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Craft, John Henderson

Posted by MarthaCrossSargent 
Craft, John Henderson
March 16, 2007 01:44PM
Dr. John J. Dickey Diary, Fleming County, Ky. Recorded in the 1870's and
beyond. Reprinted in Kentucky Explorer, Volume 10, No. 5 - October, 1995,
pp. 84-85. By permission. Clay County.

John Henderson Craft, June 15, 1898.

My great-grandfather, Achaelaus Craft was born on a vessel enroute from
England to America in 1750. His father settled in N.C. I do not know
where. He had but two sons. My great-grandfather was in the Revolutionary
War. He never saw his brother after the war closed. In 1867 I went to N.
C. on a visit to see my brother-in-law, Col. Ben Caudell. In Wilkes Co. I
was on the farm that my great grandfather owned before he came to Kentucky.
As Wilkes County was the home of Daniel Boone, it is not strange that he
followed the pioneer to the wonderful land which he explored.
Consequently, after the war, he came to Fayette Co., Kentucky and laid his
claim where a part of the city of Lexington now stands. But his wife
feared the Indians and to please her he retreated to the very border of the
"Promised Land" and located near the head of the North Fork of the Kentucky
River, five miles from the Virginia line.
Later he removed to Colley Creek which falls into the North Fork, a little
below where he made the first settlement. There he lived until his death
which occurred somewhere from 1850 to 1854. I was born December 20, 1834,
and when he died I was 19 or 20 years old. Another tradition is that he
was 14 years old when he ran away from home and joined the Army of the
Revolution. At the earliest this would place his birth at 1762, and make
him about 92 years old when he died. (I think this was the more probable
story. J.J.D.) His wife, or first, was an Adams, Elizabeth, I think, and
was connected with Governor Owsley. She was the mother of all of his
The youngest son of Archaelus Craft, William Craft, died last winter,
1898, in Letcher Co., very old. I saw him 5 or 6 years ago on the road
from his home to Whitesburg, carrying a small spinning wheel which he had
made. He was a wheel wright. Archaelous Craft had children as follows:
Ezekiel, John, James, Stephen, Archelous, William, Simon and Anncy (William
Caudell). These are all I remember. I remember only one daughter,
Malinda, never married. James, my grandfather married Druscilla Hammonds.
He lived most of his life in Letcher where my grandmother died but he died
in Wayne. Their children were: Archalaus, Joseph, my father, Mahala
married Campbell Grace who moved to Magoffin. Elizabeth married Jason L.
Webb. They had about six children.
Sarah married John Adams and they lived and died in Letcher, about 1862.
John Adams wanted some gun powder to kill a squirrel for his sick wife, and
that article being very scarce, he undertook to open a bomb that had been
dropped by Gen. Humphrey Marshall's army, in order to get the powder. It
exploded in his hands and blew him into atoms. Benjamin married Jennie
Adams. He still lives in Letcher. They have a large family. Nehemiah
married Artie Thornburg. His wife died in Letcher; he removed then to West
Va. Do not know whether he is living. He had a large family. Archelous
married Nancy Polly. They lived and died in Letcher, reared a very large
family. William married a Parky. They lived and died in Letcher, both
died last winter, reared a large family. Stephen went to Alabama and
remained 28 years, none of his people knowing where he was. He married and
raised a family of children and his wife died. After his visit home, he
returned to Alabama. This was 43 years ago. Ezekiel went west, don't know
what state, I think Missouri. Some of William's sons now live in Scott
Co., VA. My father, Joseph, married Martha Bates. They had children as
follows: I am the oldest, Sarah, Drusilla, William, Martha, Mary, Joseph,
Eliza, Nancy, Morgan, Robert, James - 12. Sarah married Smith Mullins,
they live in Pike Co; Drusilla married a Reynolds, both dead and all the
family but one son lives near Huntington, W. Va.; James died single;
William married a Sergeant, in Letcher Co., reared a family; Martha married
a Foutz, she lives in Laurel; Mary married James Mullins, lives in
Dickenson Co., Va., he is dead, she is living; Joseph lives in Louisville,
a lawyer and has one son; Eliza (Reynolds-Hensley) Clay; Nancy married
William Greer, lives in Laurel; Robert lives in Clay; Morgan married
Sallie; Pearl died in London, he was a lawyer and auditor. My mother,
Martha Bates, was the daughter of John W. Bates of Letcher Co. Her mother
was Sarah Waltrop. Welsh extraction.
John W. Bates came from Russell Co., Va. to Letcher co., Ky., about 1810.
He was sheriff of Russell Co. and by then was broken up. He had a fine
farm on Clinch River and slaves. He then emigrated to repair his fortune.
He prospered in Letcher and rose to wealth owning much land and stock. My
mother was a sister of Robert Bates of Knott Co. and Martin VanBuren Bates,
the Kentucky giant. He now lives 30 miles from Cleveland at Seville, Co.,
Ohio and is engaged in raising fine stock, horses and cattle and sheep. He
married a woman from Nova Scotia, a giantess, about his height, 6 ft., 10
in. Martin weighs 360 pounds. He has his second wife who weighted [sic]
119 lbs. when he married her. She is an Ohio woman. He went through the
war as a Rebel soldier in the cavalry. He was captured at Pikeville and
taken to camp Chase, but was soon exchanged. He is about 60 years old.
His last visit here was about 1891 or 1892. His conversion was mainly
about religion. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church.
John W. Bates had children as follows: John W.; Margaret (Payne Johnson);
Martha (Craft) my mother; Eliza (Joel Wright); Jesse married Ashbury; James
married Adams, was murdered in Letcher Co. during the war; Robert of Knott
Co.; Urick married an Adams, lived in Letcher, died in the Rebel Army at
Warm Springs on Holston; Sarah (William Mullins), lives in Clay on
Rockcastle; Henderson married a Robinson in Va., lived and died in Letcher
and left a family; Mary Jane died at 16; Martin Vanburen, he is the
youngest, he was married in London (The picture of him and his bride are
here. J.J.D.) Queen Victoria gave him a watch proportioned to his size.
It stuck. He was a fine swimmer. We were boys together. He inherited the
home farm in Letcher Co., and farmed up to the war, was a model farmer. He
began to travel immediately after the war. He is remarkably well
The Bates family were simple strong, robust people. None extra large.
Urich weighed only 140. James weighed 200 lbs. In 1855, Oct. 11, I
married Jane Caudell. She was the daughter of John A. and Rachel (Cornett)
Caudell, daughter of William Cornett of Perry Co. She is a sister of
Benjamin A. Caudell of the 10th. Ky. Rebel Mounted Infantry. My wife's
grandfather was Stephen Caudell who emigrated from N. C., I think, Ashe
Co., to Ky. I do not know when but was an early settler of Letcher Co.
The Caudells, Crafts, Adams and Holbrooks were the first settlers of
Letcher Co. The Bates came in 1810. There were other Caudells besides her
grandfather in the early settlement, vis; William, Henry, James who were
very old men when I could first remember, also Mathew Caudell.
I had five brother's-in-law in the Rebel Army, vis; Benjamin, the Col.;
Stephen; Sutter, who also fought as he had the opportunity; Samuel, 1st.
Lieutenant Colonel 10th. Army Ky., mounted infantry. I was also a Rebel
soldier in the 10th. Ky., 1st. Lieutenant Co. C; Caudell, another brother
was with the army at the beginning, engaged in the fight at Middle Creek,
Ky., did not enlist I think, he had a sore leg and returned home. We all
came out alive and are still living except Col. Ben; Jesse, if living is in
Carter Co.; William is in Rowan; and the others in Letcher. Hon. Benjamin
Caudell of Letcher Co., son of John Dickson Caudell was a member of the
legislature just after the Constitutional Convention. Hon. William Caudell
of Barboursville, son of Col. Ben was in the Ky. Senate. Col. Ben was a
very zealous Baptist preacher. D. J. Caudell of Carter is a very active
churchman. The Rowan man (is) a steady farmer. Most of the Caudells were
religious. So were many of the Crafts though, not so many of the Caudells.
My great grandfather Craft was a consistent member of the Old Regular
Baptist Church. My grandfather was not a church member, but my father was
a regular Baptist preacher. John Craft, son of my great grandfather
settled in Breathitt Co. (His descendants are there now. J.J.D.). My
brother, Morgan Craft, received letters from the Crafts of Massachusetts,
Boston, inquiring about the family. They were of the opinion that the name
is the same and family the same. This correspondence was 17 or 18 years
ago before the family left Letcher Co.

Craft Caudell Boone Adams Owsley Hammonds Grace Webb Marshall Thornburg
Polly Parky Bates Mullins Reynolds Sergeant Foutz Hensley Greer Waltrop
Johnson Wright Asbury Robinson Holbrook
England Wilkes-NC Lexington-Fayette-KY VA Letcher-KY Wayne-KY Magoffin-KY
WV AL MO Scott-VA Pike-KY Laurel-KY Dickenson-VA Louisville-Jefferson-KY
Russell-KY Knott-KY Cleveland-Seville-OH Nova_Scotia Perry-KY Ashe-NC
Carter-KY Rowan-KY Breathitt-KY MA

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