Thomas Theodore Crittenden

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Thomas Theodore Crittenden
Thomas Theodore Crittenden - Brady-Handy.jpg
24th Governor of Missouri
In office
January 10, 1881 January 12, 1885
Lieutenant Robert Alexander Campbell
Preceded by John S. Phelps
Succeeded by John S. Marmaduke
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Missouri's 7th district
In office
March 4, 1877 March 3, 1879
Preceded by John Finis Philips
Succeeded by Alfred Morrison Lay
In office
March 4, 1873 March 3, 1875
Preceded by Isaac Parker
Succeeded by John Finis Philips
12th Attorney General of Missouri
In office
Governor Willard Preble Hall
Preceded by Aikman Welch
Succeeded by Robert Franklin Wingate
Personal details
BornJanuary 1, 1832
Shelbyville, Kentucky,
United States
DiedMay 29, 1909(1909-05-29) (aged 77)
Kansas City, Missouri,
United States
Resting placeForest Hill Cemetery
Kansas City, Missouri
Political party Democratic
Relations John J. Crittenden (uncle)
Children Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr.
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1865-1867).svg  United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1862–1864
Rank Colonel
UnitSeventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry Regiment
Battles/wars American Civil War

Thomas Theodore Crittenden (January 1, 1832 – May 29, 1909) was a United States colonel during the American Civil War, and a Democratic politician who served as the 24th Governor of Missouri from 1881 to 1885.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.


Early life and education

Crittenden was born in 1832 in Shelbyville, Kentucky to Henry and Anna Maria Crittenden. He was born into a political family and was the nephew of Kentucky Governor John J. Crittenden. He was educated at Centre College and also studied law with his uncle. [1]

Shelbyville, Kentucky City in Kentucky, United States

Shelbyville is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Shelby County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 14,045 at the 2010 census.

John J. Crittenden United States Attorney General

John Jordan Crittenden was an American politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky. He represented the state in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and twice served as United States Attorney General in the administrations of William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore. He was also the 17th governor of Kentucky and served in the state legislature. Although frequently mentioned as a potential candidate for the U.S. presidency, he never consented to run for the office.

Centre College college in Kentucky

Centre College is a private liberal arts college located in Danville, Kentucky, a community of approximately 16,000 in Boyle County, about 35 miles (55 km) south of Lexington, Kentucky. Centre is an undergraduate four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 1,400 students. Centre was founded by Presbyterian leaders, and it maintains a loose affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It was officially chartered by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1819. The college is a member of the Associated Colleges of the South and the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities.

Marriage and family

In 1856, Crittenden married Caroline Wheeler "Carrie" Jackson (August 1, 1839 – January 27, 1917) and had several children. His son Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr. was later a mayor of Kansas City, and his son Henry Huston Crittenden (1859–1943) was compiler of The Crittenden Memoirs (1936).


Shortly following Crittenden's marriage, the family moved to Lexington, Missouri, where he started a law practice. During the American Civil War Crittenden was appointed a Colonel in the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry, fighting on the Union side. Governor Willard Preble Hall appointed Crittenden to the post of Missouri Attorney General in 1864. [1]

Lexington, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Lexington is a city in Lafayette County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,726 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lafayette County. Located in western Missouri, Lexington lies approximately 40 miles east of Kansas City and is part of the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area. It is the home of the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site, and of the former Wentworth Military Academy and College, the second-oldest military school west of the Mississippi River, opened in 1880.

Willard Preble Hall American politician

William Willard Preble Hall was an American lawyer and politician. He served as the 17th Governor of Missouri from 1864 to 1865 during the last years of the American Civil War.

The Office of the Missouri Attorney General was created in 1806 when Missouri was part of the Louisiana Territory. Missouri's first Constitution in 1820 provided for an appointed Attorney General, but since the 1865 Constitution, the Attorney General has been elected. As of January 2019, there have been 43 attorneys general in Missouri. Eric Schmitt was appointed to become the 43rd Attorney General in January 2019 filling the mid-term vacancy created by Josh Hawley's election to the United States Senate.

Following his term, Crittenden moved his law practice to Warrensburg, Missouri in partnership with Francis Cockrell. Crittenden was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the 7th Congressional District in 1872 and again in 1876. [1] In 1880, he helped to found the Missouri Bar Association. [2]

Warrensburg, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Warrensburg is a city in Johnson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 18,838 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Johnson County. The Warrensburg Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of Johnson County. It is home to the University of Central Missouri.

Francis Cockrell Confederate Army general

Francis Marion Cockrell was a Confederate military commander and American politician from the state of Missouri. He served as a United States Senator from Missouri for five terms. He was a prominent member of the famed South–Cockrell–Hargis family of Southern politicians.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States.

Crittenden was elected Governor of Missouri in the 1880 election. [3] As governor, Crittenden wanted to suppress the robberies and violence committed by the James Gang. He authorized a reward of $5,000 (which was paid for by railroad corporations) for the capture of Jesse James and also for his brother Frank, which resulted in Robert Ford killing Jesse in 1882. Following Ford's conviction for the murder, Crittenden pardoned him. On October 5, 1882, Frank James surrendered in Jefferson City. [4]

Jesse James American outlaw, confederate guerrilla, and train robber

Jesse Woodson James was an American outlaw, bank and train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James–Younger Gang. Raised in the "Little Dixie" area of western Missouri, James and his family maintained strong Southern sympathies. He and his brother Frank James joined pro-Confederate guerrillas known as "bushwhackers" operating in Missouri and Kansas during the American Civil War. As followers of William Quantrill and "Bloody Bill" Anderson, they were accused of participating in atrocities against Union soldiers and civilian abolitionists, including the Centralia Massacre in 1864.

Robert Ford (outlaw) American outlaw

Robert Newton Ford was an American outlaw best known for killing his gang leader Jesse James in April 1882, to collect a reward and a promised amnesty for past crimes. For about a year, Ford and his older brother Charles performed paid re-enactments of the killing at publicity events. Later he drifted around the West, operating saloons and dance halls.

Frank James American outlaw, Confederate guerrilla, and train robber

Alexander Franklin James was a Confederate soldier, guerrilla, and outlaw. He was the older brother of outlaw Jesse James and was also part of the James–Younger Gang.

During his term, Crittenden's administration also collected payment on loans to the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, reduced state debt, established the Missouri State Board of Health and the Missouri State Bureau of Mines and Mine inspection, increased appropriations for education, and started a training school for nurses in St. Louis. [5]

Following his gubernatorial term, Crittenden moved to Kansas City, Missouri and practiced law. From 1893 to 1897, he was the United States consul general in Mexico City, appointed by President Grover Cleveland. Crittenden died in 1909 in Kansas City, Missouri. He was buried there at the Forest Hill Cemetery. [2]


In the 2007 movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford , Crittenden is portrayed by James Carville.

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  1. 1 2 3 "Thomas Theodore Crittenden, 1881–1885". Missouri State Archives. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  2. 1 2 "C0087 Crittenden, Thomas Theodore (1832–1909), Papers, 1880–1950" (PDF). The State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  4. "Thomas Theodore Crittenden". Historic Missourians. The State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  5. "Office of the Governor Thomas Theodore Crittenden, 1881–1885" (PDF). Missouri State Archives. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

United States Congress. "CRITTENDEN, Thomas Theodore (id: C000913)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress .

Legal offices
Preceded by
Aikman Welch
Missouri State Attorney General
Succeeded by
Robert Franklin Wingate
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Isaac Parker
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
John F. Philips
Preceded by
John F. Philips
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Alfred M. Lay
Political offices
Preceded by
John Smith Phelps
Governor of Missouri
Succeeded by
John Sappington Marmaduke