Locke Craig

47th Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1913 to 1917

Date Born: August 16, 1860

Date Died: June 9, 1924

Place Born: Bertie County, NC

Place Buried: Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, NC

Residence: Buncombe County, NC

Occupation: Lawyer

Locke Craig was born on August 16, 1860 in Bertie County, NC, the son of Andrew Murdock Craig and Clarissa (Gilliam) Craig. He attended local schools and the Horner School in Henderson, NC. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1880, and taught chemistry at the university for one year. He then studied law, passed the North Carolina bar in 1882, and established a successful legal career in Asheville, NC, serving as Buncombe County Attorney and the Asheville City Corporation Counsel.

In 1891, Locke Craig married Anna "Annie" Burgin, daughter of Joseph Benjamin Burgin and Margaret E. (Burgin) Burgin of McDowell County; they had five children, but one died as an infant.

In 1892 and 1896, Locke Craig served as a presidential elector for William Jennings Bryan which whetted his appetite for politics.

In 1899, Locke Craig was first elected as one of two men to represent Buncombe County in the NC House of Representatives of the:
- 93rd General Assembly that met in 1899
- 94th General Assembly that met in 1901

Locke Craig twice failed in attempts at higher office, losing in a bid for his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate and in his first run at the North Carolina governorship.

In the 1912 general election, Locke Craig was elected by the people as the next Governor of North Carolina. He served one term from January 15, 1913 to January 11, 1917. During his time as governor, a highway commission was formed in 1915; conservation policies were sanctioned; the state park system was improved; and fishing regulations were approved, with the State Fisheries Commission created also in 1915.

The number of miles in North Carolina increased from 5,000 in 1913 to 15,000 in 1917. The Central Highway (later known as the Old Hickory Highway) was completed across most of the state, including the section up the mountain at Old Fort built with convict labor.

Gov. Locke Craig served as President of the Appalachian Park Association and took a leading role in the development of Pisgah National Forest. In 1915, at his urging, the state purchased 600 acres at the summit of Mount Mitchell for the creation of the first state park.

In 1916, Gov. Locke Craig mobilized the National Guard for service along the U.S. border with Mexico. He worked to have Cuba withdraw its claim for payment of Reconstruction bonds.

After completing his term as governor, Locke Craig retired from public service and returned to his home on the Swannanoa River. He continued to stay active in his legal career in Asheville, NC.

Locke Craig died on June 9, 1924, and he was buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, NC.

Locke Craig (16 August 1860 -- 9 June 1924) was the Democratic governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina from 1913 to 1917.

Asheville lawyer Locke Craig was called the "Little Giant of the West." Like Stephen Douglas, the original "Little Giant," Craig was short in height but was a commanding speaker. Along with eastern North Carolina counterpart Charles B. Aycock, Craig was one the featured speakers at the rally in Laurinburg in May 1898 that launched the Democrat's campaign.

Craig spoke around the state during the 1898 campaign and was especially effective in his home, Buncombe County, which elected him to the state legislature by 700 votes. This was significant for a county that was not a Democratic stronghold and which only two years before had elected a Republican by a 600 vote majority. In the legislature, Craig worked on the constitutional amendment that would effectively disenfranchise African American voters.

Craig twice failed in attempts at higher office, unsuccessfully seeking his party's nomination for the US Senate and the North Carolina governorship. Finally, in 1912, he was nominated and elected Governor. The Craig administration oversaw advances in state-supported social services and much-needed improvements in western North Carolina. After leaving office in 1917, Craig returned to his law practice. He died in 1924.

Locke Craig, governor of North Carolina, was born in Bertie County, NC on August 16, 1860. His education was attained at the University of North Carolina, where he graduated in 1880. He went on to study law, and then established a successful legal career, serving as County Attorney and the Asheville city corporation counsel. Craig first entered politics as a member of the NC House of Representatives, a position he won election to in 1899 and 1901. He next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in the 1912 general election. During his tenure, a highway commission was formed; conservation policies were sanctioned; the state park system was improved; and fishing regulations were approved. After completing his term, Craig retired from public service. He continued to stay active in his legal career. Locke Craig passed away on June 9, 1924, and was buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, NC.

<< Last Governor - William Walton Kitchin

Next Governor - Thomas Walter Bickett >>

© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved