Biography of Thomas H. Crawford

THOMAS H. CRAWFORD. – While Union county enjoys especial favor in possesing a large, well informed, and enterprising class of citizens who fill the walks of the industrial and professional callings she is to be congratulated in having such substantial, broad minded and capable devotees of the legal profession. Prominent in this number, and deserving of a large share of honor for his faithful and successful labors in the courts and in the manipulation of the affairs of the county, and also in a measure of the state politics wherein he has bestowed much care and thought for the welfare of all, is the esteemed gentleman, whose name stands at the head of this article. a man of fine capabilities, fortified with a thorough and extended classical education and then a training in the legal profession that has fitted him in an ample and satisfactory way to handle the deep points of court practice and official counsel, there is also in Mr. Crawford a happy blending of the acumen, determination, and executive ability required in the successful lawyer, which he constantly supplements by a careful and discriminating course of research that has placed him in a commanding position in his profession throughout the county and in adjacent districts.

Our subject is the scion of a strong southern family, being born in Washington county, Arkansas, on March 18, 1848, and the son of George A. and Martha A. (Wilson) Crawford. In his native place, he received a good education in the private academy there sustained and in 1870 he came with his parents to Clackamas county, Oregon. The following year, Thomas H. entered the State agricultural College at Corvallis and in 1874 took his degree therefrom. He immediately entered on his course of legal study under the direction and supervision of Judge Strahan, who afterwards was on the supreme bench of the state. Then he was directed in his studies by Judge Kelsey, both of these gentlemen being of Corvallis. In 1876 our subject was admitted to the bar at Salem, and he at once settled in Dayton, Washington, and commenced the practice of the law, remaining in successful practice there until 1878. During this time, he was appointed to the position of probate judge and also served under Captain George Hunter in quelling the Nez Perces, his especial service being as orderly sergeant and scout. Then he removed to Baker city for one year and finally located in Union. For two or three years he was in the firm of Slater, Crawford & Slater, but then went into practice alone and has continued thus until the present time. Mr. Crawford has always taken a keen and lively interest in politics and in 1888 was nominated for district attorney on the Democratic ticket, but the issue of free wool at that time cast the winning count with his opponent, J.L. Rand. In1896, he was nominated for circuit judge on the Democratic ticket in a three-cornered fight. R.J. Slater being nominee on the Populist ticket and Robert Eakin on the Republican ticket, the latter being elected. Mr. Crawford was chairman of the Democratic state convention in 1896, the Democrats and Populists being allied on the free silver issue at that time.

On March 19, 1878, Mr. Crawford and Miss Rosa A., daughter of Augustus Smith, now a resident of Grass Valley and a pioneer of the state, were married at Dayton, Washington. The fruit of the union is one son, Clarence H., born in Dayton, Washington May 1, 1879, and now in the junior class in the Stanford University, from which institution will he have completed his classical and legal courses in his twenty-fourth year. Fraternally, Mr. Crawford is associated with the Masons, Lone Pine Lodge, Clackamas county, Oregon; with the Knights of Pythias, in Union; with the Elks, Lodge 338, in Baker City. He is also a member of the Oregon state Bar Association and vice-president of Union county for 1901. In the practice of law, Mr. Crawford has been eminently successful in both the civil and criminal departments and has won for himself a name and reputation that is commendable and praiseworthy. It is also pleasant to state that in addition to the distinct practice of law, Mr. Crawford is especially talented as an orator and on numerous occasions has won plaudits and glowing tributes, while his after dinner orations and extemporaneous speeches contain brilliant gems of genuine merit and are universally received with applause. As a scholar, a profound student of legal lore, a successful practitioner, a brilliant oragor, a genial and pleasant companion, and a perfect and thorough gentleman, and true man, Mr. Crawford stands to-day a leading figure and enjoys to the full the esteem and confidence of his fellows and is a citizen of loyal spirit and broad views.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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