Joe Nelson Craddock

GILMER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
vfcrook@trellis.net
March 19, 2000
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The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 359-360

JOE NELSON CRADDOCK. On his record as mayor of
Greater Clarksburg and the growing appreciation of his
abilities that has been manifested for a number of years,
his friends and admirers look upon Joe Nelson Craddock
– “Uncle Joe,” they call him – as one of the real men of
power and action in the public affairs of his district. The
following given him is by no means strictly partisan. His
courage, independence, faculty for getting things done to
the benefit of the public, have gained him friendship from
all classes and all parties.

By profession Mr. Craddock is a newspaper man. He
was born at Glenville, Gilmer County. February 22, 1864,
son of Hugh Nelson and Sarah P. (Brannon) Craddock.
His father was born at Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1826,
and died at Glenville in 1904. As a West Virginian he
was a Union soldier in the Civil war. While the war was
still in progress he married, in 1862, and after his army
career he lived at Glenville, devoting his time to farming
and also to steamboating on the Ohio River. He was a
republican, but never sought any political honors. His
widow is still living at Glenville, where she was born in
1846. They reared the following children: Joe N.; Clara
B.; Herbert; Harvey L. (deceased); and Frankie.

Joe Nelson Craddock had his early friends and other
associations in the Town of Glenville, where he supple-
mented his common school education by a course in the
State Normal School. He was only ten years old when
he was given his first lesson in the printer’s trade. He
served an apprenticeship lasting several years. At the age
of sixteen he left home and took up the battle of life
for himself. His first independent venture in journalism
came at the age of eighteen, in the spring of 1882, when he
established the Mountain Echo at Webster Springs. He
was an editor and publisher for five years. With his brother
Herbert he started the publication of the Grantsville News.
At Glenville he founded and conducted two papers, the
Stranger and the Imprint, and for two years he managed
the paper at Sutton.

Mr. Craddock came to Clarksburg in the fall of 1914 to
accept the post of city editor of the Clarksburg Exponent.
He remained with that paper one year. His home in the
meantime he had established at Broad Oaks, then a sub-
urban incorporated town. In April, 1915, he was ap-
pointed mayor of Broad Oaks, and in the spring of 1916
was elected for a year to the same office. In the mean-
time he conducted a job printing business.

In April, 1917, Mr. Craddock was elected mayor of
Greater Clarksburg for a term of three years. The opin-
ion of the best citizens as well as his friends is that his
administration was efficient, progressive and businesslike,
that he always stood for those measures which mean the
most good for the greatest number, and his record whether
as mayor or in all the other relations of a busy life has
been honest and straightforward. As mayor he could not
be controlled by any clique or interest to the injury of
another, and he treated rich and poor alike. One of the
stories in local politics is that certain selfish interests of
Clarksburg realizing their inability to defeat him for re-
election as mayor, schemed to bring about legislation
changing the form of city charter, so as to “legislate him
out” of office. Mr. Craddock is a democrat in national
politics, and has been prominently mentioned as demo-
cratic candidate for Congress.

He and his wife are active members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South. He is affiliated with the Knights
of Pythias. In 1884 he married Virgie B. Wooddell, of
Green Bank, Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Mr. and
Mrs. Craddock are proud of their six children, all mar-
ried, and are doubly proud of their twelve grandchildren.
Their only son, B. W. Craddock, is prosecuting attorney
of Gilmer County.