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John Cravens, son of Dr. Joseph and Mary Cravens, was born in Harrisonburg, Rockingham county, Virginia, October 28, 1797, where he was reared and educated. He began the study of medicine under his father,, when in his nineteenth year, and began practice some six years later. After practicing with his father two years, he removed to Hardy county, Virginia now West Virginia, and began practice at Petersburg, but only remained one year, when he removed to Pendleton county, opened an office in Franklin, the county seat, and was an active practitioner in that county for ten years.
In 1837 he removed to Missouri, and settled near Miami, where he lived eighteen months, and during that time gave up the practice of his profession. At the expiration of the time mentioned he changed his place of residence to Daviess county, locating near Gallatin in the spring of 1839, where he pursued farming and continued the practice of his profession until 1850, then moved to Gallatin, and gave his attention exclusively to his increasing practice. In 1857 he returned to his farm, one mile northwest of Gallatin, where he now lives. He continued the practice of medicine until the close of the war, when owing to his advanced age and impaired hearing,. he gave up 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, and was with that officer until his death at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, March 6, 1862, and after that served as surgeon in various departments until the close of the war.
Dr. Cravens was united in marriage to Miss Rhuama Chaplin, of Rockingharn county, Virginia. They became the parents of ten children, six of whom are now living; namely, Caroline, wife of John Leopard, of this county; Amanda, wife of Maj. W. D. McDonald, of this county; Robert a resident of California; William, of Springfield, Missouri; Jeremiah C., an attorney at Springfield; and Edgar H., of this county. Elizabeth, wife of Philip R. Wirt, died in Gallatin, March 1, 1868; Joseph C., killed by lightning, May 28, 1848; John, practicing physician of Gallatin, died April 23, 1876; and Oscar, died in Gallatin, January 26, 1855. Mrs. Cravens has been a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, for over sixty years. Dr. Cravens was initiated into the mysteries of Freemasonry in 1826, becoming a member of Rockingham Union Lodge No. 26, Harrisonburg, Virginia. 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 are highly esteemed by all who know them.