Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wallaces and Craigs of Castlecat, County Antrim

Wallace Craig's Wallaces and Craigs were near neighbours in Castlecat, Co Antrim, about two miles south of Bushmills.

Northern Ireland's first Prime Minister was Sir James Craig but Castlecat produced its own Sir James Craig in the same era. He was a doctor in Dublin who also represented Trinity College in the early Daíls.

Dr James L Nevin (writing in 1902):

"On the other hand there were Fergusons, Wallaces, and with whom there was little amiss. A second cousin of mine, Mrs Craig, (formerly Wallace and whose mother was Laughlin a sister of my grandfather) has a son James Craig MD who has attained an eminence in the medical profession in Dublin. My grandfather, John Laughlin, having only one brother as already stated, and having no son who came to maturity, one can easily understand how the Cluntice Laughlins died out, and the Cosey branch for the same reason."

This Sir James died in 1933

"The President*: Members of the Dáil will have learned with deep regret of the death of Deputy Sir James Craig, who represented the constituency of Dublin University. Until his health began to fail, Deputy Sir James Craig was constant in his attendance and assiduous in his attention to the work of the House. His keen interest in matters of public health and his work for the improvement of our hospital system demanded the respect of all his colleagues, while his relations with his fellow-Whips and his contribution to our debates were marked by unfailing courtesy. I ask you, a Chinn Comhairle, to convey to Lady Craig and her family an expression of the sympathy of the Dáil with them in their bereavement.

Deputies rose in their places."

* Éamon de Valera was President of the Executive Council of the then Irish Free State in 1933.

Sir James was the son of Johnston Craig and Ellen Wallace and they were married in Bushmills Presbyterian Church on 18 August 1859.

From PRONI records:

"23 December 1868

Description : Lease for 20 years, and ?counterpart, William Trail of Ballylough, esq., to Johnston Craig of Castlecatt, farmer, property inCastlecatt in trust for Sarah Reynolds, wife of John Reynolds of Billy or Curramoney, rent to be reduced by half provided no ardent spirits are sold on the premises. (One of two documents)."

Johnston Craig died on 24 December 1893 and a copy of his will can be viewed in PRONI Will Calendars. His widow and Sir James were the two executors. Wallace Craig's grandfather Robert Howard Craig (born 24 May 1870) - who emigrated to St Louis, Missouri, where he sold Irish lace - was Sir James' brother.