Group to tell the history of Craig’s first mayor — with a fictional twist |

Group to tell the history of Craig’s first mayor — with a fictional twist

Free play will coincide with final day of Grand Old West Days on Memorial Day

A self-proclaimed history nut, David Morris is at it again.

Morris, along with a strong cast of eight community members, will bring the story of Craig’s first mayor, A.S. Robinson, to life on stage May 31 at 3 p.m. at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion – albeit with a fictional twist.

“We wanted Craig history, and we like to liven that up a little bit,” Morris said. “The goal is to take an actual piece of Craig history — an actual event — and then I play with it and fictionalize it to get some humor and stuff into it.

Morris and his group of cast members will present “King Lear in Craig” free to the community on the final day of Grand Old West Days, telling the story of Robinson and Craig’s first sheriff John Ledford centered around William Shakespeare’s famous play “King Lear.”

“King Lear” tells the tale of an aging king who has grown tired of the cares and tribulations of running his country, and decides to turn the job over to one of his three daughters. Which daughter though depends on who convinces him that she loves him the most, which turns out to be a reckless blunder.

Morris, a retired English teacher from Craig Middle School and a published author, took Robinson’s tale as the first mayor of Craig and put a spin on it using Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” with Robinson growing weary of of carrying the weight of running the town, deciding to turn the reins over to one of his three daughters.

While it is a fictional spin from Morris’ perspective, there are few exceptions to the fictional tale. Robinson is actually the first mayor, and Ledford is the first sheriff of Craig.

In addition to the tale of Robinson and his three daughters, Morris weaves in the tale of the outlaw Harry Tracy, who was captured by Ledford in Browns Park.

On March 1, 1898, Tracy and three accomplices engaged in a gunfight at Brown’s Park, in which a member of his posse, Valentine S. Hoy, was killed. Tracy and his accomplice, David Lant, from the Brown’s Park gunfight were captured but escaped the Routt County Jail in Hahn’s Peak. They were recaptured and in June 1898 were sent to the Aspen jail, where they later escaped.

Following their capture in Browns Park, Tracy and his posse were brought back to Craig, where they were placed in a motel as Craig did not have a jail at the time.

“This play is very interesting,” Morris said. “This guy Harry Tracy was a real bad guy in Browns Park. David Lant was out there, too, and the Sheriff went and got those guys with a posse.

“The fun thing I like to do is take a historical event and tie it into a Shakespeare play, which I’ve done here,” Morris added. “I think it’s a pretty fun play, I have a great cast, I think people are really going to enjoy it.”

King Lear in Craig

Showtime: 3 p.m., Monday, May 31, Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion


A.S Robinson (first mayor of Craig): Sambu Shrestha

John Ledford (first sheriff in Craig): Rodney Alexander

Betty Raney (secretary to the mayor): Molly Kleeman

R.V. Bryan (second mayor of Craig): Orlando Frangiapani (AKA David Morris)

Goneril (mayor’s first daughter): Jana Thompson

Regan (mayor’s second daughter): RuthAnne Isbell

Cordelia (mayor’s third daughter): Debbie Mclain

The outlaw Harry Tracy: Randy Looper

Managing Editor Joshua Carney can be reached at 970-875-1790 or

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