The Bold Preacher Who Fled Fast
Toliver Craig and his wife, of Orange County, Virginia, were the parents of three sons who became Baptist preachers. They had very effective ministries in the area surrounding their home. David Thomas, the Regular Baptist, and Samuel Harriss and James Read, the Separate Baptists, had introduced the gospel of the grace of God into their community. It was not long until the Craig family became flaming evangels, preaching the Word of God everywhere and anytime they had opportunity. As a result of this zeal, the sons Elijah and Lewis Craig found themselves in the county jail. Elijah was incarcerated four times, twice each in Culpeper and Orange County jails. Lewis was imprisoned only twice, once in Caroline County and once in Spotsylvania County, although he was arrested four times. These imprisonments were for preaching the gospel of the Son of God without state-church ordination or state licensure, although they were charged with being vagrants, strollers, or disturbers of the peace.
These brothers probably appeared eccentric in their day, but their younger brother, Joseph, was a very unusual man. He was a man of small stature, stooping shoulders, and hardy complexion. He was very active in business and persevered as a traveling preacher. There is a court record in Orange County Court House dated May 26, 1768, charging him and several others with absenting themselves from the parish church. This may have been due to his conversion experience prior to that date and his presence at Baptist meetings. In spite of several charges against him, to our knowledge he never saw the inside of a jail, doubtless due to the fact that he was a fast runner.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. Thompson/ Cummins pp. 215 -216