City Directories and History: 1908 – B. N. Craig, 1917 – L. S. Reid, 1933 – Frank J. (P.) Gaston, 1946 – Paul E. Baldwin, 1963 – C. Clyde Carter
“Among the young boys of the village who saw the brilliant torchlight parade was nine-year-old John Walker O’Neal, who rode on the band wagon and whose home stood at the end ( corner of Marion and Hampton) of the dirt road which later became Hampton Street. Hampton’s visit was also a great event in the life of a young man who arrived in Rock Hill just in time to march in the Red Shirt procession and stayed to become one of the cities best merchants and citizens Barber Nathaniel Craig.” (Information from: The City Without Cobwebs – Douglas S. Brown, 1953)
B.N. Craig moved this home which once sat on the corner of Green and Johnston Streets to its current location so that he could build a new two story dwelling on the original lot. Mr. Craig was the owner and operator of Craig’s Wholesale Food Company on North Trade Street. They lived both across the street at #233, later at #234 and even later on the corner.
“Papa Craig and his wife , Caroline Frances ONeal, built their large family home in 1903 down on the Saluda Street end of the two block residential blocks. He wanted to be near First Presbyterian Church where he was married, and, where the O’Neals were already members because he was very devoted to his church, and, this location was only a block away. He had come from Lancaster, where his family had given land for the establishment of the Shiloh ARP Church back in 1821, and his Scots Craig ancestors came to Lancaster County in 1772 on the ship Lord Dunluce lead by the Reverend William Martin. Reverend Martin was part of the new Protestant movement, ordained in Glasgow, and who brought his entire Covenanters Congregation to The Waxhaws to find religious freedom, which they did. Their Johnston Street home was a plain and simple Queen Anne clapboard painted white with a large porch facing Johnston.
Barber Nathaniel Craig along with his brother-in-law, J.W. O’Neal, whose family home was on Hampton St., would start small mercantile businesses along Trade and Main, then sell one and start another. Barber came from a large family farm in Lancaster County, and, went to work for a mercantile store in Lancaster shortly after the War, and after the age of twelve when he was just old enough to “pull the Bell Cord over the mule.” He came to Rock Hill on “October 13, 1876…with Hamptons Red Shirt procession who was a candidate for Governor and was elected….” His Johnston Street land was adjacent to the O’Neal property, plus he bought land across the street on Johnston where he built several smaller houses, one for his youngest child, Bernard, who had just married and joined him in the wholesale grocery business on the corner of Trade and Main. This would be about 1915. He would go to Philadelphia and New York to purchase items for one of their “fancy” goods stores. Barber Craig also was a wholesale grain broker…wheat, oats, barley and corn, as these were the crops grown on the farm in Lancaster County. He, his son, and his O’Neal in-laws were an integral part of Rock Hills growth after the War and during the cotton mill boom, and his businesses supplied the growing populations with farm and home necessities. Their wholesale grocery businesses would continue on the corner of Trade and Main until 1965, when Bernard Craig retired, and, the warehouse closed. It was later destroyed when the federal Model Cities program gave funds to small towns to revitalize their downtown areas, as were many other historic buildings, including the unique two story railroad station up Trade Street.”
Submitted by Nancy B. Thomas, 2017.
The Herald reported, Jan. 9, 1925 – “That Mr. and Mrs. Louise S. Reid removed from Johnston Street to their recently purchased home on Marion Street. The residence is the former O.K. Williams house.”
Also see the More Information link found under the pictures column for additional details on Rock Hillians of interest.
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