Craig, Eli Taylor (1812–1867)

By: Jennifer Eckel

Type: Biography

Published: April 30, 2008

Updated: November 19, 2014

Eli Taylor Craig, farmer and Texas legislator, was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee, on December 4, 1812, son of James McCoy and Susannah (Coffey) Craig. Much of Craig's childhood was spent in Giles County. At twenty-two years old he moved to Fayette County, Tennessee, where he married Nancy Ann Collier. In October 1846 Craig left Tennessee for Harrison County, Texas, where his wife's brother, Capt. James Yancy Collier, had settled. The Craigs bought land nearby and established a farm about eleven miles south of the county seat of Marshall, Texas, where they grew cotton, grain, and fruit as well as raising livestock.

Craig was active in local politics and served for six years as a county commissioner. Although he had been a Whig for most of his life, he became a Democrat during the 1850s. Eli Craig was elected in 1857 and again in 1859 as the Democratic representative from Harrison County. During the Civil War he worked with the Central Relief Committee to supply needy families near Marshall.

Eli and Nancy Craig had five children, one of whom died in the Civil War. The family were practicing Presbyterians, and Eli Craig was a ruling elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Eli T. Craig died on September 22, 1867, at his home in Harrison County.

William DeRyee and R. E. Moore, The Texas Album of the Eighth Legislature, 1860 (Austin: Miner, Lambert, and Perry, 1860). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]).

  • Seventh Legislature (1857-1858)
  • Eighth Legislature (1859-1861)
  • House

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jennifer Eckel, “Craig, Eli Taylor,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 30, 2008
November 19, 2014