GEORGE WALKER CRAWFORD, Georgia’s only Whig governor, was born in Columbia County, Georgia, on December 22, 1798. He was educated at home by his father, who served in the General Assembly. He graduated from Princeton University in 1820, studied law, and established a legal career in Augusta in 1822. From 1824 to 1825, he served as a second lieutenant of the 10th Regiment of the Georgia militia. Crawford entered politics in 1827 as solicitor general of the Middle Judicial Circuit of Georgia, a position he held until 1831. He also served as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives from 1837 to 1840 and in 1842, and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from February 1, 1843, to March 3, 1843. Crawford won the 1843 Whig gubernatorial nomination and was elected Georgia’s 23rd governor. He was a reelected to a second term in 1845. During his tenure, the state’s economy began to improve after suffering through a recession, which was triggered by the Panic of 1837. Crawford’s priority was to pay down a portion of the state debt, which goal he achieved in his second term and eliminated the inefficient Central Bank of Georgia. Also during his administration, major construction on the Western and Atlantic Railroad was accomplished, Georgia Supreme Court finally was established, and the state penal code was restructured. After leaving office, Crawford was appointed U.S. Secretary of War in the cabinet of President Zachary Taylor, a position he held from 1849 to 1850. He also was President of the 1861 State Secession Convention. Governor George W. Crawford retired to his Bel-Air estate in Augusta and died on July 27, 1872. He is buried in Summerville Cemetery near Augusta.
Cook, James F. Governors of Georgia, 1754-2004. 3d ed. Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2005.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.