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Craven, John
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Craven, John
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 291-292


John Craven, Sr., who for many years was identified with agricultural interests in Pike county, but is now living a retired life in Griggsville, was born in Morgan county, Illinois, February 13, 1835, his parents being John and Esther (Warton) Craven. The father was born in Yorkshire, England, January 7, 1802, while the mother's birth occurred in 1812. They were married in England and the same year-1831-crossed the Atlantic in a sailing vessel, which was eight weeks in completing that voyage. They settled in the wilds of Morgan county, Illinois-for that district was then a frontier region. Their home was six miles west of Jacksonville, and there they lived in a little log cabin during the first winter after the "big snow" in Illinois, Mr. Craven first purchased eighty acres of land, and with characteristic energy began its cultivation and improvement, continuing to carryon farming in Morgan county until 1850, when he came to Pike county, settling on section 20, Griggsville township, where he followed both farming and stock-raising on a tract of land of two hundred and fourteen acres. In connection with the cultivation of the fields he raised both cattle and hogs, elevating his attention to the work of the farm until 1865, when he purchased seventy acres of land, which he then rented. He lived upon that property, however, in the enjoyment of a well earned rest up to the time of his death. He belonged to the Episcopal church and gave his political support to the whig party. As a pioneer settler, he contributed in a large measure to the welfare and upbuilding of the localities in which he lived, and his genuine worth gained for him the respect and trust of his fellowmen.

No event of special importance occurred to vary the routine of farm life for John Craven of this review during the period of his boyhood and youth. He worked in the fields and meadows through the summer months, and in the winter seasons acquired a good practical education by attending the public schools. Soon after his marriage he began farming and stock-raising on his own account, and followed that business continuously until 1899, when he bought a home in the city of Griggsville, where he has since lived retired. In all of his farm work he was practical, energetic and enterprising, and his carefully directed labors brought him the competence that now enables him to rest from further business care.

Mr. Craven was married on the 12th of May, 1864, to Miss Henrietta George, who was born October 17, 1837, in London, England, a daughter of Samuel and Mary (Granger) George. The father was born in Northamptonshire, England, in 1797, and was of Quaker parentage, while his wife was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1798. They were married in the city of London in 1825, and in 1847 came to the United States, leaving their native land on Christmas day as passengers on board a sailing vessel bound for New Orleans. Thence they proceeded up the Mississippi river to St. Louis and on to Griggsville Landing, in Pike county, being nine weeks on the way. They arrived in April and soon afterward located about a mile and a half west of Griggsville, where they lived for five years, after which they took up their abode on another farm about a mile and a half farther west, remaining there for seven years. On the expiration of that period Mr. George purchased a farm in Brown county, Illinois, upon which he carried on general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising, having a fine grade of cattle and hogs. For a long period he lived an active and enterprising life and then retired some years prior to his demise. He never cared for public office, preferring to concentrate his attention upon his business affairs. Both he and his wife were members of the Church of England; and his political allegiance was given to the republican party. In their family were three children, all born in London: John, who was born in 1826, and is now living in Griggsville; Elizabeth, who was born in 1830 and died in 1860; and Mrs. Craven.

Unto our subject and his wife have been born six children: George, who died in infancy; Mary E., born in 1866; Annie, in 1869; Maud and Virginia, twins, in 1873; and John, in October, 1876. This name has been handed down to the eighth generation in direct line. Mr. and Mrs. Craven hold membership in the Episcopal church; and in politics he is independent, voting for the candidate whom he thinks best qualified for office without regard to party affiliation. For more than a half century Mr. Craven has lived in this county and throughout the period of his entire life covering three score years and ten, has been a resident of Illinois. While living the quiet life of the farmer, he has always kept in touch with the progress of events marking the history of his community and his country, and in local affairs has given his support to measures for the general good. His mind bears the impress of the early historic annals of the county, and he is familiar with the many changes that have brought about the present condition of advanced progress and prosperity in connection with the business life of Pike county.

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