Manuscript Group 416

William Craig Donation Land Claim Records

Records, 1899-1919
.5 cubic feet

Donna Hanson and Dennis Baird donated the records of the William Craig donation land claim to the University of Idaho Library in May 2004. The records are photocopies of those held at the National Archives in Washington D.C. Marilyn Sandmeyer processed the collection in September 2006.


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.

Scope And Content

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.

Arrangement and Description

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

Series List

I. William Craig Donation Claim Box 1


I. William Craig Donation Claim
Box Folder
1 1 Probate records, Department of the Interior 1899-1908  
  2 Field notes, surveys, correspondence Department of the Interior 1906-1908  
  3 Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, survey work 1909-1911  
  4 Surveys, correspondence, Department of the Interior, settlements 1905-1919  


mg416.htm / December 2006