my people they mockingly Said to their Neighbours going to it, what are you Going to Craig’s frolick? – I thought then that God had given me a Difficult plot to Labour in alone, among Strangers, not knowing how to trust any, in danger by the heathen, Reproached by Some of my own people & Nation, our Religion from our own Conduct our Enthusiastick & uncharitable Notions became the Test of ye wicked & profane. and had not God in his Great Goodness Directed Supported & Encouraged me I would fled from ye place as from an Enemy but I Ever Call’d upon him in trouble, & he Never fail’d to help.

To Chuse a Session to please ye people & mySelf and to unite their affections when ordain’d Cost me much thought and Labour and God Granted that Blessing also which was the Strength & Stay of ye Congregation. it was Large by Computation about thirty miles in Lenth & Near twenty in breath the people agreed to have two Meeting houses. Expecting they would become two Congregations which is Now Come to pass (this prior to my Relation to them)

That part Now Called Tinkling-Spring was most in Number & Richer than the other & forward had ye publick Management of ye affairs of ye whole Settlement, their Leaders proud Selfinterested Contentious & ungovernable all of them Closshanded about providing Necessary things for pious or Religious uses, and Could Not agree for Several years upon ye place or Manner where & how to build their meetinghouse, which Gave me very Great trouble to hold them together their Disputes Rose So high a Difference happened between Coll. John Lewis & Coll. James Patton both Living in that Congregation which Continued while they Liv’d Which of them Should be highest in Commission & power which was hurtful to ye Settlement but Especially to me; they were Jealous of my interest with the people to Such a Degree that I Could Neither Bring them to friendship with Each other Nor obtain both their friendshipes at once Ever after; they both had Good interest with ye people of their own party; and one of them always by turns bitter Enemies to me which was very hurtfull both to my peace & Interests, they by turns Narrowly watched Every Step of my Conduct – marred my Support to ye utmost of their power – use their interest with ye people to Drive me from the place or Starve me out for wont of Support but to no purpose, for the people always intertain’d a Good opinion of me. My Character alway Stood Clear, tho they hurt my Estate very much this Continued for 13 or 14 years till Coll. Patton was murdered by the Indians at that time he was at peace with me after his Death Coll. Lewis was friendly to me till he Died here God maintain’d my Cause & Supported me under base & Cruel usage but their wicked Devices Did not Die with them my Estate Still Suffers by it and ye Congregation Continues a vacancy, the old Contentious Spirit Still Remaining amongst them’

To give one of many instances how basely I was us’d Coll. Patton bring a Magistate Send his precept to the Common Constable an 100 [pound] penalty to being me immediately before his worship designedly to fall out on the Sabbath day ye Constable as Soon as Divine Service was he Carried me off (I knowing No Cause or Reason for it] as the Vilest Criminal. when I appear’d before him he asked me Some questions about a Run away Servant and what he had Reported I had Neither Seen ye man nor knew anything of ye matter. but his Design was to terrify & affront me, and provoke me to Speak Something in passion whereof he Might accuse me & Drive me from my Charge and all this because I would Not become his Creature to Serve his interest.

But a Just God after he had born with him & prospered his Designs for awhile Sent a Summons for him unexpectedly Suddenly by merciless & Cruel officers to answer more important questions & before a more awfull & Just Judge than he ask’d of me.

As to ye other part of the Congregation Now Called Augusta the people were fewer in Number & much Lower as to their worldly Circumstances; But a Good Natur’d prudent Governable people, and Liberally bestowed apart of what God gave them for Religious & pious uses, & now Enjoy ye benefit in a Decent & becoming Manner, to their Great Satisfaction, Alway unanimous among themSelves Loving & kind to me these thirty years, with whom I Enjoy’d ye Greatest Satisfaction & Serve them with pleasure. they Support me under the persecution (for it Deserves No better Name) of these ambitious men of the other part of the Congregation I had No trouble with these about their Meeting house but to Moderate & Direct them when Mett: they Readily fixed on the place, & Agreed on ye plan for building it and Contributed Cheerfully, Mony & Labour to Accomplish the work; all in ye voluntary way, what Every man pleased.

These hints will Serve to bring to Remembrance the whole Scenes of toil Labour & Suffering; and Satisfaction Comfort & pleasure Enjoy’d till the war brok out when Coll. Washington was Defeated at Broad Meadows.

Look Back O my Soul with Admiration wonder & Love at the wise Dispensations of Providence perfectly Calculated for thy Good & truest happiness. – here

Should something else be here

The Rod Gaurded thee from Pride Luxury Self Conceit; made thee watchfull Diligent & faithfull in thy office; taught thee to Live by faith Not by ye people’s Subscriptions; kept thee a Constant & Steady Dependent on heaven for wisdom & prudence, for Direction & patience, how to Speak, act, and Suffer, So as Not to Offend God, or give offence to men: but to advance God’s Glory, and promote the happiness of all the people of my Charge Even these that treated thee ill

As to my private or Domestick State of Life, when fix’d in ye Congregation I found ye unseasonable Calls, to visit the Sick, & baptize Sick Children and ye Like; prov’d troubleSome to ye place where I Lodg’d, and Not willing to trouble others it gave the More to my Self; which wearied me of that State of Life. I then purchased a plantation & began to improve upon it, and June 11: 1744 married a Young Gentle woman of a Good family & Character Born & brought up in ye Same Neighbourhood where I was born Daughter to Mr. George Russel: by whom I had nine Children Six Now alive and three Dead, & have been both happy in ye Relation hitherto, tho Not without our troubles trials and affliction our fortunes being Small we Endeavoured to increase it by our Labour Care and frugal Management which we Cheerfully Comply’d with as our Necessity Required: but God was pleased to try us with many Sharp & Sore afflictions heavy to be born in our persons family & Estate.

Having prepared a little house we Sett up housekeeping having Neither Servant No Slave to help us, only Employing hirelings when we Could find them; the toil of Serving our Selves we Esteem’d No Burden.

The first Distressing Circumstance which happened to us was when My wife was Great with her first Child Coll. Patton Sends ye Constable with a precept of an 100 [pound] penalty to bring me before him None of us knew for what I was to be Carri’d prisoner before him; My Wife Never having Seen Ministers used in Such a Manner, Was very much terrify’d. fearing Some Dreadfull Evil She knew Not what, to befall me. but Go I must & did (but She took uneasie immediately) he had Some trifling questions to ask me. when I had Resolved them he Let me Go, I had about 14 miles home & found My wife in a very Low Condition in which She Continue for five weeks with Some interval till She was Delivered; During which time almost Every Night & Sometimes for ye Most part of the Night I had to Sit & hold her in My Arms, often not knowing Whether She was Living or Dead & None in the house but our Selves; our Sufferings we Conceal’d as far as we possibly Could, least we Should be made the Jest of Some that waited for our halting. this was hard to bear, but God permitted Something harder to follow which Distressed me Even beyond Expression

While my wife was in Labour which was tedious and hard {women being with her} I being alone in alittle house near where she was; Sometimes Reading, Sometimes Meditating, and offering up my Requests to heaven Suitable to my present Circumstances at that time:

. . . . . This happened May 29: 1745

. . . My first born Died october 4: 1745 being four months & Six days old which was a very Great Grief to us ye parents being again Left alone.

In a few weeks after providence permitted New trials to fall in our way of a Different kind from these mention’d. I had purchased a Stock of horses breeding Mares, & Cows ye Best I Could find in ye Settlement. Upon which our Little mony was laid out for our use.

But in two or three weeks they all Died (I mean from the first yt Died to last was Dead) I had Neither Child horses Nor Cow Left me; Now in Job State Except his personal affliction I must travel afoot for No horse of my property that Came on my plantation Liv’d above three or four Days, I had Severals in the woods and brought them home as I had need when ye Rest was Dead but all of them Died I Could not Discover their Distemper tho I Search with all Diligence their Carcases, Nor Did it Reach farther than my property. It was Court time, & we had many Strangers lodged with us taverans then being few their horses went & fed with ours when Dying with the Disorder But theirs were all Safe & well; & after Some time when a friend Lent me an horse to Ride it was Safe and well & So of all I had borrowed till Spring. but what Convinced me fully, My Brother Liv’d with me on the place and our Cattle pastur’d together all the Summer, and feed together always Night & Day and Not one of his Died tho they Eat that very food that mine had Slobbered upon & Could not Eat when Dying; and they were all fat & Strong would Scarcely Eat fodder ye food in ye woods being then Good, it was in ye Month of December 1745.

During that time my wife went & milk’d a fine young Cow that Gave a large quantity of milk for Supper to our Selves & Some Stangers that was with us we all Supp’d plentifully and by morning light She went out & found that Same Cow Dead Stife and Cold, & this put us in Great fear Lest ye milk Should have affected us with ye Same Disorder but none of us was ye worse for it, only we . . . feared that when the Stock was destroyed we might Suffer in our persons Nothing Else being Left us: but our fears was mercifully Disappointed and our worldly loss give us little trouble when we our Selves were well . . .

It was then Reported that ye Cattle was kill’d by Witch Craft, and indeed for Several Reasons that appeared to me in observing that Scene of affairs I Realy thought then & Now; that God had permitted Satan and his Emissaries to Destroy them to try my patience and Dependence on God: but I Conceal’d my opinion Carefully Guarding my whole Conduct . . . So as Not to give offence to God or man; wellknowing the Divel had higher Designs than to kill Brutes.

Another Report was Raised that I used Charms and named Neighbours as the instruments of our loss both these were Directly False; Yet more Effectualy answered Satans Designs against me; as it open’d a door for Some of my Adversaries who watched my Steps to alienate ye affection of my friends; who Speedily improved ye opportunity thinking they had now Gain’d their End Immediately by their authority Called & qualify’d wittnesses to prove these Charges against me Contrary to Justice or Equity as being both the accuser & Judge; but Greatly to my advantage, as they Could find Nothing against me themselves being Judges which both Confused & Disappointed them Greatly, hoping by that means they Could have Driven me away with Shame & Disgrace, which they Desired to Do. But when my innocence appeared So Clearly the people wondered at my prudence & patience under So many Sharp trials & hard treatment.

God continued to Exercise me with trying Dispensations in my family; to teach me patience and Resignation to his will: but always mixed mercy & Goodness with Chastisments He took my first Child, & left ye second with me; took ye third and left ye fourth with me; took ye fifth & left ye Sixth with me; and gave me three More without any further Breach to this day. . .

As my family Encreased So Did my Care & Expence to prov’d for them food & Raiment & what Education I Could afford them as it was both Expensive & Difficult to be had in this wilderness ye people of my Congregations was all New Settlers, & Generally of Low Circumstances their own Necessities Called for all their Labours, they Could or did Do little for my Support Except a few and Consequently fell Greatly in arear. Yet to avoid the vile Reproach of Greed Commonly Cast on ye Clergy, & to prevent Reflections of Some who were No friends to my interest, & of the Established Church willing to find anything to Cast in our teeth of this kind. – I Carefully observed Never to Demand Stipend, or for Marriage, or Supplying vacancies But when and what they pleased to give & Received thankfully as it had been a meer Bounty tho I kept a Just & Clear account of what I Received . . . Yet one of my Congregations Refuse to pay their Arear which they acknowledge to be Sixty nine pounds after I gave up my Charge of that Congregation Some years I modestly Desired them to pay ye Ballance Due. this Conduct obliged me & my family to be both industrious and frugal and God So blessed our Endeavours. . .

What made the times distressing and unhappy to all the frontiers, was the French and Indian war, which lay heavey on us, in which I suffered a part as well as others. When General Braddock was defeated and killed, our country was laid open to the enemy, our people were in dreadful confusion and discouraged to the highest degree. Some of the richer sort that could take some money with them to live upon, were for flying to a safer place of the country. My advice was then called for, which I gave, opposing that scheme as a scandal to our nation, falling below our brave ancestors, making ourselves a reproach among Virginians, a dishonor to our friends at home, an evidence of cowardice, want of faith, and a noble Christian dependence on God, as able to save and deliver from the heathen; it would be a lasting blot to our posterity . . . They required me to go before them in the work which I did cheerfully, though it cost me one-third my estate. The people very readily followed, and my congregation in less than two months was well fortified. (written circa 1770)

Dr. Foote to whom we are indebted for this last section of the Craig autobiography because of the loss of pages from the original, in his Sketches of Virginia, adds:

Mr. Craig urged the building forts in convenient neighbourhoods, sufficient to hold twenty or thirty families, secure against small arms, and on alarms to flee to these places of refuge, one of which was to be the church. The proposition was acted upon generally.


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