30. May 2013 · Comments Off on CRAIG, Cornelius A. · Categories: Biographies · Tags: , ,

CORNELIUS A. CRAIG, possessing splendid powers of organization combined with marked executive force, is the efficient president of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company and one of the representative citizens of Nashville [Davidson County]. He was born in Giles county, Tennessee, June 15, 1868, and is a son of William J. and Virginia (Abernathy) Craig, both of whom were also natives of Tennessee, the former born in Maury county and the latter in Giles county. In young manhood the father removed to Giles county, where he wedded Virginia Abernathy and there engaged in farming, spending his remaining days in that section of the state. While always a stanch democrat of the Andrew Jackson school and an active supporter of the party, he was never an office seeker.

The son, Cornelius A. Craig, is a self-educated as well as self-made man. He attended the public schools of Pulaski, Tennessee, to the age of fifteen years and then started out to fight life’s battles and has come off victor in the strife. For a year he was engaged in farming after putting aside his textbooks and at the end of that time, owing to the father’s death, the family removed to Pulaski, where he secured a situation in a dry goods store, acting as clerk for a time. Later he established business on his own account as a druggist and in connection with the control of the store opened an insurance agency, thus making his initial step along the line in which he is now actively engaged. In 1897 he disposed of his interests at Pulaski and came to Nashville, where he entered the office of the state insurance commissioner and a year later he was made deputy commissioner, which position he continued to fill until December, 1901, when he resigned to accept the presidency of the National Life & Accident Insurance Company, then a small concern. In the twenty years which have elapsed since he was called to the presidency, the resources of the company have developed from an annual income of about one hundred thousand dollars and twelve or thirteen thousand dollars assets, to a corporation which now has an income of more than ten million dollars with assets of seven and a quarter million. This success is a notable proof of the business ability of him who was once a Tennessee farm boy, deprived of numerous advantages and opportunities which many youths enjoy. As chief executive of the company he has demonstrated his ability to differentiate between the essential and the non-essential in business affairs and to coordinate and organize his forces into a unified and harmonious whole, whereby splendid results are achieved.

In September, 1889, Mr. Craig was married to Miss Maggie Sinclair of Franklin, Tennessee, and to them have been born two children: Edwin W., who was educated in the Vanderbilt University and is now manager of the ordinary life department of the company; and Kathryn, who completed her education in Mrs. Finch’s school of New York city.

Mr. Craig is a member of Nashvills Lodge, Knights of Pythias, also of Corinthian Lodge, No. 414, A. F. & A. M., of Nashville; Trinity Consistory, No. 2, A. & A. S. R.; and Immanuel Rose Croix Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. In April, 1922, Mr. Craig was appointed a member of the civil service commission of Nashville, in which capacity he is now serving. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Fourth & First National Bank of Nashville, is a member of the board of directors of the Brandau, Craig, Dickerson Company, printers and engravers of Nashville, and is interested in various lines of activity which contribute to the material, intellectual and moral progress of the community. He and his family are members of the West End Methodist Episcopal church, South, in which Mr. Craig is serving on the board of stewards and as president of the Men’s Club. He is interested in all those forces which make for character upbuilding and for civic righteousness and progress and his labors in these connections have been far-reaching and beneficial. (ibid., pp. 537-8)

29. May 2013 · Comments Off on CRAIG, Edward Burr (Honorable) · Categories: Biographies · Tags: ,

HON. E. B. CRAIG. Edward Burr Craig, now vice president of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, whose home office is in Nashville, was born in Giles county, August 12, 1859, son of William Jackson and Virginia (Abernathy) Craig. The Craigs are of Scotch descent. He was educated at Webb’s school, from which he went to the Peoples National Bank, of Pulaski, of which bank he became cashier and so remained until 1893, when he was elected treasurer and insurance commissioner of Tennessee.

From his first day as state treasurer, January 12, 1893, until the close of his fourth term, January 12, 1901, Edward B. Craig served the state of Tennessee with preeminent ability. His record was one of accomplishment. He was not content to draw his salary and merely perform the routine duties of the office but he went out to better the conditions of the state and he succeeded. When he went in the office the three per cent bonds of Tennessee were quoted in the market at 98 cents on the dollar. Among his first official acts was to locate and take up and cancel one million dollars of the state’s bonds that had been reported to be floating around New York as collateral.

It was his fight for safe and sane legislation over the strenuous opposition of designing politicians that saved the credit of Tennessee. During the session of the legislature of 1895 a group of selfish politicians had a bill introduced to reduce the tax rate of the state thirty-three and one-third per cent. A reduction of taxes is always popular and had Craig had only his personal interests at heart he would have joined in this popular move, but he saw the danger to the state and fought the passage of the bill with all his might. He prepared a financial statement showing that a deficit of seven hundred thousand dollars would arise within two years if the bill became a law. His advice was not heeded and the bill was enacted. At the end of two years there was a deficit in the treasury of almost the exact amount predicted by Mr. Craig. The next legislature passed the bill favored by him and the credit of Tennessee was saved.

It was Edward B. Craig who began the fight to provide for a sinking fund to pay [p.520] off the bonded debt of the state, and to him more than to anyone else is due the credit for the passage of that act. He wrote the plank in the democratic platform of 1898 which declared for a sinking fund and it was through his influence that it was finally enacted into a law. Under this law more than five million dollars of the bonded debt was paid before maturity of the bonds.

One of the greatest measures sponsored by Mr. Craig failed of passage because of the jealousies of politicians. In the year 1899 he had made arrangements for the funding of the state debt by the issuance of serial bonds bearing three per cent interest and running forty years, with the privilege of retiring three hundred and fifty thousand dollars annually. When the legislature failed to grasp this opportunity and rejected the plan of E. B. Craig it lost two and a half million dollars for the taxpayers of Tennessee. The bonded debt was finally funded on a four and twenty-six hundredths per cent basis, and the interest paid annually is about one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars more than would have been paid under the Craig funding bill. Tennessee has had many faithful officials but for real service no one has excelled Edward B. Craig.

In 1903 he organized the Volunteer State Life Insurance Company, whose home office is in Chattanooga, and became vice president and general manager of it. In 1913 he was appointed by President Cleveland internal revenue collector for Middle Tennessee and served for eight years. He is now vice president of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, of which his brother, C. A. Craig, is president. (Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Vol. 2, John Trotwood Moore and Austin P. Foster, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1923, pp. 518-19)

29. May 2013 · Comments Off on CRAIG, William R. · Categories: Biographies · Tags: , ,

WILLIAM R. CRAIG, grain dealer, was born a few miles west of Pulaski, Tenn., November 21, 1852, son of W. J, and Virginia (Abernathy) Craig, and is of Scotch-Irish lineage. His father and mother were born in Tennessee and Virginia in 1820 and 1831, respectively. The Craig family came to Tennessee in 1815, and settled in Williamson County, and in 1840 came to Giles County, Tenn., and here the father died in 1884. William R. was the eldest of his six children. He was educated in Woodlawn Academy, and in 1870 came to Pulaski, and for three years was clerk in a grocery establishment. He then began business for himself, continuing until 1882, when he was burned out. In the fall of the same year he engaged in the grain business, and has continued the same up to the present time. He also deals in fruit, and annually ships large quantities of the same. In 1874 he and Sallie Ezell were united in marriage, and four children have blessed their union: W. Ezell, Robert P., Flournoy and Edward M. Mr. Craig is a Democrat and Mason, Knight Templar degree. They are members of the Episcopal Church, and he is one of the popular men of the county. (Goodspeed’s History of Giles County, 1886)