James Craig (1855-1931)
081011 craig fam photo

James Craig (1855-1931) and Mary Jane Ward (1861-1930) with their children Evelyn May Craig (1890-1959) and James Henry Craig (1888-1954); photograph from 1891-1892.

081012 HOLMES~1

Reverse side of above photo.

Sex: Male
Birth: 1859 (fide Bruce Craig 1992)
Death: March, 1931
Father: James Craig (1813-1896)
Mother: Jane Scott (1821-1898)
Spouse/Partner: Mary Jane Ward (1861-1930)
Marriage: March 10, 1886


Name Birth Death

Mary Jane Craig (1887-1889) Jan. 29, 1887
Owen Sound, Grey County, Ontario
July 2, 1889
Owen Sound, Grey County, Ontario

James Henry Craig (1888-1954) Oct. 24, 1888
Owen Sound, Grey County, Ontario
June 4, 1954
Toronto, Ontario

Evelyn May Craig (1890-1959) Sept. 2, 1890
Owen Sound, Grey County, Ontario
Feb. 15, 1959
Toronto, Ontario

James Henry Craig (1888-1954), son of James Craig and Jenny Ward was an architect. The Foster Memorial [1]in Uxbridge, Ontario, is one of his better-known works.


by Robert J. Cringan (1922-2000)

I remember them so vividly and fondly for the few years I had to know them - 1922 to 1930. They were smiling people who were always glad to have us with them, just as we loved to have them with us. Grandpa Craig was tall and thin. He wore oval glasses. His hair was neat but sparse. He wore wide starched collars, and he carried a watch with a chain and fob. Grandma was quite tall, very gentle and always smiling, but we knew she was not well. She was 'having trouble with her liver' they said. I assumed that a liver was a terrible thing to hurt such a nice lady, so I resolved never to eat liver, and I never have.

They seemed to change homes a lot. When Jim was at the University of Toronto, and mother at the Conservatory, they lived for a while on Delaware. I remember crawling behind a chesterfield and sticking my finger in a little hole and getting a sudden shock. I'm not sure whether I tried it again or told Craig he should try it.

For a while they lived in a duplex at the corner of Cuthbert Crescent and Carey Road, and then on Broadway in an English-looking apartment very close to Yonge. (It could have been #10.)

Their apartments were always very neat. I remember a big glass case with a coral that Grandpa got from some sailor. There were pieces of Masonic regalia and there were Chinese treasures. I vaguely remember a canary and a bowl of goldfish. What we liked best was his set of books with drawings of natives with spears, sailing ships, plans for building pigeon houses, and all sorts of wondrous things. These books were Jim's "Boys Own Annuals" [2].

Grandpa Craig longed for far-away exotic places, and he loved to tell us all about them. The story behind the willow pattern was a favourite. Somehow they got a majong game and went to a Chinese friend to learn how to play. They found that this was a game for gambling - and that was the end of that.

While Grandpa seemed to move around a lot, he did own some good property. One was 513 Huron and another was a pair of stores on Yonge St. just south of the Capitol Theatre. One was rented to a Chinese family. One Christmas Eve they arrived at Grandpa's with a whole bundle of presents. Stunned by his generosity, Grandpa asked "Why?" and was told "Because you a very good man Mr. Craig."

Grandpa was a joker, and he always had a few little tricks for us. One was a string trick where he would cut a string and then re-join it. Also, he could say the alphabet backwards.This he taught us and we in turn taught to our children and grandchildren. He was a gum chewer and spearmint was his favourite. He always had some in his pocket!

Grandpa Craig was raised on a farm near Oxenden on the south shore ofColpoy's Bay, just east of Wiarton [3]. He hated the farm with its rock-laden earth, but he was capable of picking those rocks, extracting stumps, cutting wood and working oxen. He loved school, cherishing every minute he could spend with his books. He would get up early on winter mornings and walk the mile or so to school where he would tend the fire and get the place warm for his classmates. Those early walks were not without dangers for he told us about the wolves, bears, wildcats, and in the summer, rattlesnakes. He worked hard at school and as soon as he could, went to Owen Sound [4].


The Craig Homestead, Oxenden, Bruce County, Ontario; photo by Bob Cringan, about 1990.

Grandpa entered the insurance business, did very well and became a District Manager. When serving in this capacity in Toronto he noticed that one of his young clients seemed to be dropping over very frequently to discuss insurance, but it was soon apparent that John was more interested in talking to Evelyn and playing duets for violin and piano.

Evelyn (Mother) had been associated with the Cringans prior to this time since she had been A. T.'s accompanist when he was teaching privately at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. Her fee was .50 per hour and when she left this job she was replaced by the great Mona Bates.

(There was an earlier connection between the Craigs and the Cringans. In the summer of 1919 or '20 Jim tented with some friends near Windermere. The object of his interest was Aunt Janet! (So Aunt Marie said!)

Use MOM&PR~1

Evelyn May Craig Cringan with her parents, Jenny (Mary Jane) and James Craig, about 1920

When the Craigs lived on Broadway one of the last horse-drawn fire reels in Toronto worked from a fire hall on Yonge St. near Montgomery Ave. Craig, Alex and I were taken to see the fireman's pole and the great horses in their box stalls. The stall doors were closed. Harnesses were suspended just outside the stall doors. As soon as the fire bell sounded, the stall doors flew open and the horses rushed to position where the harnesses dropped on them. In seconds they were off! I never saw it happen, but I know Craig did, and I believe, Alex.

The Craigs loved music. Mother was a very good pianist and played until the day of her accident. Her brother Jim was a good singer who would burst into song whenever he could get Mother to play for him. Grandpa Craig sang the popular songs of the day, especially the religious ones. Mother once told me he did not like "In the Garden". He thought it presumptuous of person to assume "He walked with me and He talked with me". This song was not in his repertoire.

It has been interesting to think back to these almost-forgotten days. So often it has been assumed we got our musical interest from the Cringan side, but it wasn't exactly so. From the Cringan side came musical drive from examples inspired by great soloists, huge festivals, brilliant associations, fame as a composer and researcher, master teacher and visionary. People don't realize Grandma and Grandpa Craig were there too - and they gave us so much that warm love and gentle encouragement. It meant so much to know that they really liked us. They gave Mother her music and she had it for us whenever we would listen.


  • Speers, Austin Laverne. 1953. Speers Genealogy. Typescript, Ancaster, Ontario,Canada.