William Craig donation land claim records, 1899-1919

Overview of the Collection

Craig, William
William Craig donation land claim records
1899-1919 (inclusive)
0.5 cubic feet
Collection Number
MG 416
Photocopies of reports, surveys, correspondence, probate records, and color copy transparencies of the donation claim.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
Telephone: 2088850845
Access Restrictions

The manuscript group is open to the public. Researchers must use the collection in accordance with the policies of the University of Idaho Special Collections and Archives.

This collection is in English.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William Craig was born in Virginia in 1807 and died at his farm in Lapwai in 1869. Craig was the first Caucasian, non-missionary settler in what later became the state of Idaho. He was a trapper and explorer in the West as early as 1829, arriving in Lapwai by 1840. He filed a land claim under the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, gaining ownership of 650 acres within the Nez Perce reservation. His relationship with the Nez Perce was one of mutual respect and high regard. Craig acted as in interpreter for the Nez Perce during the Walla Walla and Blackfoot Councils. He was married to Pah-Tis-Sah, daughter of Lapwai Valley chief, Big Thunder. The life and era of William Craig are recounted in many historical sources. (A photocopy of a recollection by Thomas Beall printed in the Lewiston Morning Tribune in 1918 is included with the collection as well as other information.) The manuscript collection contains records directly related to the land acquired by Craig and the subsequent surveys and litigation that occurred after his death. The land claimed by Craig was never officially surveyed and marked. The collection follows a paper trail of survey work, litigation and correspondence concerning the boundaries of the original claim and interviews with area residents who had knowledge of the Craig Donation Claim.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The records of William Craig span the years 1855 to 1919, with the bulk of the material covering the years 1907 to 1919.Included in the records are photocopies of reports, surveys, correspondence, probate records, and color copy transparencies of the donation claim.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Consult Head of Special Collections and Archives on permission for use.

Preferred Citation

William Craig donation land claim records, MG 416. Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The materials were originally in two folders according to file numbers at the National Archives. They have been arranged in chronological order.

Location of Originals

The records are photocopies of those held at the National Archives in Washington D.C.

Acquisition Information

Donna Hanson and Dennis Baird donated the records of the William Craig donation land claim to the University of Idaho Library in May 2004.

Processing Note

Marilyn Sandmeyer processed the collection in September 2006.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1 Probate records, Department of the Interior, 1899-1908
1 2 Field notes, surveys, correspondence Department of the Interior, 1906-1908
1 3 Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, survey work, 1909-1911
1 4 Surveys, correspondence, Department of the Interior, settlements, 1905-1919

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Nez Perce Indians--West (U.S.)--History--19th century.

Geographical Names

  • Idaho--History--19th century.