About George Walker Crawford
George Walker Crawford (December 22, 1798 – July 27, 1872) was a Georgia politician during the nineteenth century. He served as the 38th Governor of Georgia from 1843 to 1847 and United States Secretary of War 1849 to 1850. He was the cousin of William H. Crawford.
Crawford was born in Columbia County, Georgia, the fourth son of American Revolutionary War veteran Peter Crawford and Mary Ann Crawford. He graduated from the College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in 1820. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1822, starting practice in Augusta, Georgia with Henry Harford Cumming. He received a Master of Arts from Franklin College and in 1826 married Mary Ann Macintosh, orphaned daughter of John and Mary (McKinne)Macintosh. There were four children: William Peter Crawford; Sarah Macintosh Crawford who became the wife of Samuel Warren Mays; Anna Elizabeth Crawford; and Charles A. Crawford.
Attorney General of Georgia
Georgia Governor John Forsyth appointed Crawford attorney general of Georgia in 1827. The next year, Crawford challenged congressman Thomas E. Burnside to a duel over a series of accusations that Burnside published about Crawford's father. He shot Burnside dead, thus winning the fight. It did not affect his career and he continued to serve as attorney general until 1831.
In 1837, Crawford was elected to the Georgia General Assembly as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. There, Crawford distinguished himself as a fiscal conservative. He was elevated to the United States House of Representatives as a Whig to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Richard W. Habersham. His term there was short, only serving from January 7 to March 3, 1843.
Governor of Georgia
He was elected Governor of Georgia, defeating Mark Anthony Cooper, becoming the only Whig to served a Georgia state governor. As governor, he helped expand the Western and Atlantic Railroad, redraw congressional maps and establish the Supreme Court of Georgia. He also focused on dismantling the Georgia Central Bank and reformed the state penitentiary to make it a more economically sound institution. In 1845, he won a second term.
Secretary of War
After General Zachary Taylor became President of the United States in 1849, he appointed Crawford Secretary of War. As War Secretary, he was involved in settling a claim from the United States government for the Galphin family, descendants of Native American trader George Galphin. He received a large share of the settlement for his services. He resigned with the rest of the Taylor administration in 1850 when Millard Fillmore became president after Taylor's sudden death in office.
Georgia Secession Convention and death
In 1861, Crawford was elected to represent Richmond County, Georgia in the Georgia State Secession Convention. Delegates selected Crawford as chairman for the proceedings and he oversaw the vote of secession. He died at his estate, located in the village of "Bel Air," near Augusta, Georgia on July 27, 1872. He was buried in the Summerville Cemetery located in Augusta.