Who were the Craguns?
The Craguns have a long history in Boone County.
Elisha Cragun (1786 - 1847) was born on February 22nd in Tennessee. He was the second child of Patrick and
Rose Alley Cragun. In 1881 at the age of 25, he married Mary (Polly) Osborn (1790 - 1844), age 21,
daughter of James and Mary Osborn from the state of Virginia.
The Osborn's are recorded as being wealthy slave and land owners. The Craguns have a long history in Boone County.
Elisha was the first of his family to settle in Boone County around 1835. He was a veteran of the War of 1812. For his service in the military, he had a claim on government land. He brought his wife, Mary (Polly), and nine of their 10 children to the community of Pleasant View in Eagle Township, between Zionsville and Whitestown. Here they began the work of carving out a farm in the then tree covered Indiana landscape. Black walnut trees in particular were abundant.
Not much is known about the family during this period. "Early Life and Times in Boone County, Indiana" written by Samuel Hardin tells about the unbroken wilderness and swamps that covered the County landscape. The Craguns are listed among the hardy pioneers that settled in the area. Many of the Craguns, including Elisha; however, migrated west.
Elisha's third child, Hiram (1816 - 1894) stayed in Boone County and continued to farm.
In 1842 he married Reiter Dooley (1826 - 1914), a native of Shelby County, Kentucky.
Hiram continued to farm his land until in 1851 when "The Big Four Railroad" was built through it.
The home later became known as St. Clair stop. The farm grew to 245 acres
and was considered one of the finest in that locality.
Hiram and Reiter had nine children with most of them choosing to farm.
Strange Nathaniel Cragun
One son, Strange Nathaniel Cragun (1857 - 1926) became prominent in Boone County through his service in education and publishing. Strange attended the Zionsville Academy for three years followed by a term at Purdue University. After his schooling he became a teacher at the age of seventeen. In 1879, following his teaching career at various schools throughout the county, he was admitted into the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. He was later forced to resign after only two years of study due to health reasons. Strange returned to Boone County and his teaching in 1881. Over the next ten years he served as principal of Whitestown, Zionsville and Lebanon Schools. On May 2, 1891, he purchased the then Republican slated "Lebanon Patriot", the oldest newspaper in the County and forerunner of the Lebanon Reporter, thus beginning a career in newspapers.
He also became principal of Lebanon High School on 6-17-1893. He married Adelaide M. Booher
(1857 - 1932), a worth township resident. Addie was the daughter of Benjamin and Margaret Beeler Booher. Addie was the "daughter of a prominent and wealthy citizen of Lebanon" according to Strange's obituary. "The family was highly respected and moved in the best social circles of the County". Strange and Addie began married life in a house at 404 West Main Street to the rear of the present lot until construction began on the current Cragun House. Strange served on the Lebanon School Board, organized the Citizens Loan and Trust Company and served as director of the First National Bank for more than twenty-five years. He was also involved with community and civic clubs. In 1916 he was commissioned as a member of the State Tax Board by then Governor Samuel Ralston of Lebanon, now living in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Strange Nathaniel Cragun's Children
Strange and Adelaide had three children. Twin daughters Opal and Ethel, born in 1885 tragically passed when six and eleven years old, both of the effects of scarlet fever. A son, Dwight Booher Cragun born in 1891 and married to Mabel Martin in 1928, passed in 1971. They spent their entire married lives in the current Cragun House. Following Mabel's passing in 1987,
in 1988 the children, Ben, Dwight Lloyd, Colleen and Claudette gifted the home, property, all contents,
along with a monetary contribution to the Boone County Historical Society.
Three generations of Craguns lived in this home from 1893 to 1987.