John Cravens, M.D., (1797-1876) was one of the most highly esteemed pioneers of Daviess County. The county’s Confederate States of America veterans’ post selected Cravens for its chapter namesake.
John Cravens, son of Dr. Joseph and Mary Cravens, was born in Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Va., Oct. 28, 1797, where he was reared and educated. At the age of 19, he began the study of medicine under his father, and began practice some six years later.
After practicing with his father two years, he moved to Hardy County, Va., now West Virginia, and began practice at Petersburg. After remaining there one year, he moved to Pendleton County and opened an office in Franklin, the county seat. He was an active practitioner in that county for 10 years.
In 1837 he moved to Missouri and settled near Miami, where he lived 18 months. During that time he gave up the practice of his profession and changed his place of residence to Daviess County. He located near Gallatin in the spring of 1839, where he pursued farming and continued practicing medicine until 1850.
In 1850, he moved to Gallatin and gave his attention exclusively to his increasing practice. In 1857, he returned to his farm, one mile northwest of Gallatin. He continued the practice of medicine until the close of the war, when owing to his advanced age and impaired hearing he gave up the practice entirely, devoting his attention to his farm.
In 1842 he was elected presiding justice of the County Court, holding the office until 1846, and subsequently was twice elected to the same office. In 1861 he was appointed brigade-surgeon in the Confederate service under Gen. William Y. Slack. He was with Gen. Slack until his death at the battle of Pea Ridge, Ark., on March 6, 1862. After that he served as surgeon in various departments until the close of the war.
Dr. Cravens was united in marriage to Miss Rhuama Chaplin of Rockingham County, Va. They became the parents of 10 children. Six of those children were Caroline, wife of John Leopard of this county; Amanda, wife of Maj. W.D. McDonald of this county; Robert O., a resident of California; William of Springfield; Jeremiah C., an attorney at Springfield; and Edgar H. of this county. Elizabeth, wife of Philip R. Wirt, died in Gallatin on March 1, 1868; Joseph C. was killed by lightning on May 28, 1848; John, a practicing physician of Gallatin, died April 23, 1876; and Oscar, died in Gallatin on Jan. 26, 1855.
Mrs. Cravens was a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South for over 60 years. Dr. Cravens was initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry in 1826, becoming a member of Rockingham Union Lodge No. 26, Harrisonburg, Va. He was one of the founders of the first masonic lodge in Gallatin, and was the first worshipful master.
Dr. and Mrs. Cravens were among the pioneers of Daviess County, and were highly esteemed by all who knew them.
— 1882 History of Daviess County book, pg. 530