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Clark Craycroft, abstract from History of Jasper County Missouri
1883 | Joplin, Missouri
"Graduating from the University of Missouri in 1871, Mr. Craycroft was desirous of getting into business or adopting a profession. He was asked to accompany a friend of his from Cooper County who had inherited a farm in Jasper County, near the present sight of Carl Junction, who was going to visit the place. Five days were spent in the trip from Cooper County, and they arrived at the farm in August. At that time Mr. Craycroft had never heard of Joplin.
"He walked along Center creek prairie where he came to the old Manlove ford and, taking off his shoes and stockings, waded across the creek and came out in the woods south of the stream, walking south half a mile or so. Reaching the prairie between Center and Turkey creeks, partly from curiosity and partly because he thought he could scare up a turkey, he crossed it and came to Turkey creek. He crossed it and then made his way up the valley, now Sunshine Hollow, and there discovered Joplin, which at that time was in the Joplin creek valley.
"He walked up through the mines and met John B. Sergeant at the old shaft where he and Mr. Moffet had first struck lead. He little dreamed that he would be the son-in-law of the mining king.
"Desirous of finding a place to get his dinner, he inquires of Mr. Sergeant who told him that Mr. "Money-maker" was building a restaurant and bakery up the hill. When he arrived at this place he found that the building had not yet been completed, or the furniture in place (two carpenters were then working on the building, one shingling the roof and the other making a table), and was informed that if he would wait awhile he could be served, as one of the tables was almost completed. When the table was finished, Mr. Craycroft drew up a chair, sat down and ate the first meal to be served in the eating-house, which for twenty years after occupied a prominent place in Joplin history.
"The mining camp made such an impression on Mr. Craycroft that, after having read law and been admitted to the bar, he returned, arriving here a second time in April, 1875.
"On his second visit Mr. Craycroft came to Joplin with $4.65 in his pockets. His library consisted of two books, and he possessed, in addition, a silk hat and a long-tailed coat. He lost the hat in Shoal creek while saving a friend from drowning."
Clark Craycroft, abstract of obituary
1928 | Joplin, Missouri
In 1868, he entered Missouri State University in Columbia. He graduated in June, 1871. In May, 1873, he was appointed clerk of the Linn County Court of Common Pleas. He served for one year and commenced the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1874, and began practicing in St. Louis.
He came to Joplin in July, 1875, at the age of 28. He married Alma Sergeant on May 1, 1882 in Joplin. On Nov. 24, 1882, Clark was commissioned captain of the Joplin Rifles, the first military company organized in Joplin under the state laws. In 1883, he was made Major of the Fifth regiment, Missouri National Guard. He was commonly known as "Major Craycroft".
He was Joplin's first fire chief, appointed in 1882, U.S. Circuit Court Judge, and secretary of the Sergeant Milling Company. He was a Master Mason and a Knight Templar. At the time of his death he had been the oldest living past master of Fellowship Lodge, No. 345, and was an honorary member of the Blue Lodge by virtue of fifty years' continuous membership. He was also the past eminent commander of Ascension commandery, No. 39.
For fifty years, Clark lived at 224 Wall Street. It was a large apartment building, which he owned. Clark's wife died in 1899. He died at 81 years of age on July 14, 1928 at St. John's Hospital and is buried in Fairview Cemetery. Clark never had children of his own, but did adopt a son, Rola Craycroft, last known to live in Kansas City, Missouri. In his will, Clark left his adopted son one dollar. Everything else was left to his sister, Nellie.