John Craig (1731 - 1805) was an early settler in southwest Virginia. He obtained 400 acres of the Loyal Company Grant on the headwaters of Crab Creek, a branch of the New River. He built a log house on this site circa 1754, and his settlement became known as Hans Meadow.
John and his wife, Mary Cox, continued to expand the size of their estate, and they had accumulated over two thousand acres by 1782. John Craig’s house became the main crossroads for travelers, and by 1792, more than 70,000 people used the Wilderness Trail to make their way to Kentucky.
On May 1, 1790 James Craig donated 175 acres of his property to establish a county seat, and the Christiansburg town charter was granted in 1792. We owe this pioneer and statesman gratitude for his contribution of the lands for the founding of this historic town.
James Craig was operating Hans Meadow as a tavern as early as 1788, and it continued in operation until 1845. The seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, once stayed at the tavern in 1829 when he was traveling from his Tennessee home to Washington to begin his presidency.
When James Craig died in 1834, his son John Craig, continued to operate the Hans Meadow Tavern until around 1845. He removed the original log house and replaced it with the present house in 1849.
John Craig’s daughter, Mary Taylor Craig inherited 303 acres of the Hans Meadow Estate in 1859, and she moved into the Hans Meadow house. Her uncle, artist Lewis Miller was a frequent house guest. Lewis has received fame on a national level posthumously. He was a carpenter by trade, but he spent most of his life as an artist who made many valuable sketches and watercolor paintings of people and places in America and Europe during the nineteenth century. Lewis composed over 2,000 sketches of the American rural life. His drawings have realistic accuracy with individuals that display expression, and their costumes and accessories give historic information. It is believed that Lewis Miller was living at Hans Meadow at the time of his death. Mary Taylor Craig left the Hans Meadow estate to William J. Flagg and Mary Sherwood Flagg, the children of her deceased sister, Elinor Craig Flagg.
Both Mary T. Craig and Sherwood Flagg sold off tracts from the estate until only the house and slightly more than two acres remained. Sherwood remained unmarried and continued to reside at Hans Meadow until her death in 1973. By that time, Hans Meadow had remained in the Craig family for over two centuries.
For more information see the Montgomery Museum.