HON. THOMAS T. CRITTENDEN was born on Blue Grass soil, in Shelby County, January 2, 1834, his father being Henry Crittenden, the brother of Hon. John J. Crittenden. The father did not interest himself greatly in political matters, but was at one time a Whig candidate for Congress. He was married to a daughter of Col. John Allen, a successful lawyer of Kentucky at one time, who was slain in battle at River Basin in the War of 1812. Mrs. Crittenden was a devout Christian, and for many years a zealous worker in the Presbyterian Church, but also devoted herself to the welfare, happiness and moral training of her children. She was left a widow when Col. Crittenden was only two years old, but some years afterward married David R. Murray, of Colverport, Ky. This last union resulted in the birth of a son, E. H. Murray, who distinguished himself in the Union army during the Civil War, in which he attained the rank of general, and since that time he has been United States Marshall for Kentucky, and is a very prominent and influential citizen of that State. Col. Crittenden received his education in Center College, Kentucky, and after graduating studied law under his illustrious uncle, Hon. John J. Crittenden, at Frankfort, Ky., and was admitted to practice by Chief Justice Simpson, at Winchester, in 1856. In the fall of that year he led to the altar Miss Carrie W. Jackson, daughter of Samuel Jackson, of Lexington, Ky., an accomplished and intelligent lady. The year following his marriage he removed to Lexington, Mo., and after being permitted to practice at the bar of this State by Judge Russell Hicks, who became one of his most intimate friends, he opened an office and at once embarked in a very prosperous practice. He was associated with Judge John S. A. Tutt, and was very kindly and cordially received by the old established members of the bar. He entered the Union service in the early part of the Civil War, and was appointed by Gov. Gamble to the position of lieutenant-colonel of the Seventh Regiment of Missouri Cavalry, which was commanded by Col. John F. Philips, and this regiment performed such good service and did such active fighting in Missouri and Arkansas that it was repeatedly complimented in orders by commanding generals. His military record and service was of a very high order, and he proved himself to be a soldier of great gallantry and of fine qualities. He was mustered out of the service and finally discharged in 1865, after which he returned to civil life at Warrensburg, Mo., where he formed a law partnership in 1867 with Gen. F. M. Cockrell. He succeeded in procuring a large, lucrative and eminently successful practice. During the war he was appointed attorney-general of the State by Gov. Willard P. Hall, to fill a vacancy, which was a very high compliment to one so young as he was at that time, and showed the appreciation in which he was even then held. He was the nominee of the Democratic party for Congress in the seventeenth district in 1872, and was elected by 1,500 majority, defeating Hon. S. S. Burdett, who was running for re-election on the Republican ticket. In 1874 he was defeated for re-nomination in the famous contest between Col. Philips, A. M. Lay and himself; in which over 600 ballots were taken and Col. Philips elected. In 1876 he received the nomination without solicitation or expectation on his part, and was elected by about 3,500 majority. This was more than double the majority ever before given the Democratic ticket in the district. His canvass of the State was very brilliant and successful at the time, as a Democratic candidate for presidential elector at large, a nomination which had been given to him almost unanimously by the State convention at Jefferson City, July 19, 1876. He resigned this position to enter upon the canvass for Congress, with the above results. As a soldier, politician, lawyer and citizen, he has been remarkably successful, and the services rendered by him in Congress were important and valuable, his talents commanding him both respect and influence in the House of Representatives. He is a model American citizen-patriotic, law-abiding and enterprising, and all classes of people hold him in the highest regard.
Springfield-Greene County Library