The Craighead Naturalists and CIIS

While researching the life of Wilson Charles, I came across an item that discussed a Carlisle Indian School teacher visiting with Mrs. Charles Craighead and starting a terrarium in her classroom, Number 6, in 1902. That little item caught my attention because the Craigheads lived up the Yellow Breeches Creek in Craighead Station near Carlisle, but closer to Boiling Springs. Miss Fannie G. Paull was the teacher who visited with Agnes Craighead and her students who were there on their outing period. Over the years, quite a number of Carlisle students spent their outings with the Craigheads. As a result, the family got to know the students and their teacher very well. On a visit in 1902, Miss Paull let it be known that she was making a terrarium in her room. Frank Craighead, a lad of 12, set about to helping her with the undertaking. He promised to catch two small turtles and a squirrel for the terrarium. He gave them a “hang-bird’s” nest as a nest for the prospective squirrel.

Frank C. Craighead would go on to make the study of flora and fauna his life’s work. He graduated with a degree in forestry from Penn State in 1912. He later received a PhD from George Washington University, and made the study of forest insects as his life’s work, retiring in 1950 as the chief of the U. S. Department of Agriculture Bureau of Forest Entomology. After retiring to Boiling Springs, he studied the Everglades, publishing titles including Orchids and Other Air Plants of the Everglades National Park, Trees of South Florida, and The Role of the Alligator in Shaping Plant Communities and Maintaining Wildlife in the Southern Everglades. He also quickly became an expert on rapidly disappearing native plants and the ecological role of hurricanes.

Regardless of what he did professionally, his greatest contribution he made was to instill a love of nature in his children: twins John and Frank Craighead and daughter Jean Craighead George.

I wonder why there is no historical marker to honor the Craighead naturalists’ contributions.

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One Response to “The Craighead Naturalists and CIIS”

  1. Joe Says:

    Hey There,
    I see you are researching WIlson Charles. I’m doing the same. Care to trade any info?

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