George Washington Crawford

GEORGE WASHINGTON CRAWFORD was born in Columbia County near Augusta, Georgia, on 22 December 1798; graduated from Princeton College in 1820; studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1822; entered the practice of law, opening an office in Augusta; was elected attorney general of Georgia and served in the period 1827–1831; returned to the practice of law; served in the Georgia legislature from 1837 to 1842; was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Whig in 1843 and served about one month, resigning to accept the nomination for governor; served as governor of Georgia for two terms, 1843–1847; served as Secretary of War in President Taylor’s cabinet, 8 March 1849–23 July 1850; proposed that a bounty be granted to encourage enlistees to enter service at remote stations; resigned upon President Taylor’s death; retired to private life at his Georgia home; served as chairman of the Georgia secession convention, 1861; died at his Bel Air estate near Augusta on 22 July 1872. (Secretary Crawford’s middle name is given as Walker in some sources.)

The Artist

Daniel Huntington (1816–1906), well-known New York painter and the major contributor to the War Department secretarial portrait gallery, received $300 for his portrait of Secretary Belknap and for each portrait of eight of Belknap’s predecessors, including Secretary Crawford. As fine art tends to increase in value with time, these nine Huntington portraits, commissioned for the nation’s 1876 centennial celebration at a total cost to the department of $2,700, were appraised in the 1976 bicentennial year at $15,300. Huntington’s portrait of Secretary Crawford is after one by Alexander Hay Ritchie (1822–1895).


Portrait, George Washinton Crawford

Taylor Administration
By Daniel Huntington after Alexander Hay Ritchie
Oil on canvas, 29½" x 24½", 1873


page created 2 March 2001

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