The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Rev. James Manson Craig (1885 - 1912)

The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the Madras College Magazine for December 1908 reports:

"Mr. James M. Craig, M.A., was placed proxime accessit in the recent examination for the Ferguson Scholarship on Mental Philosophy."

The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the Madras College Magazine for Easter 1911 reported:

"The Rev. James Manson Craig B.D., a graduate of St Andrews University with honours in Classics and Philosophy, and a distinguished student of St Mary's College, who has been appointed Professor of English in the Christian College, Madras, and also a missionary of the Church of Scotland, was on Thursday afternoon ordained to the ministry at a special service held in the Church of the Holy Trinity. There was a large congregation to witness the impressive ceremony. The Rev. Dr. Playfair officiated, and preached an appropriate and stimulating address from Second Timothy, 2nd chapter, 3rd verse - Thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. The lessons were read by the Rev. W. H. Leatham. The questions were put to Mr. Craig by Dr. Playfair, and while Mr. Craig knelt on the chancel step, the members of Presbytery ordained him with the laying on of hands. The Rev. Mr. McMichael, who has himself experience of India, addressed the young minister. He told him of some of the difficulties he would have to face, and also of the splendid opportunities for a missionary of Christ in that great Dependency of the Empire."

The 'Old Boys Chronicle' in the Madras College Magazine for Easter 1913 reported:

The late Rev. James Manson Craig, B.D.,
Professor of English Language and Literature in the Madras Christian College.

On the evening of the 10th of December last, with tragic unexpectedness, one of the most promising of the younger generation of Old Boys passed away at the early age of twenty-seven. The second son of the late Rev. Robert Craig of Ardentinny, Argyllshire, and of Mrs. Craig, Dempster Terrace, St. Andrews, the Rev. James Manson Craig was one of a brilliant family who have during recent years brought honour to the school. After a distinguished career at Madras College and St. Andrews University, Mr. Craig graduated M.A. in 1908 with Honours in Classics and in Philosophy, being the best student of his day in Philosophy. After graduating B.D. in 1910, he was, for a year, Mission-Study Secretary of the Church of Scotland, and in the summer of 1911 was appointed Professor of English in the Madras Christian College, the great missionary college of Southern India. Here for a short term of eighteen months he worked with great acceptance. The news of his death created a profound sensation in St. Andrews and in Madras, amongst his many friends to whom his robust energy, his bright enthusiasm, and his brilliant attainments seemed to give promise of a long and successful career. Mr. Craig attended College on the Friday, was removed to hospital on the Saturday, was operated on on Monday, and died on the evening of the following day. To his young widow, herself a former pupil of the school, to his bereaved mother, and to the other members of the family we extend our sincerest sympathy.

Although Mr. Craig distinguished himself at School and College in Classics, Philosophy, and Theology, and although his name stood high in the class lists of other subjects, he was no mere bookworm. He played an important part in the social life of the University. He was President of the St. Andrews University Conservative Club ; he was Secretary of the University Union ; he captained the Rugby XV. ; and he represented his alma mater in Inter-University Debates and Athletic meetings. His frank and lovable disposition, his exhilarating, buoyant light-heartedness, and his force of character eminently fitted him for the work he had undertaken. His duties at the Madras Christian College were entered upon with characteristic enthusiasm. He was President of the Bejant Society, Instructor of the Dramatic Society, Vice-President of the Young Men's Brotherhood, took an active interest in Athletics, and in addition to his work in the Christian College lectured to the Honours English students in the Presidency College.

On the day following his death the Christian College was closed, and a Memorial Service was held in the afternoon when the acting Principal of the College, the Rev. G. Pittendrigh, M.A., addressed a large gathering and paid a high tribute to Mr. Craig's ability and enthusiasm. After the service the funeral took place to St. Andrew's Cemetery, and was attended by many members of the Scottish community, by the Professors of the Colleges, and by a large concourse of students. The service at the grave was conducted by the Senior Presidency Chaplain of the Church of Scotland. Floral tributes were sent by the College Professors, by all the classes, hostels, and societies, and by different groups of students. Many students carried wreaths and crosses, and two beautiful wreaths were sent by their Excellencies the Governor and Lady Pentland.

We append an extract from a sermon preached at a Memorial Service held in St. Andrews Church, Madras, on Sunday, December 15th :

'He came to us with an exceptional endowment of talent and training, with a brilliant University record, and with a loving personality which won the deep affection of his students and endeared him to us all. Already in the spring-time of his life he lies at rest. Of what it means to those that are dearest to him we dare not speak. We can but offer silent sympathy, and share with them the heavy burden of their grief.'"

James Manson Craig married Elizabeth Gray Hunter in 1911.  She was deeply religious and involved in Sunday school and Bible class teaching in St Mary's church. She was the third grandchild of Tom Morris of St Andrews, 'Custodian of the links'.

Sons and daughters of Robert & Susan Craig

Robert Craig, minister of Ardentinny in 1860 was married to Susan Stewart Meldrum in 1880.  They had several sons in the army and others abroad. Some of the sons are known to have been educated at Madras College.

  • Robert Meldrum Craig b.1882, M.A., BSc., F.G.S., Lecturer in Geology, University of Edinburgh, was a captain in the 5th South Staffordshire Regiment; Madras Pupil;
  • James Manson Craig b.1885, M.A., B.D. was Professor of English, United College, Madras (India); Madras Pupil;
  • John Douglas Craig b.1887, M.A., B.A. (Oxon), Classical Lecturer, University of Sheffield, was a captain R.F.A.; Madras Pupil;
  • Henry David Cook Craig b.1888, M.A., M.C., Order of St Stanisaus, was a brigade major 107th Infantry Brigade, died of typhus at Reval, 13th Feb. 1920;  Madras Pupil;
  • Falconer Gray Craig b.1892, M.C., was a lieutenant in the 3rd Hussars;
  • Joseph Murison Craig b.1893, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.C.S.;
  • Archibald Douglas Craig b.1898 was a captain with 11th Gurkas, India;
  • Andrew Russell Craig b.1901, a rubber planter in Malaya.

Their daughters were:

  • Constance Craig b.1890, M.A., missionary at Ichang, China, born 20th May 1890 (marr. 1st March 1921, John Watt Cameron, Shanghai);
  • Jean Soutar Craig b.1896, M.A.