Partner Peter Tardiveau

Queer Places:
Fairview Cemetery Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky, USA

Robert Craddock was born in Virginia in 1757 of Scottish descent. He served in the Virginia Continental Line during the American Revolution. He first served as a sergeant in Captain James Foster' s Company in the 15th Virginia Regiment, commanded at various times by Lieutenant-Colonel James Innes, Major Gustatvus Brown Wallace, and Colonel Daniel Morgan. Craddock enlisted 1 January 1777 for three years and was transferred to various companies , in Feb. 1778 he served with James Gray's Company in the 4th Virginia ,commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Posey. On 5 Sept. 1779 Sgt. Craddock was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. In a list of Junior Officers of the Virginia Line, Craddock, who was a prisoner of war, is listed in a "Cartel for the exchange of prisoners taken at Charleston". At this time he listed as being a captain.

During the war Captain Craddock developed a life time f riendship with Peter (Pierre ) Tardiveau, a volunteer from Bordeaux, France. At the end of the war the two men moved to Kentucky after acquiring several land warrents for their services during the war, and by purchasing others from veterans that didn't want to settle in the wilderness. Craddock held grants for land in the Kentucky counties of Mercer, Hardin, Ohio, Todd, Logan, and Warren, as well as large tracts in Tennessee. Settling first in Mercer County in 1786 , Craddock and Tardiveau were among the influential men of Danville who organized the "Political Club", an active forum of lively debate on current Kentucky issues from 1786-1790.

Craddock estabished himself in Warren County in 1798 on a 1,400 acre tract nine miles west of Bowling Green , Ky . He cleared the area for farming, built a two story log house known as the "Hermitage" near the Salt Lick Creek, erected slave quarters, and planted an orchard of fruit trees. The log structure has since been razed. A small building made from the original logs remains standing near the site of his original "Hermitage " . A photograph of the house appears in Mrs. Irene Moss Sumpter's book, An Album of Early Warren County Landmarks, p. 52.

Craddock conducted many businesses from his home with land agents often coming to the "Hermitage " to trade, while others came to borrow money. Squire John Hurd was Craddock's legal adviser, who counseled and guided him in legal matters. He was a l so known to be a surveyor and was one of the best educated men of the area. He also had one of the best collections of books in Southern Kentucky.

Peter Tardiveau joined his friend in Warren County around 1800 , after losing his fortune due to bad investments and resided at the "Hermitage" until his death in 1817. Craddock and Tardiveau wanted to pass the fruits of an education on to their slaves and their children. A log schoolhouse was erec~ed for the benefit of teaching the blacks and also many of the lessfortunate white children of the area. This school was probably one o~ the first free schools established in Kentucky. A log hall was also built to allow the slaves to indulge their fondne ss for entertainment in dancing to the fiddle.

One fall day several years later, the two men were walking through a moss-covered area shaded by large trees. They pledged to each other that this would be their final resting place. On 28 May 1817, Peter Tardiveau died and was buried on the chosen spot. A small slab of stone was placed at the site as requested, with only "P. Tardiveau" inscribed on it. Robert Craddock died in April of 1837. As he lay dying he requested that Billy Brown and Hayden Neighbors, who were musicians, to march around his house playing the fife and drum in a soldierly manner . Captain Craddock was laid to rest beside his comradein-arms, dressed in his Virginia military uniform. A plain slab of native stone was also placed at the site with only "R. Craddock" inscribed on it.

In his will, Craddock freed his slaves and to each he gave land and money equivalent to the appraised value of themselves as slaves. After a few other bequests, the remainder of his estate was placed in trust with the interest going to the education of the poor children of the county.

In those days all schools were privately owned and the Craddock • Trust paid the tuition of the poor and needy children. With the incep tion of the public school system this money was diverted to purchase text books for the needy students attending. At the time of Craddock's death in 1837 an estimated $16 , 000 trust was established. An estimated $100 ,000 plus has been paid the Bowling Green/Warren County School Systems. The trust today totals $23,000 as a result of accrued interest.

Several years after the death of Craddock, the Warren County Fiscal Court ordered that his remains and those of Tardiveau be reinterred in the Fairview Cemetery with full military honors. In 1922 a large monument was placed at his gr ave by local school children in loving memory of his contributions toward their educati on . On the monument is a bronze plaque that reads: "Erected by the children of Warren County in memory of Robert Craddock, Revoluti onary Soldier, Pioneer, Philanthropist , and founder of the Craddock Fund for the education of poor children". Located at the foot of each plot stands a small marker that reads, Robert Craddock, di ed 1837 , and at the other,"Peter Tardiveau, comrade-in-arms , and fri end of Robert Craddock".

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