FL-GenWeb Digital Library and Archives  


 Hon. H. Clay Crawford
Secretary of State

Source: The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol. III  p.3  1923
Author: The History of Florida:  Past & Present

Hon. J. Clay Crawford    CRAWFORD, Hon. H. CLAY.  One of the distinguished men of Florida, whose long and honorable career in public life has, with great responsibilities, brought him the universal esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens, is Hon. HENRY CLAY CRAWFORD, who for twenty years has served in the high office of Secretary of State.  He came to this office well equipped, with years of early commercial training, and later, from a long period of close familiarity of the official business of the StateDepartment, having been chief clerk under his father, who preceded him in the office of  Secretary of State.  During his long and efficient term of service in  this capacity, a wide and intimate acquaintance with the leading figures in political, business and social life in the state was inevitable, and when  he became secretary and in the interests of his fellow citizens assumed greaterresponsibilities, he had little to learn in the way of diplomacy.
      Secretary CRAWFORD was born at Bainbridge, Decatur County, Georgia, April 5, 1856.  His parents were Dr. JOHN LOVICK and ELIZA E. (WALKER) CRAWFORD, the former of whom was born in Greene County, Georgia, and died in 1902, at the age of eighty-six years, and the latter, born in North Carolina, died in November, 1901, when aged seventy years.

    Dr. JOHN L. CRAWFORD was reared at Covington, Georgia, and received his medical training and degree at Augusta, afterward located in Wakulla County, Florida, where he acquired a large amount of land and operated three plantations.  He continued the practice of medicine until 1881, in the meanwhile becoming a prominent factor in democratic politics and a leading citizen of Crawfordsville, Wakulla County, which was named in his honor.  He served as a member of the Florida state senate for eighteen consecutive years,  and then accepted the appointment of Secretary of State, in which office he continued until the time of his death.  He was not only a wise statesman but a  good business man, and Wakulla County owes much to his energy and enterprise in the way of substantial development.

    HENRY CLAY CRAWFORD was the fourth in his parents' family of six children.  He had public school advantages at Crawfordsville and high school training at Bainbridge, Georgia.  He was too young to be personally concerned with the issues that precipitated the war between the states, but the outcome affected the family fortunes to some degree and at the age of nineteen years he left school and became self-supporting.  For two years he served as a clerk in a general store at Jacksonville, Florida, and then embarked in business for himself, with a partner, at Crawfordsville, under the firm name of Crawford & Walker, general merchants.  The business was subsequently moved to Tallahassee, but in 1879 Mr. CRAWFORD returned to Crawfordsville as manager of the W. W. WALKER mercantile interests.

    In 1889 Mr. CRAWFORD received the appointment of chief clerk in the office of the Secretary of State at Tallahassee, and this city has been his home ever since, this period including great development in city and state.

    One might say that Secretary CRAWFORD was brought up in a political atmosphere, for his father was very active in politics all his life, first as a Whig and later as a democrat, and by precept and example taught that an intelligent interest in one's country's government was almost a religious duty.

    Upon the death of his father, in 1902, Mr. CRAWFORD was appointed to serve out his unexpired term, and in 1904 he was elected Secretary of State, in which office he has continued ever since through reelection.  He has always been a loyal supporter of the principles and candidates of the democratic party.
    At Crawfordsville, Florida, in 1881, Mr. CRAWFORD was married to Miss  ANNA MORING, who was born in Wakulla County, near that place, and died at Tallahassee in 1908.  She was a daughter of the late JOHN S. MORING, an extensive planter in Wakulla County.  Mr. and Mrs. CRAWFORD became parents of  six children:  WILLIAM BLOXHAM, who is a practicing attorney at Orlando,
Florida; JOHN THOMAS GAVIN, who is a prominent member of the bar at Jacksonville; GENEVIEVE, who is a student in the department of domestic science and research work in the Florida College for Women; GLADYS, who resides at home; HENRY CLAY, Jr., who served with honor in the United States Navy during the World's war, has been assistant chief clerk in the Secretary of State's office since his return to civil life; and GEORGE GWYNN, who was in the air service during the World's war, is also a clerk in the secretary's
office.  Both young men have very creditable military records.

    Mr. CRAWFORD very often in his long period of public service, has proved to be a man of moral courage as well as extreme efficiency, and his sincerity and broad-mindedness have been very generally recognized.  For many years he has been active and prominent in the order of Knights of Pythias, has been chancellor commander of the Tallahassee Lodge, and in 1909 was grand chancellor commander of the Grand Lodge of Domain Florida, Knights of  Pythias.  He has extensive land holdings in the state and owns hunting preserves and fishing grounds, and frequently, in season, hospitably entertains friends who are interested, like himself, in these sports.  Mr. CRAWFORD wasreared in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has always belonged to this religious body.

Presented by Nancy Rayburn