William Harris Crawford

WILLIAM HARRIS CRAWFORD was born in Nelson County, Virginia, on 22 February 1772; during his boyhood the family moved to South Carolina and then to Columbia County, Georgia; studied under Dr. Moses Waddel at Carmel Academy in Augusta, 1796–1798; commenced the practice of law in Oglethorpe County, 1799, and in 1802 completed a digest of the laws of Georgia covering the period 1755–1800; killed Peter L. Van Allen in a duel inspired by political rivalries, 1802; served in the Georgia legislature, 1803–1807; married Sussana Girardin, 1804; suffered a crippled left wrist in a duel with John Clark, 1806; was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy created by the death of Senator Abraham Baldwin, 1807; was again elected to the U.S. Senate, 1811, and elected president pro tempore upon the death of Vice President George Clinton, 1812; declined an offer to be Secretary of War, 1813; served as minister to France, 1813–1815; served as Secretary of War, 1 August 1815–22 October 1816; recommended to Congress the perpetuation of a War Department management staff; was actively considered by the Republicans as a candidate for president; served as Secretary of the Treasury, 1816–1825, was again a strong candidate for president in 1824; was stricken with paralysis during the campaign and temporarily incapacitated; declined to remain in the John Quincy Adams administration as Secretary of the Treasury; was appointed judge of the Northern Court of Georgia upon the death of the incumbent, 1827; was reelected to the judgeship in 1828 and 1831; died at a friend’s home near Elberton, Georgia, while on the judicial circuit, 15 September 1834.

The Artist

Daniel Huntington (1816–1906) of New York was one of the more prolific artists engaged by Secretary Belknap to launch the Army’s portrait gallery of civilian leaders. In the period from 1873 to 1876, when the secretarial collection was created and brought up to date, Huntington produced portraits of Horatio Gates, President of the Board of War, and ten of Belknap’s predecessors, including Secretary William H. Crawford, as well as Belknap himself. He also painted several interim secretaries, including Generals Grant and Sherman.


Portrait, William Harris Crawford

Madison Administration
By Daniel Huntington
Oil on canvas, 29˝" x 24˝", 1875

page created 1 March 2001

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