Born on August 12, 1802 in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Cravens studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1823 and commenced practice in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He moved to Franklin, Pennsylvania, in 1823 and resumed the practice of law. He moved to Madison, Indiana, in 1829 and engaged in agricultural pursuits. He served as member of the State house of representatives in 1831 and 1832. He moved to Ripley County, Indiana, in 1833, where he practiced law and managed a farm. He served as member of the State senate in 1839.
Cravens was elected as a Whig to the Twenty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1841 - March 4, 1843). He was an unsuccessful candidate of the Free-Soil Party for Governor of Indiana in 1852, member of the State house of representatives in 1856. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the attorney generalship of the State in 1856. He served as lieutenant colonel of the Eighty-third Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, in the Civil War. During Morgan's raid in Indiana he and his soldiers were taken captive. He died in Osgood, Indiana, December 4, 1876 and was interred in Versailles Cemetery, Versailles, Indiana.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.