George H. Craig was born in Scotland in 1850. His family moved to Massachusetts when George was two. Fascinated by the wild West, at age fourteen George ran away from home, working as a cabin boy on a ship sailing to Galveston. By age seventeen he was workin’ on the railroad—the Houston & Texas Central. In 1873 he was working as a fireman on a train that derailed. Craig was thrown into a ditch, his right arm mangled. A local doctor had only liquor to use as anesthetic as he amputated Craig’s arm.
Craig was undaunted. His railroading days over, about 1883 he picked up a hammer with his remaining hand and built a home at 314 North Cherry Street where Radio Shack headquarters/TCC campus now stands. In this photo Craig’s first wife, Sarah, stands in the yard behind the picket fence. Craig lived in that house most of his adult life. (Craig family photo.)
Craig also picked up a badge and served twenty-seven years in the Fort Worth police department, beginning as a sanitation officer, then a chain gang guard, then a mounted police officer, bringing to justice scofflaws who had twice as many arms.
George Craig’s police commission from 1887, signed by Mayor Broiles. (Craig family photo.)
Oh, and on February 11, 1925 the old Scotsman, at age seventy-five, used his one arm to pick up his newborn son, Horace.
Craig learned to shoot—with great accuracy—with his left hand. He was said to be able to hit a quarter at seventy-five paces. (Craig family photo.)
Craig also was a deadly shot with a padlock. One time one of his chain gang prisoners, after a long day of swinging a pick on city streets, returned to the jail determined never to do such hard labor ever again. The prisoner threw a blanket over guard Craig and bolted for the stairs and freedom. Craig quickly threw off the blanket, picked up a padlock with his left hand, aimed, threw, and hit the fleeing prisoner in the back of the head, stunning him. Craig drew his pistol and recaptured the prisoner.
Clip from the 1907 Telegram details an arrest made by Craig.
Craig’s $35 ($815 today) paycheck from 1914. Check shows the 1893 city hall. (Craig family photo.)
Craig also was a volunteer fireman. This photo of former volunteer firemen is from about 1920. Craig is fifth from the right. (Craig family photo.)
The long left arm of the law died in 1939. Soon after he died, the house he had built on North Cherry Street was demolished to make way for the Ripley Arnold federal housing project. Clip is from the Dallas Morning News.
George Craig is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
George Harris Craig is buried not far from the son who was born when George was seventy-five years old. Son Horace (“Chief”) Craig died in 2006 at age eighty-one.
(Thanks to late Fort Worth police sergeant Dale Hinz for his help.)
Mike, I love the picture of you in 1969, only two years after we graduated from Poly.
And as I recall, Ken, fifty years later, you had something to do with my getting a foot in the door at the Star-Telegram.
Enjoy all your articles, but this one especially. I became friends with Horace when, after retirement from the S-T, he worked part time as a tour guide in the Stockyards Visitor Center. With his background in journalism and being a part of this historic family, Horace was the best of many good tour guides. He put his knowledge to use in his guidebook, the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District (first published in 1994 & still sold at the Visitor Center and Stockyards Museum). He asked me to read his first draft chapters when writing the book, and I continued as his editor….I should have been intimidated, attempting to edit “the Chief,” but Horace made the job a joy. So proud to know him. (His wife Laquita’s recipe for broccoli/bacon salad is a standard on my family’s Thanksgiving table each year.)
Thanks, Ann. I would meet many fine people at the S-T after hiring on in 1969 but none finer than Chief.
You done good, Mike. I think you are ready for your journeyman’s button. But Harv the spell-check guy says he lost his arm how? By the way, since I’m a city editor I have a poetic license. I’m allowed to misspell a lot of stuff. Who is the long-haired galoot in the picture with Chief Craig?
Thanks for the catch, Earl. Detailed has been changed to derailed.
Great job Mike.
Thanks, Sonny. A remarkable man.
Good post. I enjoyed it. On a side note, I really liked that photo of you and your editor. Looks like you won
an award of some sort. Do you still have the coat and tie? My money is on yes.
Thanks, Ramiro. I think that was the last time I wore a coat and tie.
Has anyone ever heard of Lynn’s? Bar on Jacksboro highway. I heard a lot about it when I was a kid. Pretty colorful past.