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James Craig

Question: What was James Craig’s responsibility in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company to Utah in the summer of 1847?

Answer: James Craig was born on June 1, 1821, to David and Elizabeth MacNamara Craig, in Ennistimon, Clare, Ireland. A family tradition has that his parents were planning to immigrate

to America and got as far as England and died in a cholera epidemic. James made it to Canada where he first encountered some Mormon missionaries and believed in their teachings.

James was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 8, 1844 in Nauvoo. The Prophet Joseph was martyred on June 27, 1844. James helped complete the Nauvoo Temple and moved with the Saints out of Nauvoo in 1846 to Winter Quarters, Nebraska.

In April 1847, when Brigham Young was looking for young men to go with him in search of a place for the Saints to settle in the Utah Territory, he asked twenty-four-year-old James Craig to go with them. James served as bugler on this journey. He was known as the “Bugler of the Pioneers.” He had the responsibility to awaken the camp each morning at 5 a.m., to attend to prayers and morning chores, being ready to pull out by 7 a.m. He then sounded the bugle again at 8:30 p.m. for prayers and time to retire to rest by 9 p.m. His bugle is in the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. He was a member of the sixth ten of which Charles Shumway was captain. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.

One month later he was on the road again with Brigham Young, going back to Winter Quarters. He married Margaret Ann McMulkins in 1848. Their son, Daniel, was born in December 1848 in Nebraska. The family was in the Salt Lake Valley by 1850. After their arrival in the Valley, James located for a time in Mill Creek where he was appointed a member of a committee called for the purpose of assisting the settlers in the exterminations of predatory animals and poisonous reptiles. James and Margaret had two more sons and two daughters born to them. James was ordained a Seventy on February 8, 1851.

In 1854 James was called on a mission to Great Britain and served for a time as president of the Preston conference; later he labored in Ireland, his native land. He returned from this extended mission in 1858 in the John W. Berry Company. James and Margaret had two more sons born to them in 1859 and 1861, making a total of seven children for them.

In the spring of 1861, James was called to assist in establishing settlements in southern Utah. He located at Santa Clara, Utah, where he raised cotton with considerable success. His wife, Margaret, died on January 1, 1863 in Santa Clara. James married Caroline Ann Bailey in November 1863. The children were still quite young, but didn’t seem to get a long with their step mother at the time. The oldest daughter, Margaret, married in 1867 at the age of seventeen.

James died on March 2, 1868, at the age of forty-six, of typhoid fever, leaving a young family. It is recorded that James and Margaret were buried in the pioneer section of the Santa Clara Cemetery, but there is no marker for them.

Note: James and Margaret’s son, Joseph Hyrum, recorded that their step-mother was mean to them so he and James Mormon left home after their father died. As soon as they could, he and James went back for the rest of the kids. They were found together in the 1870 census with James Mormon (age 19) as head of house. Later they took them with them to Panguitch. Their younger brother Mannasa died in 1877 in Escalante at age 16. Ephraim never married and died in 1929 at age 70. Daniel was 12 in the 1860 census and was never found in the records after that. Apparently he died in Santa Clare but no record was found. Eliza Jane, James Mormon, and Joseph Hyrum all became early settlers of Arizona with their spouses.

Source: “The First Company to Enter Salt Lake Valley,’ Our Pioneer Heritage, p. 64 & 71, published by Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1993, Utah Printing Company, SLC, Utah; “James Craig,’ (Edited by Marie M. Turley Dugger, December 2004);

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