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      The earliest Craighead that we know of in our line was Robert Craighead, known as Private Robert Craighead to distinguish him from several other Robert Craigheads. He was born around 1743, some sources say near Carlisle, PA. and others that he was a native of Ireland. Perhaps they meant that he was of Irish extraction.

      According to DAR records Robert Craighead enlisted in 1776, as a private in Capt. Abraham Smith's company, 7th Pennsylvania regiment under Col. William Irvine. After the war, in 1783, he obtained one of the original land warrants in Forward Township, Allegheny County, near Elizabeth. see map

      He married Mary Davidson, the daughter of John Davidson (b.about 1705) and Margaret Henry (b.about 1710). They had three sons, John, Andrew, and James?, and a daughter Diana, who married Major John Walker. Mary died in 1825. See her will.


      Robert Craighead's son John was a Justice of the Peace in Elizabeth, PA. He was referred to as Squire Craighead or Esquire. Warner's "History of Allegheny County" states that John was born in Carlisle, PA. In partnership with his brother-in-law Major John Walker he owned a sawmill on the Monongahela River. This enterprise was instrumental in the early boatbuilding in the area. Walker built some of the earliest sailing vessels to sail on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, including the Monongahela Farmer and the Jane Ann. He also built the keel boat used by the Lewis and Clark expedition. See another replica John Craighead and his brothers Andrew and Robert were some of the earliest entrepreneurs in Elizabeth. Andrew owned the only store, a tavern and hotel.

      John Craighead married Abigail Stewart, and they had 11 children. His 1838 will lists 6 daughters and 4 sons living at that time and gives many details about his property and wishes for his children.


      James Craighead was the oldest son of Squire John Craighead. He was a skiff builder, probably in his father's business. He married Margaret Lytle (1814-1903), the daughter of Isaac Lytle (1783-1854)and Martha Penney (1787-1854). They had four sons, Robert A., Garrett McCann, John Florence, and Judson, and a daughter Mary. The 1860 census has James and the 3 older sons all working as stewards or "shiff" builders in Elizabeth. By 1870 James and Margaret had moved to Beaver County, PA, and were living with their son Garrett on a farm in Chippewa Township. Their son Judson was also a farmer there in 1870. Son Robert was a dry goods merchant in Beaver Falls, while son John Florence remained in Elizabeth.

      Three of their sons served in the Civil War: Garrett McCann, John Florence, and Judson.

      James and Margaret Craighead are buried in Grandview Cemetery in Beaver Falls along with their son Robert A.
      front of grave marker
      back side of grave marker  
      Margaret Lytle Craighead's obituary


  • JOHN FLORENCE CRAIGHEAD (August 14,1840-June 26,1926
      John Florence Craighead, the third son of James Craighead, was born in 1840 in Allegheny County. In 1860 he was a shiff builder. He enlisted in the Union army on 9/5/1861 as a Private, mustered into Co. "M", 100th PA Infantry. He was listed wounded Aug 29, 1862 at Bull Run, VA. and discharged for wounds on Jan.17, 1863. He married Florilla, last name unknown, by whom he had two children: Harry O., born around 1864, and Julia, born around 1867. By 1880 he was living in Beaver Falls with his second wife Jennie, 13 year old daughter Julia, and new baby Nettie. He was a grocer there, living next door to his father James, who was also a grocer. In 1900 he was still there, with Jennie and daughter Anette (Nettie). He was listed as a carpenter. Later he lived in the National Veterans' Home in Dayton, Ohio, where he died and was buried in 1926. Jennie died March 22, 1922 at the old People's Home in Zelienople, PA.


        U.S. Census 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900
        Marriage license, Harry O. Craighead and Rebecca McDonald, June 6, 1898
        Obituary, Jennie Craighead, Beaver Falls Review 1922
        Dayton National Cemetery, Cemetery Records Online
        History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865)


  • HARRY O.CRAIGHEAD (abt 1864-September 11, 1911)
      In the summer of 1880, 16 year old Harry Craighead was a farm hand in Forward Township, living with his father's uncle, Perry Lytle. He married Margaret Robinson (born abt 1869-1892), daughter of James and Sarah Robinson of Big Beaver township in Beaver Co., PA. They had three children: Edna Ovila, Sarah A., and Newton. Margaret died in November 1892, when Newton was born. The three children were raised by their Robinson grandparents. In 1898 Harry married Rebecca McDonald. City Directories list them as grocers. In 1903 Harry was the superintendant of the Sunday School at the Baptist Church in Beaver Falls. He died in 1911 and was buried at Beaver Cemetery. read his obituary.


        U.S. Census 1870, 1880, 1910
        Marriage license, Harry O. Craighead and Rebecca McDonald, June 6, 1898
        Bausman's History of Beaver County


  • EDNA OVILA CRAIGHEAD (1886-1968)





Descendants of Robert Craighead and Mary Davidson

Mary Craighead's Will, 1819

Transcription of 1838 Will of John Craighead, son of Robert





  • History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Imprint: Chicago: A. Warner & Co. 1889
  • Elizabeth and Her Neighbors by Richard Wiley