August 17, 1734. Presbyterian pastor John Craig arrives in America, disembarking in New Castle, Delaware. The first settled minister in western Virginia, he travels the region preaching and baptizing.
"John Craig (17 August 1709–22 April 1774), Presbyterian minister, was born in Donegore Parish, County Antrim, Ireland. His parents, who have not been identified, may have moved from Scotland to Ireland in the 1690s. Little is known of his early life other than that he did well as a student at an academy, was baptized at age fourteen or fifteen at a Presbyterian meetinghouse, and received an M.A. in 1733 from the University of Edinburgh. Craig declined the small Scottish lairdship of the octogenarian uncle for whom he was named and instead chose to immigrate to America.
Craig arrived in New Castle, Delaware, on 17 August 1734. The following month, after hearing Gilbert Tennent plead for so-called New Light, or evangelical, ministers to be admitted to the Synod of Philadelphia, Craig affiliated with the so-called Old Light conservatives who opposed the Great Awakening. While teaching school and studying for the ministry, he lived for three years with a Presbyterian clergyman in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Craig received a license to preach in August 1738 and for the next two years supplied congregations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. He was ordained on 3 September 1740 for the Triple Forks of Shenandoah congregation in the new county of Augusta.
The first settled Presbyterian minister in Virginia west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Craig registered as a dissenter in February 1741, as required by law, and for nearly a decade traveled as far south as the later site of Roanoke and west into the Allegheny Mountains to preach, baptize, and organize congregations in frontier settlements. He was for a few years the only Presbyterian minister in the area, and his record of 883 baptisms performed during the 1740s is the earliest surviving document of its kind from the region. Craig's own congregation had two churches, one at Tinkling Spring (later Fishersville) and the other at Augusta Stone (later Fort Defiance). Following clashes with some members of the Tinkling Spring church, he was formally discharged on 4 May 1764, but he remained pastor at the Augusta Stone Church and was regularly appointed to supply other congregations in the region."
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