George W Crawford

George W Crawford

George Walker Crawford

    George Walker Crawford was born in 1798 in Columbia County, Georgia. He graduated from Princeton College in 1820, studied the law, was admitted to the Georgia state bar, and established a law practice in Augusta in 1822.

    Five years later, Crawford was serving as solicitor general of the Middle Judicial Circuit Court of Georgia. He resigned the post in 1831 to resume his law practice. In 1828, Crawford dueled with -- and killed -- Congressman Thomas E. Burnside. In response to this event, the state passed a law forbidding persons involved in duels from holding office; such restrictions did not apply to Crawford, who subsequently served in the state house of representatives from 1837 to 1842.

    After filling a vacancy in the United States House of Representatives in 1843, Crawford, a Whig, was elected to two terms as Georgia's governor, serving from 1843 to 1847. Two years later, President Zachary Taylor tapped Crawford as his secretary of war, a post Crawford held from 1849 until Taylor's death in 1850. Crawford then returned home to his Georgia estate, retired from politics, pursued business interests, and became a wealthy man.

    Crawford came out of retirement in 1861 to serve as a delegate to Georgia's secession in convention. He died in 1872.

    George W. Crawford (1798-1872)

      George W. Crawford, the sole Whig to serve as governor of Georgia, was elected to two terms from 1843 to 1847. Crawford also served as a Georgia state representative, state attorney general, a U.S. congressman, and the secretary of war under U.S. president Zachary Taylor. In 1861 Crawford came out of retirement to chair the state secession convention in Milledgeville. <a></a>Education and Early Career

      Born on December 22, 1798, in Columbia County, George Walker Crawford was the fourth son of Mary Ann and Peter Crawford and a cousin to the better-known political figure William Harris Crawford, who was a presidential candidate in 1824. Crawford's father was a Revolutionary War (1775-83) veteran in Virginia

      who had moved to Georgia to settle on a piece of land he received for his military service. He received a Bachelor of Arts at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University). After passing the bar in Georgia, he set up a law practice in Augusta with Henry Cumming, who later became known for promoting and overseeing the construction of the Augusta Canal. Crawford eventually earned a Master of Arts from the University of Georgia, and in 1826 he married Mary Ann Macintosh. Governor John Forsyth appointed Crawford to fill a vacant spot as attorney general of Georgia in 1827. The next year, Crawford instigated a duel with Thomas Burnside over a series of accusations that Burnside published about Crawford's father. Crawford shot Burnside dead, but the incident would not inhibit his political career. Despite the controversy, he continued as attorney general until 1831. In 1837 Richmond County voters elected him to the state legislature under the States' Rights ticket. During his five terms in office, Crawford distinguished himself as a fiscal conservative. In 1842 he won a vacant seat, as a Whig, in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he spent a quiet year in Congress. <a></a>Governor In an attempt to capitalize on Crawford's electoral success, the Georgia Whig Party unanimously chose him to represent it in the 1843 gubernatorial election. Thanks in part to divisions within the Democratic Party in Georgia, Crawford defeated Mark Anthony Cooper to become the only Whig to occupy theGovernor's Mansion. During his first term (1843-45), Crawford focused on dismantling the state's Central Bank, but he also helped to expand railroad construction and reformed the state penitentiary to make it a more economically sound institution. Crawford won a second term as governor in 1845, despite Henry Clay's failure to carry the state for the Whigs in the previous year's presidential election. The governor used the next two years to continue the programs from his first term. He also persuaded the state legislature to pass a law that created the Supreme Court of Georgia. Crawford's concentration on local issues was due in part to the Georgia Whigs' division over national issues. <a></a>Later Career

      Crawford chose not to run for a third term as governor, and in 1849 President Taylor appointed him secretary of war. A scandal tainted Crawford's time in the cabinet, however. While in office, he was involved in settling a claim from the government for the Galphin family (descendants of Indian trader George Galphin) and received a large share of the settlement for his services. In the midst of accusations and the sudden death of President Taylor in 1850, Crawford resigned from office and retired from public life for a decade. In 1861 he was elected to represent Richmond County at Georgia's secession convention. At the convention, the delegates selected Crawford as chairman for the proceedings, and he oversaw the vote of secession. Following the convention, Crawford retired to Richmond County, where he died on July 27, 1872.