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Crawford, William Harris


Lawyer and politician William Harris Crawford was born in Amherst County, Va. on February 24, 1772. He and his family moved to the area north of Augusta in 1783. He was admitted to the bar in 1799 and moved to Oglethorpe County, where he built a plantation just west of Lexington. In 1803, Crawford was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, where he served until the General Assembly elected him to the U.S. Senate in 1807. In 1813, Crawford was named U.S. Ambassador to France, and two years later was appointed U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. By the 1820s, Crawford was believed to be the strongest candidate to succeed James Madison as U.S. president. However, what may have been strokes in 1823 and 1824 seriously hurt his chances, and John Quincy Adams won the 1824 presidential election. Adams subsequently asked Crawford to continue as Treasury Secretary, but Crawford declined and returned to Georgia. In 1827, Crawford was named a superior court judge in Georgia, a post he held until his death in 1834. He died at age 62 near Elberton, Georgia. Crawford County had already been named in his honor in 1822; a town in Oglethorpe County is also named for him.

Crawford, William Harris View large image

Source: Portrait by John Wesley Jarvis