G. PORTER CRADDOCK. Beginning his serious career in life in Morton County, G. Porter Craddock has been one of the hewers of wood and drawers of water in this region during the thirty years that he has lived here. His advent in the country dates from May 21, 1888, at which time, as a young lawyer, he came here with a library consisting of the thirty-one volumes of Kansas reports, his capital being represented by his ability to do things. He had $40 in cash and $200 in debts behind him, and with the intention of "threatening to practice law" located at Richfield, a town of 1,000 population, which included, in addition to three other attorneys, two banks, two large hotels, several restaurants, three livery barns and two blacksmith shops. Among the people here who subsequently became noted characters were Jesse G. Northcut, later of Eastern Colorado, a prominent public official of the Trinidad District and now colonel of one of the Colorado regiments taking part in the big war; John G. Haines, who subsequently moved to Idaho and became mayor of Boise City and later governor of the state; W. E. Pierce, who was register of deeds of Morton County, moved to Boise City and became associated with Mr. Haines, and was mayor of the state capital; and Jesse Taylor, who became receiver of the land office at Dodge City and went to Jacksonville, Ohio, in which state he became prominent.
Mr. Craddock opened his law office and for three months was associated with J. N. Selby, with whom he secured his first law case, an injunction case to restrain parties from moving buildings from the old town of Frisco to Richfield, which had recently been given the county seat, or had won in the election held in which Frisco had been its competitor. This case was on trial for several days, and while it was being tried the buildings under discussion were removed, so that while Mr. Craddock secured a verdict for the restraining order the other parties won their point. This was Mr. Craddock's only case in the first eight months of his practice, and his fee therefor was $15, which was paid by note. However, since that time he has made rapid strides in his profession and his cases have been numerous, until today he has as much professional business as he can handle and his rewards therefor have been commensurate with his high ability and standing in his calling.
Mr. Craddock was first elected county attorney in 1888, as successor to Jesse Taylor, and in that capacity it devolved upon him to prosecute some of the officials of the defunct Bank of Richfield for embezzlement and for receiving deposits when they knew the bank to be in a failing condition. He was ordered to prosecute by the county commissioners, but declined because he felt that the bank officers were not intentionally guilty of a crime and advised the commissioners to bring a civil suit for the funds deposited in the bank. The commissioners prosecuted the case over his head and after considerable litigation and all failures for them the cases were dismissed and the commissioners admitted their mistake and commended the wisdom of the advice of the legal adviser of the county. He prosecuted the case against the bank in a civil action and finally all of the county's judgment was collected, he following the bankers to the State of Washington to do it. When the Morton County Bank failed, in September, 1890, it owed the county $3,800, and after the commissioners had recommended that the bank settle its indebtedness with Mr. Craddock, he collected every dollar of it. With the exception of one term, Mr. Craddock was county attorney fourteen consecutive years. He was again elected county attorney in 1916, over his own protest and objection, and is serving his fifteenth year in the office. During the term of his predecessor Sheriff Moore was murdered by Don VonWormer, and Mr. Craddock lent his aid to the prosecution, assisted by Hon. J. W. Davis, of Greensburg; Mayor Thomas, of Elkhart, and George Getty, of Syracuse, and got a verdict of guilty in twenty minutes and a sentence of life imprisonment was meted out to the murderer. The sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in July, 1918.
Mr. Craddock is a native of Hart County, Kentucky, born March 16, 1862. He attended the public schools and the State Normal School at Glasgow, Kentucky, and taught two terms of school in his native county, then coming to Kansas in 1885. At Wellington he studied law under William McDonald and Albert E. Parker, of the firm of McDonald & Parker, and was admitted to the bar there before Judge James Herrick on examination by committee, of which Judge McBride of Wellington was one of the members. Mr. Craddock's father was George W. Craddock, who was born in Hart County, Kentucky, was a farmer throughout his life, and during the Civil war was a sharpshooter in the Union army under General Fry. He was captured by General Morgan's guerrillas, and was so brutally treated that he was made practically an invalid and continued as such until his death in 1868, his wife having passed away some four years previous. She had been Mary E. Craddock, a daughter of William Craddock, and an own cousin of her husband, whom she bore four children: Annie, who married Henry Lafferty, and both died in Hart County, Kentucky; Alberry, of that county; William Frank, of Rolla, Kansas; and G. Porter.
George W. Craddock was a son of Samuel Craddock, born also in Hart County, Kentucky, a modest farmer and hunter, whose parents removed from Virginia to Kentucky. The ancestry of these Craddocks are Scotch, Irish and English and were of the Colonial settlers of America. Samuel Craddock married Elizabeth Johnson, whose people came from Germany, and they became the parents of the following children: George W.; Samuel; Thomas, who was a soldier in the Union army of General Sherman; Lewis G., who was also a Union soldier; Mrs. Lucy Culver; Mrs. Sarah Buckner; Mrs. Virginia Craddock; Mrs. Christine Richardson; and Mrs. Annie Hedges. Three of these brothers went through the Civil war as soldiers of the Union and the one exception died before the war. All of Mary E. Craddock's brothers save one were Union soldiers, and this one sent his two oldest sons. These brothers were uncles of G. Porter Craddock. Two of his uncles were also Mexican war veterans. The only nephew of G. Porter Craddock perpetuates the military record of the family, having been taken into the National Army for the big World war and is now a gunner in France and has taken part in the fighting on the western front.
G. Porter Craddock was married May 20, 1900, in Richfield, to Miss Ada M. Weitzel, a daughter of Harry and Margaret (Smith) Weitzel, of Virginia. From the Old Dominion the Weitzels moved to Indiana and then to Kansas and reached Morton County in 1887. Mr. Weitzel was a farmer and a Union soldier under General Grant. Mrs. Craddock passed away January 3, 1912, leaving a son, Harry L., born January 13, 1907, at Stormont Hospital, Topeka, and is known as the "legislative boy."
Mr. Craddock's political action has been as a republican, voting for James G. Blaine for president and following the welfare and history of that party down to the present day. His work as a delegate in conventions has been frequent in state, district and local gatherings, and he was elected to the lower house of the State Legislature in 1906 and served in the regular session of 1907 and the special session in 1908. He succeeded as representative of the county W. W. Martin and was assigned to the general judiciary committee and was chairman of the committee on school lands. Mr. Craddock introduced a number of local bills and all but one became laws. He also represented Stevens County, which was attached to Morton for legislative purposes, and during the regular session of the body voted for Charles Curtis for United States senator. He voted always against the primary election bills and on the final passage of the law now in force governing primaries his name was the first of the nine House members against the bill.
Aside from his profession and his public activities Mr. Craddock has been identified with the cattle industry in Morton County for some twenty years, and has been introducing registered blood into his herd of Herefords. He has also introduced registered Percheron blood crossed with "gold dust" mares and has been raising horses in appreciably large numbers for some fifteen years. During his residence here he has been a firm believer in the worth of property and in the future of the county, and has gathered together much land in Morton county, this being incorporated chiefly into a ranch, comprising between 5,000 and 6,000 acres. As a supporter of religion and morality Mr. Craddock is one of the trustees of the Methodist Church, and during the past quarter of a century has been superintendent of the Union Sunday School at Richfield.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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