(James) A.B. Craig may be the Etched In Stone soldier with the least known information. He is in the listing of the American Legion soldiers’ graves to decorate under James Craig and is A.B. Craig in the Masonic (Oak Hill Grant Avenue) cemetery records. It simply said A.B. Craig interred May 21, 1900 and an S beside it which always indicates a soldier. No dates, no one to contact not even anything to do with payment or the kind of burial vault. Nothing, just the initials, last name and date he was buried (which is two days off by the way).
The search had a twist of turn when researcher Kim Hancock found a death certificate for a James Craig who died May 18th, 1900 and was buried in Masonic Cemetery on May 19, 1900. This went along with his two-line obituary that said he died on the 18th and was buried the next day. This is not of course the first time and probably won’t be the last that the cemetery records were off a day/two.
James Craig’s death record stated that he was sick a year and died from tuberculosis, EW Keegan, his doctor. He passed away at his residence, 508 Franklin Street and was a laborer. No birth date was given but he was born in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Father: Thomas Craig. Mother: Unknown, but she too was born in Nicholasville. His tiny obituary stated that he passed away at 1:03 in the morning at his home 508 East Franklin. Bingo! We knew that the short listing of A.B. Craig in the cemetery records was the same man as the James Craig on the soldiers’ listing. Oh and the death record noted 1 in the morning – close enough. Definitely the same man.
About the only other new item in the little notification (Crawfordsville Daily Journal May 18, 1900) was that his funeral was conducted in the AME Church on the 19th, plus it begins James A.B. Craig, finally tying what we suspicioned as the truth.
Kim did find out that he was a corporal in Co G the 5th US Colored Company. She listed his birthdate 1843 and of course death as May 18, 1900. He would likely have been 57 soon although listed as 56 in his obituary. His unit was organized in Camp Delaware, Ohio as the 127th Ohio Volunteer but the 5th was in existence from August 1863 to September 1865, losing 249 total men, 77 Killed in Action or died from wounds thereafter and 166 to disease. They were in several small battles and a couple of big ones, Ft. Fisher and Richmond, Virginia.
He was buried in Lot 379 Space 8 in obviously an unmarked grave before Kim Hancock and Suzi Petrey got him Etched In Stone. Rest in Peace our soldier of the day!


Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.