• GA Gov. George W. Crawford Gets Details of Legislature Backed Painting; Artist Praised

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    GEORGE W. CRAWFORD (December 22, 1798-July 27, 1872) was elected to two terms as Governor of Georgia as a Whig. Crawford shot dead Thomas Burnside over a series of accusations about Crawford’s father. The incident had no impact on Crawford’s reputation or his career. He also served as Georgia state representative, state attorney general, U.S. Congressman and the Secretary of War under President Zachary Taylor.  While he was Secretary of War, Crawford was involved in settling a claim from the government and received a large share of the settlement for his services.  In the midst of accusations and Taylor’s death, Crawford resigned from office and retired from politics for 10 years.  He came out of retirement in 1861 to chair the state secession convention in Milledgeville.

    The writer of our letter is WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD, not the famous Georgia politician as he died before this letter was written.  We find another William H. Crawford of Americus, GA, who was admitted to the state bar during the July 1846 term of that court. This could be the writer who writes a rather informative letter of an artist’s work, possibly a portrait of Gov. Crawford, which was authorized by the legislature.

    2 pp, 7 ¾” x 9 ¾”, ALS by William H. Crawford, Americus, GA, to Gov. Crawford, April 7th, 1846.

    “My Dear Sir

    “At the request of our Painter I mite say that he is now engaged in painting a portrait for exhibition in your city upon which he is willing to risk his reputation as an artist and to ban his chances of occupying this order for the painting of the portrait authorized by the last legislature.  In relation to what I wrote in my last about the advance, he says that if he will not be required to frame the picture he will not need it as it was principally on account of the frame. He needed the money not being able to make this himself. In relation to the painting, he will warrant that to be done in the best style and as to the price as I before stated he is willing to leave that to  yourself or to trust the assembly of the next legislature as he is more [interested] to paint for fun than money. If you could do so, I would be glad you would not dispose of the job until Laurens (?) makes profit of his portrait for he has the ability to do justice to the work in the judgement of those who are capable of giving more correct opinions than myself. I would be glad to see him try his hand upon the work.

    “The paintings he has executed here are good likenesses as far as I am capable of judging his painting.

    “Laurens (?) painted a number of years in Savannah (at least so he says & his own account of himself is all I know about him)…


    “Wm H. Crawford”

    Toning, folds, light soiling and a seal tear with an integral address leaf to Crawford and docketing.

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