It’s Rock County fair time. Joseph A. Craig devoted time and resources for development of our fair. Craig was raised on a farm near Pittsburgh. Early in his youth, Craig came with his parents, locating in Momence, Illinois, where his father opened a farm implement store.
One of Craig’s first jobs was as a traveling salesman for the Milwaukee Harvester Company. In 1892, Craig became a salesman for the Janesville Machine Company, which manufactured plows, corn planters, etc. He was a competent salesman and was promoted to the office of general traveler and secretary of the company.
Craig was appointed general manager of the company Dec. 1, 1897. He held his position for 20 years until July 1918 when he became president of the company and the Samson Tractor Company. Craig met with Billy Durant, founder of General Motors and convinced GM to build tractors in Janesville as GM wanted to compete with Henry Ford in selling tractors.
Eventually, Craig bought the fairgrounds on Randall Avenue for the 4-H people. He was known as “Mr. 4-H.” Craig was founder and president of the Rock County Fair and Livestock Association. He loved agriculture and had a farm near Janesville and raised hybrid Jersey cattle.
Craig received state and national awards for his 4-H work. He was the driving force behind our city manager form of government. Craig and George S. Parker were charter members of the Janesville Rotary Club. Craig died in 1958, and he and his wife had three sons.
LEON K. FREEBURG