A Pioneer Preacher Who Preached to Himself

John Craig (1709-1774) was the first Presbyterian minister settled in Virginia west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He was born in County Antrim, Ireland, but chose to immigrate to America by way of Delaware in 1734. He studied for the ministry in Pennsylvania, and affiliated with Old School Presbyterianism. He was ordained to the ministry at the Triple Forks of the Shenandoah in Augusta Country, Virginia, in 1740, taking on a dual pastorate at Augusta Stone Presbyterian Church in Fort Defiance, Virginia, and at Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church in Fishersville, Virginia (this writer visited both sites recently). Augusta Stone is Virginia's oldest Presbyterian church, and is where John Craig was buried. His autobiography, titled A Preacher Preaching to Himself From a Long Text of No Less Than Sixty Years: On Review of Past Life (1769), is not easy to locate, but an extract can be read within William Henry Foote, Sketches of Virginia, Historical and Biographical (Second Series), pp. 28–33. It is worth a read to get a glimpse of the experimental piety of a pioneer Presbyterian minister of the 18th century.