Ralph Dixon Craig (born 1847) was Worshipful Master of Ashlar Lodge, No.3 in 1885.
Here is some basic information about him from Ashlar Lodge, No.3 records:
- Born 1847
- Occupation: Blacksmith (in 1873)
- Affiliated with Ashlar Lodge, No.3 on 2 September 1876 from Solomon’s Lodge, No. 6, G.R.N.B., Fredericton, New Brunswick. Note that Solomon’s Lodge, No.6 became Hiram Lodge, No.6 in 1879 through the amalgamation of Solomon’s Lodge, No.6 (originally warranted in 1792) and St. Andrew’s Lodge, No.29 (originally warranted in 1852)
- Initiated 7 June 1873 in Caledonia Lodge, No.6, B.C.R.
- Passed 19 July 1873 in Caledonia Lodge, No.6, B.C.R.
- Raised 20 September 1873 in Caledonia Lodge, No.6, B.C.R.
- Worshipful Master of Ashlar Lodge, No.3 in 1885
- Demitted 5 April 1893
Ralph Dixon Craig was also a Charter member of Doric Lodge No. 18 in Nanaimo. We will do some research to determine whether he remained a member of Doric Lodge No. 18 after he demitted from Ashlar Lodge No. 3 in 1893. The photo below shows Ralph Dixon Craig in Royal Arch regalia.
This photo of Ralph Dixon Craig in Worshipful Master’s regalia was likely taken in 1885, when Ralph Craig was Worshipful Master of Ashlar Lodge No. 3.
The Nanaimo Community Archives has a file on Ralph Craig but it does not contain a lot of information.
It says that Ralph Craig “was a partner, with his brother Stanley, in Craig’s Carriage Shop, on the west end of the Bastion Street Bridge [note: where Bastion Street becomes Fitzwilliam Street] . Another brother, Tom, known as Tom the Tailor, lived in New Brunswick. Mrs. Alice Powley was a sister.”
The Nanaimo Community Archives file also contains newspaper clippings from 1891 saying:
“Ralph Craig completed expansion of his carriage works at the west end of Bastion Street Bridge.”
and from 1892 saying:
“Ralph Craig, proprietor of National Steam Carriage Works on Fitzwilliam Street, has installed new machinery.”
The final item in the Nanaimo Community Archives file on Ralph Craig is a single sheet of notes, reading:
” Ralph Dixon Craig
Ralph Dixon Craig established the “British Columbia Carriage Works” in 1886.
A three story wooden frame building constructed at corner of Fraser & Bastion Streets, abutting onto western approaches of Bastion Street Bridge.
Solid stone foundation, 80 feet by 50 feet, vacant area at rear for storage and expansion.
[Ralph] Craig had gained a reputation for his finely styled carriages, wagons, wagonettes, gave each one his personal touch. Imported lumber, specially selected local lumber produced by Nanaimo Sawmill, used in construction of the carriages.
A 10 HP horizontal steam engine supplied power, with a tubular boiler supplying the steam, with elaborate system of belting and gears connected to main power supply. A heavy duty forge for the blacksmith in a separate building.
A furnance used to heat wheel rim before being fitted to a wagon wheel, Craigs [sic] invention. Red hot rim or the “Tyre” carefully fitted around outer circumference, wheel and tyre lowered into tank of cold water to cool evenly, set aside to air dry.
Fire swept through the Carriage Works in May 1894, destroyed several other firms at same time, and portion of Bastion Street Bridge. The wind changed direction saving Wenborns Machine Shop next to the Carriage Works.
Mr. Craig moved into temporary quarters in the vacated J.N. Donaldson Blacksmith Shop on Bastion Street. Mr. Craig said he would not produce any carriages until he acquired a supply of specially imported lumber to replace what had been destroyed [in the fire].
The fire and loss of his business taxed the health of Mr. Craig. His son Stanley Craig took over the business until his father’s health improved. Unexpectedly Ralph D. Craig became ill, and after a short illness Ralph Dixon Craig died 18 May 1894 [note: his gravestone in Bowen Road Cemetery says 17 May 1894].
Stanley Craig continued to build up the British Columbia Carriage Works, succeeding his late father……”
(Source: Nanaimo Community Archives file on Ralph Craig)
We will add more information about W.B. Ralph Craig as we discover it through additional research.
Ralph Dixon Craig is buried in Bowen Road Cemetery, Nanaimo, B.C.
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