James Craik

James Craik (1730 – February 6, 1814) was Physician General (precursor of the Surgeon General) of the United States Army, as well as George Washington's personal physician and close friend.

Born in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, Craik was the illegitimate son of Robert Craik, a member of Parliament. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, then joined the British Army after graduation and served as an army surgeon in the West Indies until 1751. Craik then opened up a private medical practice in Norfolk, Virginia, and shortly thereafter relocated to Winchester, Virginia.

On March 7, 1754, Craik resumed his military career, accepting a commission as a surgeon in Colonel Joshua Fry's Virginia Provincial Regiment. While with this force, he became good friends with George Washington, at that time a lieutenant colonel in the regiment. Craik saw a great deal of action in various battles of the French and Indian War. He fought at the Battle of the Great Meadows and participated in the surrender of Fort Necessity, then accompanied General Edward Braddock on Braddock's unsuccessful attempt to recapture the region in 1755, treating Braddock's ultimately fatal wounds. Craik then served under Washington in actions in Virginia and Maryland, during various engagements with Indians.

After the war's end, Craik opened another medical practice at Port Tobacco, Maryland, and on November 13, 1760, he married Marianne Ewell, daughter of Captain Charles Ewell of Bel Air, Prince William County, Virginia, a Virginia woman who would later become the great-aunt of Richard S. Ewell. They had six sons and three daughters. In 1760, he moved to Charles County, Maryland, where in 1765, he built La Grange near La Plata, Maryland. In both 1770 and 1784 he went on surveying expeditions with Washington, examining military claims in Pennsylvania and what is now West Virginia.

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